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Janet Roberts

Got Questions? Ezine Publisher's Workshop Handbook Has Answers
By Janet Roberts

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Here are three burning questions every publisher should ask:

  1. Why don't my longtime subscribers read my stuff as faithfully as they did when they first signed up?

  2. How many ads can I pack into my newsletter without irritating readers?

  3. Can I use mail-merge to mess with my readers' minds?

I found the answers while paging through the latest workshop-in-a-box production from MarketingSherpa. It's the transcript from the Oct. 14 ContentBiz Publishers' Profit Workshop, a one-day, one-stop-shopping event that covered everything from selling ads and subscriptions to spam strategies to renting email lists.

If you couldn't attend, this transcript is the next best thing to being there. It'll set you back $129, but you can leaf through all 341 pages at your leisure, mark it up and find plenty of ways to improve your own publishing program.

The sessions are strong on finding ways to make money, from content, subscriptions, ad sales and affiliated services such as teleclasses. Other strong points are targeting readers and content and improving delivery.

The transcript package includes just about every word uttered at the workshop, along with every handout, PowerPoint slide, sample newsletter, how-to guide and what-worked-for-me tip.

You even get to sample a typically free-wheeling but information-dense session, thanks to the attached audio CD recording of the most entertaining presentation of the day. The two wiseguy publishers of the British email newsletter That Friday Thing describe the offbeat way they built their newsletter and transitioned it from free to paid circulation.

Their presentation, by the way, answered Question 3 above. I can't do it justice here; you'll just have to buy the transcript and turn to Page 80 to learn about "Fun with Mail-Merge."

In the meantime, here are the answers to Questions 1 and 2:

  1. Open rates drop off after time because new readers open and read newsletters more often than longer-term readers. Print publishers know this, too. It means you can't rest on your laurels after you launch your ezine; you have to keep turning out new, useful or compelling information and resist the temptation to recycle content too quickly. (Page 4.)

  2. You need to understand your readers' tolerance for ads and their loyalty when deciding how many ads to put into your newsletter. Do they inform your readers or interrupt the contents? Online readers don't tolerate the kind of ad-packing you find in print magazines such as Vanity Fair or Vogue. (Page 28.)

(Yes, is affiliate-selling the transcript, but we wouldn't offer it if we didn't think it was worth the money. We're very picky about the companies we affiliate with.)

Ezine-Tips for November 20, 2002

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