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Finding Content Through Networking
3rd April 2001
A few months back, we saw a spate of articles in a
certain class of newsletters on a rather unusual subject: how other
publishers could or should generate ďcontentĒ for their OWN
newsletters and ezines. This topic still pops up frequently.
The advice often given is that publishers should try
hard to offer ďoriginalĒ content, which is interpreted to mean content
that they write themselves. What the writers giving this counsel donít
usually make clear, is why something I write myself is necessarily
original, or why something that others write for me is not.
To be fair, we have to look at the trends that prompted
these authors to bring up the subject in the first place.
Many writers submit their articles to a number of
publications simultaneously. The receiving publishers are often only
too happy to find something to fill up space in their newsletters,
particularly when they donít have to pay for it! Several of them will
then use the same article all around the same time.
Since all these publications deal with the same subject
area, quite a few people will subscribe to all or most of them, and
theyíre not too impressed to be exposed to the same articles all over
In the world of traditional print media, itís not
uncommon, of course, for newspapers in different regions and countries to
use the same syndicated material. But the situationís rather different
with a medium that penetrates all geographic boundaries in an instant.
Many novice publishers are so carried away by enthusiasm
when launching newsletters, that they hardly give a thought to their
future content needs.
But while nothing can match sound advance planning, the
cause is never lost.
You CAN, if you want, give your readers the original
content they deserve, and you donít necessarily have to write it
yourself. If itís already late in the day, you have to work harder. But
with the right approach, it can be done.
For your purposes, thereís no earthly reason why the
word ďoriginalĒ has to refer to material that has never seen the light
of day before. What it SHOULD mean is that your own readers have not been
exposed to it.
In fact, the prime criterion for good material is not
originality, but VALUE. Sure, originality is one of the components of the
quality of value (facts are hardly valuable to those that know them
already), but not the only one or even the most important one.
So how do you go about finding content thatís both
original and valuable, when itís not practical to create it yourself -
and you canít afford to hire someone to do it for you?
The secret is this: if you canít create content,
Letís use a practical example to explain what I mean
Imagine that youíre the publisher of a newsletter about gardening. You know of another publication on a topic not quite identical, but certainly complementary, to your own specialty. You drop off a note to the other publisher, as follows:
Letís hope that this is the
beginning of a working arrangement between Joan and Steve that will serve
them both well for many years.
And letís hope that this little
illustration will speak louder than (other) words!
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