Bring Back the Ezines?

Should ezines make a comeback? Although an ezine can use content management systems (blog software) it is the format and style which make them different. An ezine is an online magazine. They don’t need to be published daily, they don’t need to be the work of just one person and they can have various sections geared to offering information, services and promotion of the business.

If you can’t write your own blog post each day, consider an ezine. Hire or find people to create the graphics, articles and power up your ezine. You can make your own graphics, write your own content too. But a magazine isn’t built by just one person, generally. They update monthly or weekly, or bi-weekly or bi-monthly or seasonally even.

A blog should not expect reader feedback or rely on it. People read, lurk and leave. That’s how it goes. If you want interaction with your readers/ sales prospects look at message boards/ forums or Twitter. You only need to make a short post, maybe just a quick question, then let the readers post their opinions, ideas and questions. It is interactive and relies less on your own input than on the people you want to inform about your skills, services and/ or products.

It is a good idea to make sure you have recent posts so be prepared to make at least one each week, more when your message board is just starting up. You can make a Twitter post a couple of times a day, but not just a link to your site. Have something to say, to interest people and bring them in.

Always go in to moderate your boards for spam, discussions that get out of hand or someone who has asked a question about your business. Message boards are a great way to inform the public. Instead of a blog which cycles posts a board has all it’s content sorted and displayed on the front page. Readers hit the section they want and follow the thread, like a train of thought. It is a great format for site owners who don’t really want to spend time learning how to write and publish.

Another option is the email list. This isn’t as great an option as it once was. People get a ton of email now, newsletters they once subscribed to and don’t really have the time to read. It is still an option worth noting, and things could change. Email may become less cluttered and more useful once again.

An email list/ newsletter goes right to the people who subscribe. They will see it in their inbox and read it at their convenience. You don’t rely on bringing them to your site. Have a site with more information, a back up, with instructions for subscribing to the email newsletter and an archive of past posts.

Post the newsletter on a schedule, monthly, weekly or some other time period that suits you. It does not have to be stuffed with articles. There is a lot you can do, depending on what your goal is. Notify your readers about a contest you are running, a sale, something new that has just come in. Or give them tips and advice regarding your niche or area of expertize. Add a link to your site and the archive at the end of each email. It is important to have unsubscribe instructions too, make them clear and visible. You will still get people asking to be unsubscribed and sending it through to the whole list, but you do what you can to make it simple and easy for them.

New formats and software will come along that can be applied to running and ezine. Some blogs are set up with the magazine theme/ template and look like an ezine. They post daily and have a set of writers and designers and others who keep the blog running. What is the difference between an ezine and a blog set up like one? I’m not sure. But it does seem an easier way to run things, if you can find others to write on a schedule, you don’t have to do it all yourself.

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