The Most Important Thing About Your E-Zine Is Its CONTENT
In e-zine publishing CONTENT IS KING. If you provide content of a consistently superior quality, your e-zine will be a success.
>>> What forms of content should you use ? <<<
It's your e-zine. You know best - or should - what your audience wants. Here are some suggestions:
As an e-zine publisher, you are perceived as an 'expert' in your field. Over time, your readers will begin to trust your opinions and views on issues.
You can leverage that into e-zine content by writing editorials. Use an editorial to share your viewpoint on a topical - maybe controversial - issue.
There is an added benefit to this strategy. Readers will respond to your message, either endorse it or oppose it. Their feedback can be incorporated into a follow up article in a future issue!
You could also use editorial space to establish personal contact with your readers. Write a short chatty piece, maybe about what's been happening in your life lately, or introduce a new author or resource. => Feature Articles
A feature article is most common - and one of best - forms of content in most e- zines.
Here are some tips for writing good feature articles for your e-zine:
· Articles shouldn't be too lengthy. While there aren't any rules, it is perhaps safe to keep feature articles below 1200 words long.
· Articles should be relevant to topic of your e-zine.
· Articles should educate or inform. Try and limit message of a piece to one or two new ideas.
· Articles should be original. The originality should preferably extend to idea, concept behind write-up as well. Don't simply rehash an article you've read elsewhere. By publishing an article that hasn't been already featured in many other newsletters, you enhance value of your own e-zine. This however means that you must
- Write your own features: It's hard work, but rewarding. And it assumes you can write reasonably well.
- Get someone to write articles specifically for you: It's difficult to arrange, but long-term benefits are enormous. You could offer to
a. pay guest authors for their article or
b. contribute an article of your own to their publication in return. This way, you are adding value to readers of your e-zine by providing them with another (your guest author's) point of view, without doing any 'extra' work yourself. A fringe benefit is that you might hook some new subscribers from your guest's list!
- Articles should be exclusive. If someone else writes for you, make sure same article won't be submitted to dozens of other e-zines. Benefits from publishing exclusive content include
a. syndication opportunities in other publications, online and off b. no risk of readers leaving you to find your content elsewhere
Reprint articles only if you have to. Even then, add value by putting your own 'spin' on content - maybe introduce subject, or comment on author's opinions or conclusions.
Caution - do NOT 'edit' original article without author's permission. Avoid articles that have been reprinted many times before in other publications.
=> News Clips and Stories
Staying informed of latest developments and happenings in areas of interest is becoming increasingly difficult and time consuming. Your e-zine can offer a solution to this dilemma by providing timely news on topics that might be of interest to your readers.
You may create a separate section to deal with industry news. Or you might devote an entire issue to news updates. By this you are adding value to your subscriber, and ensuring that your e-zine is read every time.
There are many ways of presenting news:
· as a feature article · a short news clips, with a link to full story on a website · as news stories, where each item is explained at length
Whichever way you choose to present news, make sure to stamp it with your own personality. Make it interesting, personal, chatty, fun, unique, or all of these - with your style of writing, or by adding your point of view.
As with feature articles, news clips should be
· relevant · useful to your reader · timely. Remember, old news is no news!
=> Aggregating best content
Finding, tracking and regularly visiting informative websites on a specific topic is difficult and time-intensive. Many readers will appreciate a listing of best resources on a subject. Website picks are therefore a valuable content idea for your e-zine.
As an expert on your topic, you can evaluate sites and other resources (e-zines, directories, books, offline publications) for best. And then list them, along with your rating and opinion of site, with a link to site itself.
Many excellent and very large e-zines follow this success model - you can too.
Here's your chance to help your readers by guiding them to very best - books, websites, music or other products and services. You, expert, tell them what is good and what isn't.
Why should you present reviews?
A guiding principle in writing reviews is that reader's need comes first. In a review, you share something that will be of interest and benefit to them.
If you read a great book, or surf into a wonderful website, then tell your e-zine subscribers about it in a review.
How to write a review?
· Be brief. Provide contact / ordering information for those who want to know more.
· Be relevant. Limit your reviews to topic and subject of your e-zine.
· Be selective. Set high standards for products you review. A review in your e- zine should become an honour people will vie for!
· Be analytical. Tell your reader specifically what is good or bad about thing you review.
· Don't go overboard. Restrain your impulse to offer extremes of praise and criticism.
· Be balanced. Point out good and bad aspects with equal emphasis.
· Offer Recommendations. At end, say what you think about it. Is it good ? Or bad ? Should your reader buy product, visit website, order service ? Tell them.
What should you review?
Anything - as long as it is relevant to topic of your e-zine, and of interest to your reader. Here are some ideas:
· Books : Surely there are books on your e-zine's topic. If you've read any good ones (or even bad ones), or an author/publisher sent you a copy to review, you could write about it for your e-zine.
· Websites : If you have a favourite website, or run across one that is useful, entertaining or informative, review it for your e-zine. You could analyse it in depth, highlight it's strengths and weakness, focus on benefits it offers. Your readers will love you for this. Indeed there are some great e-zines made up entirely of website reviews !