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A Do-It-Yourself Guide To Publishing Ezines or Online Newsletters


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Copyright © 2006, Bill Platt

Bill PlattAll of the rich-and-famous internet business guru's tell you that "the money is in the list."

Of course, when people talk about "the list", they are talking about your list of email addresses of people who have opted-in to receive mailings from you. In some cases, people have simply opted-in to receive advertising from you. In most cases, people have opted-in to receive a daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly online newsletter from you.

The reason why "the list" is so important to your goals of profit, is because most people will not buy from someone until they have "heard of that person" or "heard from that person" seven times. This is the "Marketing Golden Rule of Seven".

What it boils down to is that people only buy from businesses they trust. And in most cases, it is nearly impossible to build that trust, except through repetition. Through repeat contact with a potential customer, a business can build a significant level of trust with their subscriber base.

This is why it is so important for an online business owner to contemplate publishing an ezine. Even if you don't yet have a live ezine, you should still put the systems in place to build your "list". You can always start publishing an ezine at some future date. So, it would be better to have your list started when you are ready to put out that first issue of your ezine.

Designing a Winning Ezine Formula

When designing your ezine, there are several factors you should consider. All of these factors could affect the profitability of your ezine publishing venture.

Are You Going To Publish Your Ezine In HTML or Text Format?

Both formats have their advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantage to the HTML format is that you can make your ezine visually appealing through the use of HTML. The biggest disadvantage is that a lot of people still do not have the mailing software that will allow them to view your ezine in the same way that you designed it. In the past, a number of people did not even have access to email software that would allow them to view HTML email at all. This is the reason why so many ezines got started in the Text format to begin with, and they have just never changed.

The advantages on the Text format is the general feeling that everyone who receives it will be able to read it. And, for constructing a new issue, it is pretty painless to put everything together. The disadvantage is that plain text is not nearly as attractive as HTML formatting.

How Frequently Are You Going To Publish?

Ezine publishers are sending their ezines anywhere from once a quarter to five days per week.

For a lot of people, this is a really big decision.

When I was publishing my ezines, I would mail once every two weeks. It felt as if it were not too much, and it were not too little. That is always the balance you will have to seek.

You want to be frequent enough that people will pay attention to your mailings. But, you must be careful not to go out too frequently in terms of both your subscribers AND yourself.

Some people don't have the time to read daily newsletters. You must consider their needs too. You want to go out as frequently as possible, without seeming too pushy.

The other side is according to your own schedule. For the longest time, I felt that once every two weeks was not quite enough... But then my business took off big. All of a sudden, my business was steaming so fast and furious that I did not have the time to publish. I had to take care of my paying customers first and foremost.

Your Layout Is Important

Your ezine layout should be visually-friendly and easy-to-read.

There are two basic layout rules to follow.

First, you should use lots of white space between paragraphs and sections to reduce reader's eye-strain. If your ezine strains your reader's vision, your readers may quit reading, no matter how good your content might be.

Second, you should use dividers between primary sections so that people who like to scan can jump to what they are most interested in reading.

Consistency

This next rule applies to both HTML and Text formatted ezines. You should establish a set format for how your ezine will appear to readers, and you should follow that basic template with every issue. Having a basic template allows your readers to learn what sections of your ezine they are most interested in reading, then they can jump right to that section on cue.

Choosing a Topic

It is often best to examine the people who are most likely to buy your products or services. What are they interested in?

If you offer webhosting services, you should discuss in your ezine things that are important to webmasters.

If you sell pet accessories, then you should talk about all things dog and cat.

If you sell vitamins, you should talk about good health.

See how easy this is?

A Personal Touch

Every issue of your ezine should carry a personal touch of you within it, unless you are a big corporation. Many people don't fancy themselves great writers, so they turn to others for the primary content in their ezine. We will look at that next.

The personal touch that I speak of could be as simple as a one-paragraph introduction to each issue. For that matter, tell people about the latest antics of your dog. The important point is to let your readers see a bit of you in every issue, enabling your reader to feel that they know you one-on-one. That can be a huge trust builder for you.

Locating Great Content

There is a type of content available referred to as Free Reprint Articles. What this means is that you are free to use the available articles without monetary cost, so long as you agree to follow all other Terms of Use that accompany the article.

In most cases, the most frequent term that writers are concerned with is that you use their About The Author information without change, and you hyperlink any URL pointing to their websites. The writer is willing to allow you to use his or her content, provided you are willing to allow him or her to advertise in your ezine through the About The Author information.

Websites Where You Can Search For Content

There are actually many sources you can go to to find reprint articles. Here is a few websites where you can go to search for reprint articles:

http://www.EzineArticles.com
http://www.IdeaMarketers.com
http://www.SubmitYourArticle.com/articles/
http://content.thePhantomWriters.com

Mailing Lists That Will Send You Targetted Content

If you would prefer articles to be mailed to you on subjects that you are most interested in, there are several resources for that too. As far as mailing lists go, there are four primary networks that serve the vast majority of article submissions.

All but one of the large article distribution networks are powered by companies in the article distribution business.

Rather than to divide these article mailing lists up by topic, I am going to break them down by network. Each network generally serves a different set of writers. My own polling has indicated that the average writer only submits articles to seven groups, unless they utilize a distribution service.

All of the following article mailing lists serve a specific niche:

All-In-One-Business.com Mailing Lists (No Distribution Services)

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aageneral
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aabusiness
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aahome
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aahealth
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/aainet

SubmitYourArticle.com Mailing Lists

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/submityourarticle-business
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/submityourarticle-internetmarketing
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/submityourarticle-finance
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/submityourarticle-legal
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/submityourarticle-politicsandgovernment
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/submityourarticle-homeandfamily
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/submityourarticle-religionandfaith
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/submityourarticle-referenceandeducation
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/submityourarticle-social
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/submityourarticle-selfimprovement
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/submityourarticle-healthandfitness
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/submityourarticle-travelandleisure
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/submityourarticle-artsandentertainment
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/submityourarticle-computersandinternet

Isnare.com Mailing Lists

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/free_business_articles/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/free_marketing_articles/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/free_internet_articles/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/free_medical_business_articles/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/free_real_estate_articles/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/free_political_articles/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/free_sports_articles
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/free_travel_articles/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/free_parenting_articles/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/free-dating-articles
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/free_gardening_articles/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/free-pet-content/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/free_automotive_articles/

thePhantomWriters.com Mailing Lists

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/realworld-advertising-articles
http://groups.google.com/group/spider-search-articles/
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/articles-about-economics
http://groups-beta.google.com/group/real-estate-information
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sales-marketing-tips
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/leadership_training
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/employment-hunting-tips
http://groups-beta.google.com/group/photography-and-digital-images
http://groups-beta.google.com/group/improve-your-finances
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/self-improvement-reprint-articles
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/home-improvement-articles
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/automotive_content
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/health-and-wellness-articles
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/relationship-advice-content
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nature-reprints

There are more than 300 article distribution mailing lists available in the open market. Many of these lists accept all content, but the vast majority tackle these individual topics, plus a wide range of other individual topics.

It is simply a matter of searching out the mailing lists that most closely represent the kinds of content that you would like to utilize in your ezine.

Finding A Good List Server

There are many mailserver companies out there. Of the free mailing list server companies, the three best in my preferred order are:

http://groups.yahoo.com
http://groups-beta.google.com
http://lists.topica.com

A good mailing company will give you a simple and secure subscription process. It will give you online archives. It will provide traffic through their site to give you an additional source for new subscribers.

With the free services, you have to endure some of the mailing server company's paid advertising within your ezine issue, but that is a small cost when you consider how costly some of the paid services can be.

In Conclusion...

Once you have navigated the planning and design process, the actual setup and delivery of your ezine is a pretty straight forward process. Once you have developed your winning formula, your largest commitment with every issue is in finding the best articles to place into your ezine.

With this guide, it is my hope that you will discover the perfect formula for your ezine and the perfect sources for locating the best articles to include in your ezine issues.

Good luck in your ezine publishing endeavors.

 

Bill Platt is the owner of http://thePhantomWriters.com
He has been involved in ghost writing articles since 2000, and he has been distributing client articles since 2001. To find more mailing lists that are targetted to other specific categories, you can check his list of 142 article distribution mailing groups at:
http://thephantomwriters.com/x.pl/tpw/info/groups/management.html









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