Even the best of us will sometimes run out of things to say.
As a marketing speaker and marketing coach, I have found 14 things that most of my clients (professional speakers, consultants, and professional services firms) can turn to that will keep your e‐zines and blogs timely and fresh.
Here's the list for you - and please use the COMMENTS section below to add your own great ideas...
1. How‐To Tips. Everybody loves to read “how to’s.” A very short pithy practical tip your reader can use that day. For example, say you were writing to employers interested in OSHA regulations. You may have an article like, 10 Tips You Can Use to Pass Your Safety Inspections.
2. Dialogue with the Reader, Soliciting Feedback and Participation. I love this; it works equally well for an ezine or blog. This allows two‐way communication with your reader. You get to build a real bond with your readers. Your readers can be your best source of material. Pose questions to your readers and promise to publish the answers. For example: In one of my e‐zines I asked my readers to tell me some of their success stories, involving giving out free information. I told them that if I used their information I would give them full credit in my e‐zine.
3. Tips from Friends and Colleagues. This gives you the opportunity to “be seen” as an unbiased source of information. I love to bring in experts covering all sorts of topics. Lets be honest: you and I don’t know everything. If you can bring in experts covering a wide range of topics you become a source of information that your reader can always look to. In one of my e‐zines my friend Paul Karasik gave a great networking tip from his new book “How to Market to High Net‐Worth Households”
4. Plugs for Friends and Clients’ books, e‐books, reports, products and services. Make extra money by creating affiliate relationships, or joint ventures. Becoming an affiliate for someone can be the easiest way to make money. All you do is promote their products for a commission. Alternatively, you can promote a friends product as a favor because you believe your readers would benefit from it. (I do this regularly with a lot of my NSA speaker buddies who offer excellent programs and products to the same target market that I serve. No money changes hands. Just love and referrals.)
5. Reader Feedback and Contributions. This gives you a chance to create a buzz, controversy and argument. There have been times I have posted information, only to be inundated by readers telling me they agree, or disagree. Either way that is good. It means people are reading.
6. Upcoming Speaking Engagements, Seminars, and Tele‐conferences. If you do any public appearances, some of your readers will want to attend. This is your chance to let them know where you will be and what you will be doing. It is also a great way to meet some of your most loyal readers. Include links to Websites where the reader can register for the event.
7. What I’ve Done Lately. Your readers will want to see what you have been working on; it is like reality TV. It gives them a sneak peak in to your life and lets prospective new clients see your work.
8. Recommended Vendors. Sometimes you come across a service provider that has helped you out, and you feel would be a godsend to your readers, why not return the favor and promote him in your e‐zine? A copywriter friend of mine recently had a problem with his computer, and a company called Rescue.com saved his bacon.
9. Useful and Relevant Websites. While you are cruising the net, you may find a Website others don’t know about, that you find useful. Let the world know, get the word out. For example, this ezine marketing course may be exactly what you need to get your ezine marketing back on track!!
10. Mini Book Reviews. If you read a book that you feel may be valuable to your readers let them know, post a link to Amazon and make yourself a couple of bucks if they buy.
11. News Nuggets of Interest. Clip excerpts from industry trade journals that you believe may be relevant to your readers.
12. News About Your New Books. Let your readers know about any books you might be working on.
13. Plugs for Your Own Products. This is where you get a chance to plug your own products. You do not have to feel guilty about selling your products and professional services; your readers want to know what you have to offer. Look at it as a fair trade. You give your reader valuable information, and in return he rewards you by purchasing some of your products. It is totally win/win.
14. Quotations. Many people love to read quotes. A good quote can be inspirational. If you find one you like include it in your next issue.
That's it - so now you have no more excuses NOT to crank out terrific, value-rich ezines and blogs with a lot less effort than you thought.
Got more ideas? Share them in the COMMENTS area below.
p.s. If you'd like some personalized help - and your very own customized email and phone outreach tools, social media scripts, a killer email signature file, a polished referral blurb and more, check out the Small Biz Outreach Action Packs.
As a marketing speaker
and marketing coach
who works with professional speakers, consultants, and professional services firms, the topic of email marketing comes up fairly regularly.
A study conducted by Quiris discovered that people have an inner circle of 16 sources from whom they open e‐mails—that includes e‐zines they subscribe to, and their friends.
What does this mean to you? Simple: the competition is fierce.
You could be giving away free gold bars, but if no one reads any of your message how would anyone know about it? It is the age‐old question what came first—the chicken or the egg? The greatest message no one reads is no more effective than the worst message everyone reads. They have to read your message.
Your typical Internet user is overwhelmed with daily e‐mails, most of which they never read. Do you read all your e‐mail?
People do not have the time to sit and read every single e‐mail they get. They read their e‐mail the way they read their normal mail, except now they have the power to use a delete button.
They quickly scan two very important lines on every e‐mail that will help them decide. They look at the “from” line, and the subject line.
Always use the same from line when emailing to your subscriber list. Your readers must get to know and trust you. Once you create a bond with your reader and gain their trust, you will make it into their inner circle.
Isn’t this how you decide which e‐mails you will read?
Your subject line is a different story; try to give your reader a reason to read your e‐mail. Offer him a benefit for reading your message. Let him know what is in it for him or her.
Tests show that if you include the readers’ first name in the subject line, you will get a noticeable bump in response.
Think of your subject line as a mini headline. One of my most successful subject lines from my e‐zine was “Do Question Headlines Work?” There was an avalanche of response to that simple subject line.
Michael Masterson has come up with a formula he uses when he writes headlines; it’s called the 4 U’s. Your headline must be useful, unique, ultra specific, and urgent. It is a nifty little checklist. The next time you are stumped for a headline, try the 4 U’s.
Here let me show you how it is done. Check the subject line for the 4U’s, for each U give it a score of 1‐4; 1 being lousy, 4 being excellent. When you’re done average out your score and see what you have. Anything lower than a 3 should probably be re‐written.
Here is a sample subject line from a small business marketing e‐zine:
8 ways to generate a ton of repeat business
Is it useful? Every businessperson or salesperson wants to know how to increase his or her referral business. Yes, it is useful, let’s give it a 4.
Is it unique? Well, not exactly so let’s give it a 2.
Is it ultra specific? You betcha, it tells you there are 8 ways, not a couple or a few but eight specific ways. So let’s give it a 4.
How about urgent? There really is no timeframe given so let’s rate this a 2. If you add these numbers up you get 12 divide that by 4 and you get 3. Not bad, but the real question is - how can YOU do even better?
In the comments section below -- Will you share your thoughts and insights into how YOU decide which emails to open and engage with?
p.s. If you'd like some personalized help - and your very own customized marketing and sales toolkit PLUS an easy-to-implement small business marketing game plan with 1-on-1 guidance for 90 days, get all the details here.
Many people I speak to tell me they do not use e‐zines because they simply do not have the time. As a marketing speaker and marketing coach to very busy CEOs, business owners, other professional speakers, and consultants, I hear you.
Here's the secret: It only takes me two hours or less per month. And those two hours are some of the highest ROI hours I can spend.
You're getting my simple formula for writing e‐zines that will make your ezine much easier to write - and more profitable to send.
Write five to seven short stories about a topic, one to three paragraphs each. You want the reader to be able to get through each story in under a minute. You do not have an unlimited amount of time with your reader so make sure he can read your entire e‐zine issue in about five minutes.
The next little tip might seem insignificant but I think it is vitally important. Do not put any click links to your stories; you do not want to give the readers mind a chance to wonder, because they are waiting for another page to load.
Many Websites like to give you a brief description of the article and then ask you to click on a link to read the whole article. That is just too many hoops to go through to read the story. Do not have just a story title and first paragraph with a link to the entire article.
Write short articles and include the entire article in the e‐zine itself, not a teaser part.
So here, it is in 4 Simple Steps:
1. 5 – 7 stories
2. 1 – 3 paragraphs each
3. Maximum reading time < 1 minute per story < 5 minutes per issue
4. No click links to stories—the full story is in the e‐zine.
There you have it quick, simple, and effective.
BONUS: Here are 8 more tips for writing an e‐ zine, courtesy of Dan Ranly, www.ranly.com:
1. Write for surfers and scanners
2. Provide information quickly and easily
3. Think both verbally and visually
4. Cut copy in half
5. Use lots of lists and bullets
6. Write in chunks
7. Use hyperlinks
8. Give readers a chance to talk back (feedback)
Feedback from YOU is always welcome in the comments area below...