If you are a prolific writer and good at your craft, ezines and newsletters are options you should consider for your opt-in free gift. They are both regular publications, but in slightly different formats. When done well, either one can be extremely effective in attracting subscribers.
The reasons to choose this particular option are:
1) It builds solid relationships with your subscribers.
2) It is a powerful to stay in contact with them.
3) It builds your credibility and reputation as an expert in your niche.
4) It drives traffic to your Website.
5) It is a good way to monetize your site by selling products/services or advertising along side your high-quality, original content.
This is the opposite of a solo email, it is a regular publication – essentially a small magazine or newspaper. It can be written in HTML or plain text.
Word of caution . . . NEVER send PDF’s or any other large file to your email list without their permission. You must be sure they are expecting a large file and can handle it.
The publication can be sent out weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly. However, if your goal is to build a following, avoid long intervals between publications. They will forget who you are.
Whichever time interval you choose, make sure it happens! If you promise a weekly ezine, then you MUST deliver a weekly ezine. You want to build a reputation of dependability. We have talked about how the word gets around on the Web. Do not become one of those who continually apologizes for being late again and again. Be professional and do what you say you will do.
If you choose to publish an Ezine, you can deliver the magazine directly into your subscribers’ email; or you can send them a message with a link to the Ezine online. For both delivery methods, you can place sponsor ads inside the magazine for which you can charge a flat fee; or earn a commission on all items sold through the magazine..
If you want to publish a Newsletter, each edition must be packed with information – remember this is NEWS, not a promotional brochure for the masses. If you plan on promoting items through your newsletter, be sure to have a nice mix – and don’t overdo it.
You do not have to write the newsletter entirely by yourself. Solicit help from fellow niche marketers. Seek out fellow marketers who would enjoy writing an article and being seen as an expert. This is a free promotional opportunity for them to share their expertise and ideas with your subscribers.
If you choose to engage the help of others, have a clear deadline for submission of articles– and make it a lot earlier than you need it. Also, always have a backup article ready to slip into the slot if the guest expert does not come through on time.
Below are content ideas that can be used in either type of publication (just in case you are drawing a blank).
- Q &A Mailbag – (I am sure you can find a more clever name 🙂 ). Build a reputation as the “go-to” person for answers in your niche. Gather people’s questions for your niche and provide answers. The easy way to get started is to answer questions on “Yahoo Answers” or other online forums. After a time, when people start directing their questions to YOU, you can send them to your own forum and answer them from there.
- Success Stories – Start with your own – how you started, share a few significant failures and successes, and some words of wisdom for the newbies. You could also highlight other successful marketers in your niche on a monthly basis.
- Personal Commentary – Write an article covering something related to your niche that was in the news.
- Interview Experts – We covered this in the previous post, but for a newsletter/ezine, the interviews would be much shorter.
- Reviews – Write detailed reviews of products or services in your niche – they can be tangible or digital. Be accurate with the information you give and thorough in your review.
- Case Studies – These are excellent for sharing situations and experiences with others from which subscribers can learn without having to go through them personally. This is a particularly powerful content strategy.
- Curate – Find and share the most relevant and fresh content in your niche. There are many services to help with this if you choose to go this route.
If you decide that either of these options is a good choice for you, be sure your delivery is consistent and on time; and your information is accurate and reliable. Remember, the goal is to continually add value to your subscribers’ lives.