Blog Vs. Newsletter? Curating Your Content with 5 Simple Questions
A Note From Christine: Most of our content grows from conversations and insomnia. As we were working to create the new newsletter, I made a mental note to ask Emmie what her thoughts were on how to differentiate the content we share in blog posts and what we will share in the newsletter. As we spitfired ideas and updates after a weekend, we circled back to this and agreed that if this is a challenge that we face, then you must be stumped by this too!
If you have ideas… and I know you do, you’re probably already jotting them down in some form. For some of us, it’s the handy smartphone “Notes” app, and for others it’s a good ol’ fashioned piece of paper and pen (or pencil – I’m not judging!) No matter how you’re getting your thoughts down, you deserve accolades for taking that first step, but you might need a little nudge to take the next step of funneling and fine-tuning those thoughts and ideas into shareable content like newsletters and blogs. Don’t worry. Help has arrived!
To be fair, calling this part a “step” is a bit of a misnomer for one important reason. It can be really challenging to decide which ideas, notes, and chunks of writing you put into a blog, and which belong in a newsletter! Steps are supposed to be simple, so it’s better to call this a process. While these two content outlets don’t have to be mutually exclusive in theme, they should ultimately be structured differently and provide differing amount of detail and depth. Moreover, you might want to lace your newsletter with links and calls to action while your blog can and should have a more organic flow and ultimately provide more value while asking less of the reader.
If the only thing holding you back from publishing your insightful ideas and industry expertise is deciding whether it belongs in a blog or newsletter, then asking yourself these 5 simple questions might help simplify the process!
Have you already written about this topic before?
If you want to elaborate on something you’ve published a blog about in the past, then this time you should put it in a newsletter. Aim to write 150 words with your new thoughts on the topic, then include a link back to the existing blog. Promote clicks with a call to action like “If this piqued your interest on this topic, you’re going to love the blog I wrote about it last month!”
Have a lot to say? Feel like you need to address multiple facets of a complex topic?
Blog blog blog. Or a blog and a newsletter blurb! If you think you have 600 words that all tie into the same concept, then formatting it into a blog with nice catchy headers for each paragraph is the way to go. If you have one special, stand-out, or unusual thing to say about this topic, sum it up in a paragraph and include it in your next newsletter with a link to the blog (same way as detailed above.) Make sure you mention in the blog that you’ve left out one SUPER SPECIAL detail, and the only way to get it is to subscribe to the newsletter…
Is it seasonal?
This is a tough one, because we’ve all read seasonal blogs, so we know they exist, but that doesn’t mean that they should exist. Do you honestly think you can write 600 engaging words on Clever Halloween Content Themes? Even if you can, consider that nobody will want to read it next month… or the month after that… or EVER AGAIN. Since newsletters are sent seasonally, it makes sense to distill your seasonal themes into a paragraph and pop them into a newsletter format instead of a blog. If you absolutely MUST write a seasonal/holiday related blog, consider writing one that touches on ALL of the seasons, or several holidays. That way, you can link to it from any seasonal newsletter you send out! It’s the gift that keeps on giving!
Does it relate to an upcoming promotion/sale/offer ?
Take a hint from the word “newsletter” as a reminder that if it’s NEW then it probably belongs in a newsletter format. If it’s only going to last for a limited time, related to a seasonal event, and definitely not going to be relevant after the promotion is over, then it deserves a spot in your newsletter, linking to wherever on your site the offer or promotion lives. If it’s something that can be purchased or enrolled in, then you should create a new page of your website for it. If it’s something that can be attended (like a webinar or conference) you might be better off with a Facebook event. Any of those options can and should be linked to from your newsletter blurb, not from a blog.
Is it a new topic that not many people are talking about yet?
Claim your rightful clout by writing about it in a blog! Even if you aren’t an expert about this new concept, tool, place, or idea, you’re doing your brand a service by being one of the first to share insight about it. Later on when you have more experience with it, your opinion has changed, or you have gained a little more expertise in relation to the topic, you can drive traffic back to your original blog by including a blurb about it in your newsletter. Say something like “I’ve been using ____ for 5 months now, and i’ve grown to absolutely LOVE it, but when I first tried it I wasn’t so impressed! Take a look at my original thoughts in my blog about it, and remember that you might have to use this product for a while before you love it too.”
We know how hard it can be to choose what should go into a newsletter, and what belongs in a blog. After all, we struggle this choice all the time! You owe yourself a pat on the back for creating and publishing content to begin with, so the next time you’re struggling to decide what goes where, we hope this guide can help!