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Publishing for Publicity
by Michel Fortin
An interesting editorial appeared in this month's PROFITeer Ezine published by Profit 100 Canada (http://www.profit100.com) in which some numbers that were reported were quite astounding. Gathered by senior editor Ian Portsmouth from a conference held in Edinburgh, Scotland (an annual gathering of Europe's 500 fastest-growing companies), findings indicated that Europe's fastest-growing firms in a global economy are the smaller ones.
According to Portsmouth, in the past five years Europe's 500 fastest-growing companies created more than 180,000 jobs but at the same time slashed their payrolls by 600,000. It goes to show that the future of business and particularly online business is in smaller companies. It is also fair to say that, since a smaller business' advertising budget is considerably smaller than that of a larger one, methods of promotion are not as accessible.
However, one tool that is increasingly gaining stature is the ezine (or electronic newsletter). As pointed out in a recent ezine article, even targeted opt-in direct mailers such as Targ-It! (http://www.targ-it.com) are starting to turn to ezine publishers for building their awareness in the marketplace. According to Targ-It!, "Our lists are primarily from the Newsletter Library, [#] the Internet's most widely used source for requesting sample copies of newsletters."
Search engines are also turning to building opt-in lists for direct email marketing. As mentioned in a previous article (see http://SuccessDoctor.com/article23.htm), Yahoo!'s partnerships with Yoyodyne and ValPak Coupons are not alone. Another great example is Altavista's recent ploy in which it has recently teamed up with NetCreation's PostMaster Direct (see the related article at http://www.dmnews.com/articles/1998-11-02/2242.html).
A Publishers' Paradise
Publishing an ezine is one of the most economical ways to gain publicity online. But more important, it is also one of the most effective tools in building relationships with prospects and clients. According to Cognitiative, Inc. (http://cognitiative.com), more and more people are buying from companies that they trust and with which they have built online relationships.
Giving your prospects and customers a constant supply of specialized information has a number of benefits. Since the Internet is dimensionless and faceless, ezines help to give your business a human aspect along with greater credibility. Moreover, they help to establish you as an expert in your field, position your company or product, keep you in frequent contact with your customers and subscribers, and maintain good top-of-mind awareness.
Ezines also help create publicity channels with which your expertise in your specific niche or industry can be easily developed. In fact, more and more media personnel are seeking such channels to find qualified people or stories. By narrowing your focus the media will seek you out rather than the other way around. They do so because they particularly like stories from people who are uniquely qualified -- stories that affect or appeal to their specific audience.
Out of Sight is Out of Mind
By supplying a regular stream of specialized information, you will be able to turn prospects into customers and customers into referral-sources. To that end, the ezine can become an effective platform through which you can increase your exposure. You can quickly and easily create trust, credibility, superior relationships, sales, and of course referrals. Obviously, since a relationship exists between you and your subscribers you will naturally get a higher response rate from offers to subscribers than you would with offers to non-subscribers.
In addition to informative articles, you can also make new product announcements, important updates, and special offers. But more important, you can use your ezine as a tool to gain considerable market intelligence. Successful direct marketing relies heavily on the ability to compile specific information about the types of products or services for which your clients are looking. Through ezines, you can thus obtain that kind of information very quickly and easily.
For example, surveys can be conducted among your subscribers regarding new products and services, current products and services, customer service procedures, promotional campaigns, strategic company goals, and so on. But while surveys and polls are the most common methods, hosting other company products in your ezine and then finding out the kind of response they have generated is another potentially great source of information.
Let's Swap, Shall We?
But one of the most useful ways to grow your ezine is by swapping ads with other publishers. Cross-promotion between publishers is quite effective and for many reasons. First, the savings gained from advertising for free can be tremendous. But more significant is the fact that your ad will be viewed by a specific readership -- people who not only fall into your target market but also love to read ezines, which increases the chances of your ad being noticed.
The one thing you will need the most when starting your ezine is subscribers. A great way to promote your newsletter and build your subscriber-base is by swapping ads. Another great way is to register your publication with ezine directories. There are many popular search engines and directories dedicated to ezines, discussion lists, and newsletters.
Here's a partial list of directories, web sites, indices, listings, and other sources to which you can submit your own ezine listing. (Of course, there is also the "alt.ezines" newsgroup). You can also use these directories to isolate newsletters to which you wish to contribute articles:
(probably the largest and most popular one),
- And http://www.zinezone.com.
(And, of course, there's also the Internet Marketing Challenge, which is my associates' private site at http://SuccessDoctor.com/IMC/ -- the publishers of the immensely popular "Internet Marketing Chronicles" ezine of which I am the editor. They maintain their own growing ezine database along with many other tools and resources.)
There are also newsletters, discussion lists, directories, and web sites geared specifically for publishers and writers. For example, check out iCopyright at http://www.icopyright.com and the Writer's Connection at http://www.homeincome.com/writers-connection. There's also the Email Publishers Discussion List at mailto:email@example.com, Ezine Tips as http://ezine-tips.com, and List Resources at http://list-resources.com
And by writing articles in other publications, your byline can advertise the fact that you publish your own ezine and thus invite readers to subscribe. Nevertheless, you can also have strategic marketing alliances promote subscriptions for you. In exchange for a certain number of subscribers they have generated, you can offer them free advertising in your newsletter.
So, write on!
About the Author
Michel Fortin is a consultant dedicated to helping businesses turn into powerful magnets. Visit http://SuccessDoctor.com to receive a free copy of his book, "The 10 Commandments of Power Positioning." He is also the editor of the "Internet Marketing Chronicles" ezine delivered weekly to 90,000 subscribers -- subscribe free at http://SuccessDoctor.com/IMC/.