Authors have to ‘hustle’ more than ever before to gain market-share and publicity. To do this, they need to build an author platform. To build that platform, they need to be constantly reaching out to prospective and current readers in every way they can:
- Participating on social media
- Blogging regularly
- Having an email newsletter
- Doing give-aways
- Blasting out every marketing and promotional event in the author calendar
- Writing novellas and books at a rate to make your head explode.
It’s all enough to make an author pass out from exhaustion.
‘But what about newsletters?’ you ask. ‘Can’t I reach my audience with them directly? Why do I need a blog if I have a newsletter?’
All good questions. Let’s unpack them.
Blog vs newsletter
A blog is therefore a consistent and reliable way to help build your brand and create community and reader loyalty by giving you a platform to express your ideas and thoughts, be personal with your audience and bring attention to special events.
Doesn’t a newsletter do that?
Sure, it can – it can be a good idea to have a digest of your blog delivered via email newsletter – but an email newsletter’s true purpose makes it a different beast.
Where blogs go out into the universe, each one building on your SEO and any social media linking you might do to reach your reader and drive them back to your website/blog, the point of a newsletter is something different and that main difference is this:
Newsletters are targeted.
Newsletters = direct marketing
In Tammi Labrecque’s book, Newsletter Ninja: How to become an Author mailing list expert, she says that newsletters give you the opportunity to:
Tammi is not the only one who says this (just click on any of the links in this article to see this truth). Email gives you full control – you are not relying on SEO or a platform’s affordances to get your message out to your readers.
Like a blog, a newsletter helps you to build relationships and retain customers, but unlike your blog or social media, it has potential for a much greater chance of direct engagement and click-through because it is something your readers choose to receive. It is therefore a much better tool for direct promotion and sales than social media or your blog – which are better for content marketing.
Why can’t my newsletter be my blog?
The short answer is, because it’s not a blog.
The long answer is, because a newsletter doesn’t have a long tail. It gets sent out, has a potential for one viewing, one click-through, maybe-might-possibly-but-not-very-likely could be forwarded on to others, but once it’s sent, it is done, never to be seen again. It is a tool in the author platform-content marketing arsenal – some would say an essential tool because, as Tammi Labrecque says, it can help you to create ‘superfans’ (pg 23) – but it shouldn’t be used as a blog.
An email newsletter can only get sent to those people who are already fans. It is a way to send them back to your blog; to encourage them to click the links for promotions and specials (although, don’t blast them with this); to take them directly through to the booksellers; to give a wrap-up of what is going on in all your social media platforms and your blog; it includes a direct call to action; and it can feature unique content your fans can’t get anywhere else, keeping them present and loyal.
However, you can have none of that if you haven’t already built a relationship with your readers through the long-tail content marketing found on your blog.
Blog + newsletter = a healthy platform
If you have the time and the energy, then yes, the blog and newsletter combination is an essential part of your social media and marketing strategy. But first use your blog and social media before engaging with a newsletter, because then you will have fans ready to sign up. Then the newsletter can complement and boost everything else you do while getting actively in front of your readers in a personal way because it is directly for them and about them.
But most of all, don’t let any of it stop you from writing the next book.
I love to hear from my readers. Let me know if you tried the blog/newsletter combo and what you do to make it successful – or if it’s not successful, we’d love to hear about that too. You can leave a comment below or catch me on Facebook or Twitter (@LeislLeighton #Newsletters #amwriting).
To finish up, I leave you with my wish for all writers – may your creative well be full and may your Muse be forever with you.[Featured image: Email. Used with permission. 6388453 Ossi Lehtonen via dreamstime.com