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Having been sending out my email newsletter since 2004 and blogging since 2005, it’s not surprising that these two marketing topics get asked of me time and time again.

But one question that really stands out in popularity is the “Should I be blogging or sending out email newsletters?”

So, if you are a little confused about what to focus your efforts on and which to get up and running in your business, here are some points to consider.

1. Different delivery:  OK, this may sound obvious to some of you, but I know there are many of you who still don’t read blogs, nor understand how they really work.  So, let’s start with the basics.

Blog articles are delivered via a website (your blog) and people can read your articles by either going to your website directly or reading your articles in a blog reader – think of it like an online magazine that you choose what articles you want to be given to read.

Email newsletters are delivered via email so are read in someone’s inbox, along with all the other dozens, if not hundreds, of emails someone would receive each day.

(Now I know some of you are going to tell me that you read blog posts via email if the blog owner gives you an option to subscribe this way – but I’m trying to keep things as simple as possible here, so to avoid information overload, excuse me if I can put this fact to one side!)

2. Different subscription: Blogs are subscribed to via the RSS feed – it’s the little orange button with the white dots & lines in that you often see on a blog – where as email newsletters are subscribed to by someone adding their name and email address to an opt-in box.

The big difference here is that you know exactly who has subscribed to your email newsletter as you have access to their email addresses.  But your blog subscribers are anonymous – unless of course they subscribe via email, but I’m ignoring that for now :O)

The plus side of knowing email addresses for you is that you can use your email list to proactively send out promos and sales letters depending on what it is that you offer (balanced with quality of content, of course as you don’t want to annoy your subscribers!).  The downside is that some people may not want to hand over such a private detail as your email address (for fear of being overly sold to, perhaps) and may prefer the anonymous nature of blog subscription.

3.  Different platforms:  Your blog needs to be managed through a blogging platform such as wordpress, typepad, squarespace or blogger.  The content you write and publish is housed within this website.

Your email newsletter needs to be managed through a newsletter management system such as constant contact, aweber, mail chimp or 1shoppingcart.  This newsletter system will manage your subscription list and enable you deliver multiple email broadcasts simply and easily.

So you will need two different tools to run both.

4.  Different purposes: Typically a blog is used to showcase yourself as an expert allowing you share your tips, advice and recommendations on topics that you specialise in.  You may post 2 or 3 short articles a week and by regularly adding content, you are keeping a website active – which keeps Google very happy.  A blog’s purpose is usually the gateway to your business, inviting potential interested clients to take action: either leaving a comment, signing up for an email newsletter or even getting in touch with you directly.

An email newsletter is there to build up your database of interested clients.  By collecting email addresses, this allows you to proactively communicate with your readers and possibly even send them back to your blog to give them more articles to read and hopefully comment on.

Your regular and consistent email communication will help to build familiarity and trust with your readers.

5. Different readers: Because of all of the above differences, you will find that you will also have different readers.  Yes, some email newsletter subscribers will be avid readers of your blog, too. That’s great! But most will only have the time and the inclination to do one or the other.

And this leads me to answering the original question.  Blogging or email newsletters: which one should you be doing?

Neither are mutually exclusive and actually work exceptionally well together.  The same content can be delivered in both – no extra work needed there. And one can drive interest to the other – with the initial aim of increasing your subscribed database of email addresses of potentially interested clients and the ultimate aim of creating a successful long term relationship and turning readers in to clients.

So actually, the answer should never be to decide on one of the other, as running both along side each other works incredibly well. Decide on which one to start with (and it really doesn’t matter … what matters is that you take action and start!) and get going. It’s a little like the chicken and egg question … one does not need to come before the other, they just work beautifully together once they’ve both been started 😉

If you have been struggling to get your head around how blogs and email newsletters can fit within your marketing, I hope this has helped a little.

And if you have any other questions, either send me an email at [email protected] or leave your question as a comment below.

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