After 10 years and more than 100 “tips”, April 2007 marks the last issue of the CDI “Tip o’ the Month” newsletter. Starting in May, all current subscribers will instead receive monthly e-mail notifications of new content on our blog, Direct Connections.
Why are we terminating a successful newsletter with a healthy subscriber base? The reasons are simple. If your company has an e-mail newsletter (and who doesn’t), you may find that many of these arguments are compelling reasons for you to dump your newsletter also and go the blog route.
Reason #1: Content
What’s the single factor that makes publishing a newsletter such a hassle? Content. Our newsletter may only be 300 words or so, but even coming up with that amount of original content every 30 days can be a challenge. Most newsletters require much more, and the demands of sourcing, editing, and publishing original, compelling, topical content even every 2 months is the primary cause for why many newsletters simply fade away after only a few issues.
A blog is much easier to maintain, for a number of reasons:
1. No publication schedule
With a blog, you’re freed from the demands of having to publish on a regular schedule. You can post new information 10 times in a month, or not at all. Moreover, you can post information in response to market events as they happen, rather than wait a few weeks at which point the content may not be as newsworthy.
2. No constraints on length or format or topic.
The format of our newsletter has meant every new “tip” had to be of a certain length and address a specific direct marketing strategy or technique. After 10 years, this started to become more of a challenge. But with the blog, I can post tips of any length, or comments on campaigns, or relevant industry news – anything that I think our readers would find interesting or useful.
Oh, and you can correct, update, and change your content at any time. With a newsletter, once a typo is out the door, there’s no getting it back.
Reason #2: Interactivity
Newsletters are essentially one-way communication. You can add interactive features, as we’ve done, including surveys, refer-a-friend, etc. but an e-mail newsletter is fundamentally a broadcast medium. Blogs are much more conducive to 2-way communication and interaction with your audience.
Reason #3: Broader Reach
A blog can easily replace a newsletter as a subscription vehicle simply by adding RSS feed and e-mail subscription features, as we’ve done. (To maintain consistency, we’ve set up our e-mail subscriptions to be once-per-month notifications of new content. You could choose to give your readers the opportunity to receive notifications more frequently, even instantly.)
But blogs don’t need to rely on subscriptions for readership the way newsletters do. As a link from your Website, a blog is a compelling, live, interactive forum that is as current as your last post (or the last reader comment). In contrast, newsletters are more static, and they quickly become more dated the longer they reside on the site.
Furthermore, blogs can be bookmarked, so even readers who prefer not to subscribe can still access, view, and respond to the content at any time.
Reason #4: Currency
Let’s face it, Web 2.0 is the way of the future, and blogs are a big part of the trend. If you’re like us, you need to stay current, and can’t afford to appear old-fashioned. It’s not a reason alone to dump your newsletter, but it can’t hurt.
In sum, we’re confident that not only will our blog enable us to post better content more frequently, but that it will generate a more effective dialogue with our readers. Are we right? Let us know your thoughts by adding your comments below.