Are you up to the zine challenge

Even a one- or two-page zine takes considerable effort to produce. And you will need patience to make a zine effectively generate leads for your practice. With a zine, you're entering the publishing business, which is markedly different from, and will take time away from, your consulting business.

To publish a zine, you must commit resources to design and periodically update it. You need access to great content or the ability to develop it—you must have enough content to fill each issue. It takes writing and editing skills plus a bit of artistry to gather and analyze information, write articles, and lay out a zine.

It takes discipline to publish every issue of a zine on time and to respond quickly to questions and feedback from readers. You must also be willing to promote your zine and be patient while your circulation grows. The continuous publishing cycle of a zine means that you or someone in your firm will always be working on the next issue. That can make you feel as if you've got a perpetual, low-grade fever.

The most daunting challenge of zines is competing for clients' attention with the flood of e-mail they already receive. You will have to fight, not only to win a place in their e-mailboxes, but also to get your subscribers to open and read your zine.

Most businesspeople today are sophisticated users of e-mail and the Internet. Of the 60 million U.S. workers who have Internet access, 98 percent of them have e-mail. They are selective about what they read and are quick to hit the delete button—even if they subscribe to an e-mail publication. In fact, according to research by Quris, Inc., over 40 percent of permission-based e-mail is deleted before being read.3

Guerrilla Challenge: Publishing a Zine

A zine can't help your practice if it ends up in the cybertrash unopened. To avoid that possibility, ask yourself these three questions:

1. Do I have something valuable to say about my area of expertise that is not already being said in other zines?

2. Can I create a compelling zine on a regular basis that clients will open, read, and respond to?

3. Does my practice have the resources to publish a zine?

If you answered yes to the preceding questions, you are ready for the zine challenge.

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