Ezine Publishing As A Business
© 2002 Elena Fawkner
If you have your own website, or are planning to create one soon, in course of your research you will have read about importance of publishing an ezine (electronic newsletter) as a way of generating traffic to your site.
-- Note to purists: yes I DO understand there is, strictly speaking, a difference between ezines and electronic newsletters but for our purposes it doesn't matter so don't write me. ;)
It's good advice. By capturing email addresses of your site visitors (via an ezine sign-up form at your site), you can develop a mailing list to put yourself before time and time again, unless and until they ask to be removed. The idea is that by regularly sending your ezine to your list, your site visitors get to know you and, over time, come to trust you as an expert in your field. Assuming you do competent work, that is.
But ezine publishing can be a lot more than just a traffic generation tool - a means to an end. It can be an end unto itself. Your ezine can actually be a business in its own right.
How can an ezine be a paying proposition in itself? There are two ways - by accepting paid advertising and charging for subscription.
When I started my ezine way back when in July 1999, I was just following conventional wisdom. I had created a web site by same name and wanted to publish an ezine as a way of staying in touch with site visitors and reminding them to visit my site.
What ended up happening, though, is that ezine became central plank of my business and website became secondary. Why? Well, first of all, I found that I actually enjoyed it. I enjoyed writing articles and I enjoyed fact that other people actually got some benefit from my labors. But, beyond that, once I had amassed a subscriber database of 1,000 or so, people started asking me what my advertising rates were. I didn't have any. I had never really thought of my ezine as being a revenue generator in and of itself. The most I was hoping for was to remind readers to visit my site in hope that, while there, they would place an order for one of affiliate programs I promoted thereby earning me a commission. Of course, I was also running ads for my own affiliate programs in ezine which translated into income via commissions but, again, ezine was a means to an end, not an end unto itself.
When advertisers started approaching me, however, I soon changed my thinking and my focus and before long, I had on average ten to twelve advertisers wanting to run ads in my ezine, every single week.
So, quite quickly, accepting paid advertising in my ezine became a primary revenue source, certainly way ahead of anything else that was generating revenue for me at time from my website.
Things have changed considerably for all ezine publishers from those heady days where ezine advertising was all rage and demand for ezine advertising space outstripped supply. No longer do I publish a dozen ads in each issue. Now it's only five or so but paid advertising remains an important element of my business plan and it is still a very viable revenue generation model for you to use in your online business.
=> Paid Subscriptions
Just as ezine advertising has slowed down, paid subscription ezines are emerging as next hot trend. More and more, concept of free content on Internet is giving way to user pays and ezine publishing is no exception with ezine publishers beginning to charge for subscription to their ezines in lieu of (or in addition to) running paid ads.
For those who (for some reason) believe that everything on Internet should be free (as long as they're not ones who have to do work for nothing, of course), this is, on a superficial level, probably bad news. But on other hand, when someone is paying for content, it had better be worth it. So upside is that subscribers to paid ezines are more likely to be getting (and will demand) better quality content than they are used to from typical "free" ezine. In other words, you get what you pay for.
So what does all this mean for you, would-be Internet entrepreneur? Quite simply, if you're an expert in anything (and we all are) you can turn that knowledge into foundation of an online business by publishing an ezine on that subject, including your own original articles on a regular basis (don't bother just regurgitating someone else's - if you're publishing them, so are others and object of exericse is to make an original contribution) and either accepting paid advertising or charging subscribers a subscription fee.
All right then, how do I start an ezine?, I hear you say.
=> Come Up With a Great Idea
Don't waste your time (or everyone else's) publishing yet another Internet marketing ezine. How many ways are there to say same thing? They're a dime a dozen and worth even less. Do hard work of coming up with something that's original and fresh, something that every man and his dog isn't already doing. It doesn't matter how specialized subject matter - Internet audience is vast - you will attract your share of it. In fact, more targeted your audience better. Far, far better to have 500 devoted readers than 5,000 who may or may not even open, let alone read, your ezine.
(And don't believe naysayers who will try and convince you that because there are already so many ezines being published there is no room for you. There is ALWAYS room for quality original content and there always will be.)
=> Write a Few Articles