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Defining the Relations Between Blogs, E-zines, RSS and E-mail

The "#1 Mistake Most Blogs Do" article generated quite some interesting feedback from the blogosphere.

What especially strikes me is that somewhere along the line we started comparing apples and oranges, and lost some much needed objectivity.

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 online content aggregators as well.

Blogs and e-zines are two different internet media content formats, differing in how/what content is provided and presented through them.

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 e-zine issue;
  • 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 etc.);
  • a featured consultant;
  • a Q&A; section;
  • a featured whitepaper;
  • etc.

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.


Hi Larry,

Thank you for the link. Actually, there are a few more available on the market.

And, not to forget, services like GetResponse are starting to provide RSS delivery as well.

All the best,


Posted by: Rok Hrastnik at April 2, 2005 1:51 PM

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