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Ezine Publishing Cafe
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Ezine format - link vs. whole contentViews: 948
Mar 30, 2005 9:10 pmEzine format - link vs. whole content#

Georgie Marquez-Andre
As per Lisa's suggestion, I would like the board's input on this:
Every week I post a new editorial/commentary column on my web-site. I will soon be inviting people to subscribe to it as an ezine. The question is, should I send out the whole column to the subscribers or send them just the new title (i.e. topic of the week) and a link to the web site?
Thoughts... comments... suggestions?

Thanks!

Georgie www.incarnatebodies.com

Private Reply to Georgie Marquez-Andre

Mar 31, 2005 12:26 amre: Ezine format - link vs. whole content#

Nola Cooper
My personal feeling on the subject is to just send the title with a link. I've tried it both ways with my ezine, and I get more reads, and more interest by sending out a "Headlines" type email--than I ever did by sending entire articles.

I look forward to hearing what everyone else thinks on the subject.

Nola Cooper, Editor
http://www.TheClassicLife.com

Private Reply to Nola Cooper

Mar 31, 2005 2:58 pmre: Ezine format - link vs. whole content#

Kurt Schweitzer
Georgie,

I'm an advocate of the "teaser" approach. Write one or two lines about the article, and send that out along with the headline and link.

Think of your articles as premium content where someone has to be a paid subscriber in order to read them. Spend some time crafting your headlines and teasers so that they "sell" the article.

This will also help you determine what readers really are interested in. If you send out a newsletter with several complete articles you don't know which of the articles are enjoyed verses those that are endured. By using links to the full articles you can use your site statistics to find out which are being read and which are being ignored.

Kurt Schweitzer

Private Reply to Kurt Schweitzer

Mar 31, 2005 4:00 pmre: Ezine format - link vs. whole content#

lisa micklin
I'll play the advocate.

Here's my experience with this technique. It generally doesn't work. You are asking your subscribers to take an extra step to get to your content, and most of them won't do it.

Why? Generally because the content is not compelling enough! Of all of the ezines that I subscribe to, there are only two, that's right, two who use this technique that I actually click the read more link. (That's out of about 10 who use this technique.) The reason: only these two offer anything valuable in their content to me.

Why do people use this technique:
I've seen 2 main reasons:
1) To get folks to their site, and then as Kurt suggested, potentially track their activity. If this is your reason, make sure your headlines and teasers are mighty compelling!

2) Because their content is so long, they don't want to put it into an ezine format. If this is the case, you'd likely be better off shortening your ezine so that it is easily digestable.

So, either make your headlines and teasers so dang compelling that a subscriber would have to be insane not to click through, or, print your content in your ezine, keeping it brief enough to hold your subscribers' attention.

Just my thoughts,
lisa
~~~~~~~~~~

Private Reply to lisa micklin

Mar 31, 2005 5:28 pmre: Ezine format - link vs. whole content#

lisa micklin
Here's an example to backup my "compelling headlines" argument above. I just received this ezine in my inbox, and here's what it said verbatim (urls have been changed to protect the guilty)

Hello everyone! The March 2005 Newsletter can be accessed using the following links:

Web Version: http://www.xyz.com//_newsletters/March2005.htm

Print Version: http://www.xyz.com//_newsletters/March2005.pdf

To access the newsletter archive go to:

http://www.xyz.com//_newsletters/Default.htm

Have a Safe and Happy Spring!

And that was it. The whole ezine. Thought an example would help make my case.

in awe,
lisa
~~~~~~~~

Private Reply to lisa micklin

Mar 31, 2005 5:37 pmre: re: Ezine format - link vs. whole content#

kdwells
I agree with Lisa. I usually won't take the time to open a web browser to read something. Plus I have an extensive filing system for saving email messages I want to reply to, pass on, or re-read. I won't generally take the time to do that with web pages.

~Kimberly

Private Reply to kdwells

Mar 31, 2005 11:58 pmre: re: re: Ezine format - link vs. whole content#

Soni Pitts
Yeah, me three on not wanting to click through in most cases.

To be honest, I get enough stuff that comes whole to my inbox that, unless it's very compelling, I see no reason to click through.

The only two newsletters that I subscribe to at this point that do this are MarketingProfs - their articles are all feature length, but very valuable, and they pack a lot into each newsletter (having it all laid out in content would make the bloody thing a mile long) - and the various Coachville publications which usually include the full length of short-copy bits and teaser/links for long copy. Truth be told, I rarely read the longer stuff from CV, as it tends to be interviews and I'm not an interview reader by nature, but I appreciate the fact that they don't take up half the newsletter with them.

Now that I think about it, I can see two distinct and different categories of newsletter going on and what seems to work for both and why. The two categories that I'm seeing are "tips" and "news."

If your newsletter is a tips, tricks, hints, cute stories, advice and profiles sort of publication, then you're probably better off keeping it short and in-situ. OTOH, if your newsletter is actually a content-heavy news-type publication that keeps its readers current on what's happening in the world of "whatever", then you'll be doing feature length articles, reviews, interviews, and commentary - and lots of it. In that case, you're better off doing the teaser/link tango. But you'd better have seriously well-written and relevent articles and superior teaser copy to make it work.

Does anyone else see this divide? Am I on target with my observation, do you think?


Soni Pitts, Personal and Spiritual Development Coach
Reclaiming the soul of living
www.sonipitts.com

Private Reply to Soni Pitts

Apr 01, 2005 2:48 pmre: re: re: re: Ezine format - link vs. whole content#

Cathy Qazalbash
Hi
I am in agreement with you Soni.
My experience has been try to get your newsletter out in one piece. Readers do not and often will not click thru to a link.
if you have graphics and other good stuff then you are better off making a web page and labeling it resources. Readers will click thru to resource info. I have tried it :)

Cathy
http://advertise-your-business.com
http://a1-newsletters.com

Private Reply to Cathy Qazalbash

Apr 01, 2005 5:25 pmre: Ezine format - link vs. whole content#

Denise O'Berry
I'm with the rest of the group on the "not clicking through" issue. I don't do it either. When I published one of my newsletters, I tried it and quickly changed my mind. The readership went way down.

Given that though and all of our comments, my first question to anyone wanting to make a change with their newsletter and their subscribers is, "Why not ask your subscribers?"

Best regards,

Denise O'Berry

Private Reply to Denise O'Berry

Apr 03, 2005 4:03 amre: re: Ezine format - link vs. whole content#

Georgie Marquez-Andre
Thank you all!
I am leaning towards the sending the whole column side... especially once I realized that the newsletters I subscribe to that use the "link" method go unread most of the time, while the ones that have the content right there get read pretty much all the time.
I hadn't really thought about it until some of you brought it up... which is why I am not sure that asking the subscribers is really the best route to take. It's one of those things we may think we prefer one way, while in reality, walking it out in the opposite direction!

Thanks!

Georgie

Private Reply to Georgie Marquez-Andre

Apr 05, 2005 4:48 pmre: re: re: Ezine format - link vs. whole content#

Soni Pitts
Michael Port has a good way of combining this format. His email newsletter is all on one html "page", but the headings are listed at the top with a teaser and are hyperlinked to the full content further down the page (inter-page anchor links).

This enables scanners to quickly see and get to what they want and to ignore the rest, and it allows browsers to read top to bottom, or not, as they wish.

Of course, this doesn't help with deliverability issues associated with either format, but as far as readability, it does provide a nice melding of the two extremes.


Soni Pitts, Personal and Spiritual Development Coach
Reclaiming the soul of living
www.sonipitts.com

Private Reply to Soni Pitts

Apr 05, 2005 5:33 pmre: re: re: re: Ezine format - link vs. whole content#

Christopher Knight, http://EzineArticles.com/
For me, the days of sending the entire article via an ezine post is almost completely unimaginable.

I'm sure that my readers would like to see the entire article in the ezine, but when the content is valuable, relevant and free -- I think it's safe to ask for a click on a link to view the guts of the article.

I've been rotating testing big and small summary lengths, sometimes I give 3/4 of an article and leave 4-10 tips for a click to see the rest.

The reality is that if I don't get my audience to click, I don't get paid.

The other reality is that this model vs. the old model have been tested to millions of deliveries and the article summary with a link clearly generates more tens of thousands in revenue than without it.

It does feel conter-intuitive to do something that you know your audience doesn't want you to do, but if they respond by clicking -- then you can both get a chance at winning together.

Christopher M. Knight of http://Ezine-Tips.com/

Private Reply to Christopher Knight, http://EzineArticles.com/

Apr 05, 2005 5:57 pmre: re: re: re: re: Ezine format - link vs. whole content#

lisa micklin
First, Chris, welcome to the cafe, it is truly an honor to have you in our humble little hood over here at ryze. For those of you who don't know Chris, do visit his site at http://ezine-tips.com, which is an invaluable resource to any ezine publisher!

Earlier in this thread, I mentioned that there are two ezines that I am willing to click through to read full articles, and Chris' is definitely one of those two.

Again, I feel that in most cases the content of an ezine is simply not compelling enough to get me to click through for more.

best,
lisa
~~~~~~~~~

Private Reply to lisa micklin

Apr 05, 2005 11:47 pmre: Ezine format - link vs. whole content#

Anna, Overweight? NO MORE!!
Hello Everyone!

I have seen more results when I send the article's introduction and indicate CLICK here to read the complete article...

Good luck.

Private Reply to Anna, Overweight? NO MORE!!

Apr 24, 2005 4:00 amre: re: Ezine format - link vs. whole content#

Prasad GI
Hello, everybody. I've just read what people have had to say on the subject and it seemed to me that opinions are fairly evenly matched!

My company produces e-zines for one of the world's largest banks and they have given us an additional objective: To generate click-throughs to their website with a view to encouraging customers to - hopefully! - linger and read the other interesting bits. In the last 8 months or so that this initiative has been in place, we've averaged about 30% click-through rates and open rates that vary between 30-50% (we produce four e-zines).

We follow the same system that Christopher Knight and a few others have talked about: to place a headline and a line or two of text on the home page of the mailer which 'teases' the reader. Finally, I thought Lisa got it right when she said that most newsletter/e-zine content is usually not compelling enough. We've been experimenting with varied formats - we borrow from fable, from mythology, we experiment with dialogue and other creative formats - to get the message of our products and services across.

Private Reply to Prasad GI

Apr 30, 2005 3:11 amre: Ezine format - link vs. whole content#

Gregory Allan
Hi everyone. This is my first post.

My vote is to do both. On the one hand, some people get
upset if they download their email for offline use and then cannot read any content.

On the other hand, sending less will get past spam filters
easier and also (sometimes) generate more web site traffic for you.

Assuming people will not mind clicking of course.

So why not send out the teaser first, then
the next day send the full article for those who never
clicked through.

Honestly though this is a tough debate. It all depends
on your goals for publishing the content.

In most cases we are usually wanting to get a web site
visit anyway so maybe the teaser only has some merrit
(is that how you spell merit?)

Private Reply to Gregory Allan

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