Blog, Newsletter, RSS or... dare I say... FAX?

Whenever I talk to people about setting up blogs, a common thing they say is, "Well, we're already doing an e-mail newsletter and we don't have time to do something else." or... "We're not sure how our audience will react."

I'm fond of saying I'm "platform agnostic," which means this: I believe in regular communication for lots of reasons. But I couldn't care less whether you visit this blog every day, pull in the RSS feed or subscribe to the Zookoda newsletter. Either way, I win, because I succeed in communicating with you. This frees me of the burden of having to make a choice and allows you the freedom of making a choice.

"Sounds like a lot of work," I often hear, or, "Man, you must have a lot of time on your hands." If you haven't communicated this way before, here's the least you need to know:

1.) There's content creation. Whether you're starting from a blog or newsletter, you're going to have to create content. I choose to start with the blog.

2.) Turning my blog into an RSS feed. This might've taken me ten minutes the first time I set up a blog. Now, I could do it in under a minute. And that's a one-time thing. So with one minute of labor, I've now taken a blog and made it available to the tech-happy RSS crowd. Oh, and by the way, since the new version of Windows will have an RSS reader built-in, in a few years it won't be just for geeks anymore.

3.) Turning my blog into an email newsletter. Through Zookoda, this takes me about five minutes per week. Truly, it could run on autopilot, but I tend to do a little tweaking. Five minutes a week and my blog gets turned into an e-mail newsletter.

So, here's the punchline. I thought I was the king of "platform agnostics" until I had the chance to join my buddy, Dave Garretson, "The blogging furniture salesman" for a cup of coffee. In addition to pushing his content out the three ways I am, Dave also sends out his content via fax and - until this month - via the US Post Office to a small batch of customers. Dave's already figured out what so few have: if you've already invested 90% of the energy to develop content, why sweat the 10% of energy required to maximize distribution and satisfy the wishes of your customers?

For a grumpier take on the same subject, Jeff Jarvis also pulled out his soapbox this week.

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