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Friday, July 15, 2011

Client Newsletter Evolves to the Blog


Can you recall the fanfare when an organization first introduces their newsletter? Ideas for stories abound; writers volunteering to contribute; a robust list of potential topics and content grows almost by magic. A real event – like Spanky, Darla, and the Little Rascals putting on a show.

Fast forward about a year and some of these newsletters have evolved and matured to become a vibrant communications tool, by informing, keeping it visible, and aiding the marketing effort. At the other end of the newsletter spectrum are the ghosts of newsletters past – the energy has drained and the production is a burden.

Why the difference and what lessons can be applied to the company blog?

Successful newsletters have common traits:
  • Clear purpose & mission
  • Targeted, specific audience
  • Focus
  • Reliable schedule
  • Valuable, useful content
  • A person with passion 'owns' it, is responsible for it, and it is now part of their job.
The same traits also apply to blogs. The most obvious addition to the newsletter list is a blog post is single topic and through technology, the reader can contribute thoughts and feedback as comments.

Think of this as a one-on-one written conversation repeated many thousands of times. Good conversations impart value in the form of information – great conversations contain relevant views and thoughts – exposure to a perspective rather than merely reporting.

For example, take a look at the Zappos blog - in addition to product info, the writer shares personal thoughts as well. As an internet-based seller, this helps to develop a relationship with the buyer and supports the Zappos goal of wildly satisfied customers.

Does the blog support Zappos? Do you get useful info and greater confidence in shopping with them. Are you influenced by the Zappos guarantee or by the writer's personal thoughts? Both!

Blogging is serious work. It is not a casual activity. As a company blogger you are offering a personalized view of the organization to clients and customers, one topic at a time.

How often do you write blog posts? Frequently enough for the reader to look for the next one...for our blog, we do two blogs per week from each writer - this is right for us. Whatever the frequency, be reliable and consistent so your readers will anticipate when the next one will appear.

Be ever vigilant that the blog does not become a ghost, like newsletters of the past.

More? Check out Blah, Blah Blog at the Web Managers Roundtable, on August 9, and BlogLab, coming August 16.

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