There’s much debate out there as to whether or not nonprofits need an email newsletter AND a blog.
After all, both content formats can accomplish many of the same objectives including donor communication, cause education, fundraising campaigns, event announcements, impact updates, success stories, etc. Not to mention the fact that a lot of resources are required (e.g., time and money) to generate enough high quality content to support both an email newsletter and a blog.
Content Marketing Institute’s 2016 Nonprofit Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America report states that 94% of surveyed nonprofits are using an email newsletter as a marketing tactic, while 64% are using a blog. Of the 94% of nonprofits using an email newsletter, 69% consider their newsletter one of their most effective tactics. Suffice it to say that nonprofit email newsletters aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
But while the email newsletter has long been a tried and true staple, nonprofit marketers are also beginning to understand the value of having a blog as they seek to expand their digital footprint, attract more visitors to their website, and boost their organic search visibility.
But is there really a need for both?
Whether nonprofits need one or both largely depends on the purpose for each. In most cases, an email newsletter is intended to stay in contact with supporters who are interested or currently vested in your nonprofit in some way. It’s designed to provide valuable news and information that reinforces your mission and builds trust. In other words, an email newsletter is about cultivating and maintaining relationships with people who have opted in to receive emails from your nonprofit.
On the other hand, the purpose of a nonprofit blog is first and foremost to attract new people who have an interest in your cause, but might not be aware of your nonprofit and the great work you’re doing on behalf of those affected. And while it can also be used to give an occasional shout out to your donors, volunteers, and other insider advocates, a blog primarily allows you to reach outside your contact database to drive cause awareness and position your organization as a thought leader with a broader audience.
At their core, an email newsletter and blog serve different purposes for different audiences through different channels, but they can actually work together quite well when integrated strategically. Below are 3 simple ways to make your nonprofit email newsletter and blog a digital dynamic duo.
- Develop an editorial calendar with content themes that are appropriate for your existing email newsletter contacts as well as your blog subscribers.
- Create synergy between your email newsletter and blog by leveraging your blog to grow your email list and by using your email newsletter to promote your blog.
- Share excerpts from your top viewed blog posts in your email newsletter (with “read more” redirect links to your blog) on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis—depending on how frequently you blog or publish your newsletter.
Are you currently publishing an email newsletter, a blog, or both to reach your audience? Sound off in the comments below with your thoughts.