Coping With Those Dreaded Ezine Publishing Deadlines

Time, of course, doesn't stand still and never did, and it's no wonder at all that in this highly pressurized modern world of ours, time is regarded as a valuable commodity or precious resource.

Articles, books and courses on Time Management abound online and off. What is interesting is that the higher a person is positioned in a business or professional hierarchy, the more he or she is perceived as standing to benefit from a thorough knowledge of time management principles.

You can argue where editors and writers of email publications fit - or should fit - in the economic or social pecking order, but one thing's beyond dispute: they have as great a need, and maybe more so, to organize their time as any other class of people.

A major reason for this is the ominous scepter always hovering over the heads of all publishers: that dreaded deadline.

The shorter the interval between issues, the more immediate the threat, and the greater the sense of panic. On the other hand, the danger may be greater when a deadline stills seems a long way off, since one may be lulled into a false sense of security.

Creating or compiling a top-notch newsletter may be tough enough when this is your only responsibility, but when your publication is a one-man show, and you have to promote it as well, run your advertising department and all the rest of it, time management takes on extra meaning.

And when your newsletter is only one cog (albeit a very important one) in the chain of your business, the whole concept becomes a critical one. Sooner or later, you come to the inevitable conclusion that if you fail to master time, time will master you.

Practice, persistence and experience are vital keywords in personal time management, and everyone has to find what works best for them. We can only offer a few assorted tips and guidelines from the newsletter publishing perspective.

  • Always keep to the publication deadlines that you have set and announced. If you find that the schedule you have imposed upon yourself turns out to be too ambitious, change it and let your readers know.

    Sometimes, if people find your content particularly interesting and they're only too happy when it arrives at last, they won't complain when delivery is late or irregular. But even among your satisfied subscribers, there may be some who have got into a ritual of reading your newsletter over their morning tea, or whatever. These folk will start grumbling even if an issue arrives an hour later than usual. When they do, you can take it as a compliment!

  • A beautiful little story that has been going the rounds over the last year or two illustrates our next point.

    A professor was giving a pep talk about managing time to his class, and produced an empty bottle, which he filled with heavy stones. Then he filled the remaining little spaces with sand and water. His students thought he was trying to teach them that you can always pack in something more into your day.

    "No," said the professor. "That's not the lesson. What I'm trying to get across to you is that if you don't start your day with the most difficult (or most important) tasks, you won't get around to them at all."

    How this applies to you as a publisher, I'll leave to your imagination. You know your own working conditions, goals and shortcomings.

  • Make a permanent template with your nameplate, masthead, subscription instructions and all other standing elements of your newsletter. Immediately after you have finished with one issue, open a new file in your word processor or text editor, and paste or insert your template into it. (Don't forget to change the date, issue number and anything else that needs to be changed.

    As soon as you think of something you would like to include in the next issue, type it up right away on your new file. Paste any news items there as soon as you receive them, as well as any ads that come in from third parties. Open new files as required for material that comes in for issues further down the line.

  • The editorial staff of conventional print newspapers and magazines have always depended heavily on good filing systems to aid them in carrying out their duties efficiently. Putting together an issue is so much easier when you have a whole storehouse of facts, figures, research papers and ideas on tap.

    But your collection of material is only as good as its accessibility. You must be able to find things quickly when you need them. Even the smallest publishers can't rely entirely on their memories.

    In our digital world, however, this should hardly be a problem. It's just a matter of organizing our computer files, and thank goodness, we don't have the space problems that plagued some of our predecessors in years gone by!

    Azriel Winnett is creator of Hodu.com - Your Communication Skills Portal. This popular free website helps you improve your communication and relationship skills in your business or professional life, in the family unit and on the social scene. New articles added almost daily.

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