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By Mary Anne Hahn
Posted Thursday, January 13, 2005

No doubt about it--having one's own ezine is an excellent promotional tool. Whether you sell goods or services, publishing an ezine is perhaps one of the very best online ways to develop and maintain a potential, targeted customer base.

Should you have your own ezine? It depends on whether it would be worth the time and effort to you. A look at the following list of ezine publishing pros and cons should help you decide whether creating, building and maintaining an ezine of your own is right for you.


Ezines provide you with an excellent way to find and target the market(s) you are trying to reach with your products and services. Suppose, for example, that you write or sell cookbooks; a recipe or cooking tip ezine would surely attract a dedicated readership which, over time, begins to know, trust and like your information. These subscribers would also be most open to buying your books as well, or visiting the Web site where your books are sold.

This applies to pretty much any type of product or service you sell. Whether you are a Web site designer looking for freelance work, own an auction or shopping mall site, or sell your own handmade crafts, creating a newsletter that caters to your targeted readership will also provide you with a promotional outlet for your other works.

Another way you can benefit from a dedicated ezine readership is the online relationships you build through it over time.

Among your readers you may end up finding people with whom you can set up reciprocal Web site links or potential clients for your services. Someone who regularly reads your newsletter may contact you out of the blue with a joint venture idea that could turn out to be a real money-maker. Or perhaps you'll get ideas for new projects from a "Letter to the Editor" (that's you!).

Your subscribers get to "know" you through your ezine--your reliability, your talent, and whatever aspects of your personality that you choose to reveal. And you never know what nice little surprises will arrive in your email box from loyal readers.

Additional Income:
Although not in itself a get-rich-quick vehicle, having your own ezine can bring in some extra money in several ways: you can charge for classified advertising space in your newsletter, earn commissions through joining affiliate programs that offer products related to yours, and of course, make money from the sales of your books or services themselves.


Time consuming:
It takes me an average of five hours to put together each issue of my own ezine, WriteSuccess. That does *not* include writing my own articles for it, surfing the 'Net in search of markets and writers' sites for each issue, promoting my ezine on various announcement lists, trading ezine ads with other publications that complement mine, reading and responding to emails received, and subscribing or unsubscribing readers who can't do so themselves. Ezines, at least the good ones, are labor-intensive ventures.

This "con" could also be a "pro," depending on how you look at it. Maintaining a consistent, high quality ezine over months and years takes a great deal of dedication and motivation. You need to truly love the topic of your ezine in order to stick with it for any period of time.

And you can't take your readership for granted, either. In recent weeks, a few of my favorite ezines have disappeared off the face of the Web, with or without a warning from the publisher/editor. Not only was I disappointed that I would no longer receive their ezines, but--even if the ezines were revived--I would greatly hesitate to swap ads or pursue joint ventures with them in the future, due to the unreliability of the publishers.

Not all fun and games:
Ezine publishers get *a lot* of spam! We also sometimes get nasty-grams from people who forgot they'd ever subscribed to our 'zine in the first place. And of course there are the unexplained unsubscribes that occur after each issue, which hurt a little, seeing the amount of time and effort you invested putting it together.


Is ezine publishing hard work? Absolutely. But, at least from my perspective, the tangible and intangible rewards more than compensate for the drawbacks. If anything, I enjoy publishing WriteSuccess today more than I ever did.

In a world made even smaller by the Internet, you can reach potential clients and readers around the globe. Publishing your own ezine is an outstanding way to accomplish that.

About the Author
Mary Anne Hahn is a freelance writer who wants to encourage people to follow their own dreams. She also publishes "WriteSuccess," a biweekly ezine of ideas, information and inspiration for writers. To subscribe,


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