27 comments

Why Every Blogger Should Send an Email Newsletter (Plus, What to put in it)


typing newsletter typewriter
We've talked a little recently here on IFB about how important an email newsletter can be for driving traffic to your blog, but it's still not a tool many bloggers use. It should be. Besides search engine traffic, the IFB newsletter is the most important traffic driver to the blog, and my email newsletters consistently bring traffic & engagement to my blogs.

Bloggers who sell things (ebooks, etc.) have written a lot about the benefits of email newsletters (Chris Brogan recently wrote about it in ProBlogger) in getting readers to buy their products, but they can be good for us “regular” bloggers too. Here's how –

Email newsletters:

  • Push your message to your most ENGAGED readers
    Believe it or not, not everyone uses social media like bloggers do. Nearly everyone uses email though, and people are extremely protective of their email, so when they allow you to email them, it's very valuable.
  • Feel more personal
    You can talk directly to your readers via email, something that is more “intimate” and personal than social media, or your blog even.
  • Provide a call to action
    Asks readers to click through to read more.

Collecting email addresses is one of your most powerful tools as a blogger

All of these things help create and maintain community around your blog, which is so important, especially if you monetize. Collecting email addresses is one of your most powerful tools, and you should start early (Mailchimp is my favorite newsletter service, but Aweber is good too).

Hopefully It goes without saying that having access to your readers' email addresses shouldn't be taken lightly, that your email addresses should never be sold or given away, and you should always be transparent about what you're going to DO with your readers' email addresses. For example, if you're requiring readers to leave email addresses to enter a giveaway on your blog, be up front about whether or not you're keeping them for yourself, or if you're sharing them with the giveaway sponsor.

Now that you know how important having an email newsletter is, what do you put in it?

There are a couple different types of email newsletters: rss-to-email newsletters that send out emails daily when there are new blog posts, and “regular” newsletters that you create manually and send out daily, weekly, monthly – whenever you choose. They are both equally important tools in my opinion.

The rss-to-email newsletter gives your readers another way to read your blog: directly in their email. Mailchimp offers a great rss-to-email newsletter option that's so easy to set up and sends out automatically whenever you choose, AND can be customized with your blog header, additional information (links to popular posts, other content), and ads (monetize!!). You can't do anything else with it as far as main content is concerned, because it's automatically filled in with your latest blog post(s), but it's far superior to bloglovin' in terms of how much information you can push to your readers. Bloglovin' and regular rss are important also, but giving your readers an option to have blog posts delivered directly to email is a great tool.

You can do only this, or you can alternatively/also send out a weekly, or daily email newsletter that you create and populate with content manually (most newsletter services have templates for newsletters that are super-easy to use). A weekly newsletter is a great option to provide for readers who just want an update once a week instead of every day.

What can you put in the newsletter to keep it interesting and to attract new subscribers?

  • Blog posts: definitely do a round-up of your latest blog posts, maybe not all of them, but at least your most popular/favorite
  • Facebook updates: did you have an interesting discussion on Facebook? Post a link to that to get people engaged there.
  • More social media updates: post some of your favorite instagrams from the week, your latest pins on Pinterest, Tweets, etc. Also use this opportunity to make sure you have all your social media links available to your readers.
  • Exclusive newsletter content (this is my favorite!): do a weekly link roundup or shopping finds post that your readers won't find anywhere else. Get an advertiser to sponsor your weekly newsletter and offer a discount code in it. Post your favorite sale finds, or outfit outtakes. Your newsletter should contain something in it that your readers can't get anywhere else, that will entice more to subscribe.

Once you've sent out your newsletter, don't forget to promote it on social media sites as a teaser to get more subscribers and to remind readers to check their email.

Do you have an email newsletter? What do you put in it? How have you kept it interesting and attracted new subscribers?

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27 Responses

  1. Dr. Erika

    I use Pippity as my popup. It’s not free, but I’ve increased newsletter subscribers substantially with it. I like it a lot.

    Reply
  2. Krystal

    I am currently struggling with the idea of a newsletter. I dont know where I’ll find the time to put them together but I do see that its very important for building my readership and improving engagement on my blog. I’m currently using MailChimp for other features, so I think I’ll give it a try.

    Reply
  3. Amanda Teague

    Does anyone know how to retrieve the email addresses in Blogger when readers sign up through the RSS field? Several friends have entered their emails and receive my latest posts but I am not notified when readers sign up??????

    Reply
    • Tasha

      Unfortunately you can’t see the emails of people who subscribed to your blogger blog via rss feed (reader) you can only see emails if you have a subscribe by email option and have email subscribers. Are you using feedburner?

      Reply
  4. Gina Zammit

    Like the idea – would love a post on how to make/write a newsletter.

    Reply
  5. Jennifer Rose

    We have started up our newsletter again, and I love that you mention, ”
    You can talk directly to your readers via email, something that is more “intimate” and personal than social media, or your blog even.” We like to include a little blurb at the beginning that’s very personalized about what we have going on our lives. I think this is important. I have a question? Does anyone know a great WordPress plug-in for a welcome pop-up that connects to MailChimp?

    Reply
    • Grechen Reiter

      i love that you include something personal in your email newsletter!
      and good question about the plugin – i don’t know of one, but perhaps someone else does…

      Reply
  6. Lori

    What if no one wants to sign up for my newsletter? 🙁 I’ve done three so far and posted them on FB

    Reply
    • Tasha

      Hold a giveaway on your blog and have signing up for your news letter as an entry option. Works great 🙂

      Reply
  7. Sheryl Blasnik

    If anyone can help me get off Feedburner and start using Mailchimp I would love some help. I want to set up an RSS mail campaign and design my own template using my blog header and have all my social media accounts linked in the newsletter.

    Thanks

    Sheryl Blasnik
    Fashion Development Group

    Reply
    • Grechen Reiter

      hi Sheryl – if you sign up for a mailchimp account, it’s pretty easy to go through the steps to set up your rss-to-email newsletter – they have great templates that are simple to use and customize. and a good support team!

      Reply
    • Andrew

      Sheryl,

      I moved from Feedburner to Mailchimp back in March. I seem to remember the process was quite straightforward. I think it was a case of downloading the list from feedburner and then importing it into Mailchimp to start the new one there.

      Best,
      Andrew

      Reply
  8. Barbara

    I have been signed up to mailchimp for more than a year now but I have not been able to get a newsletter from it together *sigh*. This post has just made me realise how important an actual newsletter is outside of my RSS-to email feed.
    I have opened my mailchimp account now and hopefully I should have it set up in no time at all (so help me God)

    Barbara
    http://www.barbara1923.com

    Reply
  9. Valentine

    Thanks a lot for this article!!! It was probably one of the most useful as it totally spoke to me! I had a Mailchinmp account since a year or so, but I was only using it for my Rss to Email campaigns. And even if I was a fan of others newsletter (like yours;-) I never got to do one for my blog… Until this article!

    After reading it, I started compiling all my contacts and business card (which were sitting since months in my drawer) into a list, uploaded it and created my first newsletter (I have to say getting the design done and text took me ages, but it was worth it!)

    I understood that it was away to keep all the people I met during fashion event, fashion weeks and work updated with my activities without having to overflow their mailbox with daily posts emails. It is also a way as you mentioned to bring back to life old posts, share shopping ideas… Basically it is another way to open a dialogue and bring more people to you site by giving them different opportunities to choose from, not just the regular posts. So Thanks again!!

    Ps: here is my first newsletter for you to see: http://eepurl.com/A4hs1

    Reply
    • Grechen Reiter

      great newsletter! so glad you finally put it together 🙂

      Reply
  10. Sarah's Real Life

    I doubt I will ever do an email newsletter…mainly because I end up ignoring and eventually unsubscribing to every newsletter I get. I guess since I don’t like getting them I would feel weird sending them!

    ~Sarah of Sarah’s Real Life

    Reply
    • Adriana

      I just think you’re really limiting yourself in adding additional readers and basing it off of a personal preference really doesn’t make sense. If you want to increase your readership, why not appeal to what readers prefer?

      Reply
  11. Norie

    I have a newsletter that I try to send out weekly but find that it is not always possible. I use Mad Mimi which is great to use and each week I can see my open rate and click through. Problem being is that I get a 15% engagement but I don’t get a click through on anything ~ facebook, blog, survey. I am a paper artist and I did start getting signups for free cutout designs which mostly even then doesn’t seem like anyone uses it. Even though some of my email subscribers signed up for different things, should I just try different topics and ditch my free templates? I find that when I blog regularly, I seem to get more newsletter subscribers. I read where newsletters should be more about yourself and blogs should be about your product~ what do you think about this?

    Reply
  12. Adriana

    I totally agree! I love reading lots of blogs but I hate having to follow a link to their website especially while I’m at work on break. I’d rather read their post in my email, not follow a link. I can’t understand why many bloggers make all of the usual options to follow available (like twitter, instagram, bloglovin of course, etc) and don’t make subscription by emails available especially when their blog hosting provider makes it available. Oh well… I guess those blogs won’t get my daily attention. 😉

    Reply
  13. Jacqueline Jax

    I think the newsletters are terrific ideas. In my experience, they really do drive traffic and give you the ability to tell your story in one glance by combine a personal message with new and older posts on one page. A newsletter is a fun way to share and it should be just as important to bloggers as blogging. You can use it to directly email what’s special, point out great news, or like you have noted speak a little more personally with your reader. The format feels more intimate, loL if that’s possible. Thanks for pointing out ideas for content. My newsletters give a weekly overview of what’s happening in my world or product releases, blogs, news, and personal commentary. It’s totally worth the effort. – JAX
    http://www.BlondiBeach.com

    Reply
  14. Beatrice

    I stumbled across this article and find it extremely informative and engaging. Well written, Grechen! I have had 2 newsletters since last year to increase traffic and keep readers entertained about my blog Mademoiselle Nomad – The Art of Sophisticated Living. That said, content does not naturally flow as in blogging. A newsletter makes me think more, because it is more targeted somehow. It’s not a blog where a reader can browse and go through to an older or newer post depending on what she/he finds interesting. This newsletter has to grab someone from the minute they open it until they reach the end of the entire content. In my first I included a giveaway for a prize and in the second I include pictures and some tips to help readers simplify their lives and find balance. I find that giving people someting for them speaks to them much more than if I have to speak abot my life all the time. That way, they can find practical advice/ information they can use right away. Thanks for the post and keep writing!
    Mademoiselle Nomad

    Reply
  15. Dinesh

    Much appreciated. A great follow up to this would be what’s allowed in an email.I think newsletter is a good addition to other social media channels.
    Facebook, Twitter, company’s blog, newsletter

    Reply
  16. Dinesh

    Much appreciated. A great follow up to this would be what’s allowed in an email.I think newsletter is a good addition to other social media channels.
    Facebook, Twitter, company’s blog, newsletter
    Visit our site for more detail.

    Reply
  17. Digital Freelancer

    I tend to send 1 email newsletter out each month to my audience and find this works well.

    Reply
  18. Masha Winget

    Every blogger has probably had this same thought. “I should really send out a newsletter.”

    Masha

    Reply