Whether you run your own personal blog as a hobby or help manage a blog for a business, attracting — and retaining — readers is a crucial component to your marketing campaign. Readers can help increase your ad revenue, drive more traffic to your website, or even generate more viral awareness of your existence. One easy way to keep these readers coming back for more is with an email newsletter, which can be created using free apps like Google’s FeedBurner or more complex programs like Aweber or Mailchimp.
I recently had a chance to talk with Chris Pirillo about how he has used email newsletters for nearly a decade to help promote not only this blog, but the LockerGnome brand. In this time, he has realized the potential for email newsletter to help drive traffic to the blog and brand, and is still adamant about sending this newsletter every day. As a result of our success, he believes it is crucial that every blog — no matter how big or small — has an email newsletter. Here are a few reasons why.
You Can Build Relationships
With an email newsletter, you can create a relationship with your audience much more easily than with just your blog. Chris explains that “LockerGnome started with my voice and perspectives (alone). In many ways, some people still believe this is true — which I suppose is testament to its staying power.” (It’s true — you’ll likely find that in many comments on my blog posts, readers will thank Chris instead of me.)
Chris explains that email has also been more personal to him, “but back when the newsletter started, we didn’t even have the luxury of using simple blog platforms to get the word out,” attesting to the power of email before even blogs. Now, he says,”while LockerGnome’s email newsletter has certainly changed over the years, it’s about as good today as it ever was in the beginning — fresh, useful, and a bit offbeat.” The ability for the newsletter to adapt and continue to build relationships with readers who care about the LockerGnome content — content they care about — has been key.
You Can Build Trust
With newsletters, you will undoubtedly get return visitors to your blog. However, Chris notes that what the purpose of email newsletters really boils down to is building brand recognition and trust. He says, “Why wouldn’t you want people to remember your name above most others? By sending an email to your community regularly, you’re remaining at the top of their mind. That translates into driving value in whichever direction you so choose. ”
You Can Drive Action
Another great feature of email newsletters, in addition to building trust, is the ability to drive instant feedback from your community by creating a clear call to action that will resonate with the audience. As Chris says, “If you don’t get any feedback, that’s either telling you: your current audience doesn’t care, or you’re creating and sharing things that are better shared elsewhere.” He adds that “the more you directly involve your community, the more likely they’ll be to return and support your endeavors because you’ve included them in the process.”
You Can Easily Share Your Content
Finally, don’t forget the purpose of your newsletter: sharing your content. However, be sure your content is worth sharing. Chris advises that “it boils down to having content worth sharing with others. If a reader finds no value in what you have to share, they’re not likely to read your newsletter (or blog) again.” If you aren’t sure what is worth sharing, Chris understands that “it’s difficult to guess what people do and do not want — you can only follow your instinct or listen to the kind of help your community is asking for — and then provide it in a way that nobody else has done before.”
Are you using an email newsletter in conjunction with your blog? Has it helped you increase the amount of readers to your blog or the amount of your content shared? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.