How to start both a blog and email list at the same time

Yes, you can start both a blog and an email newsletter, and take advantage of the benefits of each without working yourself to death.

 

If you’re ready to invest more in your own media assets, I have an idea for you.

 

(Third in a series about email marketing. The first in the series is about starting an email newsletter for tourism marketing. The second in the series is about how to get your first email list subscribers.)

 

There are only a few digital assets that YOU control – your website, your blog, your email list, and an opt-in SMS/texting list. All of them are your “owned media.”

Everything else (Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, etc.) is owned and controlled by someone else.

All those painful stories of Facebook Pages being hacked, or suddenly shut down even if the admin has done nothing wrong? There go all your Likes and Follows, unless you can recover the Page.

Stop beating your head against the wall, and control what you can control, which are your own marketing communications assets. They are your first prioritythen you can let yourself get bounced around by whatever the Facebook or Instagram algorithm decides to do today.

You can use your blog to tell your stories your way, and build an email subscriber list that you can communicate with whenever you want.

Can you do both at the same time, even if you are a Mighty Team of One (or Two?)

Yes, by automatically sending your blog posts, via email, to a subscriber list.

Here is how that works:

 

Advantages of starting a blog and email list at the same time

 

The easiest way to combine a blog and an email newsletter is to have people sign up to get your latest blog post automatically, via email.

You’ll set up your preferred email service provider to automatically check your blog each day, and if it detects a newly-published post, it will email that post out to subscribers at a time that you select. Here is how it works on Mailchimp, for example.

It can either be the entire post, or the first few sentences of it, with a link back to the full post on your blog.

I’m a fan of including the whole blog post in the email if you have a choice, rather than doing the “typical marketing thing” and trying to drive traffic by forcing people to click through to your site to read what you have to say.

They’ve already agreed to subscribe and hear from you; why would you want to annoy people by making them take extra steps? It’s okay to let them stay in their inbox, but still absorb your information.

Advantages to combining both a blog and an automatic email newsletter of your blog posts:

  • You only have to create one thing – the blog post. Aim to publish monthly to start; just be consistent. Make the commitment to really think through your content planning calendar. Not sure how to get started? Read our post about how to kick-start a destination marketing blog.
  • You will build an email list as people subscribe to get your latest posts, and you will simultaneously build blog content that helps your website’s SEO.
  • You’ll be able to see email campaign stats (open rate, click rate, click performance, bounces, unsubscribes, etc.) and basic subscriber demographic information.
  • Some email service providers include links to your last 3 – 4 posts in their automatic email. This can increase your email’s click rate and engagement with your content, even if a subscriber missed it when the post was first published.

If you are a small and/or overloaded team, this may be your best answer to JUST GET GOING on that blog and email list!

 

Disadvantages of making blog posts act like an email newsletter

 

If you’re going to try this, I’m all for it, but be aware of some limitations.


Learning about the 6888th postal history at Fort Leavenworth blog and email list Tourism Currents courtesy Stephanie Liskey
While we're talking about electronic mail - do you know the story of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion in World War II, the Six Triple Eight? They fixed a huge, morale-crushing (snail) mail backlog in Europe during the war, and Tyler Perry has a movie coming out about their inspiring story. Here's Sheila at their monument at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, courtesy Stephanie Liskey.

Here are some of the drawbacks of this one-size-fits-all combination:

  • You don’t have control over the automatic email’s template or branding. Most are pretty bare-bones, with an image, a headline, and the blog post verbiage. That’s it.
  • Some email service providers don’t let you make the email subject line the same as the blog post title. That means a generic, rather boring subject line on every email – like “From the XYZ Destination Blog” – which can get lost in people’s busy inboxes.
  • It’s harder to communicate about events. Blog posts about all events in one month aren’t the greatest for SEO, because they’re out of date once the month is over.
  • It’s harder to segment a blog post subscriber email list into various interest groups, which allows for more personalization, targeted promotions, and special offers.
  • Until you’ve had a chance to build up a solid group of blog posts that shows value, it may be hard to convince people to sign up to hear from you.

 

Here is a workaround that I use

 

Did you know that almost every Tourism Currents newsletter also has a matching blog post?

I’ve always been a Mighty Team of One or Two, and I don’t have the capacity to create blog posts plus a whole separate newsletter.

So, I write the newsletter first, get my thoughts the way I want them, then create a matching post on our Tourism Currents blog.

That way, I have control over my email’s template, subject line, subscriber list segments, and sending time, but I also get all the website SEO benefits of the blog posts we’ve published since we launched in 2009. Some of our best-performing posts are several years old, but they still draw traffic because the advice is evergreen.

The newsletter goes out first, and I wait awhile before sharing the blog post link to our social media.

Some of my newsletters have special sales offers or downloads, and I generally don’t create matching blog posts for that because the information or offer is pretty quickly out of date, plus I do want to keep some value for email subscribers only.

Do you have questions about starting a combination of blog and email newsletter? Let me know down in the comments, and keep learning.

 

Not already getting these blog posts via email? Click here for the Tourism Currents newsletter sign-up page. We also offer three free downloads with advice and tips. 


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