Posted Saturday, January 15, 2005
In Part 1 of this series we discussed how to start your own newsletter. Now we move on to the nitty gritty: Formatting and finding content.
Text ezines versus HTML format is a highly debatable subject. At this time, most ezine publishers stick with text, and I strongly recommend you follow suit. Many people are still using email clients that cannot read HTML messages - others prefer the speed, ease and security of receiving their ezines in text format. It is safer to use the format that is compatible with the largest number of users.
But there are other readers who appreciate the design quality and visual appeal of an HTML newsletter. So what can you do to please both sides? You can always publish a text version and include a link to an HTML version online. This is what I do and it seems to make the majority of my subscribers happy. It does call for twice the amount of work since you'll have to make two versions of your ezine, but in my opinion it's well worth the extra effort.
So what is a text ezine? Basically, it's just an email with some special formatting applied to make sure it's readable by everyone, no matter what email client they may be using. You'll want to stick to a fixed width font like courier or Monaco, and you'll need a plain text editor like Notepad or Textpad. One drawback with Notepad is it has no built-in spell checker, so I'd advise you to download Textpad or something similar. Many free text editors can be found at (http://www.Download.com).
You'll need to set up a template for your ezine so its look will be consistent, issue after issue. This should include your ezine name, date, and issue number at the very top, followed by a table of contents. If you're not sure on how it should look, you can obtain some free ezine templates by sending mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org .
At the very end of your newsletter template you'll want to include a paragraph on how to subscribe and unsubscribe, copyright information, and advertising information. It's vital that you include unsubscribe information in each and every issue. Do not hold people "hostage" by making it next to impossible to get off your list, it won't be appreciated and is not only considered unprofessional,but it could get you into real trouble with Spamcop.
When typing in your text you need to keep your line length at 65 characters per line and hit a hard return at the end of each and every line. This is imperative. If you allow the words to wrap automatically, the ezine your readers receive may have lines chopped off mid sentence and will look terrible. By using the hard return you'll be ensuring that your newsletter will be readable and attractive in the majority of email clients. Never type your ezine in all caps as this is equivalent to screaming.
I highly recommend you write at least one original article a month for your newsletter; more if you can. It's OK to include work by others on an occasional basis or for filler, but your ezine will carry more weight if you take the time to write your own material.
When you do need outside content, here are some excellent sources:
(http://www.EzineArticles.com) (http://www.IdeaMarketers.com) (http://www.Certificate.net)
You may also download this free e-book "400 Articles You Can Use in Your Ezine" at (http://www.web-source.net/web/Free_Ebooks/Writing_Publishing/) You'll also find two other very handy ebooks for publishers at the above site you may want to download as well.
Another idea for getting original articles to reprint in your ezine is to go to Egroups and subscribe to article announcement lists like this one: or (http://www.website101.com/freecontent.html) (http://www.web-source.net/articlesub.htm) They will supply you with a steady stream of new articles you can publish on a daily basis.
Don't forget to visit this site which is a fantastic resource for online publishers: (http://www.worldwidelearn.com/ezine-publishing.htm)
As you can see, there are many online sources that exist solely for the purpose of helping ezine publishers succeed. With the massive amount of information available to you, there's really no reason you haven't started your own ezine. So come on, what are you waiting for? Your Net fame awaits!
About the Author
Merle (http://www.EzineAdAuction.com) "Where some of the BEST Deals in Ezine Advertising are Made" Buy & Sell Ezine Ads in a live auction setting! Publishers sell off your excess inventory and Buyers pick up some Fantastic bargains. Go now.