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Should You Publish a PAID E-zine?

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Many of my clients ask me whether they should publish a paid e-zine instead of a free one. My answer is the classic consultant's answer: "It depends."

First of all, what do you want your e-zine to DO for you? Once you know the goal of your e-zine, the answer will be clear.

If you want to promote your current business and sell more of your products and services, a free e-zine is your ticket to success. If you plan to build a new business around making money from subscription fees, of course you'll want to charge. However, publishing a paid e-zine is no small task! Here are some important points to consider...

  • You should only charge for your e-zine if you feature information that is hard to find elsewhere. If you try to pass off paid information as exclusive, but your readers can find it anywhere on the Web for free, you're not only going to fail, but you're going to tick people off.

  • A fee-based e-zine takes many, many hours of work to keep afloat -- much more so than for a free e-zine. The publisher of one very successful paid online publication admits he spends over 100 HOURS each month to develop the leading-edge content his readers paid for and expect.

  • You will never grow as large a list with a paid-subscription e-zine as with a free one. This is obviously because less people will sign up if they have to pay versus if it's free.

    Now, if you had visions of making big money with a paid publication, don't give up just yet. There ARE many successful paid pubs on the Web that are making their owners very rich. However, you should note that most of these e-zines continue to publish a free e-zine to gather prospects and then convert them into paid subscribers.

    So, YOU decide. Can you create content that's so valuable and special that we can't find it anywhere else? Are you ready to invest a huge amount of time and effort to publish an extremely high-quality publication?

    If not, you're better off publishing a free e-zine that provides great value. The key to building a large and valuable list of prospects (who are likely to buy from you in the future) is to offer useful, quality content for free. It's the proven model that works over and over.
  • (c) 2003 Alexandria K. Brown


    Alexandria K. Brown, "The E-zine Queen," is author of the award-winning manual, "Boost Business With Your Own E-zine." To learn more about her book and sign up for more FREE tips like these, visit her site at

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