There are two kinds of people who blog: those who live and die by their newsletters and those (like yours truly) who find them to be nothing but an inconvenience. And then there are those of you reading this post because you haven't chosen to yay or nay a newsletter for your own blog yet. And to those of you still on the fence, I want to just let you know that it's ok. I was once exactly where you stand. I too was once devouring posts on newsletters hoping to understand the benefits of creating a newsletter and where I would find the time to put one more thing together.
If you spend 30 seconds on Pinterest looking up newsletters you will fall prey to information overload, just as I once did. Although this post will provide you with my thoughts on newsletters and the alternatives to sending one out, ultimately you have to make the choice yourself.
Ready to dive into the meat of the post? Go ahead and click that little Continue Reading button and let's get on with the show!
Point 1 | A Newsletter Is Not Like A Social Media Platform
Both Facebook and Twitter allow for a lot of interaction with your readers. A newsletter only points them where you want them to go. Facebook may be getting stingy on what posts they show your readers but Twitter will appear to everyone following you. A newsletter, while popping into every inbox with your subscription, may never see the light of day.
In short, you are guaranteed more views on social media over newsletters because people will actually see them. Newsletters can (and often do) wind up trashed still unopened.
One final point of my comparison between newsletter and social updates: Rarely do people follow you on social media because you bribe them to. On the flip side more newsletter subscribers are there because you offered them something free (printable, access to archives, etc).
Rather than send an email, consider creating a Facebook group. Or joining a few where you can share all the same content and work up both your network and tribe at the same time.
Point 2 | Why Do You Need An Email List?
Unless you are a business owner that makes money off of products (digital or physical), having a large group of email addresses collected realm does not serve a purpose. Think about your blog for a second. What do you actually DO with those addresses? Why are you gathering them? Yes, they will help gauge your blog stats but ultimately, do they serve a point to you?
If you are a blogger looking to monetize with sponsors or affiliates (opposed to selling a product), ask yourself a few questions:
- What am I actually going to do with the email addresses if my followers?
- Why do I need to know my followers email address?
- How does having an email list benefit me?
- Will I have time to create great newsletter content (as well as blog content, social media contents, etc.)?
- Why do I WANT to send a newsletter.
Now I'll bet you dollars to donuts your answer to that last question is:
Because top bloggers have them and say I should.
Eeent. Wrong answer people.
Maybe those top bloggers do have a newsletter. And maybe they suggest you should have one too. But what they aren't telling you is how many people subscribe, get their free stuff and unsubscribe (guilty!) only to go directly to their blog each day or follow them on various social platforms. Those bloggers don't tell you what they are doing with those email addresses. And they also do not tell you what kind of content they put in their newsletters (because if you want to know you'll subscribe it it. Duh!).
Take a step back, ask yourself the above questions and then simply make following by email the alternative.
Point 3 | Why Would People Want To Receive Your Newsletter?
Let me see if this sounds familiar: You've mastered creating great content, your blog images are fantastic. You've cultivated a loyal following on social media and you are showing up on the first page of a Google search (for your niche). Maybe you're already monetizing with AdSense and you've signed up with an affiliate or two. Now you're wanting to get some sponsors. Surely an email list will help.you with that.
How will having a bunch if email addresses get you on the Nake Burkus show or featured on Babble? How will all those email addresses make companies like Martha Steward Living want to put their ad on your sidebar?
Short answer? They won't.
Because all those companies you see gracing the sidebars of top bloggers don't subscribe to the bloggers newsletter. They just don't have time for that. Same goes for no one in the company received a newsletter and said "we should pay them to advertise us!".
Without a doubt, I can promise you with 100% certainty that you will not get sponsors or affiliates because you have a large email list.
Become a master of the email pitch, clean up the media kit you haven't updated since you built a newsletter and sell yourself. Sponsors will only choose blogs they feel best represent their own company. They care that you can promote them and promote them well. By fine tuning your voice on your blog and social platforms you'll have a better chance representing a sponsor.
Point 4 | My Newsletter Is Different Because...
No. No it's not. Even if your blog is unique, your newsletter is not. Why? Because every newsletter sent by every blogger is self promotion. Shameless self promotions. Me, me, me. I, I, I. Readers who themselves do not blog are looking for information or entertainment. Every blog newsletter I have ever received contained the words "what happened on >insert blog name here< this (week, month, bi week, bi month)".
Remember when you were in school and you had to write about what you did on Spring or Summer break? And remember how nobody cared except your friends because they were either with you or are, well, your friends? That's exactly what I think of every time I think of signing up for a newsletter. And if I am being honest I don't really need to know everything I missed in your blog. Because if I am a loyal reader I would not have missed it in the first place.
If you want to stand out among others in your niche, consider doing round up posts, spotlights or a self sponsored giveaway. Follow Fridays on Twitter are also something "top bloggers" don't do so give it a try. Also consider stepping out of your comfort zone and doing a Periscope live tweet or a YouTube video.
Point 5 | A Newsletter Acts As My "One On One" With my Readers
Actually it doesn't. Why? Because, unless you are literally customizing every single newsletter for every single subscriber, everyone is getting the same message. Which is, in fact, the exact opposite of "one on one".
And your subscribers are not dummies. They know that everyone on your email list is seeing the same thing. They know you're not talking with them exclusively. So don't try to fake it.
Create a Google + hangout for your readers. Set chat times to replace the time you would normally have spent creating the content for your newsletter. Although there will be more than one participant, this will allow you a little more exclusivity and to actually talk with your followers.
Also consider creating a weekly twitter live chat. Run much the Sam as a Google + hangout, you can interact with your readers as a group and as a whole fir an hour or so. Plus you'll get to create a pretty cool hashtag all your own.
As I said way back in the beginning of this post, newsletters are ultimately a personal choice. Only you can decide what is right fir you and your blog. I simply aim to provide you with alternatives to sending one and what tool I use in place of email marketing.
Do you need a little help with deciding if a newsletter is right for you?
My one-on-one Creative Mastermind Coaching sessions provide you with all the tools you need to start a game plan and follow it through to pay day. Let's chat about how I can help take your business from "bland" to "brand" today!