Ezine Publishing: It “Ain’t” What it Use to Be”
Wow! I just finished sending out my ezine and I’m exhausted. For something I do for free and is suppose to be a labor of love, it sure has turned into a full-time job.
When I started ezine publishing about five years ago, it was fun. You could send out a mailing by 9:00 and have sales rolling in by noon. It’s not like that anymore. Heck, sometimes you wonder if half of your subscribers are even getting your ezine, let alone taking the time to actually read it. And to what do we owe this pleasure to? Email filtering. Yes, that’s right — filtering (which was started to keep out that “4 letter word” I can’t even print for fear this article will go straight to your trash bin) has made every ezine publisher across the globe jump through hoops to make sure their issues are getting through. It’s funny, the “improve your love life” and “grow your body parts” emails still show up like clockwork, but the ezines I opted in to receive get trashed. Go figure.
I still publish in text format but you’ll find a lot of publishers publishing in HTML. Sure, it looks pretty, but with HTML email many times it’s blocked by the end user or interpreted to be “junk mail.” It has a higher chance of being “killed” as it’s often seen as a possible virus by many virus checking programs.
Some say why not publish in PDF and send it out as an attachment? Again, not something filters like. Attachments may be a virus, so again, your message may be deleted before hitting your subscribers’ inboxes. Also, PDF files are usually quite large in size, which many subscribers may not like clogging up their mailboxes.
So what’s a publisher to do? Many have taken the high road and stopped publishing altogether. But if you have a passion for publishing and really like to help people, that’s not an option. I love creating my ezine even if sending it out means I have to perform a few tricks. Besides, I’m not quite ready to let the “bad people” chase me out. If we stop publishing, they win.
Here are some publishing tips to help you maneuver your ezine through the filters:
1) After creating your ezine, run it through a software program that will check it for “trigger words” and try to modify it or tone it down. If you’re getting a high score try changing some of your wording. Make sure to test your subject line too. Two that I use for checking:
2) Send in text format only. If you want to reproduce it in HTML format then you need to make an HTML version of your newsletter and post it online. Please don’t just send a link to your list telling them where to go to read the latest issue. Studies show they won’t. People are basically lazy and if they have to work to read your ezine chances are they won’t. They signed up to get your information in their “inbox” make sure you give it to them. Is it more work making dual formats of your ezine? Yes, it is. But, if you want to make sure your messages are being read, it’s important.
Read this interesting article on why text is important http://www.nwsltr.com/article-partner.shtml
3) After sending out the text version of my newsletter I wait 24 hours and send a second notice out informing them it was sent out along with a link to where they can read it online (the HTML issue link) in case the first issue never made it to their inbox. The 2nd issue will almost surely pass the filters as it contains no “trigger words”. Again, watch your subject line.
4) You should also offer an alternative reading method like http://NewsMon.com Easy to set up and free and just takes one line of text to update it.
5) Ask your subscribers to “whitelist” whatever email address your publication comes from. This will ensure it’s not sent to the trash upon receipt. If you have to send out a notice by itself asking your readers to do this to insure future issues will arrive safely in their inbox.
6) Remember to remove hard bounces from your list. Word has it that continually sending out bouncing email to certain ISP’s can get you banned from that particular server. Soft bounces due to full mailboxes will happen, hard ones need to be removed immediately.
So there you have it. Now you know why I’m so tired. What used to be finished in just one click has turned into a 2-day affair. If you’re serious about publishing an ezine and you’re not just in it for the money, you’ll need to take these extra steps to make sure your ezine is getting through to your subscribers.
Remember, “neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet nor filters” will stop a good newsletter from getting through. Now excuse me, I have to go and clean up my list.
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