If you've read any of the articles in my Social Media category, you know how important it is to create, own, and control intellectual property that increases the value of your company. If you missed any of those posts, you can read this one about guest posting, this one about hosting a radio show of your own, and this one about owning the water *and* the pipes. You also know how important it is to publish a regular online newsletter to keep your customers, prospects, colleagues, and other stakeholders up to date on your ideas and the latest news about the difference you and your business are making in the world.
What I want to share with you today is the importance of archiving your newsletter at your website. I have archived my newsletter at my website for ten years because I did not like the idea of investing hours of time creating a publication that disappeared into the ether once it was published. An archive allows me to re-use content, and it continues to bring visitors to my site for years without me having to do any additional work. Today, I want to share another reason to archive your newsletter at your website.
When email subscription services, take Yahoo for example, push your newsletter to subscribers, they often hyperlink text in your publication to companies that pay to sponsor the content you create. But you don't get a cut of the sponsorship dollars. Let me explain why this is important, and how it related to archiving your newsletter.
The above screen shot shows a portion of my newsletter as it appears in my husband Yahoo email account. Notice how the word, “Halloween” which I used in my newsletter to describe some of the fun me and my kids had last month, is hyperlinked to a company that paid Yahoo to link the word to the sponsor's website.
The word “Halloween” is not linked in my newsletter, as you can see from the archived issue here.
When my husband reads clicks on “Halloween” in my newsletter as he reads it through Yahoo, he might think that I had inserted the link. Because he trusts my newsletter, he might click that link, thinking that it's something I want him to see. He would be wrong, but you can see how Yahoo is profiting from my brand, my goodwill, and my intellectual property.
Me no like.
When you click on “Halloween” in the Yahoo version of my publication, this pops up:
Notice there are lots of things to distract my readers from my content. There are holiday-themed Flickr images to click on, plus a link for “Easter” and “Christmas,” each of which opens windows to Yahoo's search engine. Where there are more sponsored links. Fancy that.
Note the word “Ad” in the bottom right corner, and a link to Costume Express, a company that sells, not surprisingly, Halloween costumes.
So you can see that companies that purchased ads from Yahoo are enjoying increased brand awareness and click throughs based, not on Yahoo's efforts, but on mine.
Stated another way, Yahoo is making money off of my intellectual property. Yick. I Tweeted Yahoo about this yesterday because I'd like to get my cut of the ad revenue. I'll let you know if they respond. (I'm not holding my breath.)
Guard Your Intellectual Property
So, back to my original point. You work hard to create a brand that increases in value through the years. You work hard to publish information on the Web that increases awareness, builds good will, reflects favorably on your brand, and increases sales. Why not make your content work for you better than it works for Yahoo?
The first thing visible at the top of my newsletter is a link to where you can read it online at my website. There, you'll find reliable content, where sponsored links are relevant to my readers and clearly marked as sponsored links.
I link to my archives year after year. Yesterday, I Tweeted a link to a 2-year old article that features previous stories of 10 of my members. These inspiring stories are relevant now, and they'll be relevant ten years from now. Here's another example: an October 9, 2006 article sharing November 2008: Featuring Jennifer Kirkwood of La Dolce Diva in Georgia
May 2006: Featuring Margaret Hardy of Abbey St. Clair in Virginia
January 2006: Featuring Candance Newman of Oil Lady Aromatherapy in Colorado (back then, she was in Florida)
These articles and the stories they share are timeless. I can use them over and over again to feature my members, and this means that my members benefit too.
It doesn't solve the problem, but it is a proactive solution that empowers me to take more control over the course of my business where content is concerned. And that is important for all of us.
If you'd like to subscribe to my newsletter, you can do so here. I'd love to inspire you with the stories of my amazing members. Plus, you can see how I work this archive thing, and also how I use it to connect all of my social branding across the Web, including my blog and Twitter pages. (Here's an article on that.)
To make sure you don't miss more great articles like this, subscribe to my blog at this link.
Question: What do you think? Do you archive your newsletter at your website? Why or why not?