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The Role of Networking in List Promotion

By: Azriel Winnett

Azriel Winnett is senior staff writer at Sling Shot Media LLC, which offers a wide range of hosting solutions for email lists of all types and sizes, as well as many other services for email marketers and list owners. Visit our site at: or e-mail us at:

If there's two ambitions that virtually all list owners share, irrespective of their publishing motive, they're the desire to amass more and more subscribers, and the desire to keep them. These two challenges keep the keen minds of ambitious publishers working in high gear almost around the clock.

Why do some succeed far more than others? Why do some hardly get off the ground?

To be sure, as we've stressed many times, the quality of your content will be closely related to your performance on the first objective, and even more to your performance on the second.

A writer on the Internet conveyed this point very vividly this week when he wrote that "there's a big distance between must-read email and spam. Most email newsletters fall somewhere in the middle."

What he meant, of course, was that just because people give you permission to send them your newsletter, it doesn't mean they're dying to read it the moment it arrives. Maybe they're not dying to read it at all.

Since they did subscribe, though, it's more likely that these recipients do have some interest in your topic, but - and this is a big "but" - if they have not been excited enough by your previous issues, they will relegate your latest one to a special folder called something like "Stuff to Read Later."

If you're lucky, they may go back to that folder six month's down the line. But by then, the long list of accumulated "stuff' may be so daunting, that they give one click, and it's all gone!

If the writer we have quoted is correct, competition among email newsletter is becoming so heated that attention spans on opt-in email are already beginning to fall. The best protection a publisher has against such a trend is quality of content. And with regard to what passes as "quality", it will be the readers, not the publisher, who will be the sole arbiters.

But assuming you are putting out a quality publication, AND you have been working pretty hard at promoting it, why haven't you been getting the results you deserve?

In a previous artilce,, we were talking about publishers who submit articles to other newsletters. I pointed out that in spite of its great potential, many are disillusioned with the results after using this promotional technique. 

I suggested three reasons that such publishers should ask themselves, and I think they're important enough to repeat:
  • Did I send out each article with a warm, personalized letter addressed to each individual publisher, or did I send it out in bulk with "undisclosed recipients in the "TO" field?
  • Did I take the trouble to find out in advance whether my article was suitable for the publication I sent it to, or did I just pick up a whole bunch of ezines I knew nothing about, blast them my article and hope for the best?
  • Did I imply that the other party would be doing his readers a tremendous service by publishing my article, whereas it was transparent that I would be the only one to gain?
If you were forced to answer "no!" to any or all of these questions, don't think that all you lost was an opportunity to have your article published. No, you probably also lost a chance that could have been far more valuable in the long run.

Networking, or relationship building, plays a crucial role in a business person's success, as many of the biggest business names will tell you.  In the course of carrying out their promotion routines, list owners are blessed with many golden opportunities to put this axiom to the test.

We sometimes think of list building as a cold, mechanical process. If that all it was, we could fire up our submission and mail merge software and leave our computers to do the dirty work while we relax on the beach.

Unfortunately for some, that's not the case. But once you understand the potential gains, you won't regret the fact.

When you write to another publisher to suggest an ad swap, you stand to gain more than the one-time insertion of a few lines of text in somebody else's newsletter. Go about it the right way, and can build a relationship that might come in useful in countless ways throughout your publishing career.

Don't let the opportunity go sour!

© Copyright 2000, Azriel Winnett, Sling Shot Media, LLC

Other Articles by Azriel Winnett

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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