Monday, June 6, 2011

What is the Difference Between a Blog and a Newsletter? Do I need Both?

I was recently doing some consulting with a client when I was asked about putting together a newsletter – she wanted to know the best way to develop a template and send it to her data-base. She already had a blog and wanted to know the difference between the two. I had never been asked that before but what an excellent question. I am sure a lot of people are a bit confused.

So what is the difference between a blog and a newsletter?

With so many similarities I can see where the confusion comes in. Most people are very familiar with blog’s, but what is the difference between them?

A blog is like a website on steroids something that you continually update with articles, comments, thoughts, and great information. The goal is to promote a website, business and/or share information about a subject close to your heart. Your blog is indexed by search engines and most blogger’s hope that hordes of people will find their blog interesting and informative, so they will sign up for the next update. The goal is to attract people who happen to find your blog through keywords or subject matter and build a following. This could be for different purposes – to show you business expertise, promote a cause that you are involved in, to build a community of like minded individuals.

A newsletter is an email sent to subscribers. It is something that you would develop to send to people who have signed up to get information, updated news about your company and topics of interest pertaining to your business or organization. A newsletter usually goes out on a monthly or quarterly basis and will have the same look and format from month to month. Once upon a time (OK I am showing my age!) newsletters were sent out by snail mail now it is much more likely that it will be distributed through email.

Because those who get your newsletter have signed up you know they want the information – and it is not considered spam. If you just send out your newsletter to hordes of people who have not signed up that is where you get into trouble – no one likes to be spammed – and you could be black listed.

What are the benefits of a blog versus a newsletter?

Both a blog and newsletter keep people informed on various topics. A blog will attract new people to you and/or your business. It is also essential for business to have a blog because search engines love them. The articles and information on a blog are continually being updated so search engines are alerted to the changes. When you combined you website with a blog you are doubling or even tripling the amount of people who you will attract.

A newsletter is a great way to keep in touch with clients and those who want to know the latest news, specials you may be having, people who have signed up for more information are much more open to new ideas or upcoming events. It is targeted because these people have asked you to send them more information. Newsletter's are great for PR and can be helpful in answering questions that may have come up through the month saving time and promoting your business.

Decisions, decisions a newsletter or blog?

I believe, if you are a business on the move and would really like to propel your business to the next level you should have both. Once you get a system down it doesn’t take a lot of time and the time it does take is well worth the rewards you will receive. And of course you will want to make it easy by using an auto responder so you can build your online data-base. Having a sign-up form on your website with an enticing freebie is always a great idea.

Pamela Jacob is the owner of Artista Design. If you need a website developed or redesigned, project manager, consultant or graphic designer – you have found one. Pamela’s specialty is taking an idea and making it come to fruition. “If you want to own an online business that thrives, if you have a passion for something you want to share, if you have an idea that you want to come to life contact me. My initial consultations are FREE”.