I regularly read several blogs like mine written by individuals. They’re mostly tech and Apple-focused. I’m finding a constant theme amongst us lately. We’re questioning if we are blogging on the right platform if we should have a newsletter yada-yada-yada. Why? Because we’re all in search of more views for our content and to increase our subscriber/follower base.
We find ourselves in this place because we have way too many choices for posting our content. Where do I blog? Ghost, WordPress, Medium, MicroBlog, Jekyll, Hugo. Hosted or self-hosted. Should I have a newsletter or only a newsletter? Substack, Revue, Hey World, MailChimp, ConvertKit. Holy shit! The list just goes on and on. Where and the hell is the right place to be?
I find reading stories by fellow bloggers about this subject interesting. It lets me know that I’m not the only one who struggles with this.
The thing that I hate is the fact that I have moved platforms so much over the past year. I know it is frustrating to readers, because it is frustrating to me.
A goal I have is to make Tablet Habit bigger than just a hobbyist newsletter. I would love to make it a side hustle or my literal job. It won’t happen overnight, but I think it’s possible in due time.
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There is a definite trend of email newsletters becoming the primary medium for writers who “go indie” recently. In years past, these folks would be starting blogs, but you don’t see nearly as many new blogs these days, and things like Substack and Mailchimp have made it so that anyone can get up and running with a newsletter, and if they’re big enough, get paid to do so.
Instead of ranting about why I think blogs are a better medium for writing in basically every way, I instead wanted to try to understand why so many people are opting for emails over the web. Here are my questions:
- What about writing in a newsletter is more enjoyable than writing for a blog?
- Are newsletter audiences more engaged than blog subscribers?
- As a reader, do you prefer reading in your email app to an RSS app (or just the web in general)?
- Do you not miss things like link posts and “going viral” which are much harder, if impossible to do with emails?
- Is it easier to get people to sign up for a paid subscription compared to the web?
I think it comes down to energy levels and focussing on one output method, in my case this blog. I much prefer to write shorter posts that I can do from my iPhone whenever I want to. My main issue with newsletters is I want to share these shorter posts, not something that I store up for a weekly release.
But I realised that when I was reading other people’s writing, while I was usually interested in the topic itself, I found the most value when the author made it personal and provided their own perspective. And that’s what I’m trying to do with my own writing.
Now when writing about a topic, I remind myself that if anyone reads my blog, they’re probably not coming here as their primary source of news. So I may as well make it personal because what else have I got? I’ve only got access to one perspective. My own.
Here’s some good advice from Om Malik and John DeVore:
Are newsletters the new blogs — or is it that blogs are newsletters? I can’t tell. For me, however, the blog is my homestead.
But ultimately, the truth is that it doesn’t matter how you express yourself. Discussions and worries about platforms and tools are distractions. CJ Chilvers is quite right when he says, “Publishing online is all about relationships.” Kevin Kelly, the legendary author and founding editor of Wired magazine, argues that 1,000 true fans are enough. I would say that even one is good enough.
My best work happens when I write for a single person instead of a mass of people. Like any writer, I want to be popular. I want to be read by as many people as possible. But the only way to do that is to connect with one person. Before I write anything — whether it’s a social media post for a brand or a first-person essay or a movie review — I ask myself, “Who am I writing for?”