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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
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.