This post is Day 23 of the 28 Day Blogging Breakthrough Challenge. You can chat about the challenge on social media using the hashtag #BloggingBreakthrough. Click here to view all of the challenge prompts.
You hear about mailing lists all the time, right? Why you should have one, how to start one - it seems like they've really blown up over the past few months. I know this, because not only have I seen a lot of blog posts talking about mailing lists, but I've also done my fair share of writing about them too.
Because there’s so much content out there about mailing lists, it’s safe to say that a lot of us have either got one, or we’re thinking about creating one. But we’re doing it without really thinking about it - we’re doing it without thinking how it can help us. We’re doing it “just because.”
Yep, I said it. At the moment, I feel like mailing lists are a trend. Like peonies and red Starbucks cups - we get them just because we see that other people have got them too. But when it comes to mailing lists, we can’t do that. We can’t manage one without a strategy. We can’t manage one without knowing its purpose.
Did you know that having a mailing list is one of the biggest ways that can help you to get a breakthrough with your blog? It’s true - because that’s what it’s done for me. So today as part of the #BloggingBreakthrough challenge, I'm taking away the fluff and sharing seven HUGE reasons why and how mailing lists can help your blog.
#1 You Can Share More Valuable, Inspiring Content
We’re going to start off with the most important point here, because I know you all know that when it comes to blogging, it’s your content that matters the most.
Recently, it seems like content that provides “value” is the only content that’s going to get you results. There’s been a huge transition from quick 300 words posts that glaze over a topic briefly, to longer form content with real life tips and high-quality information. I know this because not only is this something I've found myself doing, but I've also seen a lot of other bloggers do this too.
Your readers visit your blog for a reason. You give them something that keeps them coming back.
That’s exactly the same with your mailing list.
If you provide your email subscribers with extra high value information, they’ll be so much more likely to visit your blog more often. So instead of writing five posts per week, why not cut it down to four and use the other one to write to your mailing list? By switching your focus slightly, you’re not reducing the amount of time you spend working on your blog - you’re actually benefiting it more.
Use your newsletter as a way to truly connect with your audience. Share a story from your week or the biggest thing you’ve learnt. Let them in on what’s been stressing you out and what’s been making you happy. Then link to some of your latest blog posts to get them to go straight to your blog.
The possibilities here are endless. With a mailing list, you’re allowing people to receive more content from you. And if this is good content, your subscribers will grow and so will your blog too.
#2 It’s Another Extension to Add to Your Brand
I know some of you won’t think of yourselves as a brand yet - but you are one. Your blog platform and social channels all work together to build your personal brand. Having a mailing list is another extension that you’re adding to your brand.
Usually, there’ll be one element of your brand that is your core, your centre. For most of us, this will be our blog. Then Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat - these are all extensions that help to grow your brand and all have different purposes.
So think about it - you can use all your platforms to help grow your blog. This is the same for your mailing list too.
When I come across a blog for the first time and I read it, I don’t just add it to my Bloglovin’ feed and that’s it. I follow them on all their social platforms, add them to a Twitter list and subscribe to their mailing list. I want every part of the brand, so if it’s there, I'm going to get in on it.
Think about when someone visits your blog for the first time - what opportunities are you giving them to connect more with your brand?
#3 It’s Something Else You Own
For me, social media is a key tool that has helped me grow an engaged blog. It helps me connect with my audience, lets me share so much useful content, and drives a huge amount of traffic back to my site.
But I don’t own it.
We don’t own our Twitter or Instagram accounts. What we've been building could all completely change at any minute with one slight difference at their end. It’s like Facebook - now, organic growth won’t work on there because most attention is given to promoted or boosted posts, meaning you have to pay. Ain’t no way I’m doing that. But then again, I don’t own my Facebook page anyway.
Your newsletter is yours. Your subscribers are yours. So even if Twitter changes tomorrow in the same way that Facebook did so you have to pay to get your posts seen, you’ll still have your email list. And you can use that in the same way as social media - to drive traffic to your blog.
#4 Your Email Subscribers Are True Members of Your Community
Anyone can follow anyone on social media. Let’s be honest - you can’t list all of your followers on Twitter and you can’t recognise each person that likes your Instagram photos. You could not talk to these people for months and it wouldn't really matter.
But with your email subscribers, it’s different.
These people have given you their email address for a reason - because they want to hear more from you.
Getting into someone’s inbox is a huge honour. Think about it - you can scroll through Twitter or Instagram full of people that you don’t know - but you’ll keep scrolling anyway and won't think twice about who you’re following.
I bet you’re much more picky when it comes to subscribing to someone’s newsletter.
Bottom line? If someone subscribes to your email list, they’re a true member of your community. They’re not just someone you’re never going to interact with. They’re going to share your content. They’re going to engage with you. Which means they’ll engage with your blog too.
It’s likely that if someone subscribes to your email list, they want to read your blog posts too. Mention your most popular post of the week in your emails. Give them a tutorial that will help them. These people are your most engaged blog readers and that’s one of the things that will help your blog the most.
#5 It’s the Best Way to Talk to Your Readers on the Same Level
I know one of the main reasons why people put off starting a mailing list. They don’t know what to send. That’s exactly what I did. I had no idea what I was going to say to these people or what I wanted my mailing list to be.
In my opinion, I think mailing lists are best used when the person isn't giving you tips and tricks. It’s best when they’re speaking to you on a real level. Like if you’re in a coffee shop and they’re telling you a story. That’s how a mailing list should be.
You can come across as a real, genuine person who really wants to interact with your audience. Use your newsletters as a chance for people to get to know you better. The fact that they like you on this platform means they’ll like you on your blog too.
#6 Email Marketing Is Targeted
Your mailing list won’t be for everyone. Not every single person who visits your blog will want to sign up to your newsletter. That’s just the way it goes. But you don’t want that anyway.
People who've written about mailing lists are right - you’re collecting a group of your true target audience. You’re collecting a group of people who will give you feedback and who are interested in what you have to offer them. They’re much more likely to join in with your latest series and spread the word about your brand. Since you know what they like, you can give them exactly what they want in a form of content on your blog to get big results across all your platforms.
I'm not going to ask you to create an email list - but I want to you start thinking about it and come up with a little plan.
- Write down what purpose you'd want your newsletter to serve. How would it fit in with your blog and social channels?
- Note down some content ideas. Would you share snippets from your week? Tell your readers the biggest lesson you've learnt this week? Choose a topic for discussion? Start thinking about the experiences you've had and how you could turn these into newsletter topics.
- Do some research. Reach out to your community on your blog and social media and ask them if they'd subscribe to your mailing list. You never know unless you ask.
- Then if you decide that you want to start one, go for it!
Remember, if you’ve got any questions, reach out to me on Twitter at @abranchofholly or leave a comment. And if you take any pictures of your progress be sure to use the#BloggingBreakthrough hashtag!
TO GETTING A BREAKTHROUGH WITH YOUR BLOG
Remember - there's something exciting coming for the #BloggingBreakthrough challenge. It'll be launching in the second week of February & I can't wait to show you. Watch this space for more info!
Let's chat in the comments - what do you think about mailing lists? Have you already got one, or have you thought about starting your own?