If You Have a Blog, Do You Really Need an Email Newsletter?

newsletterBy Bob Dunn

Developing rich, useful online content is hard work.

If you are a solopreneur or small business owner, often that task falls squarely on your shoulders.

But, you say, I only have so much time.

You may have decided you can manage a blog or a newsletter, but not both.

Let’s look closer at these two options.

What Will a Blog do for You?

Your blog is the place to show your credibility. Where you can develop a reputation for solving your readers’??and potential clients’??problems.

It is also helps you show you in the search engines, which drives more traffic to your site.

Why Have a Newsletter?

Your newsletter is a good tool for expanding on topics your blog addresses, as well as for speaking more directly to your readers, following up with offers that make sense to your readers, and solving their problems in a more comprehensive way.

But when you combine a blog and a newsletter, you will get even better results. Together they can be the core pieces of your online content marketing plan.

You just need to be clear on the end goals of each, so your content stays on topic.

Five Ways to Leverage Your Blog and Newsletter for Maximum Impact

1. Identify the goals of each and decide on your priorities.

When you determine your goals for your blog and newsletter, creating your content gets a lot easier. First, consider them separately. What do you want to happen as the end result?

For instance, for your blog, your goals might be to introduce topics in a broad sense, drive traffic to your site from Google, create content that is sharable on social platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc.) and move readers to the next level, your newsletter.

Your newsletter’s goals might be to expand on topics, provide practical, useful tips, promote your products and services as solutions to your readers’ problems, and turn prospects into customers.

The next thing to decide is which one you will promote where. Because giving your readers too many choices will just confuse them and they may not respond at all.

In each case, think about the one place you want to send readers to and the end result or action you want them to take.

2. Leverage your content so one complements the other.

Make your blog and newsletter content related but different. While it’s okay to have some overlap, you should make them different enough so people who sign up for both aren’t getting duplicate or regurgitated information.

Here is one way to look at it. If you talk about the why on your blog??for example, reasons for using a certain strategy to solve a reader’s problem??you could follow up with ideas and resources for how to do it in your newsletter.

So the blog gives the big picture and the newsletter offers short, snappy articles with the tools or resources needed to solve a problem.

The newsletter, then, is a relationship-building tool that leads readers to your ultimate goal, which could be to purchase your product or service, join your membership site, buy your book, hire you for a speaking engagement or something else.

As you plan, consider creating an editorial calendar, say, three months at a time. Decide on the broad themes you will blog about each month. Then plan content that builds on and expands those topics in your newsletter.

3. Encourage newsletter signups.

While I have a blog and push out content regularly for my readers (and for the search engines), my major online marketing tool is my newsletter.

It is my best tool for building trust levels, delivering helpful content and moving readers to the next step, which is joining my WordPress training membership site.

Your newsletter readers are your top tier fans, your best prospects. They like your stuff so much that they want to be pinged every time you deliver a new piece of content.

By leaving their email address, they are agreeing to receive regular communication from you. And, in turn, you are building a valuable list to use for your marketing.

One good way to get new signups is on your blog, where you already have a base of potential subscribers. When a new post comes out, entice your readers by telling them they can get more information on this topic??and additional resources??in next week’s newsletter.

Then provide a direct link (or point to the newsletter signup box at the bottom of the post). More on this in step four below.

4. Let your newsletter subscribers past the ?ªvelvet rope.’

Reward your newsletter subscribers with freebies you don’t offer to your blog’s readers. In marketing circles, they call this strategy the velvet rope. Your newsletter readers get inside access to special content.

With each podcast I publish on the blog, subscribers to my weekly newsletter, WPChatter, get exclusive access to a video that expands on the topic in that week’s show.

For example, in a recent podcast, I talked about why bloggers should consider using affiliates and some key things to think about before promoting an affiliate product or service to their readers.

In this case (the topic of affiliates), in the next newsletter issue, subscribers got a link to one of my video tutorials with an overview of a plugin that helps bloggers and site owners manage their affiliates.

5. Cross-promote, cross-promote, cross-promote.

When you start thinking, you’ll discover many ways to leverage your blog to get additional newsletter subscribers, as well as drive traffic from your newsletter to your blog.

Consider giving people a way to sign up for your newsletter on your Facebook, Google+ and Twitter profiles. I also send tweets out from time to time to announce a new issue of my newsletter, with a teaser about the content and a link to subscribe.

In addition to social media channels, you might announce an upcoming contest or a special offer on your blog that is only open to newsletter subscribers. It works the opposite way, too. For instance, in my newsletter, I send people to my five most recent (or most popular) blog posts.

Integrated in the right way, your blog and your newsletter can work together to provide value, establish your authority as an expert in your field, and lead your readers to purchase your products and services.

And isn’t that your ultimate goal?