5 Reasons Why Bloggers and Small Businesses Need a Newsletter

by Brad Isaac on November 5, 2006

Someone asked me why I have both a newsletter and a blog. He wanted to know why I’d bother writing a newsletter instead of just publishing everything to the blog. Here are 5 good reasons bloggers and business owners need an email newsletter.

Readers have a short memory
If your blog or service provides helpful information, then you owe it to your readers to provide additional information to them. How can you do that if they forget you are there? The web is a distracting place. Achieve-IT! readers may bookmark us, and intend to come back for more, but what if they forget? What if they get distracted? What if they get busy? A newsletter gives them a reminder that you are out there, additionally they get information delivered directly to their email box.

I am a fan of the site Copyblogger and look forward to Brian’s email updates every day. If I didn’t get them, I’d visit less often. I’m sorry…I get busy and I forget.

Newsletters increase readership naturally
I don’t know any bloggers or businesses who want to decrease traffic. We all want more. If you produce a quality newsletter that helps people, they will forward it to their friends and coworkers. Obviously this is added exposure and a good chance the recipients will subscribe too.

Sure you can forward links, but here’s why that’s not as effective. Forwarding an email is a one-step method on both ends. The sender clicks forward and sends it on, the reader clicks to open it. A web link doesn’t typically say anything about the content. The sender has to compose a synopsis for the recipient. The newsletter lets you say more to the recipient than “Hey, buddy, this is a great article, check it out http://www.myurl.com/H3445Ulllp”.

Newsletters increase traffic synergy
With a newsletter, you can drive traffic to your blog by driving traffic to your newsletter by driving traffic to your blog… :) Basically, this is what Disney does. Disney movies promote their toys that promote their tee shirts that promote their movies.

You get immediate feedback on your content quality
With blogs and websites it’s tough as nails sometimes to get feedback about how you are doing. With a newsletter, feedback is as simple as hitting their “reply” button in their email.

Also, you have a unique ability with a newsletter to track what particular issue increased your readership. Did one particular newsletter lead to 5% unsubscribe rate? If so, you now know what topics to avoid in your newsletter. Did any particular issue result in a 13% increase in readership? It can happen if your readers forward the newsletter to their friends and associates.

I saw an example where the stats on one newsletter with 1500 subscribers where it was read 2069 times. That’s the result of forwarding which equals added exposure for your newsletter and blog!

A quality newsletter can be transformed into a quality book in a snap
Lets say you spend a year or two writing your newsletter chock full of helpful information. Using the immediate feedback you get from your newsletter subscribers, you know which ones are your winners and losers. Spend an afternoon putting them in order, then you’ve got at least a solid first draft for your book.

Update: Some of you have written for some information about what what newsletter service I use. I have been using Aweber for about a year now. Their management interface is very good and I especially like their stats feature. You can really get a good idea of what your readers like the most/least about each issue. If you sign up, let them know I sent ya! :)

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{ 4 comments }

John November 6, 2006 at 11:10 am

Does this mean you intend to write a book? ;)

Brad Isaac November 6, 2006 at 11:34 am

Yes, and newsletter readers basically get it for free. Since the material isn’t dated (i.e. I’m not writing about the 2007 election) it doesn’t expire. But a newsletter issue goes out one day and is gone the next. The material is still good. so it goes into my “book” folder for later publication.

Andrew Seltz November 6, 2006 at 12:06 pm

Brad,

All of your reasons for writing a newsletter are excellent, but the last one is the one that stands out for me. I’m always on the lookout for strategies for creating content in manageable chunks that can serve as the foundation of more complex work.

This is the whole idea behind why I started my blog. I could capture the little things I normally share with friends, family and co-workers in a form that didn’t overwhelm me. Plus, if you use your categories well, it is automatically sorted by topic.

In the past 11 months I have written down enough material for a book already (not enough on any one subject yet, but getting much closer.)

I look forward to reading your book.

Brad Isaac November 9, 2006 at 12:35 pm

Andrew, I like your idea about the categories! That’s like a smack in the forehead, “why didn’t I think of that?” It definitely makes organizing the information easier.

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