Is Email the New Blogging?

Publish date:
Image placeholder title

The meme these days seems to be that e-mail newsletters (or content marketing through e-mail) is the new blogging.

Actually, I lie.

It's a fairly old meme—I can at least trace it back to this blog post by Jason Calacanis, a longtime respected blogger, who decided to start a paid e-mail newsletter instead of continuing to blog for free. (However, he's back to blogging now.)

What is content marketing? Here's the broad definition according to Wikipedia:

An umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential consumer bases.
Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality,
relevant and valuable information to prospects and customers drives
profitable consumer action. Content marketing has benefits in terms of
retaining reader attention and improving brand loyalty.

Or, to use an analogy that I'm stealing from Kevin Smokler: content marketing is like giving out cheese cubes in the grocery.

Content marketing is a big deal for nonfiction authors, but can be a tougher thing to wrap your head around if you write fiction. (More on that later.)

So what does content marketing have to do with e-mail?

E-mail is a great medium for content, and helps you directly reach the people who most care about your content (or personality or brand). For anyone with an active newsletter list, I'm willing to bet that's where you get the most return on your effort when promoting something specific (as opposed to, say, Twitter or Facebook).

People who subscribe to your e-mail newsletter are the ones who want to know when you have something new to offer. For example, out of the dozens of links I included in my last newsletter—mostly to resources completely unrelated to me—the top 3 click-thrus were on the following links:

And, within the top 10 clicks: a link to my class on e-mail newsletters.

So, this makes a ton of sense when you have information and advice to share, but how about novelists or memoirists? Here are a few ideas, but this is only limited by your imagination. The only rule is to do something you care about, and that complements your strengths.

  • Extras. You know how DVDs do it. You might not buy the DVD for the extras, but they're fun. Offer some added insight that fans are looking for.
  • Curate / Help Discoveries Happen. Maybe there's a topic you know more about than anyone; hopefully it ties into your work, but it doesn't have to. Curate resources, links, news, etc. related to this topic to introduce people to helpful or inspirational stuff. (Maybe one day I'll do a bourbon newsletter. It would probably get more subscribers than the writing one.)

If you're unconvinced by the power of e-mail, I highly recommend this blog post: How to Build a Six-Figure Blog Without Anyone Knowing. While it's advanced & sophisticated advice, it shows you what's possible.

Want more in-depth instruction on using e-mail as part of your career? Sign up for my online class on Thursday.

P.S. This blog post is a form of content marketing for my online class.

Kaia Alderson: On Internal Roadblocks and Not Giving Up

Kaia Alderson: On Internal Roadblocks and Not Giving Up

Kaia Alderson discusses how she never gave up on her story, how she worked through internal doubts, and how research lead her out of romance and into historical fiction.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Seven New Courses, Writing Prompts, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce seven new courses, our Editorial Calendar, and more!

Crystal Wilkinson: On The Vulnerability of Memoir Writing

Crystal Wilkinson: On The Vulnerability of Memoir Writing

Kentucky’s Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson discusses how each project has its own process and the difference between writing fiction and her new memoir, Perfect Black.

From Script

Approaching Comedy from a Personal Perspective and Tapping into Your Unique Writer’s Voice (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by, interviews with masters of comedy, screenwriter Tim Long ('The Simpsons') and writer-director Dan Mazer (Borat Subsequent Movie) about their collaboration on their film 'The Exchange', and filmmaker Trent O’Donnell on his new film 'Ride the Eagle' co-written with actor Jake Johnson ('New Girl'). Plus, tips on how to tap into your unique voice and more!

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

Writing Mistakes Writers Make: Not Accepting Feedback on Your Writing

The Writer's Digest team has witnessed many writing mistakes over the years, so we started this series to help identify them for other writers (along with correction strategies). This week's writing mistake is not accepting feedback on your writing.

Writer's Digest Best Creativity Websites 2021

Writer's Digest Best Creativity Websites 2021

Here are the top creativity websites as identified in the 23rd Annual 101 Best Websites from the May/June 2021 issue of Writer's Digest.

Poetic Forms

Englyn Proest Dalgron: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the englyn proest dalgron, a Welsh quatrain form.

What Is a Palindrome in Writing?

What Is a Palindrome in Writing?

In this post, we look at what a palindrome is when it comes to writing, including several examples of palindromes.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Set a Trap

Plot Twist Story Prompts: Set a Trap

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, it's time to set a trap.