Trash your blog. Start a newsletter.

I wrote this post just to confuse you. Fact is, I’ve already confused you so there’s nothing to lose. :) No seriously, if you can get past the headline, it’ll start making sense.

Today you’re going to learn how to trash your blog and start a newsletter, in four steps.

But first, what’s a newsletter? A newsletter is a tool of communication, in which content is sent out regularly via email to people who have signed up for it. This email can contain all types of media – text, images, voice, and videos. Newsletters were originally operated and sent by companies, but Web 2.0 has enabled small individuals to start their own newsletters, and they’re growing increasingly popular. Yep, artists are starting to use newsletters too.


Why newsletters are so important for you

Let me introduce you to Hugh Macleod. He’s a cartoon artist that doodles all day and makes a living at it. A few months back, he wrote a killer article over at CopyBlogger called It’s the Simplicity, Stupid. He stated that newsletters are very important.

Here’s a pertinent snippet:

But looking back, it occurs to me that none of that “hot PR media action” has moved my business forward nearly as quickly or effectively as this one simple thing:

My newsletter subscribers telling their friends about my newsletter, and suggesting that they sign up.

In other words, says Hugh, newsletters are indispensable because of their shareability. They can spread easily.

You’ve probably heard of the Fine Art Views blog, which was founded by Clint Watson. It’s a must-follow blog if you’re looking for solid, fine art internet marketing. It’s one of the best blogs out there for artists. It’s right up there with The Painter’s Box.

Clint says he’s not surprised your art isn’t selling if you’re not using a newsletter. If you don’t read anything else about newsletters and their effectiveness, read this post about Brian Kliewer. Brian sold 84 small paintings in 100 days – just from his newsletter. They’re not making that up.

Here’s what Clint says directly from Twitter:

http://twitter.com/#!/clintavo/status/2755183247364098

Chances are, you’ve got a blog. But chances are, you don’t have a newsletter. And if you do have a newsletter, chances are you’re not using it like Brian Kliewer did. All Brian did was post one painting per newsletter, and talk about it a bit in a casual, good-old-times manner, about the way Raymond Logan does on his blogspot.

So if there were a way to transform your blog into a newsletter, you really wouldn’t have to change how you market. Make sense?

Well guess what? There is a way. Let’s walk through it.

How to transform your blog into a newsletter

1. Head over to Feedburner and enter your blog’s URL where it says “Burn a feed right this instant.”

Picture 1

It’ll take a few clicks to go through the process, but it’s fairly self-intuitive. Once you’ve established a feed, you’ll be sent to your dashboard, and the URL will look something like this:

http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/dashboard?id=436tgfa6t92ih7kgbjs0jg2o7i4o

It’ll say, “Your feed is so new, we’re still playing with the bubble wrap.”

2. In your dashboard navigation up top, click on the “Publicize” link.

3. In the navigation on the left, click “Email Subscriptions.”

Picture 2

4. Scroll to the bottom of the page. There’s a button that says “Activate.” Click that.

Whack! You can now offer people email updates to your blog. Nifty, eh? Now when you publish something to your blog, it can appear in people’s inboxes. There are two ways to offer your audience an subscription. First, you can offer a simple link that forwards people to a popup window. (Check it out). Or, you can embed your own form right onto your site. Here’s an example of that:

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

If you don’t like how it looks, you can always customize it like I did. (See how I’ve done this on the right sidebar of this site).

In case you’re wondering where to grab this link or form, it’s on the same page as your “Email Subscriptions” page in your Feedburner dashboard. (You know, where you scrolled down to hit “Activate.”)

This is so much like a newsletter, it’s not even funny. Now it’s time to let you in on a little secret: they’re more identical than you realize.

In his Tweet, Clint brags about how important newsletters are. But if you’ll look carefully, the Fine Art Views newsletter is often pasted into the blog. In other words, they’re overlapping content. Sweet, isn’t it?

If FASO gets by with it, you can too. Hack your blog. Start a newsletter. Watch magic happen.

Ok, maybe you want a “real” newsletter. In that case I suggest you try out Constant Contact. It’s a professional newsletter service that I’ve been using with the people I work for, and it seems to be really good.

Did I leave lose ends dangling? Feel free to drop by and leave a comment. Better yet, reply to this email. :)

Xoxoxo
- Martyn Chamberlin

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Daniel Hoang January 28, 2011 at 1:42 am

I don’t have a newletter (yet). In my opinion, email and blogging are two separate activities. In blogging, people “pull” your content at their convenience. With email, you’re “pushing” it to them. With email, I’d spend more time editing, polishing, and testing to make sure it opens up on different readers (Outlook, IE, Mozilla, Chrome, Mac, PC, mobile).

I wouldn’t tie my blog to email list. It would sent way too many emails. A targeted email list focused on highly valuable content could be a way to build a more loyal following (in addition to your blog).

Reply

Raymond Logan February 10, 2011 at 2:19 am

Hello Martyn,

Good to see you again. I hope you are well.

E-mail newsletters are great marketing tools. They are actually an old time marketing piece retooled for a modern medium and they are rather easy to produce. While I work hard to maintain my blog, people visiting it (I appreciate them all) may or may not buy my work and I cannot completely define (quantify) them, so I focus on what I can identify and cater to my subscribers. They are gold to me and I hope they know it.

Keep up the good work!

– Raymond Logan

Reply

Martyn Chamberlin February 10, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Hey Raymond! How’s it going?

Gotta confess my sins to you. In my business I’ve neglected your blog for a few weeks. (Ha! There’s a case in point how a Google Reader is less intimate than the newsletter or email updates, eh?) I checked it out again just now. Always love your writing style. And your paintings just keep getting better!

Yep, my 45 subscribers here are gold to me as well. Each one is valuable and important.

Reply

Selayang Pandang May 16, 2012 at 10:11 am

E mail news letter often sign as a spam…

Reply

Jones sabo antibody operations alternatively immunohematology May 3, 2013 at 4:46 pm

hey there and thank you for your info – I’ve certainly picked up anything new from right here.

Reply

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