Newsletter blogs are a much better choice for small organizations than printed or even emailed newsletters. I explain more about blogs below but they are more like broadcasting than printing.
Printed newsletters are normally planned for a certain size and length and with special features for each issue—a calendar of events, a cute quote, a joke, a feature story, news items. All these have to come together at once and get to the printer in order to meet deadlines for timely publication. Then they have to be distributed. Mailing is expensive. Address changes difficult to maintain.
An email newsletter with a predetermined format will still have to meet the same content expectations, plus being prepared by someone who understands the format and the software. Most newsletters, distributed in print or by email, have become uneconomical and of questionable value given the amount of time, effort, and coordination they take to produce.
What Exactly Is a Blog?
Blog is short for Web Log. Blogs began as online diaries in which writers posted their thoughts and opinions with discipline and openness. A serious blogger wrote every day and was followed by other bloggers. For many of the early bloggers, who were writing before the easy to use Web existed, it became both a religion and a science.
A newsletter blog post is like posting a news item on a bulletin board or to a news feed than preparing a newsletter for publication. It has a singular focus and is relatively brief. (Mine are typically too long!) Posts are added to a website in chronological order but can be searched and sorted in multiple ways, like notecards.
A Blog Post Is Not an Email Message
A blog post is more formal than an email message because it is intended for a wider audience and for “posterity.” It becomes part of the historical record, not just an announcement or press release that will be thrown away. They can be published on a schedule or spontaneously. A calendar of events for the next month might be posted on a regular date, and posts announcing births or other happenings as they occur. Posts on special topics can be posted when completed—Planning a Garden, New Lamps, etc.
One post doesn’t wait until others are ready.
Blogs Convey Continuity
A blog post is part of a continuous process. Each post is a reminder of the last and the next. That continuity is established more easily than with a newsletter because posts can be read quickly and thus can be more frequent. Each post is complete within itself but the blog is “never ending.” Its past is always present.
Blogs Can Be Spontaneous
With the ability to post frequently, not all information needs to be collected before announcing an exciting event. Who wants to know about a baby born a month ago when it can be known within 24 hours? So what if there is no name yet? It can be announced when available. Distribution is essentially free so three short posts can be sent as easily as one long post.
Frequency can be irritating, but sometimes it is a welcome virtue. A blog post can be quickly written and distributed with little extra cost beyond maintaining a website (which you should already be doing.)
I use WordPress because it is free, well-designed, constantly updated, and used by millions of other people worldwide. It can be used on your own website under your own domain or on the WordPress.com website where WordPress will host a blog for you. It is easy to learn by anyone familiar with word-processing program and the web.
What the software does is set up a framework for writing and organizing posts. Think of each news item as an individual snippet. WordPress helps you organize each snippet chronologically and by author, title, date, subject, keywords, etc. It includes a search function so the snippet can always be found by searching any of those elements. It keeps track of subscribers so you can distribute these news items as they are published or weekly or monthly. Any schedule you choose. It does many more things but in terms of replacing printed newsletters with newsletter blogs, those are some of the main advantages.