Should A Blogger Also Publish A Newsletter?

Hi everyone, I want to use this post to unburden my mind about a topic I have been struggling with for some time now. While I was thinking of putting this post up I came across a similar post by Dennis titled: “Link Building and List Building – A Blog or Newsletter?” At first I thought he had in mind what I was struggling with but after going through the post and the comments I discovered he had a slightly different issue in mind. And so I want to put this before you as to get some insight and your opinion.

Now, as entrepreneurs marketing online we are always told the money is in the lists, right? And the advice is that if you want to build a list you need to offer something as an incentive to your subscribers, right? And, most times we are told, this incentive is either an ebook or a newsletter.

Ok, I agree with every one of that!

Now my struggle is with the idea of a newsletter. I have observed that many of the bloggers whose newsletters I’m subscribed to offer nothing much different from what the blogger could have posted in his/her blog. Now, when I signed up for the newsletter I expected something “deeper” than the everyday posts. So I have been wondering, why offer a newsletter instead of just posting the information you want to pass across on your blog? Must a blogger also offer a newsletter to his/her blog readers?

Let’s take it a little further. Are you are subscribed to any bloggers newsletter? Are you having these same problems with the information being published on that newsletter? If you have, what do you think such bloggers could do with the newsletter to make things a little different?

Ok, let’s add this one…

If you DO NOT agree with the idea of a blogger offering a newsletter what do you suggest a blogger should use as an incentive in building his/her own list?

Your responses will be highly appreciated in the comments below.

34 COMMENTS

  1. In a past life I used to work for a major UK website which had 1m+ subscribers on the email list.  Although obviously a big revenue stream it was still way behind PPC and SEO in terms of conversions.

    Unfortunately some of the biggest advocates of mailing lists are also pushing an email service with a nice lifetime affiliate deal and insist it is the only way to make money.  I have no doubt it works but it is by no means the only way of doing things!

    We always saw it as a nice way of having another shot at converting those who we didn’t get the first time round.  The problem a website has is that you may buy a visitor in, or get them through SEO, but they’ll soon forget about you and visit a competitor next time round. 

    The mailing list can be a nice nag to get your brand constantly infront of their face!  It’s not so much about duplicating content it’s about reminding them you exist!

    But it’s one of many things you can do when running a website, like I said, direct email conversions were far from our largest revenue stream.

    • @jezza101,

      Hey did you say, “In a past life?” I wonder when that was because I’ve never heard of any other time in human existence when there were website marketing! 🙂

      Ok, that was on a lighter mood.

      From your comment I’m really convinced that a blogger can publish a newsletter. Of course I am not against building a list for a know the importance of the list. However, I’m concerned about the issue of duplication. But from what you said, that’s not the issue, is about always reminding your contacts that you exist. I think that really is good business sense! Thanks.

  2. I have to agree with you here. I think if you are offering a newsletter you shouldn’t just send a regular post in the newsletter but rather use it for special stuff. I haven’t gotten to it yet, but I want to build a newsletter where I will announce only my latest Free themes I’ve built and current contests.

    I do also agree with Jezza…It does help to remind people you exist. Most the time I get a newsletter from someone I end up on their site even if the newsletter sucked.

    • That was really the problem I’ve been having with this issue of publishing a newsletter. Of course newsletters are supposed to be used in making announcements and giving news about your business or service, but we know that online newsletters are now being used also to build relationship with our subscribers. So most are used as tutorials and giving more indepth info about what you know. But if that info can be published on your blog why move it to the newsletter.

      But as Jezza mentioned, it’s not just about duplication but letting your subscribers know you are still there. I quite agree with that.

  3. hi Chadrack, thanks for the post. First of all, unlike the rest of the blogosphere I believe that money is NOT in the list. Money is in the right keywords. (But this is another topic, so I won’t talk about it right now).
    Of course, I am not saying that newsletters are useless. On the contrary, growing a list and sending out newsletters is good but they are not crucial for the sustainability of one’s online business. Anyway, a newsletter should focus exclusively on giving useful and valuable information to the readers only and not advertising. If the newsletter is merely advertisement then it gets boring and looks more like annoying spam. No one will click on its links. Finally, it should be sent only once a week or two weeks.

    • I can never agree with you more! “A newsletter should focus exclusively on giving useful and valuable information to the readers.” And that is the reason why I was really concerned. Cant that information be posted on your blog? Of course many will want to simply make that info exclusive in order to “force” people signup for the newsletter but should that be so?

      And that maxim about the money not being in the list but in the keywords, I think that is something we may want to explore more. Any further thoughts on it will be appreciated.

  4. Chadrack,
    I am using Mailchimp’s free e-mail newsletter service. I agree that the reason that bloggers are pushing having a mailing list is in order to make affiliate commissions.

    I am subscribed to several newsletters and I am not impressed so far. Most of the stuff in the newsletters could just be published on their blog.

    I haven’t been blogging long enough to be considered an expert but these are just my opinions.

    • I think we are agreed here. But from some of the comments here it appears that some of these bloggers really do not know what the newsletter should be used for. A business running a static website may use its newsletter to do some of the things that these bloggers are doing that is providing insider info about their business and also offer some tips and strategies, but a blogger can use the blog to do that and not offer a seperate newsletter. But if a blogger should offer a newsletter then the purpose should be well spelt out.

  5. I do also agree with Jezza…It does help to remind people you exist. Most the time I get a newsletter from someone I end up on their site even if the newsletter sucked.

    • Definitely newsletter truly have their uses but I’m really concerned that instead of simply putting the information which can be posted on the blog while not leave it out?

      Maybe you will want to provide some ways we can make our newsletters different as bloggers.

  6. I noticed that a lot of times. Many a times the newsletter is just a compilation of the recent posts they have written. Also, sometimes the newsletters just accompany some older posts. What they could do is along with a compilation of their posts they could write a short note of what they have been up to in the blogging world and what new things they have learnt. Not something that runs for pages, just something short and sweet!
    Nice article, have a nice day.

  7. I think you nailed it. I have read a lot of blog posts saying about the effectiveness of newsletters. But what I’m always concerned is what to write in the newsletter. I am also subscribed to some newsletters and there weren’t too special in most of them. I should have rather subscribed in their rss feed. I’d be glad to read some posts providing tips on what to include in the newsletter. Maybe some exclusive offering? Discount coupons? Giveaways? 🙂
     

    • Hi Calli, we are in the same boat on this! This is why I’m having a struggle with this thing. I also think you provided a pointer on what we can really include to make things a little different. We definitely will have to research this topic a little further!

  8. Nice post, Chadrack. I also agree with you. I think newsletter is very important to increasing your blog. It is like promoting your blog to the audience. And they have regular post sent through the newsletter.

  9. I think newsletters are ok to have, however I personally don’t like to receive the alerts because it’s just more emails in my inbox that I don’t have time to sort through. It increases traffic, but I think content and constant update is more important.

    • Hey Kris, you got me confused there. In one breath you seem to favour newsletters but  you don’t like to receive the alerts and yet you agree that content and constant update is important. How can there be constant update when you don’t want to recieve the alerts?

  10. I was doing a newsletter way before blogging and I think you have the key concept to make it work…deeper content. I learn as much from the comments on blogs as I do drom the articles but in a newsletter the writer can dedicate 1k+ words per article and are able to go much deeper into the topic.

    • @Auf Rechnung,

      Of course, many of the newsletters out there are really rubbish. But don’t you think there are those who are doing so good work with their newsletters?

  11. I do not usually subscribe to newsletters because as you’ve said, the contents are not always different from posts. But I have seen some that offer exclusive posts to their subscribers. They would put in an interesting title like “the secret to…” and then they would mark it as private and are only available to their subscribers. I think it is pretty much a good gimmick.

    • @Alex,

      I think that is really good marketing gimmick! Indeed some bloggers knows how to make things a little different for better results.

      Thanks for joining the conversation.

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