How to Publicize Your E-Zine
created an e-zine, how do you get the word out? This guide offers
strategies to let a world of readers know about your work. You
also should check out these eight
great tips from Christopher Pirillo. For more guidance on
which promotion techniques are most effective, consider the Poor Richard's Internet
Marketing and Promotions.
Step One: Create
you have created your webzine, or have the basic know-how to
do so (if not, two books to accomplish this are Web Sites That Suck
and Poor Richard's Website
Creation). You'll receive much of your traffic from search
engines, which index your pages based on a variety of criteria.
Although most of the major engines no longer consider them, it
can't hurt to add meta keywords to your pages before submitting
your pages. If you haven't already, establish a secondary email
account at a free site such as hotmail.com or yahoo.com and use
that address when you register to avoid getting crushed with
spam. Also, your webzine will rank better with the engines if
you have your own domain name, rather than an address at a service
provider (e.g. members.aol.com or geocities.com). You can register
your zine's name for $6.99 per year at 1&1 Internet,
which might be a good idea even if you don't have immediate plans
for it. It also offers a bare-bones web hosting package starting
at $3.95 per month.
Step Two: Submit
Once you have
your webzine in place, visit yahoo.com and google.com and submit
your URLs (if you have a lot of pages, submit no more than five
URLs per day). You also can use a free service such as EZSubmit to submit to some of the smaller engines.
Don't pay for services that promise to submit your site to hundreds
of engines. It won't affect your traffic as much as just hitting
the larger ones. For a primer on how the various engines work,
Engine Watch. It offers a free newsletter that gets into
tons of details about how engines work. Anytime you make a major
change to your site or add new pages, submit or resubmit the
The next step is
to enter your URL at the major online directories. You'll save
yourself a lot of time if you prepare enticing 25-word, 50-word
and 100-word descriptions first. "If you can explain your
zine in a sentence you have a fighting chance," says George
Myers Jr. of LitKit. A one-sentence description can help you
focus on the audience you're after, and it helps when you're
deciding where to place your e-zine in directories. Yahoo! is the largest directory, followed by
Yahoo seems to prefer sites that have their own domain name;
even then you may have to submit several times before you're
listed. Don't do it more than once every two weeks, and chose
your category carefully (suggest a second category if it applies,
but don't get greedy). Submit your e-zine under specific topics,
such as Travel or Humor or whatever best describe its content.
Once you have submitted your ezine three times, two weeks apart,
and it's still not listed, send a polite note to URL
Support giving them the dates you submitted and the information.
This only works for ezines listed in non-business categories.
Yahoo! no longer accepts free submissions to Business categories;
instead, it charges a $299 annual fee.
your e-zine by sending announcements to various services that
alert surfers to new sites. Post a notice to the Usenet group
If you do a non-commercial paper or electronic zine, post a notice
You also can add
your zine to the many ezine directories, but most don't produce
much traffic. If you have the time and patience, start with our
list of zine directories.
Step Three: C'mon
Getting visitors is great, but the real challenge
is getting them to return. It's important to have interesting
and unique content, but you also want to remind people that it's
there. Many editors offer an email version of their work that
goes out when each new issue of the Webzine is posted, or whenever
he or she adds new content. It invites readers to return to the
site for another look. You can add a simple mailto: link to your
page to compile a list manually, or you can use a free service
such as Yahoo
Groups, which handles all the subscribe and unsubscribe details
for you. Doing an e-mail newsletter also allows you to reach
people who don't have Web access. For more information, you won't
find a better manual than Chris Pirillo's Poor Richard's E-Mail
Step Four: Advertise
Most zines have zero ad budget. That's fine. There
are numerous ways to get the word out without spending a lot
of money, such as inexpensive postcards or banner exchanges.
Contact like-minded e-zine editors (chose your friends carefully)
or join banner exchanges such as Exchange Ad. The services offering banner ad
exchanges are getting more sophisticated with targeting where
your ads are placed.
Chris Pirillo notes
that ad exchanges work best for e-zines distributed only by e-mail
because you can be more descriptive with a text ad. In addition,
"people who subscribe to one e-mail pub are more than likely
to subscribe to another."
creating a logo that other sites can display to link back to
your e-zine. "I made mine 88x31, which I love because it's
small enough that it's not a hassle for someone to drop it on
their sites. When you review a product or page, let the Webmaster
know and give them the URL of your logo. Can't hurt. And offer
a brief accolade it changes your logo from 'hey, give
me a link!' to 'I love your site, and here's why.' "
In some cases,
the editor of a Webzine may only agree to display your link if
you display his or hers, what is known as a reciprocal link.
In my view, this can muddy your reputation in the sense that
a visitor can't tell if you liked the site or just want some
of its traffic. Some editors get around this by creating a special
page devoted to these type of links.
A quick word on
Webrings, which are systems in which you place a banner on your
page that includes links to other sites within the group. Visit
directory to search for a group that covers a specific topic
of your Webzine. Finally, take a look at syndication services
such as Zinos,
which reprints e-zine articles with a link back to the submitter's
Step Five: Stay on Top of It
Remember, you have competition. Attention spans
are short. Updating your site is key. Jim Romenesko of the Obscure Reading
Room notes that his visitor count was flat when he let cobwebs
grow on his site. "When I add to it at least once a week,
I've noticed that at least some visitors return for the possibility
of new content," he says. (He's right: I'm one of them.)
Other "reader-friendly" advice: Go through your publication
with a fine-tooth comb and fix all typos (if you can't read your
e-zine twice, why should a reader read it once?) and eliminate
any link rot by checking your links regularly.
Another tip: Answer
your mail promptly. "How does this relate to publicizing?"
asks Christopher Pirillo. "It crafts your image." As
content goes, check out what's being done and do something original.
With all the new e-zines nowadays, fresh content is vital. If
you have a great e-zine, word will spread. Don't work long hours
to promote your e-zine only to have readers write you off because
they never see anything new.
For more guidance
with promoting your online publication, visit sites such as VirtualPromote.
I have also compiled a resource
guide that includes links to dozens of e-zine resources.
The section of links and reviews will be of special interest.
mainexternal sites open in new window
report new or dead sites here