6. Pay Attention to Those Pesky Readers!
"The amount of time that is spent on customer service is underestimated, since there are so many factors involved in satisfying customers and their needs," says Jon Bauer, Newsletter Productions Manager for INT Media (formerly Internet.com). INT Media publishes nearly 250 email newsletters on a wide range of computer and Internet topics (including Search Engine Watch and SearchDay). The frequency of INT Media's newsletters ranges from monthly to daily. Between 70 and 110 titles are published each day, keeping Bauer and the six people that work in INT Media's newsletter production department on their toes.
But this rigorous production schedule is just one part of the job. "Many people are still not familiar with some very basic Internet/email concepts, and you as the distributor/mailer have to be ready to answer questions and react to the subscribers' complaints and requests," says Bauer. Members of the production team have to be flexible. "There are specific duties that each has, but we sometimes will have to cross over, depending on the circumstances," says Bauer.
7. Learn from Experience
Direct reader feedback is a wonderful teacher, but there are a myriad of ways you can improve your newsletter simply by paying attention to the overall process. "I learned that I should make clear that the newsletter is free," says Research Buzz's Calishain. "I learned that I should set up some automated instructions to teach people how to change their address. I learned that I should inform Webmasters when I'm going to cover their site because they can sometimes give me additional site information."
"It's a lot of little things," echoes Traffick's Goodman. "One example would be making sure the newsletter signup box is front and center on your site-if you actually want anyone to sign up for it. They're not going to go looking."
8. It Takes More than Eight Clues
Publishing a successful enewsletter is a challenge, and though there's more to the job than may initially meet the eye, it's something that virtually anyone can do with a bit of effort. In the words of Cluetrain author Christopher Locke, "There may not be twelve or five or twenty things you can do, but there are ten thousand. The trick is, you have to figure out what they are. They have to come from you. They have to be your words, your moves, your authentic voice."
Newsletters & Links Mentioned
Research Buzz www.researchbuzz.com
Search Engine Watch http://searchenginewatch.com
The Cluetrain Manifesto www.cluetrain.com
RSS Information http://blogspace.com/rss/resources
EZine Universe http://Ezine-Universe.com
Best Ezines.com www.bestezines.com
Ezine Directory list from Google http://directory.google.com/Top/News/Ezines/Directories