The Third Commandment of Ezines: Consistency pays
Last month, we did some thinking about how your readers would use your ezine, which in turn determines what format will meet their needs. This month, we’re hitting the issue of consistency – why it’s important, and how to achieve it.
Commandment #3: Thou Shalt Publish Regularly and Predictably
Several weeks ago, I ran into an acquaintance who noted (with envy, perhaps?) that my ezine comes out the first Tuesday of every month like clockwork while his is published on, shall we say, an ad hoc basis. “You must have a lot of time on your hands,” he said.
Publishing an ezine is like any marketing activity – the more consistent your efforts, the more consistent your results. But consistency isn’t a magical quality that some have and others lack. It’s a decision anyone can make.
You’ve heard it before: “If I can do it, anybody can do it.” (Trust, me, I’ve broken more New Year’s resolutions than I can count.)
But I really believe if even I can consistently publish an ezine with everything I’ve got going on (running a small business, going to graduate school, keeping up with family), then anybody can. Here are three “butt-kickers” I’ve put in place to help me stay focused:
I don’t wait until the last minute to decide what to publish. I sat down several months ago and put together what’s called an editorial calendar. Most print publications consider these an essential part of their operations.
Doing this kind of brainstorming far in advance gives me enough mulling time to plan content around a seasonal event, a future marketing focus, etc. I can make notes as ideas occur to me, and I can write a bit at a time during otherwise wasted moments. The result? No last-minute panic attack!
I commit – publicly – to a publication schedule. You may have noticed the note at the bottom of every issue: “… published the first Tuesday of every month by Savadra Information Solutions, Inc.” That accountability keeps me honest! A colleague of mine in another state calls her ezine “Third Thursday Marketing Tips.” No mistaking that publication schedule!
I pay for my email marketing application months in advance. There’s nothing like risking your own hard-earned money to get you moving. I know if I let my subscription go inactive, that’s just money down the drain.
And I’ve learned, the hard way, that I get better results from any marketing activity I do if I “stay the course” rather than “try a little of this and that.” An imperfect but well-executed plan beats a perfect plan that never really gets off the ground. As my mother used to say to me when I was a teenager, “Do something, anything, even if it’s wrong.” (See, Mom, I was listening!)
So what does all this consistency get me? Well, I hope it at least gets me a reputation for good follow-through! Seriously, it also seems to be producing some good fruit in recent months. Readers I don’t get to talk with very often nevertheless contact me with referrals for great projects and inquiries about my availability for writing work.
And cultivating that “top of mind” awareness is really what an ezine’s all about, isn’t it?