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All you ever wanted to know about publishing an e-zine

By Jakob Jelling

One of the best ways to develop relationships with your customer base in today’s internet age is the e-zine. Not only that, an e-zine is a good way to keep in touch with family and friends too. However, it has to be admitted that as a marketing tool, an e-zine is very effective. Not only does it allow you to keep in touch with your regular customers, it also facilitates reaching out to other people who may eventually become loyal customers down the line.

The first question that any publisher should ask himself or herself is - what is the purpose of this e-zine? Is it intended as a marketing tool? Is it to keep your family and friends posted about your life? Or do you intend it to be a forum to keep members of your local club or community (for example, chess club or local library) connected? It is vital to identify your audience because all these groups require different approaches. An e-zine oriented towards selling finance management services can hardly appeal to the local pedigree dog club.

Once you have identified your target audience, the next step is to select a template. Again, this needs to be tailored to your target group. You should make sure that you company logo and colors are an integral part of the design. Many e-mail publishers on the internet provide template designs for the newcomer. You can customize them to suit your needs. While formatting your e-zine, it is recommended that you go with a text-only format as opposed to an HTML one. While HTML gives you freedom to add visuals and design to make your e-zine more attractive, most subscribers prefer a text format. Also, a text-only e-zine is compatible with most e-mail clients. If you are up to the effort, you can always provide a link to the HTML version of your text-only e-zine so that your subscriber can make his or her own choice.

Some features, which should be integral to your e-zine, are details about name, the issue or volume number and date. Add to this a table of contents. These should be preferably at the top of the page. At the bottom of the page, place information on how to either subscribe or unsubscribe from your e-zine; also include copyright information and advertising details. You also need to determine the frequency with which you want to publish. Ideally, you should send an issue out between every two to four weeks.

Now comes the question of content. While it is desirable that you provide valuable and original content to your subscribers, it is not always possible. Consider including other writers’ work too. One of the advantages of an e-zine is that it allows you to get personal with you readers, thus developing a lasting relationship. However, try and keep this section small. You can always include visuals and photographs to your content. Always have a reader response forum and more importantly, incorporate their suggestions.

About the author
Jakob Jelling is the founder of http://www.sitetube.com. Visit his website for the latest on planning, building, promoting and maintaining websites.

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