For years I’ve been trying to wrap my head around the difference between a blog and a newsletter. I keep seeing smart people saying that I need to have a newsletter, that a blog alone isn’t enough. A few years ago when I was planning for Think Like a Rock Star to come out, I started seriously investigating this whole newsletter thing. I started subscribing to a lot of newsletters from a lot of people that were supposed to be smarter than I was.
What I noticed (and this really confused me) is that 99% of these supposedly smart people were using their newsletters just to resend their latest blog post. Seriously, I subscribed to one newsletter from a guy that has hundred of thousands of ‘followers’ on Twitter, and each newsletter email I got from him was little more than ‘Hey check out this post I wrote on…I think you’ll like it! (Link Here).’
So if you were already subscribed to his blog via email and getting his new posts directly straight to your inbox already, why would you also subscribe to his newsletter, which was just linking to his latest blog post (Which you had already read)?
See? Confusion. It seemed like most of the ‘smart’ people were using their newsletters to replicate their blog subscriptions, and that didn’t seem very ‘smart’ to me.
But, there was always this Chris Brogan guy. Everyone loved Chris’ emails. Everyone raved about Chris’ emails, so I subscribed to them. Chris’ emails were different, he didn’t just re-link to his latest blog post, he wrote a new ‘post’ for his emails. Actually, they were like letters, and everyone seemed to love them because they were. So I thought that was interesting…but I still wasn’t getting the importance of a newsletter vs a blog.
Then earlier this morning I ran across a site that explained the difference perfectly for me:
A blog is a tool you use to meet new people, whereas a newsletter is a tool you use to make a deeper connection with people you already know.
Perfect! This really helped me understand the difference not only between the two tools, but also the difference in the two audiences. This explained why Chris’ emails seemed more like letters he was writing to a friend, because he’s writing to an audience (his newsletter audience) that already knows him!
If you have a newsletter, how are you using it differently than your blog? Do you have a different content strategy for both, or does your newsletter get the same content as your blog?