Bob Steffel, Info Insights Powerzine
By Brian Grulke
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The following is an interview with Bob Steffel, the publisher of Info Insights Powerzine. Info Insights Powerzine provides original articles twice-monthly on information marketing for Internet newbies. It also tips on finding information fast, how to create infoproducts that sell, and strategies for coping with information overload. Hope you find it informative.
Brian Grulke: Hi Bob. Could you give everybody a short description of your ezine?
Bob Steffel: INFO INSIGHTS POWERZINE, as the name implies, offers insights into the world of developing and selling information products:books, ebooks, CD-ROMs, audio tapes etc. It's targeted to Internet newbies and home business entrepreneurs who are looking for a lucrative and fulfilling online business. Twice a month I offer a mix of original and guest articles with an emphasis on practical, dirt-under-your-fingernails, how-to stuff.
BG: What got you started in ezine publishing?
BS: Ezine publishing is a natural progression for me. I've always been interested in writing. (I was one of the few kids in school who didn't think English class sucked!) I started my mail order information marketing business, Wealthbuilder Books, with the intention of doing a lot of self-publishing. The high cost of short run printing discouraged me.
Then along came the Internet and electronic publishing, a godsend for newsletter publishers. Now I can publish a newsletter that reaches a global audience without the burden of typesetting, printing, and mailing costs.
BG: Why did you choose product marketing as the subject of your ezine?
BS: Information products of all kinds are big sellers both in mail order and online. Most of the well-known Internet marketing gurus sell some kind of infoproduct. They're relatively easy to produce and are high profit margin items.
Internet newcomers looking for opportunities are generally unaware of "information product marketing." It's below their threshold of awareness. I want to raise that threshold in my ezine.
BG: What have you found to be the most helpful resources for content, online or otherwise?
BS: For my articles, I like to use the meta search engine Dogpile to find information or the Copernic 2000 personal search utility (free software). Offline, good old fashioned library research is my favored method.
For guest articles, I look to the article announcing services that deliver a menu of new articles to my email inbox everyday. I have high standards, so few make the cut.
BG: What do you feel makes your list stand out from the competition?
BS: INFO INSIGHTS POWERZINE falls between the general interest Internet marketing zines and the epubs concentrating on single information products, like ebooks. I'm attempting to cover the waterfront in the specialized (but not too narrow) niche of information products.
My ezine also uniquely includes two sub-themes. One is "finding information fast," a must for any writer. The other is "managing information overload". Anyone who has been on the Net more than five minutes knows the necessity of doing that. I write and look for articles in both areas.
BG: Do you use free list hosting or do you pay?
BS: I use Topica's free list hosting service for my ezine and have been very satisfied. Some ezine publishers are control freaks who want to micro-manage every aspect of their publications. Not me. I don't want to be hassled with all those boring list maintenance chores. I chose a free service because my list is small now. When it gets too big (Oh happy day!) for Topica to handle, I'll move it to a fee-based host.
BG: What are some of the particular obstacles you've encountered since you began publishing?
BS: Winning the battle for attention is the major obstacle. With the proliferation of ezines and lists, competition is increasing, and finding subscribers is getting harder. A lot of time has to be devoted to promotion. Some of the marketing techniques that worked yesterday are ineffective today in the fast-moving environment of the Net. Promotions that work attract hordes of imitators, which of course kills the golden goose.
Writing quality articles is taking more time than I expected, too. I envy those writers who churn out 1,000 word articles every three hours, or so it seems!
BG: What are your predictions for the future of the list industry?
BS: I expect to see a shake-out along the lines of the current dot.com shake-out. I've seen estimates as high as 300,000 ezines currently being published. On top of that, you have zillions of discussion lists.
In the battle for eyeballs, epubs catering to a specialized niche and offering valuable content will survive and prosper. As information overload increases, readers will ruthlessly cull out the me-too zines and ad sheets to reduce their reading load. They'll have to - or go mad!
Thanks to Bob Steffel, Publisher
INFO INSIGHTS POWERZINE
To subscribe to INFO INSIGHTS POWERZINE
or visit http://www.serveubest.com
Ezine-Tips for July 07, 2000
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