A business blog is the best darn marketing tool on the planet. There’s no doubt that writing on a blog showcases your expertise and attracts readers interested in what you have to say. When visitors land on your blog, it’s up to you to keep them there with relevant content that gets them to subscribe, leave comments, and become a part of your community.
If you’ve been communicating with your prospects via an email newsletter (ezine), you’ve got to consider if writing on a blog will do a better job, and if so, how do you differentiate your ezine content?
If you’re new to online marketing, which is better to start, a business blog or an ezine?
Does an email newsletter do the same thing as a blog?
Should I do both?
Are these two marketing tools going to eat up all my time, energy and money?
Where will I see the best return on my investment?
Here are the factors to consider about publishing both an ezine and a blog.
Blog: Because a blog is web based, your content is published instantaneously every time you post. This allows you to be spontaneous and current with issues that affect your readers/clients.
Ezine: Because an ezine is delivered through email, it must be composed, formatted and queued into an email delivery system. Depending on your system and whether you handle it yourself or outsource, it takes some time to do this.
Blog: A blog is a collection of web pages published on the Web. Readers either read it on the Web, or can read your latest post through a feed reader. This is a way around the spam filter problem.
You can also set up a subscription form on your blog and your subscribers will get updates via email each time you post something new.
Ezine: An ezine is sent through email and is subject to filters and deliverability problems. When it gets through and is delivered, subscribers have to open it up and read it. Average open rates for newsletters are 25-40%…if you’re lucky.
Blogs: Blogs tend to be conversational in nature. Ideally blog posts show your personality, but stay on topic for business. The idea is to generously give away information that helps readers, shows your expertise and credibility, and connects with people so they come to know, like and trust you.
Ezines: Ezines have a wide variety of styles and formatting. Articles generally provide relevant information that benefits readers, establishes reliability, connects with readers, and keeps them informed about business events, including sales.
Depending on your business, there may not be that much difference between an ezine article and a blog post, although blog posts are usually shorter and more conversational. Recently, some blog authors have changed their ezine to be an emailed summary of blog posts.
Blog: Because your content is immediately published on the Web, search engines love blogs They are text based and keyword rich. When you write frequently (2-3 times a week) on a blog, people will find you more easily because your site is indexed more frequently.
Ezine: You must upload and archive your newsletters to your website if you want your content to be indexed by the search engines.
Blog: You have instant access to all your published articles on a blog. A blog automatically creates archives of previous posts, and you assign each to a category.
Ezine: Unless you create an archive on your website for your newsletters, that content isn’t easily accessed.
Blog: Your blog becomes a powerful medium for communicating with readers, and the sidebars can showcase your products and services. You can set up links for ads, products, and affiliate programs so you don’t have to include them in your content.
Ezine: Although most experts say they should be 80% informational content and only 20% promotional, many ezine publishers overdo advertisement for their products and sales. This may contribute to low open rates and high unsubscribe rates
Blog: Blogs are interactive. Readers can comment on your posts, which creates rapport. It’s a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of what readers want. It’s estimated that readers are three times more likely to buy if they have left comments.
Ezine: A newsletter is a one-way delivery system. Although you can put your contact information in the ezine, readers may not make the effort to contact you.
Time, Energy & Money
Blog: Blogs are user-friendly, and with a few tutorials, you can quickly learn the basics.. Blogging platforms are free or have a small fee. There may be an investment to have a business blog set up and customized with your brand, but on-going maintenance consists mainly of writing 2-3 times a week with fresh, relevant content. Many
Ezine: A newsletter must be written, designed and formatted, queued into an email system, and the database of subscriptions must be managed. Often these tasks are outsourced. There may be significant fees for any or all of the ezine tasks.
The bottom line is this: using a blog and an ezine will help attract more visitors who become subscribers and who will eventually become clients.
A blog has many advantages. If you currently do not spend too much time, energy or money on your newsletter, then it is wise to continue publishing it, since readers are accustomed to getting information from you in that medium.
If you haven’t started yet, then a blog would be a the best place to start since it requires little investment in time and money.
Think of the World Wide Web as a big fishing pond.
The more lines you have in the pond, the more fish you are going to catch!
You have a web site, acting as your online brochure.
You have an ezine, which pushes content out to a list of subscribers you must constantly be working to attract.
And now, a blog. Now, you can naturally attract more readers who can get to know you, interact with you, and eventually take your bait!
About the authors:
(c) 2006-2008. For more leading edge Internet Marketing tips subscribe to The Blog Squad’s ezine Savvy eBiz Tips at www.savvyebiztips.com. To learn about using social media tools like blogs, go to www.buildabetterblog.com. Business blogging experts Denise Wakeman & Patsi Krakoff, Psy. D. are The Blog Squad™ and can be found online at www.blogsquad.biz