What a Load of Bloggers

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Email Newsletters, E-Zines, Blogging and Tweeting.

If you’ve heard of these terms, but you don’t know how relevant they are to your business, or you have never heard of any of them, this short guide will provide a basic explanation.

It Started With An Email

The very first email was sent in 1971 by a gentleman called Ray Tomlinson. It didn’t contain the secret to a successful life or the formula for eternal happiness. Quite the contrary, the message was simply ‘qwertyuiop’. The message was sent a staggering 1 foot, from one computer to the one sitting next to it. Nevertheless, it was a momentous moment, because for the first time ever an electronic message had been sent from one computer to another where it was stored until the recipient was ready to read it. Most importantly it was sent over an uncontrolled network of ‘relays’ (other computers) connected to the predecessor of the internet, know as ‘ARPANET’ (Advanced Research Projects Agency NETwork).

Email subsequently revolutionised global communication and for many years was used by individuals to send single message to other individuals. However as the adoption of email messaging grew, some people began to see the marketing potential of emails. If you could send a message to a single person, then you could send it to a thousand people or a million people! And so ‘Email Newsletters’ or ‘E-Zines’ were born, which allowed company to easily and cost-effectively communicate innovations or new services to their customer base.

There is no denying that it allowed many companies to build their brand recognition and increase their customer retention ratios. However, setting up an email newsletter system is not for everyone and many business owners embark on a strategy of sending out ’email-shots’ only to realise that they simply cannot dedicate the time required for a newsletter strategy to be successful.

Blogging To The Rescue?

In December 1997, a gentleman called Jorn Barger is said to have created the first ever blog. The term ‘Blog’ is short for Web-Log; essentially a daily log of activities, thoughts and links to interesting articles.

Typically short snippets of information (100 – 300 words long), a Blog does not require the planning of a newsletter strategy and so many business owners abandoned the long hard slog of creating, sending and maintaining a newsletter system in favour of the easier less stressful blog.

Whereas an email needs to be ‘pushed’ to readers, blog content is ‘pulled’ by readers as they wish and so you don’t require any costly subscriptions to email systems or to purchase your own email system. However, many soon realised that a blog still requires a certain commitment that they could not adhere to and just like their email newsletter strategy, they abandoned their blogs.

When You Can’t Blog, Twitter!

In April 2006, ‘Twitter’ was launched.

Instead of long emails on a monthly basis, or blogs on a weekly or daily basis, a user could now post a short sentence as often as they liked, even every minute if they so wished. And so; ‘Twittering’ or ‘Tweeting’ was born.

If you own a business and you want to portray yourself as an expert in your field, then twittering is a great way to achieve that. Interested individuals then subscribe to your Twitter feed and in a short time, you have a number of keen ‘followers’ eagerly awaiting your next nugget of expert knowledge.

Social Media Sites

Some business owners found that they could gain brand recognition by creating accounts on major social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and even LinkedIn. These mediums are less about you ‘talking to’ your customers and more about ‘interacting’ with them. The earliest form of this activity was the ‘Forum’, where companies set up on-line areas for customers to share feedback and their views.

In Summary…

Given the time and/or staff, you could implement a total social media strategy and incorporate all of these activities. But in the real world, you need to think very carefully about who you want to communicate with and pick the right medium for them. Just make sure you can dedicate the time to whichever one you choose and then stick to it. After a short time, you will begin to reap the rewards.

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