Maybe business bloggers just think alike, or maybe Debbie Weil, business blog consultant and author of The Corporate Blogging Book, sent a telepathic message. I’m not sure which, but she and I seem to be on a similar wavelength.
(Bear with me as I spin this tale. It may take a minute to get to my point.)
Recently, I’ve been thinking about how consultants, coaches and SMBs make use of email and blogs. The two work very well together. I think of it as a “peanut butter and jelly” online marketing sandwich. Email newsletters provide a weekly or monthly touch for those that prefer receiving marketing communications via email. (And don’t think for one minute that people have stopped using it, in spite of spam, crowded inboxes and the like. Email is still a viable marketing tool.)
Blogs, on the other hand, provide a way to keep customers, clients, prospects and others updated in between those times. Plus, blogs can serve as a “seedbed” of information which can be later included in the email newsletter. When you add RSS to the mix, especially if you offer an email subscription option for it as well, then you’ve got a powerful set of marketing tools. So, maybe it’s a peanut butter, jelly, and banana sandwich instead.
I’ve been wondering why some web-savvy company hasn’t come to the plate with an integrated blog/email listserv software product, kind of a Typepad meets Constant Contact hybrid. In my view, that would be a truly useful product.
So, what did I do, but contact several of my business blog consultant friends, Debbie being one of them. No sooner did I send out the email than she replied by saying, “Take a look at the latest issue of my e-newsletter. My clever Web designer has figured out how to use WordPress to “generate” an HTML newsletter for me. (Note: I still send it out via email.)” Debbie calls this a “blog-a-zine,” and she goes into a fuller explanation of it here, including a technical explanation from her developer.
See, I told you we were on the same wavelength.
There currently exist some ways to do this depending on the blog software you’re using. One is to use an application called Feedblitz, which turns your RSS feed into an email distributed to subscribers daily or weekly. Another is Zookoda, which does the same thing.
As useful as those apps are, there still needs to be a truly integrated blog/email listserv solution, in my opinion. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way…with the ease of development thanks to AJAX and Ruby, it should happen and probably will sooner than you think. Maybe it already has, and I just don’t know about it. Until it does, if it does, at least you’ve got a some alternatives.