Online Newsletters - Are they worth it?

I was cleaning out my e-mail inbox the other day and realized just how many e-zines and newsletters I receive. Some of them I subscribe to (like AAF Smartbrief, Lorrie Morgan-Ferraro's Red Hot Copy, and various blogs via Feedblitz) and read on a daily basis. Some I've subscribed to and wish I had more hours in the day so I could read them.

Then there are the unsolicited ones. Businesses I've met at a networking event who take my info and add it to their mailing list in an attempt to generate some sort of brand awareness. But sadly, this tactic doesn't work.

The problem? Unsolicited newsletters are annoying, and repetitive. Most are regurgitating some "market trend" that doesn't even apply to me (ex: I had 18 real estate agents sending me their newsletters - most saying the exact same thing and I'm not even in the market for a house!!)

The question becomes - how much time does it take to compile these newsletters? And if people aren't even reading them or your content is similar to your competition, are they worth the time you've invested?

What if you started a blog instead so people could read your thoughts when and how they wanted to. You could track which topics get the most respose via comments and page views. If you have original and interesting content, people will read it. Then, when it becomes a good investment of your time, start your newsletter knowing you have a subscription base.