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An Introduction to Email Publishing
Email publishing is a growing medium which includes a variety of different formats and styles. There are newsletters on an incredible number of subjects, some of which are on very specialized subjects. The ease and speed of newsletter publishing allows for this diversity. Some email newsletters are similar in style and content to printed newsletters or mini-magazines. These email newsletters function the same way a small zine or magazine does, and are delivered to readers who subscribe to receive them. Some email mailing lists are actually discussion lists which act like an ongoing virtual conversation, with messages delivered to all the subscribers of the group. To keep from being overwhelmed by new posts to the group, some subscribers may subscribe to a digest form of the list. The digest contains all of the messages posted either in a day or a week, bundled together into one text document. There are also mailing lists which inform subscribers about updates to a website or updates on a specific product.
There are different methods available to publish an email newsletter or mailing list; some are much more efficient than others. The most inefficient method is to use an email address book or to send the emails out individually. More efficient methods include utilizing software programs, free online services or professional list hosting services that charge a fee. Software for mailing lists is offered by web hosting providers, but it can be complicated and difficult to use for those who are not technically proficient. The free online services are effective and easy to use; be aware that most of these services run small ads on the newsletters and emails you deliver to your subscribers. The professional services range greatly in price, but you won't have to deal with any unwanted advertising. It is also important to carefully read the contracts for both the free services and the professional services.
After you have determined your method of distribution, you are will then faced with the problem of building your list. Newsletter marketing is a big topic and there are numerous articles online which address this subject. There are many ways to get new subscribers including placing sign-up forms on your website, advertising, listing the newsletter in directories and ad-swapping. You should not just simply add people to your list without their permission. This is known as SPAM and it is a big taboo and will quickly cause people to shun your list and your website. To avoid this issue newsletter owners have forms where people can request (opt-in) a free subscription or they can send an email to a specific address which will subscribe them. Newsletter owners also should also make it easy for subscribers to opt-out or unsubscribe from the list.
Whichever type of newsletter publishing you choose, it is important to understand the technology, the services available, spamming, the content of your mailing lists and how to market your newsletter to grow your subscriber list. This section provides information to get you started in email publishing, and includes links to resources where you can find additional advice and suggestions.
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