Ask the Expert: Which is more effective... a blog or an e-newsletter?
By Debbie Weil
Pros & cons of blogs
Blogs are fast entering the established arsenal of online marketing weapons. To my mind, they are a weapon of choice. They are:
- Fast and easy to publish.
- They boost your search engine rankings if you add fresh content on a regular basis.
- They open a dialogue with your audience who can post comments for all to read
- They mark your company as authentic and forward-looking.
- If updated consistently, they establish you as a thought leader in your industry niche.
Will your audience read your blog on a regular basis?
Not unless you have a strategy to get them to your blog.
There are two ways to do this:
1. Remind them to visit your blog on the Web (remember, a blog is just a kind of Web site) or
2. Subscribe to it via RSS (Newsgator.com and Bloglines.com are two good options).
Coaxing your readers to adopt RSS can be difficult, however, if your audience doesn’t jump on every latest tech tool.
(I predict that RSS will be ubiquitous by the end of 2005 – just as “blog” was 2004 word of the year.)
For now, your best bet is to publish both a blog and an e-newsletter.
Pros & cons of e-newsletters
Email is still the linchpin of most online marketing strategies. It's the easiest way to reach your opt-in list (assuming you have one). But it may not be the most reliable.
DoubleClick's latest email trend report (Q4 2004) reports that open rates for HTML newsletters have dropped to a low of 32.6%.
Still, everyone understands what an e-newsletter or ezine is. If you can get yours through the spam filters and convince your readers to open it... you can prompt your audience to visit your blog!
Whether you publish in HTML or text, just include a link to the latest entries on your blog with a few words of annotation – and an exhortation to visit often for your "latest updates."
Combining a quick-update email with a blog is an easy publishing solution - giving you the benefits of both communications tactics. It’s worth considering.
Read Debbie's "Ask the Expert" column, first published in BtoB's E-mail Marketer Insight
(Scroll down after clicking the link above.)
P.S. Have you noticed that I've been doing exactly this in recent issues of WordBiz Report - combining an "update email" with links back to blog posts.
Drop me a line with your feedback on this new approach to e-newsletter content. I'd love to hear from you. - DW
Send your message to "firstname.lastname@example.org" and put "Email - Blog" in your Subject Line so I don't miss it.
Pub Note: IABC blogging panel; don't miss fre*e Webinar on conversion
I've been asked to organize and moderate a "Hot Topic" panel on corporate blogging for the IABC (International Association of Business Communicators) annual conference in Washington DC on June 27, 2005.
I'm excited! Senior exec/bloggers from GM, Intuit and (always a favorite blog) Air Conditioning Contractors of America accepted my invite to join the panel.
Read about my IABC blogging panel featuring senior exec bloggers from GM, Intuit and ACCA.
Don't miss next week's fre*e and meaty-sounding Webinar on conversion hosted by DigitalGrit. They're really smart folks and you'd be nuts not to tune in.
Register gratis for Webinar on optimizing your site to convert visitors to buyers.