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E-Zine Promotion 101

Your e-zine is hot off the cyber-presses, your methods of distribution are ready to roll, now you only need one thing: business. And that means PR.

Don't let the vastness of the Internet cast your e-zine into an abyss of anonymity. This month, Zine Advisory Board member Judy Gripton discusses how to promote your e-zine on the Web. For her, successful e-promotion relies on advertising, word-of-mouth and listings.

On advertising
"If you can afford the fees for advertising on the larger sites such as Yahoo!, you'll have a better time getting your name known." But that doesn't mean those operating on a tight budget are optionless. Free or low-fee advertising like "link exchanges, banner exchanges, newsgroup promotion, message boards and free classifieds are a good place to start." But Judy notes that newsgroup and link or banner exchanges can be more effective than message boards and classified ads which "aren't structured and are not often looked at."

Newsletters are another option Judy recommends. If you find newsletters with content that relates to yours, the audience that is interested in that newsletter will probably also be interested in your zine. "For example," she says, "I run The Amateur Poetry Journal, and I know that the Poetry Super Highway has an outstanding newsletter subscriber base and accepts advertising. It's a perfect place for me to find readers and contributors."

On word-of-mouth
The promotional tool "word-of-mouth" can be for your zine hinges on the quality of your product. As Judy puts it, "If you provide a solid, reliable, safe and enjoyable site, your visitors will return time and again, bringing people with them." People talk about a good thing. So, creating and maintaining a good site in itself can be promotion.

Judy adds that features like "chatrooms, free give-aways, contests, message boards and the like that change not only daily or monthly, but each minute/hour of the day" can prompt returns and build a "solid following" for your zine.

Get listed, get noticed
One final element to promotion Judy notes is getting listed. Register your e-zine with the major search engines and e-zine directories. Two directories she suggests are: Ezine- Universe.com (ezine-universe.com/), which is organized by category and searchable by keyword, and E-ZineZ.com (www.e-zinez.com/), also a searchable directory. Promotion lists, like E-Zines Today (www.ezinestoday.com) which announces free subscription e-zines, are also options.

Sending out news releases, getting reviewed and entering and receiving awards from contests can also be vehicles for promotion. EzineSeek (ezineseek.com/award) offers awards for outstanding newsletters, BestEzines.com (bestezines.com) reviews e-zines in 20 categories and announces weekly winners.

And in the spirit of promoting zines, starting in 2001, Zine Scene will feature reviews every other month. So, if you've got a zine for the Scene, send it to Zine Scene, 4700 E. Galbraith Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45236, or e-mail wd-zinescene@fwpubs.com.

Zine Advisory Board

Brian Alt, editor in chief of List-Universe.com (an e-mail list owner/e-zine resource), and publishes CommunityStart.com, a weekly e-zine and resource center for online community builders.

Judy Gripton is a freelance writer and poet, and the editor and publisher of The Amateur Poetry Journal (amateurpoetry.com).

Chip Rowe oversees the e-zine and zine resource center at Zinebook.com, and publishes the zines, Chip's Closet Cleaner and This is the Spinal Tap Zine.

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