The Following is from my friend and mentor: Jimmy D. Brown of “Get Messsages Read!”
I am an admitted planner and management tool nut. I have about 7 business planners. I have appointment managers. I have the best books, software, notebooks and planning systems from
Franklin Covey, Day Runner and just about anyone else on the market.
I have a lot of things to balance (ministry, family, business, golf … usually in that order :o) and I need planners and reminders to keep me on track.
Emphasis is on the REMINDERS.
I even have a software program that sends me emails each day reminding me of important appointments and activities.
Reminders are a good thing. Sometimes they jar us back to reality like a bone-shaking tackle by a middle linebacker, but, still, they are a good thing.
And publishing this article has been a “good thing” for me. It’s been a reminder. A reminder of the important things about publishing.
You see, if we’re not careful, we get into a “rut” when it comes to publishing, specifically in publishing our NEWSLETTERS. While I am no longer publishing an ezine, opting to devote my content to articles, reports and mini-courses, many of my subscribers ARE newsletter publishers.
So, I’ve put together this “checklist” of reminders that I have personally experienced during the past few days as my focus has been refreshed.
Ask yourself these 5 questions before publishing your next newsletter issue…
1. Are you PASSIONATE? One of the things that has drawn me to blogging is the amazing passion of most bloggers. Those who publish a blog are usually those who just love to talk about their particular interest. It’s what they talk about when they are OFFLINE. It’s what they think about. It’s a part of their lives. And they just want to share it with anyone who is willing to listen.
When newsletters “began”, that was driving force… passion. And, for many, the passion is still alive. And they’d publish their ezine even if they only had a handful of subscribers who were mostly relatives. Doesn’t matter. If someone is willing to listen, they’ll talk via a newsletter.
The focus isn’t on the “numbers” (I.E. How many subscribers do I have on my list) but rather is on the “topic”, the thing that they can’t seem to get enough of, or give enough of.
What about you? Is the passion still there?
2. Are you PERSONABLE? Spend enough time here and you’ll get to know me. More than what I KNOW as a marketer, you’ll learn about what I BELIEVE as a fellow human. You’ll also get to know about me and my life. Maybe more than you want to know. You’ll learn that I am a committed Christian, that I absolutely love to play golf, I have a wonderful wife and little boy and I can quote just about every episode of the Andy Griffith Show.
And, to the great dismay and terror of my buddy Ryan Deiss, I will ocassionally eat a potted meat sandwich.
See, I told you it might be more than you want to know. :o)
The point is this: we’re going to connect. Sooner or later, you’ll get to know me. And I’ll become a part of your life, hopefully as a good, positive source of encouragement and guidance.
I don’t hide behind a mask. I don’t pretend to be something that I’m not. You get the real me. There will be times you love me, there will be times you won’t love me as much. But, one thing will be certain, you’ll see a real person that you can connect with.
More than a publisher, I’m a person.
That’s what folks want. They don’t want a “newsletter publisher” sending them mailings every week. They want a “newsletter person” who will be real with them. Someone who can be personal. Someone they can relate to.
Someone like themselves.
Will you be that person?
3. Are you PROVIDING? Let’s be honest here: the only thing that will BRING YOU BACK to a site is whether or not you feel like you have gained something in going there. If you’ve been educated, you’ll be back. If you’ve been entertained, you’ll be back. If you have found something to be beneficial to you, then you’ll come back over and over again. And you’ll stay as long as you continue to gain something.
Newsletters should PROVIDE something to their readers. And that’s QUALITY content. That’s something that either EDUCATES or ENTERTAINS. Or, preferably, BOTH.
As a publisher of a newsletter, do you give of yourself to your readers? More than just trying to get them to buy something or do something… are you doing something for them?
4. Are you PROVOCATIVE? Learn this truth right now: the most read newsletters are the ones who are hosted by the most opinionated authors. Those who stand up and share their thoughts, even when those thoughts are controversial and go against popular opinion will always get attention.
I’m not saying “go against the grain” just for the sake of stirring up a hornet’s nest. Not saying that at all. I’m just saying “Speak your mind.” If you’ve got something to say, say it. If something’s bothering you, get it off your chest. Be authentic. Be real.
Don’t deliberately try to harm or offend, but don’t be afraid to stand up and be counted. Some will agree. Some will disagree. (That’s okay… because they are entitled to their opinion too.) But all will READ.
The point is this: your newsletter is your mouthpiece. You want to guard it against hurtful words, but you always want it to be honest and forthright, sharing the “truth, whole truth and nothing but the truth” about your passion, whether it’s traditional or cutting edge in its opinions.
5. Are you PROFITABLE? OK, so not all newsletters are out to produce profits. But, for the sake of this “Publishing for PROFITS” checklist, let’s assume that you ARE trying to make money from your ezine. And let’s look at how most profitable newsletters make money (those that ARE trying to produce profits)
Here it is in a nutshell: They are money makers, but not money grabbers.
Yes, you’ll see links to my products on my sites. Yes, you’ll see an affiliate link here and there. Yes, I’ll try to get you on a list. Yes, sooner or later I’d like you to spend some money with me.
There, I said it. It’s out in the open. No secret there. I provide you with great content (investing in you) and I hope you’ll do more business with me (invest in me) down the road.
Now, contrast that with how many newsletters are structured these days (admittedly, some of mine were too): They’ve got a top sponsor ad trying to get your money. They have a classified ad section trying to get your money. There are ads sprinkled throughout the featured article. The resource box at the bottom of that article leads to another place trying to get your money. There is a “review” of a product which is embedded with an affiliate link. There are “recommended resources” plugged in there to get you to buy something. There are special solo mailings coming to you as a list member that are designed to get into your wallet.
Get the idea?
Now, let me say this, not ALL newsletters are like that. I’m just speaking my mind … you know, being provocative, expressing my opinion. But, let’s be honest, most newsletters that ARE trying to make money tend to be more focused on making money from you as a subscriber than providing useful information to you.
The lesson I’ve learned from the popularity of blogging is that it’s time to return to the grass root days of publishing an ezine because you’ve got passion about a subject and there are interested people who want to read it. Give it to them, sprinkle in a few money-making references, and the profits will come.
One of the most profitable newsletter publishers I know of in all of internet marketing was Terry Dean. Want to know how he “bombarded” his subscribers with offers? ONE advertisement per issue. TWO or THREE solo mailings per year.
And that’s why he is able to make over $30,000 from ONE of those mailings. He provides GREAT content and FEW offers. And people respond.
You come a website for CONTENT. If we stop providing it, or start giving you so many sales pitches that you have a hard time finding it, you’ll stop coming around. And rightly so.
People subscribe to newsletters for the same reason. They want information. Give it to them and sooner or later most will give you their business. Hide it under a mountain of ads and offers and they’ll go elsewhere. And who can blame them.
So, those are reminders that I have personally had my mind refreshed to recently. And I think I’ll be a better publisher because of it.
And I think you will too, if you just ask yourself these five questions before you publish your next ezine.
Jimmy D. Brown is the author of the “Get Messages Read!” course. In Get Messages Read! you’ll learn 24 simple ideas you can begin using today (literally, with the next message you send out) to increase the profit from any list. Check out this ground-breaking course at Get Your Messages Read…………………….