Everything you need to set-up, develop & promote a successful Business Blog

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    As a follow up to my post Blogs and Newsletters: Complementary Tools, it was excellent to see a post selected by Ted Demopolous in his book winners list, which reflected my sentiments entirely and was called Blogs, Newsletters & more:The King of Platform Agnostics.

    The article was originally written by Marcus Grimm, of NXTBlog and focused on encouraging authors to distribute their content as widely as possible and via as many different media as is appropriate. Like Marcus, I also very much feel that the same core information can be used in both Blogs and Newsletters as well as elsewhere, but should ideally be modified slightly on each occasion rather than just copied verbatim.

    However, I find that it is useful to stagger the release of the information and make it work for you. When looking at who to release the information to, I consider the “effort” taken by people who want to receive it and try to gauge the release of the content accordingly. So, someone who had signed up to a members area on my website would therefore receive it before someone who had simply arrived stumbled across the site and so on.

    For example, suppose that you had an excellent new article in a number of different formats, you might use the following approach to release the information:

    • firstly, include your article in the members only area on your website, giving your key susbcribers access to the article first – they did actively register to receive it so this should be your first stop;

    • next, send the article out as part of your Newsletter to those who had subscribed to receive the information via this method;

    • then highlight the article in the RSS feeds of your Business Blog: this may well be a cutdown version sent out to all which will ensure additional distribution;

    • add the article and information to the main general information areas on your website;

    • finally, submit the article to the main Article banks which will promote both the article and your website for you, as well as create backlinks to your site through the article signature box.

    As you can see, you can use the same base information to appeal to a number of different audiences, though it does help to modify it a little to suit the individual medium being used. If done correctly, then the same information should be able to be used many times over, adding value to the recipients at each phase in the process.

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

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    On the face of it, blogs and newsletters (here, Im thinking of online newsletters or ezines) seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to communicating with customers. The type of information they provide and the way they deliver it seem to be very different, but they can work well together and really complement each other.

    If we strip away everything else, newsletters and blogs both have the same aim. They are there to communicate information from the author to the reader. However, the type of information that they contain and the way in which they distribute that content varies considerably.

    So what are the main differences?

    • newsletters are generally created and distributed at regular intervals monthly or weekly newsletters are the most common – while blogs have content added on an ongoing basis;

    • normally, newsletters will be more crafted and formatted, while blogs will tend to be less formal in style and generally more chatty;

    • blogs are ideal for announcing up to the minute information (immediate publishing), while newsletters will tend to feature less time sensitive articles;

    • blogs continually grow to contain any number of posts while individual newsletters will tend to have a small number of longer articles;
    • Newsletters have tended to be considered as primarily “push” marketing (you send it out via email) while blogs were “pull” marketing (encouraging visitors to come to the blog).

    However, this last point has been changing of late and there has been a gradual blurring of the previously well defined lines of how we get the content and information to our readers.

    Traditionally, a blog uses RSS as its method of distributing its information while newsletters are sent out via email. This no longer has to be the case though email and RSS are in fact simply distribution methods which can be used for either. So, as Ive outlined below, I believe that content (with certain modifications) and these two methods of distribution can be for both and should be.

    For example, using a service such as FeedBlitz, readers of this blog have the opotion to receive updates on new posts by email – ideal if they are still unfamiliar with RSS readers. Likewise, rather than just send your newsletter out via email and have spam filters do their worst to it, you can add a copy of it to your website or blog, and then ask people to subscribe to a dedicated newsletter RSS feed. You publish a new newsletter and automatically all your readers are informed that it is ready and available.

    You are simply offering your readers the choice of how they want to receive the information!

    So, if there are are a number of elements which are interchangeable, how can newsletters and blogs benefit from each other. Well, some of the key ways are:

    • a newsletter offers an additional incentive to visit your blog in the same way that a “Series” of posts on a certain subject will encourage people back to the blog to read the next instalment, so newsletters can achieve the same effect;

    • you can highlight particular posts from your blog in the newsletter which acts as an additional avenue to promote the information these key posts contain and your blog as a whole;

    • newsletters can help to add a sense of community to the blog while commenting is the best way to get involved, subscribing to a newsletter seems to help people feel part of it as well;

    • you can publicise your Newsletter on your Blog and host an electronic copy of it there, as well as include a sign up form to subscribe to it;

    • you can set up an RSS feed for your Newsletter on your blog so that people know when your latest issue has been published;

    • despite spam, email remains the medium that most people are comfortable with, whereas blogs still feel foreign to some. Make sure your readers feel at ease and mix the two media.

    In conclusion, try to use your Blog and newsletter in conjunction with each other. They are both excellent ways of communicating with your readers and each is ideal for delivering differing information and initiating interaction in different ways. At the end of the day, using both will allow them to complement each other and will provide your readers with the choice of what information they receive and how they want to receive it.

    If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!

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