What’s the difference between a newsletter and a blog? An email address!
Last week two of my clients asked me one of my favourite questions and one on which I am quite opinionated (you have been warned).
What goes in a blog and what goes in a newsletter?
Let’s do blogs first ‘cos they are a bit simpler to understand.
You blog on your website first and foremost so that you will get some traffic (visitors) to it. If you just bang up a website no-one will know it’s there unless you tell us. And the best way to tell us is to blog, because each time you press PUBLISH, the worldwide spider’s web reverberates a little in a way which draws your website to the attention of the search engines e.g. Google. Blogging gets you found.
I could write a whole series of blog posts or newsletters on this topic because it is somewhat more complex and interesting than that, but if you want people to come and visit your website then blogging is perhaps the #1 to achieve that. I started blogging every day Monday to Friday again relatively recently and my techie colleague reports my website visitors are up by 30%.
I can read your blogs to my heart’s content because they are on the front end of your website. I don’t have to give you my email address, or anything else for that matter, in order to be able to read and enjoy what you write on your blog. And that applies to the rest of the world. But the good news is that not only have we found your site, but now that we are reading your blog we are learning to know, like and trust you. We might, if you keep this up, opt into your website to receive your newsletter and your enticing special gift.
Some website owners invite you to subscribe to their blog and ask you to give them your email address so that they can send them to you. As a reader, by all means do that. As a writer/blogger/content creator/website owner, my advice is not to do that unless the only thing you want people to do – ever – is read your blog, then by all means fill your boots and encourage it as your Most Wanted Action. I have a website myself where I intend to blog and that’s all I intend to do on it and, in that case, blog subscribers would be absolutely what I would want.
But it isn’t for most of us or for most of my clients either.
In addition to blogging, social media activity will also bring people to your website and, again, that’s another series of posts for another day.
What should you write in your newsletter and how should it be different from your blog is the second part of this question. And my favourite part.
Sam, my client who is a blogger and a writer, helped me to come up with an expression which we both enjoy and which has been helpful to her and about which we both laugh now – and often. I think of my newsletter subscribers as my “special kittens”. I create content especially for them because they have given me what in 2016 is their most special of all jewels, held very close to their hearts, their email address.
People are increasingly circumspect and suspicious about who they give their email address to, and with good reason. None of us want to be spammed or overwhelmed. I almost never put my email address into anything except where I am 100% confident I am going to want to hear from you by email. Instead I might subscribe to your blog via Feedly and Like your Facebook Page and/or follow you on Twitter. Thus I can follow your online output but it doesn’t clog up my email inbox. Not that you would clog, Gentle Reader, but you get my drift?
But the special kittens deserve extra special treatment because they have shared with you their most precious jewel. They have given you their email address and, in so doing, permission to market to them for life, until they buy or die, or unsubscribe!
So make it worth their while. Treasure them with your words, insider thoughts, feelings, discounts, prezzies, prizes, special gifts, time-sensitive offers and the like. But mostly with your respect. With your blog you are writing for Google. With your newsletter you are writing to your special kittens, your ideal client, your very favourite people who are one step closer to making a buying decision in deciding to work with you or buy your stuff. That’s what giving you their email address denotes. They want to hear more from you so make it the good stuff, if possible your very best stuff.
It’s a matter of voice, really. What voice do you use for people – everyone – on the front end, those who are wary and don’t know you yet but who might be delighted to find out about you by one random or scientific Google search. That voice should be knowy/likey/trusty.
And what voice do you use for the special ones, the lovely trusting ones, the ones who want to hear more from you? That voice is loving, abundant and generous. It’s special.
Entice us and encourage us to opt in to receive your newsletter via your website and blog, and give us your special stuff once we are insiders. Repay our trust with your gorgeous words and treats and we’ll read you every time you write to us and we’ll write in to let you know how much we value your respect and generosity, and we’ll confide that we are psyching ourselves up.
Because one day, when we are ready, we’ll buy from your newsletter and invest in your expertise, or art, or books or any of the other gorgeous stuff you have to offer us. We are special and your newsletter enables us to keep a close and fond eye on you.
A little hybrid tip here as a bonus. You can, by all means, link to your blog posts in your newsletter. That might be handy for those who want to read everything you write and who do not yet have a system in place for that. Some people want your writing to come to them. Do not, however, make your newsletter a list of links. That’s dull, dull, double dull.
Conversely if you’ve written a great blog and you want to make sure that lots of people see it, copy and paste it as one of the articles in this week or month’s newsletter. Don’t make a habit of it, as it could be perceived as lazy and remember, as a newsletter subscriber of yours I want the special stuff and not something I can read on your blog for free, without having to give you my most precious jewel.
You will find lots of people who look at this question and answer it another way. This is my opinion. This is what works for me. This is what I share with my clients. We could debate this till the cows come home. Or we could just get blogging and newslettering and, in due time, find our own way. Onwards!