Monday, October 27, 2008

How much contact is overkill?

Last week I posed a question to a group of writers I know [ACFW]. I wanted to know about their perceived value of newsletters vs simply blogging.

Among the authors who replied to me, most really expressed no real increase in readership since adding a newsletter. The next day as I was scanning through the blogs I regularly read [you can see a list of them here] I found a posting titled "8 Reasons to add a newsletter to your Blog. [read it here].

So now there is a dilemma. A business and marketing focused blog is saying that newsletters are fundamental and authors are telling me that they are ineffective.


Whenever I see a discrepancy like this I always put on my Sherlock Holmes hat and start looking for the reason. After reading the responses to my question, looking at blogs and newsletters I read and reading probloggers blog I have come to a few conclusions:

1. People who aren't getting success with their newsletters haven't quite figured out their market.

This can be tough for writers. We like to talk to each other and share our neat tips [like I do here] but most of our readers will likely NOT be authors [at least not serious ones who are actively submitting to publications]. So how do we appeal to both groups? In many ways, we can't. We cannot expect that people who read our fiction books about Regency Romance novels will be fascinated with the nuance of subplot. Likewise, being a contemporary suspense writer, it is unlikely that I will be fascinated by an in depth piece on costumes of the 18th century. [See, I'm not even sure the TIME PERIOD of Regency books....].

So if you have a newsletter, know your audience.

2. Offer something unique.

You can't simply offer your reheated blogs in newsletter form and expect it to fly. Being a full-time writer involves a great deal of time and effort. That means that if you are going to send out a monthly newsletter you need to take the time to offer content that is unique to your readership. You may have some cross over between newsletter readers and blog readers but, for the most part, you are appealing to two different groups.

One way you can maximize your time is to mention blogs that might be of interest to your newsletter readers and only offer them on the days you release your blog. That way both readers will meet on those days. [This is a variation of the theme for points 1-3 on that blog]

3. Overkill

And now we come back to the title of this blog. Consider whether you really have ENOUGH information worth sharing to support a blog and newsletter and website...and...and...and...

Don't simply get a blog and a newsletter because everyone else has them. Invest a bit of time to decide what your real goals are with these marketing ventures. What do you hope to accomplish? How can that goal best be met?

I like blogs because I can give up to the minute information but I have found that, despite my huge amount of visiting traffic, I'm daily looking for new 'customers'. That is because many people come to read one or two blogs but only a very few come and read every single blog posting. I can honestly say that, despite LOVING the blogs I read, the only blog that I read EVERY SINGLE time it posts is Chip MacGregor's blog. I think there are a few reasons for that. First, Chip doesn't post that often. About once every week or two. Second, Chip has been in the industry, a-hem, most of my life. [Chip, if you read this, sorry]. I know that he knows his stuff. Third, he is honest almost to a fault. He doesn't sugar coat things and that makes it easier for me to plan my business. But Chip is a unique case.

Some of the people I've seen who have the greatest success in building and keeping a newsletter subscription are people who frequently go out and do speaking. As they're meeting new people they are constantly adding to their newsletter roles. I get Randy Ingermanson's newsletter every month and read it cover to cover but I'm only able to hit his blog periodically.

Final thoughts

I think I've shown through my own reading habits why having a blog and a newsletter is so important. I'd even suggest that someone who speaks/writes to a variety of groups that they have several newsletters because each market would have different needs.

So how much time are you spending marketing yourself like this? Are you effective? The results will speak for themselves.

Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter

Read the novel A Face in the Shadow FREE at


Marie Beausoleil said...

Just a quick note - your blog says that you saw "...reasons to ASS a newsletter".


Your Coach for the Journey, Tiffany Colter said...

Wow, is my face red!!!

Of course, that was a trick to see if you guys really read this blog...

I've corrected it. Thanks so much for letting me know!