Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Ask PZM: Jan 2011 - Newsletters

Q: I don't have time to read newsletters from other writers so I'm not sure I should write one. Honestly I don't want to. Am I nuts?

You’re the opposite of nuts – you’re very sane.

Nowadays we have way too much to keep up with. I know our modern tools – smartphones, fast Internet access at home, etc. – are suppose to give us more time.; But the truth is that we are so wired into various info conduits that we have less time.

Why, then, would you want to put extra time stress on yourself and your fans to write/read yet another newsletter or ezine (online newsletter)?

Personally I end up printing out ezines to which I’ve subscribed because I don’t have time to read these when they appear in my email inbox. Then (with a couple of exceptions) I often don’t get around to reading the ezines.

This is why I like blog posts so much better than ezines. Well-written blog posts with short paragraphs and lots of white space are much easier to read than committing to reading an entire newsletter or ezine.

Instead of writing a newsletter you can use email marketing to stay top of mind with your fans without giving them more than a few paragraphs of text to read in an email.

For example, if you sign up for my new company report “5 Tips for Staying Top of Mind With Your Target Markets” at – you will afterwards usually receive one email message from me a week. You can quickly scan the email to see if the info is of interest to you. (And you can always opt out of receiving more emails from me.)

This use of email marketing serves the same purpose as a newsletter – staying top of mind with your target audience and providing worthwhile information to that audience – but makes it much easier for you (let alone your fans).

Q. As a follow-up question, I'm still not sure how readers find the time to read all the blogs they should be reading. How do you schedule important blogs into a daily routine?

First of all, let’s define “should be reading.” There’s no requirement to read blog posts, although we can agree that there’s a lot of good info to be learned from some blog posts.

Here’s my own method for dealing with the overabundance of great blog post info:

I print out the blog posts that look most relevant for what I want to learn. Then I carry some of the printouts around in a bag on errands. When I have a few minutes down time (NOT while driving), I can usually read at least one post.

The rest of the printed-out blog posts I save for weekend reading. And, yes, some posts I’ve printed out never get read. But on the other hand I’ve discovered some important info I needed to know when going through my “to be read” blog post pile.

It’s also a matter of being able to categorize – what I’d like to read and what I will “allow” myself to read. I do this six days a week with my Wall Street Journal print subscription. I could easily lose myself to hours a day reading the articles.

Instead I mentally set up a kind of internal clock – and when I’ve used up my allotted minutes, I put the paper down. This, of course, forces me to prioritize which articles are most important to me – and not what other people think are most important.

In conclusion, it’s the beginning of a new year. Let’s all resolve to stress less about what we “should” do and focus more on what we realistically “can” do and still keep our sanity.

© 2011 Miller Mosaic, LLC

Phyllis Zimbler Miller (@ZimblerMiller on Twitter) and her social media marketing company partner Yael K. Miller (@MillerMosaicLLC on Twitter) coach clients on how to effectively use the power of social media to attract their targeted audiences. 
If you sign up to get email notification of Phyllis’ social media marketing blog posts and the post topic doesn’t seem relevant to you, don’t read the post.  Maybe the next post will be relevant to you.


  1. This is great advice, Phyllis. Printing them out for later is so logical that I can't believe I didn't think of it. Thanks.

  2. Thanks for dropping by, Nadine. Have a great day.

  3. Nadine --

    We all sometimes get so caught up online that we forget about transferring online info to offline. Glad you liked my idea!

  4. I've been meaning to ask what you do about the people who leave regular comments on your blog. Do you put them on your blog roll? I can't get my mind around some of these blogs that receive 60+ comments or more every time. What's the protocol, Phyllis? Is it considered rude if you don't retaliate?

    Joylene, thanks for sharing Ask PZM with us every month.

  5. Printing out blog posts to read at a later date is a simple but brilliant idea,I can't believe I'd never thought of it.
    Thanks for an interesting post Phylis.

  6. @Bea, good question. I'm sure Phyllis will be back to answer it soon.

    @Paul, hi. Glad it helped. Isn't it nice when that happens!

  7. Bea brings up a good point. What's with these blogs that write about nothing then get 100s of comments? Don't suppose anyone could answer why?

    Randy Ackerman

  8. Good question, Randy. I'm still trying to figure it out. Human nature knows no bounds, I suppose.

  9. Hi Joylene,
    Some more interesting advice. I do have somewhat of a routine and I endeavour to comment on certain blogs, on a regular basis. However, I must admit some blogs are just too long and I end up skimming through them. Sometimes they put me off from commenting at all.
    I've noted that Randy has followed up and asked, "What's with these blogs that write about nothing then get 100s of comments? Don't suppose anyone could answer why?" Well, in my case, I do get lots of comments and my comment total must look quite impressive. However, I believe the reason that I get so many comments, is because I endeavour to acknowledge each person and thus reply. So my total is double. I believe the personal touch is appreciated. Still, that doesn't answer the question why some blogs get like a zillion comments and they are perhaps not very good blogs. Cynically my answer would be their 'self-promoting' marketing
    strategy. This very superficial, you follow my blog, I'll follow yours mentality. I do know if you put up a picture of some cute animal and a couple of words, you are almost guaranteed those zillion comments.
    Good grief, this is a very long and rambling comment. All I know is that my blog is and never will be self-promoting. No way would KLAHANIE ever do that . LOL
    Take care, I'm outta here.....

  10. Good grief is right! What separates your blogs is the content. Your readers content to you. I know this because I'm one of them. Friends stick together. But I think Randy has a point.

    Happy Blogging, good buddy.

  11. Let me see if I can get my head around these questions, because I think there are separate questions.

    1. If someone regularly comments on your blog, must you regularly comment on his/her blog?

    This is an especially ticklish question because it also raises the questions of time and authenticity.

    All I can do is answer for myself: I try to respond to any comments personally addressed to me connected to anything I post anywhere on the web. But I do not necessarily check out the blog or the commenter or feel compelled to leave a comment on his/her most recent blog post.

    I don't do this not because I'm not interested, but because I'm a realist with my time. There's just not enough time in the day (no matter how fast a typist I am).

    2. On the separate question of getting lots of comments on your blog posts, this is not something that I get. Part of this may be because people read my blog posts on my site, through email notification or the RSS feed, through notes on my company's Facebook Pages, or perhaps somewhere else.

    What I actually think is that I don't write controversial or thought-provoking blog posts. It's in my nature to provide as much helpful info as possible, but I don't think these kinds of blog posts elicit comments.

    Sometimes I think that no one is reading my posts -- and then I'll get a nice email sent directly to me thanking me or someone else will tell me how much he/she has learned.

    So I just keep writing, knowing that the search engines like my new material even if no one leaves comments.

    And if you want to check out my own blog -- it's at

  12. Thanks for this advice.
    I love newsletters, but fall into that category of not being able to find the time to do them justice when I read them.

    And I agree about the blog as opposed to a newsletter. The blog could be so versatile, a means for news or simply sharing thoughts.

  13. Another thing to keep in mind:

    I publish several posts a week. I know that people don't read every post -- reading depends on their own time and schedule. But I have several opportunities a week for people to connect with what I've written.

    But if a newsletter only comes out once a week or once every other week or once a month, and the newsletter recipient doesn't have time to read the newsletter, you may have lost the opportunity to connect with him or her for another long period of time.

  14. You may think you don't write thought-provoking posts, Phyllis, but this one got me thinking about what I do! I'm not someone who has ever asked myself if I should write a newsletter. I'm not even tempted! I don't have a need to market yet but when that time comes, like you, my focus will likely be different. Then I guess I'll have to decide if I can justify adding to people's inboxes.

    With all the e-mails that come into our house, I don't want to add more so with two exceptions I don't subscribe to newsletters or ezines; nor do I choose the option to have e-mailed notifications of new posts or comments. I prefer reading blogs and I consolidate the ones I want to follow on Google Reader so that I can skim through them all in one place. Usually I only I click over to the individual blog if I want to comment or take a closer look at accompanying photos.

    Thinking of that follow-up question, I like interacting with other writers/bloggers so I try to respond to any comments they leave on my blog. I usually visit their blog at least once to see if it's something I'd like to continue reading, but I don't automatically follow them. From my blog stats I know that many more are reading it than are commenting, and I'm sure I couldn't continue responding to everyone if they did. I suppose that will be a happy dilemma if it ever happens, but for now what I'm doing keeps my blogging, reading and commenting within fairly reasonable bounds. (I say 'fairly' because I know as it is I spent way too much time in the blogosphere!) :)

  15. Carol --

    This is such a lovely response to my blog post.

    And I know we all get so much in our inboxes. And in my case there's being torn between reading some interesting but not very relevant posts and reading some not-very-interesting but very relevant posts.

    Plus when I'm tired I can't concentrate on complicated tech blog posts, so I have to juggle between "light" reading and "not so light" reading.

    On the other hand, for me it's exciting to know there's always something new to learn. Certainly prevents boredom!

    Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

  16. Thank you Carol Zampa and Carol Garvin, lovely names by the way. And Phyllis what you do has made my cyber world a lot less frightening. The very first time I read your blog I knew reading your work would be an important part of my growth as a blogger and author. I can't imagine where I'd be without you.

    Sometimes this comment room feels like my dining room table. I steep some tea, sit back and savour the stimulating conversation.

    I hope all of you have an exceptionally great 2011.

  17. there's something to be said for luck too. Ten people each have terrific products, but luck intervenes and one, not better or worse than the rest, skyrockets. Chance has something to do with it. You're all hearing the story of the "voice" of the street person. Maybe in this life it was his turn. Maybe there was a lesson only he could learn in this lifetime.

    But hey, what do I know. I don't have a blog or a novel.

    Garry Krussel


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