You probably write for a lot of reasons, but one of those is definitely so other people will read what you have written. But in today’s media-saturated universe, there’s no guarantee that your readers will remember to check back in with your blog and see if there’s anything new, especially if you don’t blog on a regular schedule.
RSS feeds have lost their oomph since Google axed Google Reader a couple of years ago. Social media is a great way to alert your followers that there’s a new post, but it’s easy for your update to get lost in the Facebook feeds and Twitterverse. 75% of clicks from a tweet or Facebook post occur within 3-5 hours… after that your chances of connecting with your audience socially for a particular post plummet dramatically.
The one guaranteed way to make sure your fans know you’ve published something new is relying on one of the oldest tools in the Internet toolbox: email. You know your readers are going to check it and it will stick around unless they delete it, unlike a tweet or post that is far less likely to be revisited.
Creating an email newsletter isn’t too tricky and doesn’t require a big investment. There are two basic approaches:
- Automated newsletters – powered by your RSS feed, they will blast out an email every time you post something to your blog or you can schedule them to go out at a specific time and send everything new or a specific number of your most recent posts.
- Manual newsletters – these require a little more work, but you are personally curating the content that is included, the content is not limited to your blog posts and you can give it a little more personal flair, such as a nice introduction or including images.
There are free services for either of the above options, as well as premium offerings that will give you a few more features and can handle larger volumes. All of the blogging platforms also offer plug-in integration with some of these providers, making it super easy to give visitors the opportunity to sign up.
If you go the manual route, here are a few recommendations:
- Unlike your blog, your email newsletter is entering your readers’ inboxes, so you might want to take a more personal tone. You are essentially speaking to them, so write your content like you are authoring a letter to a friend.
- Newsletters should obviously include previews and links to any posts you have created since your last issue – but don’t include the entire post or there’s no reason for subscribers to ever visit your actual blog.
- You can also use your newsletter to recycle great content from the past. Once your blog has been around for a while, you can make sure new readers see some of your classic posts, particularly if there is a timely current even that makes them relevant once again.
- Did you create a funny tweet, a poignant post on Facebook or Instagram? You can include those as well to give readers a taste of your full repertoire and potentially entice them to follow you on those networks as well.
- You don’t just write blogs, you read other people’s too. You can include one or two of your favorite posts from blogs you follow as well. This shows subscribers that your newsletter isn’t “all about you” and gives them one more reason to read it.
- And speaking of other content, there’s more out there than just blogs! Whether it’s a relevant video, a hysterical meme that speaks to your audience or a tip or recipe that you think your readers will love, it’s just one more “newsletter exclusive” that adds value for your subscribers.