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Why blogs are beating out ezines ... And matter so much to your platform

I was all set this morning to write about something totally different in this issue ... but thanks to the power of blogs, I'm here to deliver a totally different message. Namely the ascendance of blogs over ezines.

First of all, you may notice that you're not getting a whole lot of issues of this ezine from me. Why? Because I've come to understand that blogging is faster. It's more immediate. It's got a wonderful airstream of energy that follows each post. And because it's less formal, it's less work -- but still communicates just as effectively as an ezine ... perhaps even more so.

This point was made wonderfully clear for me just this morning by Stacy Brice, who runs the noteworthy VA training program, AssistU. Stacy sent up a very thoughtful comment to my 'Painless Self Promo' blog, under the header 'The Future of the Ezine'. Which led to an email, which led to a lengthy phone call. Stacy and I had a real heart to heart about this ezine vs. blog thing ... and here's what I've decided is the state of things at the moment.

1. We're in a transitional shift from ezines to blogs. This has mostly to do with people being reluctant to give up old comfy ways for a few minutes of learning new technology, downloading RSS desktop applications, etc.. It was like this just before we traded in vinyl for CD's, telepathy for cell phones and to-do lists for Palm Pilots. And some of us have never moved forward. Those of us who did are pretty happy.

2. Blog technology has finally leapt up to the plate. It's happening; it's here; it's on the cover of Business Week. Blogs can no longer be dismissed as fringe techie territory. They've gotten so easy to use, and read, that there is simply no denying them. Blog creation software du jour is typepad and wordpress. Typepad blogs exist on their website for a small monthly fee. Wordpress blogs exist on your own site for free. Typepad's more elegant. Wordpress is more basic and functional. I'm running a test to see which will eventually work better for me.

3. It's no longer all about the list. I am still an advocate of ezines, but I believe the list/email connection is rapidly unraveling. My own lists have declined in size as have those of every Net marketer I know. Ezines have peaked and crested in their usefulness and appeal. Meanwhile, blogs are hot. AND you can capture names on them. (See my blog for details on how to do that.)

4. We're no longer happy with passive activities. Maybe as a culture we've grown completely sick of sitting around doing nothing ... all those hours of reality TV? We've now begun to expect to participate in our entertainment, even when it comes to reading websites. So blogs -- which allow comments from readers -- are the perfect medium. (This is also why my current theater project, at serenityhawkfire.com, is an entirely interactive theater piece.)

5. We've become a less formal culture. These days, our world is all untucked; clothing is big and slouchy, coffee is slurped in paper cups on the run. Even TV has let down its defenses, showing us as we 'really' are. So it makes sense that blogs, which feature faster, less formal entries more in the style of a diary, are becoming bigger than ezines. Blogs are casual. Ezines take planning, layout, require regular entries and take a lot more time.

6. Blogging is faster. How long does it take to make an entry? Five to ten minutes, I'd say. My ezine, meanwhile, takes 1-2 hours. Yes, you need to do more blog entries, but they're hardly brain surgery. Instead, they are quick insights you offer up from your life on the go. And so they are read in the same spirit.

7. Blogs are beloved by the media. This is where a majority of all media research on who's who and what they're up to is now done. It used to be that your credibility as a media subject was evaluated strictly by your site; that's where the media looked first to get a beat on you. Know they want to know what you're posting on your blog -- even if it doesn't have a 'media room' like your site (hopefully you'd have that linked somehow in your margins.) And they want to know what kinds of posts and comments your getting.

If you're still working on building up your ezine list, I recommend you beef it up by including a blog in your offerings. It will energize your website, attract Google and Yahoo ranking and generally create more buzz.

If you have a blog but have not maximized it by setting up a name capture tool, or do not post frequently, give that a whirl, too. You'll be amazed at who stops by!

And if you have thoughts on the tender blog-ezine dynamic, email them to me -- or even better, drop by my blog and post them on the most recent comment. Then we'll all be able to see them and add comments of our own.

Here's to the continuing discussion. May your blog bring your platform, and set people talking!

About the author
Suzanne Falter-Barns' website at getknownnow.com offers tips and tools that help you build your platform and get known as an expert in your field. Sign up for her fr.ee ezine, Expert Status, and receive her free report, "25 Top Self Help Literary Agents." To reprint this article, please use with this bio box in tact. Thanks! ©2005 Suzanne Falter-Barns LLC.

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