Bear with me as I travel back to 2008/9 and debate Newsletters vs. Social Media. I’m in a new role where I am in charge of both of these offerings and, like many of you, have limited time and resources so it’s been on my mind.
Successful newsletters provide something of value. For museums that is things like a behind the scenes look at the work going on in the museum, heads up about upcoming news and events, and information about the collection direct from experts. But this is no longer exclusive to the newsletter. All of this content also gets shared on social media platforms. Perhaps with a different tone or emphasis but still the same content. Plus social media allows more opportunities for learning and engagement because you can actually interact with your audience. So what’s the point of having a newsletter?
With a lot of museums these days moving towards doing less better (for example the Brooklyn Museum cutting back on social media), I got to thinking – why have both social media and a newsletter? Why expend resources on something that does the same thing, and you could argue, does it worse. But does it?
|Opt in||Opt in|
|Two-way communication||One-way communication|
|Function is to connect with the visitor||Function is to connect with the visitor|
|Tone is personal and conversational||Tone is personal and conversational|
|Meant for anyone, including those who have visited the museum, will visit or will only ever visit online
||Meant for members, as a membership perk, exclusive
|Huge reach||Smaller reach|
|Used to build brand||Used to keep loyal customers happy|
|Frequency is daily||Frequency is monthly or quarterly|
Use newsletters for selling and social media for learning
While reviewing articles claiming social media had not in fact killed the newsletter I discovered the difference between the two. Email communications, such as newsletters, are still more effective at attracting customers to your website and are better at conversion – getting people to spend money. So we might not want to scrap newsletters altogether.
Social media, as I mentioned above, is stronger at developing engagement and learning.
Solution = Repurposing Content?
Save time and energy by repurposing content. I’ve seen some newsletters that are simply images with a couple sentences that link back to content on blogs or other areas of an organization’s website. This could increase traffic to your website and decrease time needed to write a newsletter. On the other hand some followers might wonder why you are sending them a newsletter at all if it doesn’t have orginal content. But it could be seen as curated content from your website and blog – just the most popular and relevant. As you can see I’m undecided on this one.
What do you think? What have your experiences been either writing newsletters or receiving them?