Defining the Relations Between Blogs, E-zines,
RSS and E-mail
Copyright 2005 Rok Hrastnik
Although RSS and blogs are slowly reaching mainstream, they
are still missuderstood by most marketers in relation to eachother
and in relation to their relatives, e-zines and e-mail. How do these
four really relate and what does this mean for your internet marketing
The most common missconception is comparing blogs
and e-mail, with many bloggers actually touting blogs as a replacement
for e-mail. The truth is, thereís no comparison at all, just like
comparing apples and oranges.
The second missconception is believing that RSS and
blogs are somehow strongly related or even that RSS is good only
for delivering blog content. The result of this on one side are
marketers who do not see RSS as a full-powered communicational channel,
and bloggers on the other side who refuse to see e-mail as a viable
content delivery vehicle.
Letís set the record straight Ö
RSS and e-mail are content delivery channels; the
tools that enable us to deliver our content to end-users, and in
the case of RSS, to other websites as well.
Blogs and e-zines are two different internet media
content formats, differing in how/what content is provided and presented
Explained in even simper terms:
Blogs and e-zines or newsletters are "the what" ---
what you publish online ... the content side.
RSS and e-mail are "the how" --- how you get that
content or information to the reader ... the delivery side.
RSS/e-mail and blogs/e-zines cannot be directly compared.
Blog content and e-zine content can both be delivered via RSS and
e-mail, and there is no direct business/logical relation between,
for example, blogs and RSS.
Saying that "blogs have some attributes & features
that email lacks" is in fact comparing two completely different
things (an internet media content format with a content delivery
channel), which are not directly related.
What makes sense, for example, is comparing e-zines
and blogs ...
Blogs are "personal" conversations, opinions and news,
delivered in a linear structure, usually written in a more personal
style, and confined to a limited number of content types.
E-zines on the other hand are more similar to magazines
or newspapers, carrying content presented in a complex non-linear
content structure, and having the ability to carry many different
content types that do not mix well together if provided through
a linear content structure.
A typical e-zine might include:
--> an editorial;
--> a leading article, representing the prevailing topic of a specific
--> supporting articles, clearly structured to show they are secondary
to the leading article;
--> links to "best of" blog posts in the given timeframe;
--> links to the most relevant forum topics and posts;
--> a news section;
--> a featured client case study;
--> different advertisements (banner ads, textual ads, advertorials
--> a featured consultant;
--> a Q&A section;
--> a featured whitepaper;
Providing all of this content demands a complex content
structure and a strong and experienced editor. The blog format simply
does not provide the level of structure needed to effectively present
such a complex content mix.
But that's not to say that blogs are in any way inferior
to e-zines, they're just different. And businesses need both, and
they need to deliver both via RSS and e-mail.
However, what is worrying is that some seem to think
that e-zines and e-mail are "backward". That's a dangerous line
of thought that comes close to shooting yourself in the foot.
Personal preferences towards content delivery channels
and internet content media formats have no place in business. What
matters is what our audiences want and how they want it.
Our goal must be to satisfy as many of "our people"
as possible, implementing all the tools and technologies needed
to achieve this goal. Letting our personal preferences get in the
way is dangerous at best.
And even if 90% of our customers/prospects/partners
(etc.) preferred RSS to e-mail to receive our content, it would
still be good business practice to provide both.
About the Author:
Find out immediately how you can power your online business with
RSS and integrate it in all of your marketing. Request the free
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examples and advice on how to get the most out of RSS in the shortest
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