Should you write blog posts or email newsletters?

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Results are in: Teaser emails + blog posts. Are they worth doing?

by Colin Nederkoorn

After last week’s article: “Should you write blog posts or email newsletters?”, you might be wondering what happened with the experiment.

As a refresher… Newsletters and Blog Posts both have strengths:

  • Newsletters are awesome because you can push new articles to your readers who want to hear from you. You don’t need to franticly promote new content.
  • Blog posts are more easily sharable by readers. They are also indexed by google and findable in search.

Last week you received the article as a “Teaser” by email and the full content in a blog post.

I wasn’t a fan of teaser emails with excerpts. So I wrote you specific, new content. But basically, the structure was like the image below:

Last week vs This week

How did it work out?

Let’s look at a few different criteria so you can get a full picture:

  • Opens
  • Clicks
  • Replies
  • Pageviews
  • Comments
  • Shares
  • SEO Juice
  • Total no. of people who read the article

How many people opened the email?

Opens were not statistically different. In fact the opens were the highest of the past 5 emails you’ve received (by 0.1%).

If we can learn anything from the slightly higher open rate, it suggests that this topic is of interest to you.

How many people clicked through to the blog?

Since the content required you to click through, you might expect higher clicks.

½ of the people who opened the email clicked through

Overall, our clicks on this email were the highest ever by over double the closest email.

How many people wrote an email reply?

One of the best parts of sending the newsletter is getting your replies. Usually a quick note that you enjoyed it, or a question about how the newsletter applies to your business.

Replies suffered

There were 1/3 of the replies from the week before.

How many unique people viewed the article on the blog?

When sending the article by newsletter only, pageviews are zero so any additional traffic is a boost.

Relatively, this past week page views of the article were 12% of our overall traffic to customer.io.

However, Unique page views were only 73% of unique opens of the email. So, in this case, fewer people viewed the blog post than opened the email.

How many people left a comment on the blog post?

With a newsletter, there are no comments. On the blog there were 5 comments. Some of the content on the blog represents people who would ordinarily reply to the email expressing themselves more publicly.

One of the replies on the blog was from Helder who wrote:

I think emails that are archived online for sharing/indexing are the best. I hate being “teased” into stuff. Either give me content, or don’t. It’s partial RSS feeds all over again.

Point taken! And the primary reason we’re sending the full content by email this week.

How many people shared the article on social networks?

After 1 week, you guys did a little sharing on social networks:

  • 3 likes
  • 9 tweets
  • 4 linked in shares
  • 2 google+

The post by no means went viral, but there seemed to be some casual sharing by people.

How well does the article rank in Google?

In incognito mode in Chrome (necessary to remove personalized results), I did a little googling.

Listing in search results

Searching for:

  • should you write a newsletter or blog post? - 1st position
  • blog post or newsletter? - 3rd position
  • newsletters or blog posts? - Page 2 :(
  • should you write a newsletter - 2nd position

As an investment, there is long-tail value to having your content findable by people searching on the web.

How many people in total read the article?

This is where “success” gets a little fuzzy. I made a little chart to try to share it with you:

Email only vs. Teaser Email

What can you conclude?

This week instead of doing the teaser, I put the full content in the email with a link at the top of the email to “Read online” and a link at the bottom to “Add a comment”.

When you have people saying that it sucks to receive teasers, that’s a good data point.

The data supports that if the full content is in the email, more people overall may read it.

What do you guys think about the full article in the email vs. just a teaser?

Add your thoughts in the comments below. Or feel free to comment on Hacker News

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