Zing ‘Em With Your Zine Content!

Zing ‘Em With Your Zine Content

Subject Line: TWM’s Release – #12: Zing ‘Em With Your Zine Content

1. Editor’s Remarks
2. How to Start Your Own Ezine – Part IV
a) An Introduction to Ezine Content
b) Content Commando!
c) Treat Your Readers to Some Content
3. What’s New at The Write Market
4. Get Your Ad in TWM’s Release!
5. Administrative Information


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Exciting news! We’ve opened a discussion board! It’s called “The Wrapper”. If you have any questions or any problems about web design or promotion our board is the place to post them. Or maybe you just have an opinion that you’d like to share. We’ve already had some interesting stuff going on over there. You can post as yourself or anonymously. We are encouraging the use of signature files – so come on over and get some exposure for your website.


Everybody’s talkin’ about email this month – it’s a hot topic right now. There is a difference between spam or mass email marketing and ezine marketing. To refresh your memory, or if this is your first issue of TWM’s Release – go to http://www.thewritemarket.com/ezine.shtml to read previous articles in our ezine tutorial.

This month we are introducing a writer who maintains a website on computer flight simulation. He also sends out an ezine. If you like his humorous writing style, sign up for his ezine at .

Now it’s time to start talking about ezine content. Next month we will continue our ezine content discussion with another article in this series.

Write on,
Renee Kennedy

by Renee Kennedy

Over the next few months, we’re going to dedicate our articles to Ezine Content. There are many things to cover under this topic:

1. Type of content – What subject matter will you be talking about in your ezine? Are you going to try to market a product or services with your ezine?

2. Style of content – What “style” will your writing take? Will you take a “no-bones-about-it” professional attitude or will your ezine be more laid back? Maybe you will want to write informative but humorous articles. Are you going to do editorials or will you just let the articles speak for themselves?

3. Where to find content – Are you going to write your own content? Are you going to buy content? Are you going to try to find free content?

We’ll start out this section of the tutorial with two guest articles that give an overview of content “type” and “style”. Next month, we will have two articles that address more details of style and type. And in June, we’ll send you the article you’ve all been waiting for (I’ve been procrastinating on this one because of the research involved) — WHERE TO FIND CONTENT!!

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.


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 you 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!

*** A B S O L U T E E Z I N E S ***==================
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by Duncan Johnson

It has probably happened to you before. You signed up for a newsletter, thinking it would contain plenty of valuable information about whatever interests you, but it turned out to be nothing but worthless advertisements similar to this one: “If You Send ME a MERE $999.95, I will Send YOU My Brilliant E-book entitled ‘The Various Aromas Encountered In Livestock Farms’. At This LOW price You Can Obtain this Excellent Book that will Send Your SALES Skyrocketing! And I’m Giving You a .0005% Discount Plus a Scratch-‘n’-Sniff Sticker Just For Being on This Newsletter!” You could have been doing something far more profitable in the time it took to subscribe, decide you hated it, and unsubscribe.

Many articles have been written about what a great promotional tool a newsletter is; because of this emphasis, some people seem to believe that they merely have to create a newsletter, send sales letters to the list once a week, and watch their bank account fill up. That belief is quite false. In order for your newsletter to be an effective marketing tool, you must use a natural writing style and provide quality content.

Your writing style is extremely important. How you write content for your newsletter reflects your concerns, personality and trustworthiness. If your writing style scares the reader in any way, it is unlikely they will ever buy from you or even remain subscribed to your newsletter. Also, the very type of content you include in your newsletter can discourage or encourage your readers’ trust and enthusiasm.

Newsletter writing dos and don’ts:

DO NOT SHOUT. Shouting is when you capitalize every letter in a word or sentence. Many marketers believe that shouting is an effective means to emphasize important words; and when used with discretion, that may be true. However, it should not be used often, if at all. It tends to imply a pushy, deceptive personality to the reader.

DO use the underscore [ _ ] and asterisk [ * ]. Enclose your important words with one of these characters, and you will successfully make your point. The underscore is commonly used to replace underlining, and the asterisk to replace bold text. By controlling your writing and sales pitch, you will create a greater sense of trust among your readers.

DO NOT Capitalize The First Letter Of Every Word In The Sentence. This also develops distrust; it is essentially identical to shouting in the image it conveys.

DO use good, old-fashioned English grammar. It worked way back when they wrote on paper, so it probably still works today. By using normal capitalization, you avoid creating the image that you’re a greedy weirdo with sweat and drool all over your necktie; and you show that you are a normal human who can be trusted to deliver as expected.

DO NOT only talk about your wonderful product. When a reader subscribes to your newsletter, they usually expect you to provide useful and interesting content in each issue. You may disappoint your reader if the entire newsletter is about new products, old products, cheap products, expensive products, useless products, useful products, etc. They want information, not a half-hour commercial.

DO provide useful content. Quality content is anything that helps your readers in their daily lives, enriches their life or productivity in some way, or merely interests them. Articles, interviews, facts, and problem solutions are just a few ideas for quality content. Quality content is essential, because if your newsletter is without it, readers will unsubscribe.

DO NOT exaggerate your product’s virtues. Deception equals negative reception. In other words, people don’t like it when somebody lies to them. People will buy your product and discover it isn’t nearly as good as you say it is. When they feel you’ve shafted them, they’ll tell their friends, and their friends will tell their friends, and on and on and on. As you can see, word of mouth advertising isn’t _always_ good.

DO simply describe your product to your readers. You may have been thinking that it was wrong to even mention your products in your newsletter, and that isn’t so. You should describe your products, promote them, and inform your readers of them. Just be sure to do it using proper English and offer some useful, quality content along the way.

So, you’ve seen the do’s and don’ts of writing for your newsletter. Hopefully, it’s obvious to you that the style of writing you use and the type of content you include can have a major effect on your readers’ response to your efforts. Therefore, your newsletter will cause one of two results among your readers: it will either cause them to unsubscribe faster than a startled cheetah on steroids, or change them into happy, *buying* customers.

Duncan Johnson has been a web designer for about two years. His website, is all about his favorite hobby, computer flight simulation. He has written a newsletter about “flight simming” since August of 1998. From this experience he has drawn much of the background for this article. To subscribe send an email to:


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