Should I Have a Newsletter or a Blog?

eNewsletters get a bum rap these days. As blogs have become more popular, I see more and more on the internet about how much better blogs are than eNewsletters. Both blogs and enewsletter have advantages and draw backs. Before you jump on the blog bandwagon, here are something to consider when deciding between the two.

How Do Your Target Markets Use the Internet?

Internet savvy folks tend to lose sight of the fact that people have a wide range of computer skills. Many smart, successful people do not consider themselves to be “technology savvy.” They are not early adopters and don’t care to be. They’re too busy running their business to spend time diddling around on the internet. So, the question you have to ask yourself is “Are my target markets early adopters or Luddites?” (

Signing up for an eNewsletter and receiving it via email is a process most people are comfortable with. They only have to make that decision one time and they are on your list until they unsubscribe. Although blogs have been around for several years now, many people still don’t understand how to sign up for an RSS feed or use a blog reader.

How Do You Meet Your Prospects?

Service professionals find many of their clients at local networking events, speaking engagements and conferences. That’s why I advise my clients to ask people they meet face-to-face if they would like to receive their eNewsletter. Provided they have they have asked the person about the issues they are facing instead of babbling on about what they do, it can seem very natural. I have several clients who have gotten the majority of their subscribers this way. If you only have a blog, asking people to sign up for an RSS feed and use a blog reader isn’t nearly as easy for the recipient.

Multiple Target Markets

When you write a blog post, everybody sees it. But with a newsletter, you can segment your list so you can control who gets what content. For instance, I have a client who hosts local networking events in addition to selling informational products and teleclasses on her website. Obviously people outside her geographic area are not going to be interested in information about her face-to-face networking events. So, she has two lists on her eNewsletter sign up form to accommodate these different groups. She sends information about networking events to the local people and her articles to everybody. You can’t do this with a blog.

Push vs. Pull Technologies

The main difference between eNewsletters and blogs is how the recipient receives the information. An eNewsletters is a “push technology” while a blog is most commonly used as a “pull technology.” This means that with an eNewsletter, you are in charge of when your mailing list receives it; while with a blog, subscribers are in charge of when they read it. Granted, newsletters can get caught by a SPAM filter but there are things you can do to prevent that from happening. Sure, people can easily delete your newsletter email but it’s even easier not to visit your blog. Personally, I prefer to send people content than wait for them to find it. (I know. It’s possible to sign up to receive blog posts via email but in my experience far fewer choose this option than signing up for an eNewsletter.)

So What if Anyone Can write a Blog?

The #1 claim to fame for blogs is that anyone can set one up and add posts to it. So what? If all you do is write blog posts, you quickly realize that you’re talking to yourself. If the purpose of your blog is to make connections and ultimately get clients, this is a huge waste of time. What the Blog Gurus don’t tell you is that writing content is only half the battle. You also have to put just as much effort into attracting readers. Since most people have no idea how to do that, they have to hire someone to help them publicize their blog and build readership which kind of negates the benefit of being able to do it yourself. (Plus, how many of us have time to write a blog post twice a week?)

Subscriber Quality Over Quantity

Another argument I see against eNewsletters is the claim that subscription rates are down. The Blog Bandwagon assumption is that as blogs become more popular, eNewsletters become less popular. That’s a false assumption about cause and effect. I think the decrease in subscription rates has more to do with the value of eNewsletter content.

For the first time in human history we live in an age of too much information. Where the challenge used to be in finding information, today’s challenge is to sort through it all, figure out what’s important and what to do with it. In my experience, popular eNewsletters not only provide pertinent information, they also tell the reader why they should care and what to do with it. General trends about subscription rates are not your problem and should not deter you from having an eNewsletter. If you provide quality information, you will get more subscribers.

The Most Important Question of All: Will You Do It?

Both eNewsletters and blogs are hard work. Instead of starting one (or both) because you think you need to, have a serious talk with yourself about whether or not you will actually do it. Ask yourself questions:

  • What’s a realistic writing schedule?
  • Will I keep to the deadlines of a monthly newsletter?
  • Am I more likely to write and publish when inspiration hits?
  • If you’re leaning toward a blog, will inspiration happen often enough to support a blog?
  • If you’re leaning toward a newsletter, who will format and send it?

It’s Not an Either/Or Situation

I realize I sound like I’m coming down on blogs but I’m not. I really enjoy working on my blog and it has made me a better writer. Because of my blog, I have made professional connections I wouldn’t have made otherwise. I also find that writing for my blog generates ideas for eNewsletter articles and articles I can submit to other publications.

My purpose in writing this article is to help you make the decision that’s right for you when deciding whether to have an eNewsletter, blog or both. The most important criteria in this decision has to be who is your reader and what are they willing to do to get your content.

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