July 1, 2003
First Editorial Strategies
for Better Newsletters and E-zinesPart I
Center Stage with
Tom LeBlanc, Home Entrepreneur's home entrepreneur
Guest Writer, Not Ghostwriter
Diane Hughes shatters the branding myths
Random Ramblings and Miscellaneous Musings
Write Thinking A
Dozen Common Writing Errors
Preview of Coming Distractions A
glimpse into the future
for Better Newsletters and E-zinesPart I
Put Your Newsletter or E-zine on the Path
of Least Resistance
by Phil Hanson
newsletters and e-zines proliferate across the Web one can't
help but notice the all too predictable sameness that permeates
the contents of many on-line publications. Never has the phrase
"if you've seen one, you've seen them all" been truer
than when it is spoken (or written) in reference to on-line
typical newsletter, with the help of an autoresponder, arrives
as e-mail in plain text format with absolutely nothing in its
appearance or its content to distinguish it from the competition.
A disproportionate number of e-zines and newsletters lack readability,
originality and valuable content.
it make sense to spend time, money and effort building name
recognition for yourself, branding your products or services
and creating a Web identity that's uniquely yours and then to
promote your creations using a generic newsletter or e-zine?
I don't think so.
is critical to getting your message to your subscribers; your
information won't be acted upon if it isn't read. What are some
of the things that might prevent subscribers from reading your
message? In no particular order they are:
Spam filters, which block your e-mail newsletter from
getting to your subscribers' "in" boxes. If the people
on your mailing list never receive your newsletter, they'll
never read it.
Typography tricks publishers use to fool the spam filters.
The char*acter ins;ertio*ns many on^line pub**lis^hers use to
get their mat;^erial past the spam fil;ters is re*ally anno^ying
to most rea<ders, and more than a few of them lo^se their
pati*ence and si^;mply give up. If people have to struggle to
read your message, lots of them won't.
Spelling errors that cause writers and publishers to
lose credibility. If you haven't taken the time to run a spelling
check on your written material, why would anyone think you have
taken the time to check the facts that you presented in that
material? If you don't have credibility, you won't have readers.
Poor writing skills, which suggest to readers that the writer
is not very professional and, therefore, not very competent.
Clumsy wording, misused words and incomprehensible sentences
kill your message's impact. If your writing appears amateurish,
many of your readers won't take you seriously. When it comes
to getting and retaining readers, appearances count.
Outdated information and bad advice that lingers like
skunk scent. A majority of on-line writers and publishers find
it easier to use obsolete material rather than relevant, fresh
or original content in their publications. They don't understand
that a little creativity will go a long way toward building
their subscriber lists and generating more sales.
Plain text format that's both uninspiring and difficult
to read. More people may receive your publication if it's delivered
in plain text format but the important question is will more
people read it?
there are workable solutions to help you overcome the problems
commonly associated with on-line e-zine and newsletter publishing.
In Part II we'll examine how some publishers of really great
e-zines are turning publishing negatives into publishing positives.
© 2003 by Phil Hanson
All rights reserved.
Stage with Tom LeBlanc
you need logos and/or buttons for your Web pages, you can make
them yourself, for free, on a cool little Web site called CoolText.
It's so easy to do, even the editor/publisher of this e-zine
was able to create an attractive logo, in about 20 minutes,
using the menu- driven features of this on-line graphics generator
(as evidenced by the Perfect Text logo at the bottom of this
is a popular site (it claims to have generated more than 13
million logos), so don't be surprised if you have to wait for
a turn at editing your masterpiece. However, once you achieve
the desired result simply save your creation to your hard drive,
then use it as you wish. Check 'em out at http://www.cooltext.com.
LeBlanc is a licensed physical therapist, published author,
home entrepreneur and 'Netrepreneur. His Web sites include Home-Entrepreneurs.com
Writer, Not Ghostwriter
the Branding Myths
by Diane Hughes
you've been on-line long, you're sure to have seen many "gurus"
give their ideas about branding. However, much of what you read
simply isn't true. Over the years, many myths about branding
have taken hold in the on-line world and spread like wildfire.
The fact is, they are doing you more harm than good.
is not one aspect of your marketing campaign, it is the combination
of everything your business stands for. Branding is not created
with a single, stand-alone event. Rather, it is created over
time through a series of strategically thought-out actions.
take a few minutes to shatter a few common myths about branding
and to introduce constructive, proactive branding principles
that you can build on.
Myth #1: Your USP is your brand.
not! While your USP (Unique Selling Position) might be used
to help convey your brand it is not, in and of itself, your
complete branding strategy.
Principle #1: Your brand is all encompassing.
brand is built, and conveyed, with every action you take, with
every product/service you offer, with every piece of communication
you send and with every contact you make with your customers.
Myth #2: To be remembered, you must have a logo.
not true. Look at companies like Marlboro (cigarettes), Puffs
(tissue), and Ziploc (plastic bags). They simply use a specialized
font with the product name. No swirls, no images, no logo. While
logos certainly are not bad, they are also not mandatory.
Principle #2: Customers remember you primarily by how they
most innovative logo, the most attractive colors and the world's
best logo designer will do you no good if you don't offer excellent
service. Customers remember you and your company by the way
they are treated. Was their shopping experience good? Were all
their questions answered? Were their problems solved to their
satisfaction? These things go way farther to help customers
remember you than any logo could ever hope to.
Myth #3: Once your branding strategy is in place, you need
do nothing more.
is probably the biggest myth of them all! So many on-line businesses
are led to believe that once they have an amazing USP and a
snappy logo they have accomplished everything in the realm of
just the opposite is true. Your branding strategy is an ongoing
process, not a one-time event. Defining your strategy is just
one part of that process.
are some basic tips to help you define and implement your brand.
Decide how you want to be perceived by your customers. Do you
want to portray an image of trust? Loyalty? Dependability? Innovation?
Wide selection? Speedy service & delivery?
What makes you perceive other companies that way when
you shop? Is it their selection? Customer service? Pricing?
All of the above?
Make a list of the qualities you and your employees must display
to customers in order to portray your desired brand.
Share the list with everyone in your organization. Ask them
to develop specific ways they can support the brand.
Compile a final branding strategy and share it with everyone
in your organization.
brands are those which are well defined and that have the support
of the entire organization. Brands based on myths are those
that simply have a spiffy logo, a "killer" USP and
the hope that customers will "get it."
you rather base your brand on sound principles or on myths?
what I thought!
© 2003 by Diane Hughes
Used by permission.
Diane Hughes is an accomplished Internet
entrepreneur and editor of the popular ProBizTips Newsletter.
Subscribe to her newsletter for more tips, tricks, and secrets
of the trade -- plus get HUNDREDS of e-books, software and tools
just for subscribing! http://www.ProBizTips.com
Ramblings & Miscellaneous Musings
in issue #3, we'll continue our probe into the reasons behind
business "shakeouts" to get a better sense of what
the future holds in store for Internet entrepreneurs. In the
meantime, if you have ideas, opinions or commentary of your
own regarding this subject, why not share them with Petey's
your thoughtful, thought-provoking comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dozen Common Writing Errors
one thing word processor/spelling check software is not yet
able to do is check for context. Many sound-alike words are
spelled differently and their meanings aren't the same. Software
doesn't recognize that correctly spelled words used out of context
are actually misspelled or, more accurately, misused words and
therefore it doesn't catch these kinds of errors.
takes a critical eye to spot contextual errors. Many writers
will skip right over them when they do a casual proofreading
of their own material and most readers will miss them, too,
although they may sense that something's not quite right.
some of the most commonly misused words are also among the most
commonly used words in the English language. Below are four
groups of sound-alike words whose meanings or spellings are
frequently mistaken. The words from each group are used correctly
in single sentences.
to, prep. in the direction of; used to indicate certain
things or conditions; numerous other applications; adv.
fastened or fixed
2. too, adv. also, excessive
3. two, adv. an amount one more than one;
n. a cardinal number
To be honest, the two executives, to their
wives' dismay, drove too fast to the last seminar,
4. capital, adj. pertaining to forfeiture of life;
very good; very great; pertaining to wealth; n.
the city where resides the seat of government of a country or
state; other definitions
5. capitol, n. the building in which a state
Roger thought it was a capital idea to raise some
capital to finance his trip to the capitol building
at the state capital.
there, a place not here; in, at or towards that place; numerous
other applications. Can be used as adv., pron.,
n. or interj.
7. their, possessive adj. belonging
8. theirs, possessive pron. belonging to them
9. they're, contraction of they are
10. there's, (contraction) adv. in those circumstances
There's a high probability that theirs is an urgent
trip to Seattle, since they're traveling there
in their new Porsche.
of it is or it has
12. its possessive adj. belonging to it
an exclusive secret society and its members know it's
important to never violate its rules.
words may be simple but their usage is not. For more precise
definitions, look up the words in your dictionary. When you
recognize and understand their differences, you can easily avoid
contextual mistakes when using these common words in your writing.
© 2003 by Phil Hanson
All rights reserved.
of Coming Distractions
next issue of Petey's Pipeline brings you some possible solutions
to the publishing problems posed in this issue's editorial,
and a mystery interview (we'd tell you but, at this point, it's
a mystery to us, too). Part two of our series on the e-business
shakeout now in progress and more writing tips round out issue
#3. See you in two weeks.
articles appearing in Petey's Pipeline E-zine are based on information
believed to be true at the time of publication.
Neither Perfecttext.com, Petey's Pipeline E-zine nor their publisher
assume any liability or responsibility as to the accuracy or
efficacy of any information, products or services that are submitted,
advertised or rendered by contributors to Petey's Pipeline E-zine.
While we make every effort to screen out scam artists and bogus
offers, you should still do your homework. Caveat emptor!