Blogs have quickly become a component in the arsenal of online marketing because:
- They are fast and easy to publish.
- They boost your search engine rankings if you add fresh content on a regular basis.
- They begin a dialogue with your audience, which can post comments.
- They mark your company as authentic and forward-looking.
- If updated consistently and coherently, they establish you as a thought leader in your niche.
But will your prospects read your blog regularly? Only if you have a strategy to get them to your blog. First, remind them to visit your blog (remember that a blog is just another kind of Web site). Second, help them to subscribe to it via RSS. Newsgator.com (http://www.newsgator.com/home.aspx) and Bloglines.com (http://www.bloglines.com/) are two good options.
That last part can be difficult if your audience doesn’t jump on every latest tech tool, though I predict that RSS will be ubiquitous by the end of 2005—just as blog was 2004 word of the year.
On the other hand, e-mail is still the linchpin of most online strategies. It’s the easiest way to reach your opt-in list (assuming you have one). But it may not be the most reliable. DoubleClick’s latest e-mail trend report (Q4 2004) indicates that open rates for HTML newsletters have dropped to a low of 32.6%.
Still, everyone understands what an e-newsletter or e-zine is. So, If you can get yours through the spam filters, and convince your readers to open, you can prompt your audience to visit your blog.
Include a link to the latest entries on your blog with a few words of annotation—and an exhortation to visit often for your latest updates.
Combining a quick-update e-mail with a blog is an easy publishing solution, giving you the benefits of both communications tactics.
Debbie Weil is an online marketing and corporate blogging consultant based in Washington, D.C. In addition to publishing WordBiz Report (www.wordbizreport.com)by e-mail, she blogs at www.DebbieWeil.com and www.BlogWriteForCEOs.com. Visit her main site at www.WordBiz.com.