8 Smart Ways to Combine Blogging with Email Marketing for Best-Selling Results

peanut butter and chocolate

Your blogging and email marketing efforts are like chocolate and peanut butter.

The nutty crunch of peanut butter and the sweet bliss of chocolate are each great solo. But when combined, you get Reese’s Peanut Butter cups — the #1 selling candy in the United States.

You can get that same kind of best-selling synergy with a content marketing strategy that smartly combines blogging and email marketing.

Because while your blog is the best avenue for getting attention online, establishing your authority, and getting found in the search engines … email communication helps you connect on a more intimate level, build trust with your audience, and gives you a tool for making relevant offers to your audience.

And together, their power is multiplied.

But wait … do you really need both?

In a word, yes.

But don’t just take my word for it.

When asked about whether content marketers should still be using email newsletters in conjunction with their blogs, Sonia Simone (the Content Marketing Know-It-All) said:

Email marketing and a blog serve different purposes, and a smart content marketing program will usually include both.

If you have a blog (and by this point, we certainly hope you do), you need to make sure your blog is working together with your email marketing efforts to serve your audience and get you closer to your content marketing goals.

You can use your blog to promote your email list, and vice versa, but only if you have a symbiotic relationship between the two.

Of course, your blog posts and email updates should always be relevant and useful for your audience. And you must make sure your blog posts and your emails are readable on all devices, including cell phones and tablets.

Once these givens are in place, you can make your business unstoppable by using blogging and email marketing cooperatively in the following eight ways:

1. Make blog posts your cookies

Your job is to train people to open (and regularly read) your emails. Combining your blog content with your email campaigns is a great way to do that.

Remember Sonia’s now-classic advice that you should treat your customers like dogs and give them regular cookies?

Here’s the secret: great blog posts make the world’s best cookies. So when you’ve put up a new post, send it out to your list.

Consider these options for sharing your blog content with your email list:

  • Use your email marketing tool to push your new blog posts out to your list automatically. Feedblitz, AWeber, and MailChimp all offer RSS campaign functionality that lets you handle this process. Just set it and forget it, then publish blog posts to your heart’s content.
  • When you publish a new post, manually send an email broadcast to your list that includes a teaser sentence or two about your post. Always include a link back to the blog post on your site.
  • Share the whole blog post via an individual email to your list, and link back to the post at the end. If you want to encourage conversation, ask people to comment by saying “Join the conversation on the blog” or something similar.
  • Send out a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly newsletter that includes links to your best blog posts.

2. Create FAQ autoresponders

Create a collection of insanely useful lessons or answers to frequently asked questions, and then put them into an email autoresponder series.

In your autoresponders, include lots of links back to your foundation blog content.

And if you want to get really fancy, you can even create content categories that correspond with you autoresponders and link to those categories.

3. Don’t forget your footer!

In the footer of your blog posts, add an opt-in offer of some sort.

Prompt your readers to sign up to get free updates from your blog, receive a free piece of premium content, or get your content-rich monthly newsletter.

4. Schedule for content synergy

Create editorial calendars for your blog and your email marketing campaigns that share common themes and work together.

If you write a cooking blog, and your July theme (according to your editorial calendar) is kitchen gear and gadgets, then make sure your July blog posts and monthly newsletter both talk about gadgets.

Your goal is to publish a clear, coherent message for your audience, and that includes all the tools in your content marketing toolbox.

5. Feature your guest blog posts.

During the month of my book launch in 2012, I published a whole slew of guest posts. In that month’s newsletter for my list, I published a big collection of links to those guest posts.

Doing this gave me a chance to feature my writing on other sites, and it introduced new websites to my audience members who were looking for new and useful blogs to read.

6. Allow yourself to reintroduce … yourself

Right before you launch a new product, you can reinvigorate your list by sending a couple of pieces of smart, well-positioned content that is related to the topic of your product.

This is an especially good move if you haven’t been communicating with your list on a regular basis.

7. Offer free updates conspicuously

Create a “Free Updates” page for your website that allows people to easily sign up for your list and get a free ebook, video, or other piece of premium content.

Then link to that page in the navigation bar of your site and make it visible on every page of your site — you never know what page or post of your site a reader might discover first.

8. Take full advantage of social media

Use social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to further your content marketing goals, not just as fun distractions that make you feel like you’re being productive.

Make sure you’re driving traffic from social networking platforms back to your content and onto your email list. Social networking can be a huge asset for your business, but only if you stay focused on your goal.

Quick case study: how to execute smart pre-launch coordination of emails and blog posts

Naomi Dunford and Dave Navarro of IttyBiz.com used a smart technique soon before opening registration for their latest program, “Big Launch.”

Just before opening their shopping cart, they warmed their list by sending out a series of emails answering commonly asked questions about launching.

The emails (which took content directly from blog posts of the same name) proved their authority on the topic and alerted their subscribers that something big was about to happen.

As a subscriber on IttyBiz’s list, I can report that I paid attention.

I hadn’t heard from IttyBiz for a while, so when they sent me a whole bunch of incredibly useful, substantial emails four days in a row, I made sure to read them.

It didn’t even cross my mind to unsubscribe from their list when there was a temporary uptick in the amount of email they were sending out. I was just happy to get my questions answered.

I’m also delighted that every part of the launch Q&A series is also on the IttyBiz blog, so I can bookmark it, pin it, share it on Facebook, and refer back to it whenever I want to without having to dig back through my email folders.

And their product, Big Launch? You can bet I bought it. I know and trust the folks at IttyBiz, and I was completely wowed by their pre-launch content. It was a no-brainer.

Score one for the combination of email marketing and blog content!

Quick case study: how to create insanely useful autoresponders

The folks behind Once a Month Meals know that it’s tough to consistently create healthy, inexpensive meals for your family. Their solution is to spend one marathon day every month doing all the cooking you need for 30 days’ worth of meals.

Once a Month Meals has now turned their advice into a smart business model, too. For a small monthly fee, they send you customizable recipes, grocery lists, and directions for your big cooking day.

But here’s the really smart part:

When you sign up for their service, you get a series of emails called the “Once a Month Meals Secret Handbook.” This series of daily emails is a step-by-step guide to achieving a successful cooking day. The emails are chock full of useful information about when to grocery shop, how to prep, and how to get big grocery savings.

The best part? Every email includes tons of links back to the Once a Month Meals blog for more information.

They have created a brilliant way to feature their cornerstone content and provide valuable, relevant information exactly when their customers need it most.

Once a Month Meals is creating loyal customers — who will keep re-upping their subscriptions — with every email they send out.

Now … go take on the world with your own killer combination

Combining email marketing and blogging doesn’t have to be complicated.

Take a good look at your current content output, examine your content marketing goals, and consider your subscribers’ needs. Then come up with a coherent strategy for using your blog in conjunction with your blog posts.

In 2014, your job is to make it rain.

So use the start of this new year — the time of resolutions and building new habits — to revisit all your basic content marketing building blocks and make sure they’re all acting as powerful workhorses for you.

Make sure you’re not missing a single opportunity to provide valuable, relevant, ridiculously useful content to your audience in convenient ways that work for them.

In other words, take peanut butter and chocolate and turn them into something extraordinary that sells.

Then take your fabulous concoction and use it to create some good in the world. We’ll be here cheering for you.

About the Author: Beth Hayden is an author, speaker, and social media expert who specializes in Pinterest marketing. To find out how to get more traffic to your website or blog using Pinterest, grab your free copy of Beth’s e-book, The Definitive Guide to Driving Traffic with Pinterest.

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Comments

  1. I completely agree that blogs and newsletters go together. A blog without a newsletter is like a magazine without a cover.

  2. I love the chocolate and peanut butter picture Beth. Besides the awesome header that drew me in the picture left me salivating before I started reading the post.

    Although I am familiar with the knowledge, you sharpened my perspective a little and presented it beautifully. Now every time I write a new blog post and get an update from a blog I am going to think of ….. “chocolate and peanut butter”.

    Mmmmm……..

  3. All very important and valid points Beth.

    Thumbs up for adding the case studies.

    Keeping your audience engaged through regular emails should be one your priorities as an online business.

    I think it’s best to use a combination of different types of emails, eg weekly blog round up, a couple of detailed emails every month with exclusive content and occasional giveaways.

    But you need to keep your list engaged all the time, since it is one of your most valuable online assets.

    • I like your approach, Jawad. That is definitely something I forgot to mention in this piece….the idea of publishing content that is ONLY for your mailing list. I’ve seen some people do this, and I think it works well (as an incentive for readers to get on their lists!)

  4. I just could not agree more. EMail and a Blog are the best.

    My AR was built by a blogger and has several blog specific functions. I no longer offer RSS feeds because of it, it’s all automatic email. It does get my list used to opening, no doubt about it.

    Thanks for a great post, Ms Hayden.

  5. I recently added emailing my subscribers back to my blog and found the relationship to be very powerful.

    I noticed that by creating a steady stream of content and pointing my subscribers back to my blog, I quickly became an authority and sought after.

    All within one months time.

    I love the analogy of the cookies. Clever, and makes total sense!

    • That’s fantastic, Dain! Great work! And I definitely can’t take credit for the cookie analogy…that one is all Sonia’s! But I love it and refer back to it all the time. :)

  6. I am kind of learning the ropes, and subscribe to a lot of emails. Except for few websites there are not many who send something useful.

    In IT we discourage emails as a communication tool. I carry that to other places as well. I am not excited to see emails in inbox, and that opinion has not changed with all those email subscriptions from recent history.

    I prefer feeds for general consumption, and social media to be in touch.

    • I get that, Prashanth. For most blogs, I prefer using my feed reader, too. But we have to remember that many of our audience members don’t use feeds (for many different reasons) and prefer email for a lot of their communication. We have to give our audience what they need/want if we’re going to succeed.

  7. Hi Beth,

    Excellent! The FAQ advice is dead on. I have covered FAQs on my gifting site for new subscribers but might toss in an autoresponder as well. No better way to cover all important, oft asked questions in one fell swoop.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Hey, Ryan – I think autoresponders are the most under-utilized tool in our online marketing toolbox. I think most people (myself included, if we’re being honest) don’t take the time to set up amazing autoresponders, but ARs are one of the ways we can make more sales AND become go-to experts in our fields. It’s worth taking a couple of days to map out useful autoresponders for new opt-ins AND new customers (like OAMMs did, above). It’s one of my top business priorities for 2104.

  8. Great Quick case studies. Understanding the whole funnel your clients are passing through is important. A full strategy includes great content and good email marketing approach as well.

  9. I love reading CB posts. I read them once to absorb the information, and another time to enjoy the writing technique. I wonder how many other readers do so. They should. Many cool transitional phrases, tie-backs, and literary gems hidden in plain sight to keep us moving along the slippery slope of content. Allow me to dissect the intro:

    ““““`
    Your blogging and email marketing efforts are like chocolate and peanut butter. ((This effective simile is like a cliffhanger or the first line of an unfinished declaration. We must read more to discover specifically how our efforts are like chocolate and peanut butter. Super 1st sentence.))

    The nutty crunch of peanut butter and the sweet bliss ((excellent visceral descriptions)) of chocolate are each great solo.((You can just tell that the word “but” is coming, can’t you!)) But when((great transitional phrase to keep things moving)) combined, you get Reese’s Peanut Butter cups — ((em dashes do wonders to create a nice rhythm between sentence)) the #1 selling candy in the United States.

    You can get that same kind((great tie-back to the previous paragraph. )) of best-selling synergy with a content marketing strategy that smartly combines blogging and email marketing.

    Because while((great tie-back and transitional phrase)) your blog is the best avenue for getting attention online, establishing your authority, and getting found in the search engines … email communication helps you connect on a more intimate level, build trust with your audience, and gives you a tool for making relevant offers to your audience.

    And together,((great tie-back and transitional phrase)) their power is multiplied.
    But wait … do you really need both? ((I don’t know, but damn it, I have to find out now!))

    In a word,((great transitional phrase)) yes.

    But don’t just take my word for it.((another excellent cliffhanger-type sentence where I must read further to find out just whose word I will be taking.))

    When asked((great tie-back and transitional phrase)) about whether content marketers should still be using email newsletters in conjunction with their blogs, Sonia Simone (the Content Marketing Know-It-All) said:

    Email marketing and a blog serve different purposes, and a smart content marketing program will usually include both.

    If you have a blog (and by this point, we certainly hope you do), you need to make sure your blog is working together with your email marketing efforts to serve your audience and get you closer to your content marketing goals.

    You can use your blog to promote your email list, and vice versa, but only if you have a symbiotic relationship between the two.

    Of course,((great tie-back to previous paragraph and great transitional phrase)) your blog posts and email updates should always be relevant and useful for your audience. And((one simple continuation word pushing the reader along nicely)) you must make sure your blog posts and your emails are readable on all devices, including cell phones and tablets.

    Once these givens((great tie-back to previous paragraph)) are in place, you can make your business unstoppable by using blogging and email marketing cooperatively in the following eight ways:
    ““““`
    If you’ve ever wondered why CB post read so smoothly, now you have a taste of why. :)

    • Shane!!! *wave wave*

      I have admired your writing and editing work for so long — I’m a big fan, and I’m delighted to get your thumbs up on this post!

      I love your breakdown of the flow of this opening. And I want to acknowledge the entire editorial team here at CB — we all work together to create enticing intros, and I learn from them every day.

      Here’s to more good writing in 2014!

    • One question for you, Shane (while I’m chatting with you here) — I noticed above that you seemed to like the em dash I used in the intro. What’s your opinion on them in general? Do you like them in all cases? I rely on them pretty heavily in my writing lately, and was wondering if there’s an editing or grammatical reason NOT to.

  10. Great article Beth. I’m inspired to put more energy into my newsletter and blog now, of course backed with detailed strategy:)

  11. Great content, Beth. As a blogger, I’ve always struggled with the e-mail list. I know they are powerful, but I’ve found them intimidating at times. Maybe it’s just email overload on my part, but your article points out a glaring weakness in my marketing strategy. I have a list, but I use it very infrequently.

    • I don’t think you’re alone in that, John! It’s one of the reasons I wanted to write this piece! I hope it was helpful for you while you’re sorting our your next steps.

  12. Nice work, Beth. Love the tips for synergy and making the most out of each piece of content that you produce. Thanks!

  13. Beth – Thank you for the excellent information. Question, though, I know it’s better to have both, a blog and an e-newsletter, which I do. My blog is with FeedBlitz, and then I send out a monthly e-newsletter through Constant Contact. I have very few subscribers to my blog but double the amount to my e-newsletter as I offer a Free Report (I believe that’s the reason). How is this done most effectively a website as far as sign-ups for both the blog and newsletter? Is it better to have one sign-up form for both or keep them separate? It just seems that people never sign-up for both so maybe having two sign-up forms is confusing, although I clearly identify what they are for.

    • There are different schools of thought on this, Stacey, and I’d be curious what Brian and Sonia would say. For my business, all of my subscribers get EVERYTHING from me. If someone signs up for a free report on my site, they get my blog posts, newsletter, promotions, etc.. It’s possible that I’m doing it wrong (I know Copyblogger keeps many separate lists for different parts of our business) but that’s the way I do it.

      And I usually advise my clients NOT to have two different opt-in forms on any individual page, because I think it lowers your overall opt-in rate. I forget who said, “A confused mind never buys” but I’ve also discovered that a confused mind doesn’t opt in, either. Hope that’s helpful.

      • Beth is right. We’re actually working to combine our two CB lists at the moment.

      • Beth and Brian,

        This is very helpful information, thank you for your responses. I think this is the reason I have so little opt-ins for my blog. I’d be curious to know what you are using, Beth, as your newsletter service. I believe Copyblogger uses FeedBlitz. It gets tricky because if you use one service for both the blog and newsletter, you have to find one that meets both needs, capturing RSS feeds (for the blog), design and tracking services. I know AWeber and MailChimp both integrate with RSS but Constant Contact does not that I know of.

        • Stacey, I use Infusionsoft for all my email marketing (just switched over to them a few months ago). They don’t do automated RSS campaigns, but that’s okay with me…I prefer to customize my blog post broadcasts before I send them out.

          I am hoping IFS and Constant Contact both get on board with RSS campaigns soon, though, so their clients have options for handling blog/email integration.

          • Beth,

            Thanks so much for the information and your quick response. I’m going to look into Infusionsoft as I have heard about it before.

            Gratefully,
            Stacey

        • Hi Stacey, depending on your needs and the size of your list you may find some of the big players mentioned here to be a little too expensive for your business at this time — that’s my situation, so after a ton of research I’m going with ActiveCampaign because their pricing and feature set is more in line with my business goals and budget at this time.

          • By the way Beth, I loved your article on combining blogging with email marketing. Your case studies were a nice finishing touch and I will definitely be using a lot of your advice with respect to pre-launch coordination of emails and blog posts in the coming weeks and months.

            I am optimistic that 2014 will be a good year for rain ;)

  14. This blog piece made me hungry for leads… and Peanut Butter cups.

  15. I love the peanut butter and chocolate analogy. Couldn’t agree more with the thrust of your article.

    I see blogs as the vehicle for ongoing conversation with customers and the email marketing as the occasional sales pitch.

    A sales pitch without a conversation is usually annoying, and a conversation without the opportunity to invest in the ‘product’ of the conversation — literally and figuratively — is not quite as meaningful.

  16. This blog post is one of the best I’ve read about email marketing and even your blog’s content!

    All around, I could agree with much of the sentences I’ve read through the content here on Copyblogger today.

    I personally need to create more emails for my list and get them more engaging with my created content.

    Heck, I am currently working on my second e-book that I will be giving away.

    I didn’t think of using the autoresponder as a questionaire for my list. I might try that for myself.

    Thank you for the article!

    – Samuel

  17. Another gem in the art of e-mail! I’ll definitely have this in mind when I launch my next project. It’s a bit overwhelming to read so many good posts on blogging, copywriting, e-mail … Damn you, Copyblogger! :)

    But you were a bit of a scumbag on this one, weren’t you? “Scumbag Copyblogger”:

    http://cdn.memegenerator.net/instances/500x/44691818.jpg

    Kidding! :)

    Have a great year,
    Pedro

    • Hee hee, Pedro – that’s a good point. I guess it was pretty mean to show that picture to our readers right after New Year’s Day! Thanks for the amusing image!

  18. Very valuable and solid strategies and tips Beth. I especially appreciate the Case studies as they prompted me to start a mini-brainstorm on how I can add new life to my email marketing systems.

  19. I was about to give up on e-mail marketing for many reasons. First of all, it is hard to grab people’s attention with e-mail marketing, at least for me. Secondly, I am quite busy with everything else that I was wondering would it be wise to branch out to another area. If you are doing something, you should do it right that is my moto.

    I think I will have a go again with e-mail marketing and try to do it better this time. Thanks for this brilliant and well thought out article.

  20. Wonderful information, I found here far more than my personal expectation about, integration of email marketing with blogging. Thanks you Beth.

  21. Great article, I especially love the picture at the top of the page. There are some great points written above; the notion of making certain information appear on every website page because you never know where the customer might end up on your site is a brilliant tip. I find e-mail marketing a difficult concept, especially with the ease of Social Media, but I liked the idea of sharing information in e-mails as an extension of a blog, rather than as a separate aspect. The monthly meals was a great example of this; short e-mails promising more insight every day is excellent as it is more likely to keep people interested rather than a detailed long winded e-mail once a month.

  22. Thank you for this amazing post. I completely agree with you blogging and email marketing both are great ways for promotion of your business and combining both of them is a great stuff.

  23. So many great ideas from everyone. Something I’ve learned is not to give up on a change if you don’t get it perfect, or if you don’t do it as regularly as you want. I just keep trying and don’t beat myself up about it. Thanks!

  24. Nice article Beth. Enjoyed reading it. Will definitely implement “Free Updates” page in my blog. Thanks for the tip :)