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Janet Roberts

Feedback: Building the Pre-Launch Buzz
By Janet Roberts

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Is it too early to start making New Year's resolutions? I'm skipping the usual ones - lose weight, save money, stop procrastinating - to concentrate on building my email newsletter's subscriber base.

I'm doing that with a combination of submissions to ezine- or list-announcement sites and newsletter directories, some direct marketing to a database I've been compiling over the last few months and appeals to my current readers.

I could choose from a number of ezine-announcement services, but I'd rather do the work myself, because I'm particular about where my ezine shows up. I also want my announcement to go out to a sizable audience and one where I'm sure there isn't a lot of overlap with other announcement mailing lists.

When I get ready to spend a few bucks, I'll sign up with a co-registration service to round up subscribers at a set fee per subscriber.

What am I looking for in a free list-announcement list? I have three criteria:

  1. The mailing list membership must be private. Several free mailing lists are set up like discussion lists, with subscriber lists that are open to any member. No thanks!

  2. The list must be moderated. I want to know that somebody's at the controls, keeping out the junk postings, like make-money-fast scams and porn-site solicitations.

  3. It has to have a sizable audience. When I checked out a couple of ezine-announcement services, I found that many of the announcement lists they submit to had fewer than 100 people on them, many of whom were on other lists, too. (I found that out by reviewing the open membership lists). Size doesn't always matter, but I'd like a list with at least 500 members.

I'm going to start with three: New-List, PAML Update and Gleason Sackmann's New-List. There are many more, of course, but I'm starting with these.

I'd better qualify myself right away with New-List. I moderate it for, which publishes Ezine-Tips and a host of other ezines targeted to email newsletters.

I spend about an hour a day weeding through the submissions, tossing out the junk and editing the remainder into our format, and then sending out about 10 announcements daily. Announcements go to the New-List base of 2,000-plus subscribers who receive all mailings and to people on any of the 20 sublists who get only mailings in certain categories, such as business, arts or inspiration, for a total reach of about 15,000. Because New-List is a free service, and because we want to maintain the list's quality, we end up rejecting about a third of submissions.

I also like Stephanie da Silva's PAML Update, which announces the most recent additions to the Publicly Accessible Mailing Lists database, one of the oldest on the Web. The Update goes out to about 600 subscribers, which is a little small, but it's obvious that Stephanie is monitoring the ezines she posts, and I like the quality of the ones I have seen so far.

Gleason Sackmann is a pioneer of the newsletter/Web site announcement industry. His New-List was one of the first email newsletters I ever subscribed to. He continues to produce a family of newsletters focusing on Web resources for educators and general readers. (At this writing, the announcement form was down, but keep trying.)

Tomorrow, a few hints on the right and wrong things to do when submitting to a list-announcement mailing list.

Ezine-Tips for December 26, 2001

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