Blog or newsletter? What’s the difference?

Blog or newsletter? This is a question we get asked a lot, and we’re always glad people ask it because it’s a good one.  However, to get started on an answer, we actually need to ask you a couple of other key questions first… 

  1. Are you trying to further engage existing contacts?
  2. Or are you seeking to connect with new contacts?

It is possible you’re wanting to both, of course… so read on.

How does someone get to read your blog or newsletter?

Answering this will clarify what we’re getting at. Newsletters appear in someone’s inbox because they already know you exist and have subscribed to receive updates from you. Blogs, on the other hand, sit on your website, LinkedIn profile, or somewhere else on the internet, and are designed to be discovered through keyword searches and social media. 

When someone subscribes to your newsletter, they’re often asking you to update them periodically about new products and ideas, or remind them of the benefits of existing ones. Plus they are also perhaps hoping for reinforcement of your expertise and a few freebie ‘how to’ tips on something relevant to your industry. In essence, therefore, a newsletter is about engaging existing contacts and keeping a hold of their interest.

Blogs, however, are either discovered via a search engine because someone has a particular question they need to answer; they’re researching a particular subject and your blog covers it; or a social media contact has shared or referenced it and it’s caught a new contact’s eye.

Do you need to be tech savvy to create a blog or newsletter?

Not overly so, no. However, having an understanding of how the search engines work is important if SEO matters. And having an understanding of how to write winning subject lines, headlines, engaging content, and snappy calls to action… will make a HUGE difference.

Of course, blogs use different technology to newsletters. The former needs software that actually places the articles onto news pages. The popular system being WordPress, though there are many others. Newsletters, on the other hand, need software that connects the wording with your database of contacts (mailing list) and a mail server. Popular providers include Constant Contact and Mailchimp. But again, there are many others.

Measurement and analytics matter for both

As with any engagement strategy, though, it’s important to remember to measure its performance. Regardless of whether you choose to write a blog or newsletter, or even both, tracking their performance will help you work out how to improve your posts in the future. 

Newsletter software provides very detailed and informative data on who’s read what, for how long etc. etc. So you can track who on your mailing list is still engaging with what content, what they’re doing as a result, and whether an alternative approach is needed for those who’ve stopped. You can also segment your database and send different newsletters to different segments depending on where they are in their buying journey.

Blogging analytics, however, are more anonymous. Unless someone actually comments on a blog, you won’t know who has read it. Nevertheless, Google’s tracking analytics – if included within your web pages – can provide useful information on where visitors have come from, how long they stayed on your blog page, and what they searched for in the first place to get there.

So… blog or newsletter? Which would we recommend?

The short answer is… we’d say both. Each are very powerful in their own way for engaging, informing, and connecting with your audience; whether you already know who they are or not. But if you’d like to find out more about how either a blog or a newsletter could help you pursue a winning marketing strategy, please do get in touch. The nuances of each can make a difference to a business and that fascinates us.

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