SpeakerNet News Compilations

To Blog or to Ezine?

Michael Fraidenburg

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My question: which is the best use of limited time for my new Web site, blogging or writing an ezine?

Audience Analysis

Be careful making assumptions. Blog readers are not necessarily ezine readers. Is your target market in the demographic that are bloggers or eziners?

— Rachel Colic

A newsletter is a fabulous way of staying top of mind with your existing clients and prospects. It allows you to provide them with valuable content on your topic area without being intrusive. If you are going to do a newsletter, make sure your content is short and sweet — something your subscribers can read in less than 2 minutes — and that you are always providing them with value. Don’t use it just as a forum to sell your products or services; if you do that, you will find many people will unsubscribe.

— Rich Brooks

If you’re selling something that requires some serious consideration from prospects, or that they may buy time and again, I’d look to use an email newsletter. Conversely, if you have a product or service that requires less research, or doesn’t usually generate multiple purchases, a blog may be more appropriate. More

— SMM Internet Marketing Consultants

Their article stresses the value of thinking about your desired end point. For example, if it is selling, then the selling cycle involves moving prospects through the path Awareness - Interest - Desire - Action. Which tool — blog or ezine — best achieves this objective for your target audience? This article also contains their take on the pros and cons of both blogs and newsletters.

It’s Not Either/Or

Most of our SpeakerNet News colleagues said it is not an either/or question. Use your blog to push visitors to your ezine and vice versa. Use both to push folks to your Web site.

— Mitchell Goozé

He uses his blog to save time. He blogs almost daily and then picks the best four blog posts each month to use in his ezine which also includes a white paper. That way he doesn’t have to write double content — he just redeploys blog content in his ezine.

— Pamela Mitchell

She uses her blog as a newsletter. Both Feedblitz (which she uses) and AWeber allow you to send blog posts to newsletter subscribers. She notes there is a downside to using Feedblitz — her newsletter signups run through her shopping cart, so she has to upload them separately to Feedblitz and manually process any unsubscribe requests via her cart.

— Sallie Goetsch

Since you can have your blog posts automatically compiled into an ezine and mailed on a daily or weekly schedule to people who don’t use feed readers or read blogs on the Web, there’s no real reason to choose. FeedBlitz is free if you don’t mind having their logo included in your mailings, and competitively priced if you want only your own branding.

— Rebecca Morgan

She has both an ezine and a blog in the area of her expertise.

Some of our colleagues do have preferences

— Peggy Duncan

I struggled with the question of which to use. The blog won because search engines love them. My problem: my double opt-in Webzine subscribers weren’t subscribed to my blog. Fortunately, I use iContact.com for email marketing and came up with two solutions for keeping subscribers engaged. First, I created autoresponders (with a very brief tip) that go out every week or so for a few weeks. Second, I configured iContact to pull my blog’s RSS feeds and send each new post to my email list (you can set this up to be automatic or not). Note: My blog has the same type of info as the Webzine so the transition was smooth for my subscribers."

— Mary Lloyd

When I made the choice to use a blog it was based on a decision about what kind of information source I wanted to be. I prefer to generate information rather than serve as a hub for making other people’s information available. I also made a conscious decision to NOT become a blog slave. If you want to be an instantaneously current hub resource, blogging works for that, too. But I didn’t want that — I just wanted the flexibility and “job size” blogging offers.

I’ve been at it since July [2008] and have found one online article-length post (600–800 words) a week is a good pace for me. If you stick with article-length posts (and don’t get too carried away about the dog or what darling thing your two-year-old did) your blog posts are likely to have more “repurposing” potential. I have already combined 10 posts from last summer to create a free download for my Web site titled “10 Ways to Use the Economic Downturn to Improve Your Retirement — and Your Life.” Since you are doing a smaller piece more frequently, it’s easier to get it done without dropping everything else or needing a huge chunk of the week, too.

In the end, Mary Lloyd put it best: “Think in terms of what you want to accomplish and how many different ways you can use what you produce beyond the initial blog or newsletter purpose and see what that tells you.”

SpeakerNet News is produced by Rebecca Morgan and Ken Braly. It is not affiliated with the National Speakers Association. Send comments or suggestions