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Reader Q&A: Blogs vs Ezines 10 October 2007

QUESTION
CfS reader Ariana Gee of Real Connection asks, “If you have a blog and an ezine, how does the content tend to differ. I notice you are putting questions and answers in yours, which is obviously one way, but do you have other ideas. Or might you have the same content in both?”

ANSWER

A blog, like other communication vehicles (such as an email newsletter and direct mail), is just one of the many ways we can reach out to our target audience to keep them informed with up-to-date news, views and content.

Just as ezines keep potential clients aware that we exist, blogs may also serve the exact same function.

The original idea behind blogs was that people would gather news items or cool web sites and pages that people would otherwise miss or be too busy to find and read, and make them available to their friends and anyone else interested in knowing about them.

Thanks to the increasing problems with spam and overzealous filters, a lot of businesses are now reaching their customers and prospects through blogs, either alongside ezines or instead of them.

If you do a search on the net for blogs, you’ll see that some are about specific things, hobbies, business news, views and opinions on the world at large, etc, while others are not about anything in particular.

An ezine or email newsletter, on the other hand, is more akin to magazines or newspapers. A typical issue might include:

• a publisher’s note or editorial
• a feature or lead article
• supporting articles, or a guest article
• news
• a tip
• a featured customer case study
• advertisements
• resources
• a featured product or service
• event information
• a Q&A column
• interviews
• recommended tools
• and so on

Providing all this demands a fairly complex content mix, and a skilled, experienced editor. It doesn’t suit the blog format at all, which is where the content differs.

Blogs will be more random in their presentation of content. While it’s true that they are particularly well suited for selling content just as with a newsletter, the trick is balancing what is free and what is paid for.

Blogs can also be used to:

• link to other blog posts, or comment on them
• sell books, manuals and subscriptions
• showcase your best or latest work
• increase your online visibility
• provide a powerful internal corporate communications tool
• offer a fresh perspective on a given news item
• build your profile
• become an expert, or industry ‘thought leader’
• share random thoughts, ideas and strategies
• enter into an exchange with blog readers
• and any other manner of content

In short, I believe that a blog allows for a quicker, freer, more open and personal exchange with customers, potential clients and other blog readers. And a blog, don’t forget, is by its very nature more biased than a newsletter.

But don’t get carried away: People have to physically visit your blog (even if they sign up to a RSS feed) first before they read your content. Whereas, with an ezine, they have already expressed an interest in receiving your news, so when you deliver to them, they are, in my opinion, much more likely to read the requested content.

To get the best out of your blog, you really need to be posting every other day, at least. And, if you want to target customers and prospects, as I am, then you need to write about something that will be relevant to that audience.

Hope this helps!

Want to use this in your ezine, blog or website? No problem! Just let me know. I’ll send you a short resource box/bio to include at the end of the article.

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One Response to “Reader Q&A: Blogs vs Ezines”

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