list of useful resources below
spam filters on high alert, delivering a newsletter by email is not as easy as
it was even one year ago. Should it reach your subscriber's inbox (without getting
siphoned into a junk folder), it still has to vie for attention amongst dozens
– or even hundreds – of new messages.
1. A blog is not "email"
Weblog or blog, on the other hand, is a page on your site that can be updated
several times a week with fresh content. If a reader has “subscribed” to your
blog, he or she gets an alert (consisting of the headline and brief summary) every
time you post new information.
much the same way you can include a teaser paragraph in your e-newsletter with
a link back to the full article on your site.
you're thinking that subscribers have to proactively "visit" your blog
(a "pull" tactic) vs. having an ezine or e-newsletter delivered to them
(a "push" approach) there's good news.
You can subscribe to a
blog using downloadable software called a newsreader. NewsGator www.newsgator.com
is a popular one as it integrates seamlessly with Outlook. There are lots of newsreaders
to choose from, many of them free. Once installed on your desktop, the newsreader
(also called a news aggregator) grabs the latest updates to your blog via an RSS
need to worry what RSS is (it stands for Really Simple Syndication). Just have
faith that RSS is a new way to publish and distribute content on the Web without
using email. And that’s the point. No email. So, no worries about spam filters
or delivery problems.
A blog is an instant publishing tool
blog is an easy-to-use content management tool. When you “blog,” you are instantly
adding new content to your site via a Web interface. No technical or programming
skills are necessary. Anyone can update the copy and content on your site. In
fact, think of a blog as just another page on your Web site.
point: a blog doesn't have to be “cool.” A steady stream of short tips with links
to other sites or articles can be extremely useful. (See my article 5
tips for a useful resource blog.) In fact, this is the same kind of useful
information you may be cramming into each issue of your newsletter. With a blog,
you can parcel it out in digestible bits - with more impact.
A blog makes your site search engine friendly
engines love blogs and will index individual entries (no matter how short) if
you've got your blogging software configured to create a separate page for each
new post. In other words, think of each blog post or entry as a Web page with
its own title.
incorporating a blog into your site you are creating multiple new mini pages.
Search engines crawl sites which are updated regularly with fresh content. So
“blogging” raises your site’s rankings in search results.
but are blogs a fad or a trend?
love this question. Here's my answer:
or ezines are still the e-vehicle of choice for most marketers. Two things are
slowing the adoption of blogs as a channel for business communication:
1. The term blogging is associated with online journals; personal, unedited
writing; and, er, needless bloviating.
Most folks don't know what a news reader is and why you need one to subscribe
to a blog or any other RSS feed. (Again, don’t fret over RSS. Visit www.newsgator.com
for a good explanation and to see how easy it is to download a newsreader.)
a blog to extend the reach of your e-newsletter
advice for now is to continue publishing an e-newsletter. If you're sending it
in HTML, trim your design down to the bare minimum and make the file size as small
as possible. This will give you a better chance of getting past the spam filters
and other blocking tools being used by major ISPs like AOL.
course, don't forget to link back to your blog through each issue of your e-newsletter.
You'll probably need to explain to your newsletter readers what your blog is,
where to find it and how to subscribe to it.
you think your email subscribers are not ready to embrace “newsreaders,” then
don’t mention this downloadable software - or RSS for that matter. Simply include
a prominent link to your blog in the layout of your newsletter and remind readers
to “visit” often for updates between issues.
line, consider adding a blog to your site for two reasons: as an instant publishing
tool and as an adjunct to your email marketing efforts. You may find you can use
a blog to trim down the extraneous information that's clogging the regular issues
of your newsletter and making it less effective.
explanations of RSS
Simple Syndication a new blog about RSS by Dave Winer
RSS Feeds to Promote Your Website by Ralph Wilson
Chris Pirillo's RSS
3-Step Quickstart Guide (includes list of RSS newsreaders)
Jennings Report: Special Issue on RSS by Jeanne S. Jennings
explanation of RSS (from my article "5 key questions about business
Yahoo explains its
RSS Primer (a little techie but very complete)
Tutorial for Content Publishers by Mark Nottingham
Thanks to Mark
Brownlow for a pointer to this resource.
FAQ on history of blogs by techie author Andreas Ramos
Popular Blogging Tools
(free tool; now owned by Google)
Type (software you install; it powers many professional-looking blogs)
(hosted version of Movable Type; easier to set up)
This article was originally published in the Feb. 11, 2004 issue
of WordBiz Report. It was revised and updated on June 3, 2004.