Author Archive

Using LinkedIn For Branding

Aug 23rd, 20102 Comments

LinkedIn is one of the largest professional networks on the web. With more than 75 million registered users that span more than 200 countries, LinkedIn has quickly become one of the leading social media sites for connecting with business colleagues. What you might not know is that LinkedIn is also an excellent site for building up your brand. Here are a handful of branding tips to help you maximize your profile and establish a bolder presence.
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What Story Does Your Campaign Tell? Common Newbie Social Media Mistakes

Aug 12th, 20102 Comments

The biggest challenge that many social media beginners face is having a clear understanding on what a campaign actually is. Your campaign should understand exactly what your audience wants and needs, as well as where they gather. Dissemination of good, free material and monitoring results with measurable goals is also part of what a campaign is. A campaign should be wrapped with good messaging, a clear call-to-action and feature a simple way to share with others.

If you’ve read the above and feel like you’re read to take the next step into the social media spotlight, you’ll want to make sure that preserve the integrity of your campaign by avoiding some of these common mistakes.

1.  Dormant accounts. Opening social media accounts all over the place isn’t going to win you a ton of fans and followers. Each account that you have should be one that connects to your audience (i.e. where they frequent, where they like to connect). For each account that you have you’ll need to play an active role. If you haven’t sent a tweet in six months or posted fresh content, people will wonder where you’ve gone to and eventually move on.

2.  Self promotion. Although it’s exciting to start a campaign, it’s also important to remember that it’s not all about you. Tone down the ‘me-me-me’ and focus more on what you can do for others. People will appreciate that you’re using your expertise and skills to point them in the right direction instead of just shoving a sales message in their face. First build your flock and then share information and update about your brand.

3.  Tuning out. The whole point behind a social media campaign is to engage yourself in conversations with other people. Discuss what they think, what they want and what they know. The worst thing you can do is not listen to what’s being said. Don’t let conversations and exchanges fall on deaf ears. Take the time to reply and respond quickly. You’ll be amazed by the results you’ll get from such a simple action.

Social media takes time and it’s not for those lacking in patience. Slow and steady wins the race in this realm.

Social Media Marketing And Your USP: Tips to Craft a Key Message

Aug 10th, 2010No Comments

A USP, or unique selling proposition, is a core component to any good marketing and business plan. Your USP is what identifies and sets you apart from your competition and its used to help you position your brand as the best choice among all others. Whether you’re an author, a speaker or an entrepreneur, your USP needs to become synonymous with what it represents and stands for. Developing a USP with social media staying power is not as tricky as it might seem. Here are a few tips that will make tackling your USP easy as pie.

Since you’re writing a USP that will be shared via social media you’ll want to remember to use the ROAD model. An acronym, ROAD stands for: researching who your audience is and your competition, objectives that are defined and aligned with your target market, actions that include a  well developed strategy and plan to execute your brand via social media and devices that are the best social marketing fit based on your brand needs.

A USP needs to contain some basic parts in order to officially call it a USP. First, it should state what your brand is and what someone will get from it, in other words, the benefit. Next, it needs to be completely original from your competition. Your USP should differentiate your brand beyond just a benefit. Lastly, you ultimate goal should be to create a USP that is so strong it will compel your audience to take action and choose your brand over any others.

True, that’s a tall order to fill with USP, but no one said that this was an easy assignment. Writing a USP is a tough job and it shouldn’t be taken likely. If you feel like you’re grasping at straws before you’ve had a chance to put pen to paper try to find USP examples for inspiration. FedEx: “When your package absolutely, positively has to get there overnight” and Avis: “We try harder” are just a couple of USPs for you to chew on.

Remember that when you’re putting your USP together that you want to begin with the end in mind. Think about how you’ll use the USP and where you’ll share it. Keep it simple, but succinct and most importantly, make it your own.

Content Marketing For Authors

Aug 6th, 2010No Comments

When people hear the word ‘content’ as it applies to the web, people immediately think that it pertains only to what’s written. However, that’s not entirely accurate. Content actually encompasses quite few things, such as webinars, podcasts, PowerPoints and other various elements. For authors and writers, all of these various pieces can come together to create a substantial marketing presence.

Authors can use content marketing to develop PDF versions of select chapters from their current work, or even upcoming and in progress pieces, and make them available on their website for fans to download. Using available social media strategies like Twitter, forums and other platforms, authors can promote the availability of new content.

Beyond promoting their current books, authors can also develop content that can be positioned as a resource for other struggling novelists and writers. If you’re an author that has had great success in getting your book published my a major firm you might consider putting together an e-book that passes on your knowledge and experience to other writers. You’ll position yourself as someone who’s willing to help and who has hands-on experience. People value and respect both of these characteristics.

As an author, try to keep your content marketing efforts sincere. In other words, don’t get caught up in sounding too much like someone with a sales pitch. Sincerity will take you much further if you introduce your content as something that you feel could actually benefit others.

When you begin creating your content, think about putting it together in much the same way that you would write a book. Get organized, create a plan and begin assembling. Make your content shareable, show that it value, optimize it with keywords and don’t forget to set-up analytics so that you can track how many people are downloading what you’re giving them.

Authors may find that building good content might take some time, but the end-result is well-worth it.

Branding With Your URL

Aug 6th, 20101 Comment

Good branding should be a top to bottom effort. From designing a website to planning your unique selling proposition, branding encompasses an entire strategy beyond just a pretty logo. An often overlooked component of branding is deciding what your site’s or blog’s URL address should be. This is a branding are that shouldn’t be taken lightly and we’ll explain why below.

Create a URL name that reflects what your business does or if you’re creating a blog, who the person is behind the blog. For instance, if you have a business that provides shoes for older women then you’d want to create a URL that reflect this, like shoesforseniorwomen.com. Same thing goes for developing a blog URL. The person behind the blog should use their name as the URL address, like LeiliMcKinley.com.

There are two schools of thought on URL branding. The first believes that you should use your company name in the URL since there are some folks who will search by the business name. This makes sense for larger, more established brands like Nike, Starbucks or McDonalds. It wouldn’t make sense for them to create a URL that says sportshoes,com, coffeestores.com or cheeseburgerandfries.com.

For smaller brands, which applies to most everyone else, the second approach to crafting a URL would be to write one that shows of what your business does through keywords. Using the larger brand examples from above, sportshoes.com would be an excellent way to appeal to large groups of people who are searching specifically for that item. Make sense?

Now that you have a basic understanding of what a branded URL is here are some other things to consider:

Hyphenated names. The pro is that search engine easily identify each keyword and will normally return better search results for people seeking what you offer. The con is that hyphenated URLs are easy to forget when people are sharing or recommending them.

Articles and plurals. If you’ve decided on a specific branded URL like childrensauthor.com, but discover it’s taken, you could add ‘the’ to the URL (thechildrensauthor.com). Downside is that unless people aware of the addition, you’ll lose traffic to your competitor. This is the same thing for plural URLs like, cat.com versus cats.com.

Choose carefully and spend some time planning. Try searching for something on the web and look at how the URLs have been set-up.

Social Media Analytic Tools

Aug 1st, 20101 Comment

One of the most important and, unfortunately, often overlooked aspects of social media is measurement. Knowing how successful your efforts have been is important if you want to continue to build awareness among your target segments. Analyzing the return on investment doesn’t require a degree in statistics. With so many free social media analytic tools available on the web any Joe or Jane can login to get a snapshot of their marketing performance. Here are a few tools that to help with monitoring:

Google Alerts

This is an excellent (and easy) way to track specific keywords that relate to you and your brand. For instance, as an author, you could designate the name of your book and your own name as search terms for Google. Each day, you’ll receive an email notification with a summary of mentions. Google Alerts makes it very easy to identify who’s talking and sharing information about you. It’s free and effective.

Bit.ly

As most tweeters know, Twitter has a 140 character limitation which includes URLs. The Bit.ly shortener allows users to condense long links into compact versions. Optimizing URLs through Bit.ly also gives users an opportunity to track how many times people are clicking on your shared links. This provides you with a number of impressions so you can gauge what content links are performing better than others and make adjustments as needed.

Xinureturns

This is a very hand all-in-one tool that gives you an overview of PageRank, backlinks, quantity of indexed pages and much more. Simply type in any URL that you wish to see stats on and they instantly appear. Xinureturns is a quick way to look at how your multi-metric performance. The only drawback with Xinureturns is that there is a slight discrepancy with the data that it pulls. Check carefully to insure that what you’re seeing is current.

There are many free tools available. Hunt around and you’re certain to find some freebies that will make analyzing and measuring much easier.

How Authors and Writers Can Use Twitter

Jul 31st, 2010No Comments

Famous micro-blogging site Twitter is a social networking goldmine. Authors can easily connect with their audience and other key players like media contacts, literary agents and publishers to get the word out on their latest masterpiece. Like any social media tool, authors need to apply some strategy to their Twitter outreach in order to use it effectively.

Find Your Tweeps

Recent stats estimate that nearly 26 million people are using Twitter. Your job as an author is to try an find your niche within the mass. Search for other well-known authors and writers in your genre and follow them. More than likely you’ll begin to build a following of similar individuals who are interested in what you have to share.

Make Your Tweets Relevant

As you’re developing your follower base, make sure to stay on topic when you construct your tweets. Although it may be tempting to give a play-by-play on cooking scrambled eggs for breakfast you’re much better off sticking with book-related tweets. Save the personal aspects for later after you’ve built up a considerable following.

Use Hashtags

Hashtags are a fantastic way to organize and stream your tweets into a searchable category that people can find and read. Consider creating your own personalized hashtag or using some of the more popular ones like #book, #authors or #mysteries. Try not to use them for every single tweet that you send out so that you don’t appear to spammy. Use them sparingly and for tweets that you want to make a bigger impact with.

Twitter Requires Patience

Unless your last name is Kutcher or Spears, you’re not going to end up with millions of followers overnight. Slow and steady wins the race for the rest of us. Take the time to build relationships and engage in conversations with your followers. Tweeting takes time and dedication. If you’re only sending out a single tweet once every month then you’re not likely to see a rapid increase. Participate daily and stay on topic to reap the benefits of Twitter.

If Twitter is new for you, spend some time following others to get a sense of the flow of conversation and interaction. Once you’re ready, get ready for fun and launch your own account.

5 Reasons Why Authors Need Blogs

Jul 29th, 2010No Comments

Blogging is more popular than ever and despite the fact that the majority of bloggers launch with a bang, many discover that there’s a considerable amount of work and commitment involved to prevent their blogs from fizzling out. If you’re an author, having a blog can be a powerful way to promote yourself and your published work. Here are a few reasons why authors need to jump on the blog bandwagon.

1.  Build a cyber sales channel.

Blogs are actually quite flexible in terms of content and functionality. For example, you can integrate e-commerce so that blog readers can purchase books directly from your site. You can tie-in your blog sales outreach to services like Clickbank and even Amazon.

2.  Connect with your audience.

You audience is much broader than just readers and fans. Through a blog you can meet publishers, literary agents and other authors to exchange information and build a social network to support your book.

3.  Boost book sales.

As an author you have the advantage of never running out of great ideas for blog posts. You can use our book to generate hundreds of topics for posts. Try using an excerpt from you book and expanding upon it, touch on something unique about one of your characters, discuss plot or print out a teaser page to encourage sales. Endless opportunities exist for blogging authors.

4.  Become search engine friendly.

The primary search engines, Google, Yahoo! and Bing, continually crawl the web looking for new content that is regularly updated. Every time you submit a post a search engine bot will come along and index it on the internet. That makes you more searchable and increases your exposure. People will have an easier time finding you and connecting with the material that you’re producing.

5.  Develop conversations with readers.

Blogs aren’t a one-way street. Commenting systems enable readers to share feedback and thoughts and regardless of whether they’re positive or negative, participating in a dialogue is an excellent way to learn how to improve and expand on things that are disliked or favored.

If you don’t have a blog, there’s no time like the present to start one today. Give your fingers a run for the money and start typing.

Press Release Tips

Jul 27th, 2010No Comments

Using a press release to alert the media, bloggers and the search engines about business news and happenings is a fantastic way to drum up some interest and exposure. The thing about press releases is that their content is structured very differently from a blog post or article. By following a few simple guidelines you’ll be able to create a solid press release that can work to your advantage.

For all the authors out there this next mention will sound familiar. Just like a query letter, your press release needs to have a great headline. The purpose is to hook the interest of the reader, but also be succinct and direct at the same time. The headline should summarize what the press release about, but be catchy enough to entice further reading. Important: don’t include jargon or slang in your headline.

When you begin writing the body, or content of your press release, remember to stick to the facts. Press releases should contain a who, what, where, when and why. Additionally, they need to be written in a third-person voice and should be kept free of opinion. Editorializing should be avoided. Think of the release just like a news reporter would approach a story. Personal opinion is pushed aside so that people can make conclusions on their own. This is true with how your present the content in your release.

There are many different press release distribution sites on the Internet. To get a good sense of the style and tone of a release do some browsing on the web. Soon enough you’ll be able to distinguish between good and not so good, plus you’ll get a better understanding of how the components work synergistically to develop an informative piece.

The last part of your press release should be your boilerplate. The boilerplate is standard on every release and once you’ve written yours you will use it on all your releases going forward. It should contain a four to five sentences about who you are, your website and any other relevant information, such as a social media address or blog site. Boilerplates aren’t fancy, they simply summarize who the press release pertains to.

Visit corporate newsrooms to see good press release examples and to get inspired to write your own.

Measuring ROI in Social Media

Jul 26th, 2010No Comments

Social media is a powerful tool that can quickly generate brand awareness and increase overall exposure to large market segments. For instance, if you’re an author that is beginning a social media campaign to promote your newest hardcover release connecting with your online community is only part of the process. Beyond numbers of fans and followers, you need to know what people are saying about your brand, what’s the depth of conversation regarding you as an author, how engaged are readers with your books and more.

There are quite a few ways that you can measure how your readers are interacting with you in the social media sphere. Some are costly, but they deliver robust data that can be used to adjust your campaign as needed. On the other hand, there are some fantastic free tools available that do a fair job delivering snapshots of your fans and their sentiment toward your book, or brand. Do some digging to find the tools that will work best to meet your needs and fit your budget.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the data that you start pulling. If you’re a writer, words come easily, whereas numbers may seem more challenging. Focus on identifying trends in your data and ignore  information that isn’t relevant. Spot increases and decreases over time to give yourself a benchmark to help gauge whether your social media efforts are succeeding or failing.

Make sure to overlay sales numbers with your social media data. If you’re using Google Analytics to measure conversions on your book’s landing page, check for spikes and dips and then compare how specific social media efforts may have effected those outcomes. Watching sales and measuring the ROI through social media will be determined by the set of metrics that you define. For example, if you are more concerned about sales instead of site registration then you’ll need to shift your measurement and focus accordingly.

However you choose to evaluate your book’s or brand’s social media investment just remember to be open-minded about the numbers. They can be your friend and help you find opportunities, identify mistakes and tell you what to continue or abandon.

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