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Eight Ways to Publicize
Your E-Zine
by Christopher Pirillo
author, Poor Richard's E-mail Publishing

1. Advertise the URL (or subscription e-mail address) in other e-zines
This will work best for zines distributed only by e-mail. In my experience with my e-zine Lockergnome, it kicked the heck out of banner advertisement. You can be more descriptive with a text ad. Plus, I believe that the people who subscribe to one e-mail pub are more than likely to subscribe to another one. It's easier to read than a Webzine; subscribers read an e-mail publication at their leisure. And once it is in their Inbox, they don't have to mess with being connected to the Internet anymore. Not everyone uses the Web, but just about everyone has an e-mail address.

2. Friends and Family
If subscribers like what they see, they'll tell a friend. Heck, I know Lockergnome reaches more than 100,000 people just because many of my subscribers print it out and pass it around the office. There's no better advertisement than word of mouth. If you had to choose between 10 products, and your friend recommended just one of them, you'd probably go with that one—if you trust your friend's judgment. :) Also, be personal. It is a pain in the CPU to answer all the e-mail I get, but I do answer it. People enjoy knowing that I'm not a computer. They remember that they received personal e-mail from me.

3. Quality Control
I can't stress this part enough. People won't take you seriously unless you take yourself seriously first. If you want to run with the 'big boys', get a good virtual host with a fast connection, purchase a web domain, and hire a designer if you can't design your way out of a wet paper bag. At the very least, go through your zine with a fine-toothed comb. If you're a good writer, people'll love you. I've always been one to bend the grammatical rules, but then again, I've got a degree in English Education, so I can do that. :) How does this relate to publicizing? It crafts your image.

4. Do It Differently
Do something new. People are more apt to pick up on something that hasn't been done before. Do it first, and people will remember you. As an example, if you say e-zine, I say John Labovitz, only because his E-Zine-List is widely known in e-zine circles. But don't copy someone else's idea. Yes, you can take and build upon what you see, but if it doesn't scream "original", you might as well not even bother. How much crud do you have to wade through on the 'Net before you finally get to quality content? Remember that before you even start typing.

5. Design a Linking Logo
Make an 88x31 logo (they've become standard on Web pages). Here's the one I made for Lockergnome:


People love linking from their personal pages, and sometimes from their professional pages. When I review a product or Web site, I contact the person in charge on the chance they'll want to announce that they appeared in Lockergnome. A graphic catches surfers' eyes. If possible, try to get a small description or personal accolade to accompany that link. It gives it more credibility. Visit a site that I've reviewed and you may find a Lockergnome graphic; if people see enough of 'em, they'll probably visit. Surfers become familiar with a certain name, and they trust it. If a person has a hobby (like cars) then you'd want your car e-zine listed on every car page possible. I review a lot of Windows shareware, and right now the online shareware market is flooded. That puts me at an advantage as well as a disadvantage. Pro: there are tons of surfers. Con: there tons of other sites trying to get those surfers' attention. That's where "being different" comes into play.

6. Subscribers Are Important
Find out where they're coming from. If you're noticing subscriptions coming from a certain site or e-zine, pursue a partnership with them. And don't be afraid to receive feedback. Yes, you'll get negative comments about 10 percent of the time, but that's human nature. Are you doing your e-zine for yourself or for them? The subscriber isn't always right, but they do have valid points and ideas which could only help your readership grow. Give them credit if they offer some content to your publication. Nothing makes you happier than seeing your name in lights, right?

7. Don't Spam
You're going to get blamed for it anyway, but don't do it. There are enough people out there who are giving our legitimate publications a very bad name. If they can't remember subscribing to something they receive in their Inbox, it's Spam. Their best friend (or enemy) could have signed them up without asking permission first, and you'll take the blame every time. Don't let it get you down, but don't play their game, either. Along this thread, don't ever purchase those "1 Billion E-mail Addresses" CD-ROMs. The key is, "If you build it, they will come."

8. Choose Your Allies Smartly
Guilt by association; the same rule applies online. If you feel that you're in a different league than another site, don't be afraid to say "no" to a 'partnership' or link exchange. If you feel that site's content isn't as good as it could possibly be, offer suggestions and wait until improvements are made. Of course, you can't be afraid to ask other people out there if they'd like to do something with you (e.g., a joint promotion). Don't compromise quality for quantity—ever. Of course, if you can get both quality and quantity, you're good to go. But be careful about what you say and do, and what the sites you associate with say or do.

Also by Christopher Pirillo:
15 Great E-Publishing Tips

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