I have a feeling that people are confused about the difference between a newsletter and a blog so I have been meaning to write this for a while!
What may seem like normal words to us digital marketing folk can seem like jargon to some. So if you ever think someone is a bit mixed up about this – show them this post and hopefully all will become clear!
The main difference is where you see it
Newsletters show up in your inbox in your email programme. You can see how many people in your mailing list have looked at your newsletter by checking the stats reports.
Blogs sit online, either in their own space, or on your website in their own section (at my website design company, we prefer to create websites with blogs integrated but some people create blogs separately that open up in a new window).
What should you write on your newsletter or your blog?
Your newsletter should have a brief introduction followed by a series of snippets of stories, company news, latest project launches and bits of advice, which can link to further information online. And that further information can go onto specific blog posts!
Each blog post can be about a case study, some advice you can give, a look behind the scenes in your company or a guest post or interview, and then some of these posts could be highlighted or featured in your newsletter.
You don’t have to mention all your blog posts in your newsletter. And your newsletter can have things in it that are only for your mailing list – such as special offers or sneak previews – which don’t go on your blog.
Subject Lines for your newsletters and headlines for your blogs
Try and avoid the typical “August Newsletter” as the subject line on your newsletter – it’s not really going to encourage people to open their email! Instead, try pick out something interesting within the newsletter to use in your headline.
As for blog headlines, there is whole art to writing these. For some tips visit www.topleftdesign.com/resources and you can download a free guide to writing headlines there (amongst other freebies).
Adding to your blog or newsletter
Whenever you add to your blog, each new article or post is called a “blog post”
Creating a new newsletter is often referred to as a new “issue”. So this is why on newsletter people say “in this issue”
Blogs are made using tool like Tumblr, WordPress, Blogger, or other systems – with WordPress being the most commonly used for business websites.
They automatically archive your posts so you can find them by clicking on categories or within the month they were posted – and each blog has its own unique website address or “URL” so that makes them easy to share on social media.
Newsletters are sent using an email service provider, like Constant Contact. You send your newsletter to a list of people in a “mailing list”
Who reads your newsletters?
You can actually answer this question very specifically! First of all you are only sending your newsletter to a select group of people – your mailing list. This shouldn’t be a bought list, but a list of people who you have met, who are your clients and existing contacts. You know enough people!
Newsletter software offers unparalleled tracking as you can see who has opened your newsletter, how often and the links clicked.
To send a newsletter, you should use an email service provider. It will also allow you to track the clicks and opens on your newsletter.
You can send a newsletter to specific mailing lists and if you want to be really targeted you can even “segment” these into subsections.
How can you tell who reads your blog?
You can’t tell who specifically reads your blog, unless they comment on your blog. Using Google Analytics, which is a free tool from Google – you can tell which of your blogs have the most traffic. In fact, since generally blog posts are put online and get visitors and continued incremental traffic – boosted by Google searches, social media sharing and email marketing.
Also don’t forget, topics you write about might be useful to people you know as well as prospective clients – so when someone asks you a question which you know you answered in a blog post, you can then just send them a link!
Sharing your blog or newsletter on social media
Blog posts can be shared on your social channels e.g. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+
Did you know though that you can also add a link to any of these in your newsletter? Don’t forget to share your newsletter on Twitter and Facebook once it’s sent. It’s the perfect opportunity to ask your followers to join your mailing list. And you can get your website designer to create a page which links to your previous newsletters (see ours here)
And if you had to choose between, which would you choose?
Both! Blogs and newsletters are two extremely powerful tools within your business marketing toolbox. They have to be done properly, so if you can hire experts to help then do so, or if you need to learn to do it yourself, that’s fine too. There are plenty of online resources like this one which can help you learn.