Content Commando

Content Commando

by Marie Williams

CHOOSE YOUR WEAPON. Your ezine needs to focus on one main theme – whatever your reason for publishing. If you have a website, you definitely need an ezine, or at the bare minimum, a “keep me updated” list, to complement it. Otherwise, ezines can be based on your hobby or specialist area of knowledge.

AIM FOR PROMOTION. If, for example, you’re an ace accountant, creative cook, or daring diver, why not use your expertise? You’ll make it hard on yourself if you attempt to write on subjects that you know little or nothing about. But if you stick to what you know, you’ll instantly double your chances of success.

THE DRILL:

1) TIPS. Short tips make easy writing. They can be presented as a bulleted list in every issue or dotted here and there between lengthy sections to vary the pace and give your readers a breather. Many of your subscribers will be happy to send in their own tips in return for a little exposure.

2) ASK THE EXPERT. This type of feature normally attracts a lot of interest and is an easy way to build up your content in a fresh, original manner. You’ll be doing your members a favour *and* showing off your knowledge.

3) COMPETITIONS. Free and regular competitions help to attract new subscribers – and keep your regulars happy. You’ll get more entrants if you make the task fairly easy and if you give away a good prize. Types of competitions can include answers to questions, solutions to puzzles, the top tip, the best letter or article, and the first to send you an email. Prizes don’t have to be expensive. Give away your ebook, a free ad in your ezine, your product or service, a money-off voucher, or free entrance to a pay-to-join site or club.

4) FREEBIES. Another attractive feature, but only if the freebies are any good. Don’t be tempted to give away rubbish. It will taint your reputation.

5) FEEDBACK. Invite suggestions and comments from your subscribers. If you want your ezine to be a roaring success, you’d better listen to your members. Your publication is for them – not you! Flattering letters can be printed in your ezine or even used as testimonials. Don’t get hung up over valid criticisms – act on them and learn from your mistakes.

6) EDITORIALS. Give your ezine the human touch and let your readers get to know you. If your subscribers like you they’re more likely to buy from you will happily recommend your ezine to others and will answer your calls for feedback.

Writing an editorial may seem daunting at first, but it’s really a breeze when your know-how. Typical content includes:

¤ A run-down of the best bits in your ezine.

¤ Comments on interesting emails you’ve received.

¤ Local, national or worldwide news and gossip.

¤ Seminars or courses you’ve recently attended.

¤ Updates on your website, products, or services.

7) INTERVIEWS. Interviews make pretty easy work. Just write a list of questions that you’d like to ask – and that your subscribers would like to read about. Send this by email to well-respected online authorities who work in your field. You’ll get a good response so long as you’re polite, professional, and generous.

8) ARTICLES. You don’t have to publish an article (I’ve given you plenty of ideas for filling your ezine), but, so long as they’re well-written, they’ll always be in demand. Ezine articles are best kept brief, with short paragraphs, plenty of white space, and bulleted lists. You don’t have to write your own articles but bear in mind that your subscribers will get ticked off if you always publish articles that have done the rounds a million times before.

9) REVIEWS. Write up short reviews of products or services suited to your ezine. Give your honest opinion – always. Never lie to your valued members just to make a quick buck with an affiliate scheme. You’ll lose credibility *and* subscribers.

10) CLASSIFIED ADS. Don’t be tempted to fill your ezine with too many ads – you’ll get a lot of unsubscribe requests if you do. Stick to up to ten ads per issue and try to keep them relevant to your readers. Either swap ads with other ezines for free exposure, or sell ads when your list has reached about 1000 members.

Good content will make or break your ezine. Be inventive, informative, and be willing to improve by listening to what your subscribers want. Your ezine will be a guaranteed success – as long as you mix business with pleasure!

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