If you're a business owner then you'll already know that 'Blogging is a Good Thing for your business'.
And many businesses do indeed invest time, effort and cash in building and sustaining a vibrant blog.
Yet it's rather confusing...
Ask someone 'what is a blog' and they will, for the most part, shuffle their feet and look a bit confused!
I mean, is it some sort of newsletter?
Is it somewhere to make company announcements?
Is it somewhere to pitch the latest product or service?
Is it somewhere to post pictures of the office party?
Let's have a look.
Actually, let's start by looking at the difference between a 'newsletter' and a 'blog'...
(Naturally, some people blur this distinction very successfully - which I will speak about later. But since clarity is the root of understanding, let's make it as simple as possible).
Here we go:
There is one major, major distinction that gets ignored and leads to a lot of confusion. Get clear on this and everything else will fall into place.
This is it:
Your blog is a website.
Yes, it's hooked up to email so it can send people updates, but it is, first and foremost, a website.
Your email newsletter is, well, it's an email.
Yes, there is probably a web version of your email that people can click through to, but it is, first and foremost, an email.
The power of this distiction is enormous.
Because it allows you to treat your blog like a blog and your email newsletter like an email newsletter.
That's important because the purpose of each is very different.
Well, let's remember that I'm talking about a business blog - a lead generation tool.
It is part of a sales process, and for many people it will be the first time they encounter you and your business.
Your blog is a beacon.
Blog => Beacon.
It shines out in the webosphere so that people can find it on search engines, see it on social media timelines.
Your email newsletter is something much more intimate. After all, people have shared their email address with you to receive it, and the email inbox is an increasingly protected place. Having permission to send someone yor email on a regular basis is a serious privilege.
Your email newsletter is, therefore, different to a blog article.
A blog article is intended to get seen in a river of social media chatter, or found in a sea of search results.
Your email newsletter is intended to make you a welcome guest in someone's email inbox. It's bout building the relationship and creating a state in your prospect where they are predisposed to buy from you.
In other words, your email newsletter is about engagement.
Email Newsletter => ENgagement.
So it needs to be written like an email - personal, straightforward, interesting, relevant, helpful.
Something people will actually want to receive!
(I wonder: how many newsletters do you get that actually fit that description? Thought so. So if your does you will stand out from the crowd).
I think of the email newsletter as being like a heartbeat: it's a constant but gentle presence keeping the relationship alive until the time when you are ready to make an offer. And when you do, the relationship is in a state where the offer will be well received.
But that's another story for another time.
Of course, some people do use their blog as an email newsletter substitute, and do so very effectively. There are no real rules.
Be clear about the purpose of what you are doing.
Only then can you construct a well-oiled sales process, and be sure your blog is a lead-generation engine.
Make sense? Not sure?
What do you think...
Let me know in the comments!
Bye for now!