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Archive for January, 2012

Who is This About?

January 31, 2012 Leave a comment

As you create your content and your promotions, you must keep this central question in your mind at all times:

Who is this about?

The fact is readers do NOT care about you–at least at first.  What they care about is themselves. So telling them to buy your book or visit your site will not work.  You must, must, MUST answer their question:

What’s in it for me?

For example, let’s say you’re on Twitter and you post this about your book every day:

I’d love more readers!  Please check out my book and retweet this to all your followers. (URL link)

Now I’m going to ask you, what are you going to do with that message?  Will you click to buy this person’s book?  Will you even retweet that?

The answer for 99.9% of us is “NO!”  Why not?

First of all, why would I?  I have no clue what the book is about or if I would be interested in it, and I’m certainly not going to recommend this person to my followers as they will probably feel the same way about it.

The problem here is this person is talking only about themselves.

This problem gets magnified many times over on the Internet if you are doing your promotions wrong.  Because maybe you are a member of six groups and I’m a member of 3 of them with you.  Let’s say that your marketing “strategy” is to post one link to your book every day on those six groups.  How quickly will I learn to tune you out?  VERY!

You’re wasting my time.  I’ve read this before, and I’ve already decided 62 times that I’m not interested!

So what happens?  I stop reading your posts altogether.

Now your book might be great, but if all you do is try to get me to buy it, I’m showing you the virtual door as quickly as possible.

Stop talking about you!

Think about what the READER needs, answer their questions, solve their problem, and most of all make them feel important and visible.  Develop relationships, have conversations, make friends.

I’m not talking devoting hours and hours a day.  Pop in, join a conversation, offer something helpful.

Is someone looking for writing tips?  Post an article you read on someone else’s site.  Or post your own if you have one.

Is someone frustrated with a social media outlet you know well?  Help them out.

This could even be as basic as tweeting and retweeting great content you gleaned from elsewhere.  Did a great quote come to you?  Retweet it.  Did you read a great post somewhere?  Tweet about it or post it on your FB wall.

Become a RESOURCE for people to know when they read anything from you, it’s going to lift their day, educate them, and make them better.

When you do that, you will both attract new viewers and maintain current ones.  And when you do post something about your book, NOW they will listen because they trust you as a great resource in their lives… or maybe even as a friend.

Categories: Basics Tags: , ,

“Stacking” Waves

January 26, 2012 1 comment

Last time we talked about how marketing a book is like surfing.  To surf, you have to paddle out into the ocean, wait for a wave, ride the wave to the shore and start over.

Let’s take a brief look at how this analogy works with a guest blog.

The paddling part of doing a guest blog is finding someone to post your guest blog, writing the blog, compiling the marketing package–the blog, your headshot, your bio, a tag and possibly your book cover.  Sending it all in and following up. That’s a lot of effort for one little, bitty blog, right?  That’s why they call it “paddling.”

Then comes the wait.  It takes time for the host blogger to put the article up and more time for it to appear.

Finally, the article comes out and you “ride the wave” by tweeting about it, Facebooking it (and any other promotional venues you have), and you have to monitor and respond to guest commenters.

After a day or so, that wave deposits you on the shore, and you have to start all over again.

At least that’s what I used to do. In order to see consistent sales, however, you must learn to “stack” waves.  Instead of going through one whole promotion before you start the next, learn to schedule and stack your waves.  So that on Monday one article comes out on one site and you ride that wave as you begin paddling for another wave two weeks away.

You can also “vary” your waves.  Do guest blogs, interviews, get reviews, do promotions with other authors.  When you get good at stacking waves, you should begin to see consistency in your sales.  Otherwise every time you get back to shore, you will feel a big let down and it will be much harder to convince yourself to paddle back out.

If you’ve already paddled halfway back out for the next wave, it will be much easier to go the rest of the way and catch the next wave!

Although I do recommend stacking waves, I don’t recommend doing more than two on a given day. You need, on the days the article or interview actually posts, to have time to ride the wave.  Otherwise, you are doing a lot of paddling and not much riding, and that’s no fun at all!

Riding the Waves

January 24, 2012 4 comments

I recently watched Soul Surfer, and the riding of the waves fascinated me.  Now I’m not athletic and I have no balance at all. I’ve been known to walk into doors and trip over things on the carpet.  Plus, I’m terrified of being out of control and going fast.  Yeah, I would be a champion surfer if it weren’t for those small details.

However, I learned something about marketing while watching that movie (I know, it’s beginning to seem like I can learn something about something else by doing practically anything, but stay with me here. This is important.).

In the movie, “riding the wave” comes in three stages.  There’s the paddling out to find a wave, the effort and ability to stand and ride it, and then the ending when you fall off or get to the shore.  Then the whole process starts over.

In other words, you cannot ride many multiple waves indefinitely and forever.  You get to ride one or maybe two and then, it’s time to paddle back out again to find another one.

When you think about your marketing efforts, the same lesson applies–especially in the beginning.  I’m warning you now so that you will not get discouraged when you’ve paddled and ridden a really great wave only to find that you have to paddle back out again.

Your marketing campaign will be formed by a whole series of this cycle.

You will “paddle out”–i.e. set up a promotion  or your content or your landing page.  You will then set up all of the promos for it.  That marketing wave might be a small one–producing none or just a few sales.  Or it could be a big one–producing many hundreds or even thousands of sales.  But the truth is at some point, that wave will wash ashore with you on it.

When that happens, it’s going to be tempting to get very discouraged.  No matter how many sales you made, you will feel like maybe there should have been more.  No matter how long it lasted, maybe it could have lasted longer if you had done X, Y, and Z.

Understand, that a career in writing and especially the marketing of that writing is a series of riding the waves and paddling back out.  Going into it with that mentality rather than thinking all you have to do is hit it big once and you are set for life will at least give you a head’s up that this is not a “once-and-you’re-done” deal.

So, always remember that to ride the waves, you need to be willing to do some paddling first.  And when one wave is over, there is always another one out there.  Take a break if you need, but be willing to paddle back out to catch the next one.

Categories: Basics Tags: , , ,

Skills are Queen!

January 19, 2012 Leave a comment

If content is king, then skills are queen.

This is probably the most overlooked issue in all of marketing.  It is also the issue that trips up more people in trying to promote their work.  Why?  Because you can’t DO something you don’t know how to do!

I could sit here all day and say, “You need to be on Twitter.”

But if you don’t:

A) Know what Twitter is

B) Know how to use it

and most important

C) Know how to set up an account and get going,

well, my advice doesn’t really help much, does it?

The thing nobody will tell you is to have a skill you are going to go through several stages:

1) Absolute Ignorance  — you have NO IDEA how to make this thing work and no idea how hard it is to do (at least initially).  You don’t know how to sign up, how to set it up, how to design it, or how to use it.  This is sometimes the easiest stage because in your naïveté, you think, “How hard can it be?  Millions of people do this all the time.”

2)  Starting to learn — oh, this step is NOT fun!  You pull up the page and start to fill out the form and… YIKES!  What is that? I’ve never heard of that.  What does that even mean? And what do I write for my description?  And should I put my phone number on this or not?  Which email would be the best to use?  Should I pay for the “Upgrade” or will I even use this thing?

My advice for #2 is to try to get as much input from others as possible (and help if they will give it).  ASK QUESTIONS!  Look like an idiot who knows nothing about this (you don’t, though you are not an idiot. You are new, and it’s okay!)

3)  Learning.  Sometimes this step can be fun and exciting until you hit the…

4) Making frustrating mistakes phase.  Oh, this step will make you want to pull your hair out, bang your head on the desk, or just plain QUIT!

When I was learning to do the bulk upload in Hootsuite, I cycled through 3 and 4 on a daily and sometimes hourly basis.  I would get one to work… FINALLY, and think, “Okay, now I know what I’m doing.”  Only to find the next one didn’t work for a different reason. UGH!  FRUSTRATION!

Understand that any new skill you set out to learn–whether it’s how to run a blog, how to reword your website, how to send a Tweet, how to post on FB, how to bulk upload–is going to take a lot of practice and a LOT of patience with yourself for the mistakes you are inevitably going to make.

So be prepared to put in the effort and time to learn the skills.  It probably won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

5) Mastery.  Now even in mastery, you will make mistakes, but you will have seen this rodeo before and know how to fix almost any mistake.

To do all of the promotions we will talk about in the upcoming lessons, you will need to put in the time and practice and effort to learn the skills to work that particular promotion.  Don’t go into it thinking you will be able to do this in an hour or a day or even five days.  Most of these things take concentrated practice over time, wallowing through mistakes, asking for help, making more mistakes, and persevering anyway.

Look at it this way… you didn’t learn to write overnight either!

Categories: Basics Tags: ,

Content is KING!

January 17, 2012 1 comment

You’ve heard it.  I know I have… the mantra, “Content is KING!”  And it’s true. If you don’t have quality content, your promotions will go exactly nowhere.  So let’s start today with that core principle.

What kind of content do you produce? Do you have a book or several?

In promoting that book, do you write articles on blogs (yours or other people’s)?

Do you do interviews and reviews?  Do you have some of your own?

What are you best at creating?

Create Your Content

If you are just starting out, think smaller rather than bigger at least until you get going.  If you’re going to do a blog, commit to once a week for a month.  You won’t start out with bunches of visitors and viewers but at first that’s okay.  Learn to use the software and to find your voice.

Most of these articles will be primarily pull articles.  You will either be maintaining your audience through them so that they are getting great content and staying connected between books, and/or you are searching for new visitors and viewers.  You can do all of this with articles.

As your content grows, you may want to add other types.  So maybe you start out with articles for your site and then branch out into reviews.  Or maybe you start out interviewing other authors and then guest posting on other blogs.

In my journey, I quickly found the value of creating content for other people’s sites.  For me, creating content is like breathing.  So after I wrote my first three articles (before blogs) to post on other sites, I wrote a few more and a few more until I literally had 100’s of articles.  It didn’t happen overnight, but consistently focusing on creating great, timeless, valuable content has been one of the best things I’ve done for my promotional efforts.

 

Find your voice

As you begin to write articles, it’s important to find your voice.  Don’t try to write about everything, and unless you are a multi-pubbed author with a huge following of other writers, don’t write primarily about writing.  What you want to attract are READERS!

So what do you have to offer readers?

What topics light your soul on fire and you just have to share your thoughts on them?  Do that.

 

Spread the Work

If you are really scrambling for things to write about, consider doing some posts of reviews and interviews with others.  Utilize guest posts. This will take some of the pressure off of you.

 

Come up with a Schedule

Last for today, come up with days to post on your blog.  Maybe you’re going to do Monday and Thursday.  Monday could be for recipes and Thursday for Gardening tips.

Or Monday could be for reviews and Thursday for your own musings.

Whatever it is, remember two things:

1) Stick to it

2) But be flexible

As you learn, you will probably want to do more and try more.  That’s great!  Leave yourself some room to grow and give yourself permission to advance with the changes you feel work best for you.

 

Until next time, happy promoting!

Categories: Basics Tags: ,

Build Your Hill, Day 4

January 12, 2012 1 comment

Day 4

Last time we talked about the results of our hill.  We said if our hill looks like this:

we do all the work for very little benefit, and when we stop promotions, everything stops or goes backward.

If our “hill” is flat, like this:

We have to push very hard to get anything going.  When we stop, it stops. But here we do have a few places to at least promo what we’re doing.

If our hill is downhill–we have content and places to post and a good amount of viewers, the going will be a bit easier:

But what we really want is a landslide:

So how do you get Landslide Promotions?

To get Landslide Promotions, you have to think terms of four things:

1) Build your hill

2) Find viewers & followers (pull)

3) Promote your content (pull/push)

4) Exponentialize

We will work on each of these individually, but for today I want you to visualize it this way:

In Build Your Hill/Landslide Promotions, you start by building your hill.  If you have no hill, your promotions will go nowhere.

Your hill is any base of content you can come up with.  It might be your blog, your books, your Twitter account, or your website.  It is your platform.  Now a hill with no viewers will not do you any good, but viewers will not show up if you have no hill either. So you have to have all of these:

1) Content

2) Viewers

3) Promotional efforts

Deleting any one of these components and you will have an uphill or flat rate of promotional success.

But doing just these three will result in downhill marketing.

However, if you want Landslide Promotions, you have to go one step further and “expoentialize”–that is find ways to get your message out through other people’s hills as well.  When you do this, Landslide Promotions begin to happen.

In the coming weeks we will talk about all of the components pictured in Build the Hill.  For now, consider where your marketing is and how you can take it to the next level through these components.

Build Your Hill, Day 3

January 10, 2012 1 comment

Day 3

Today we’re going to begin talking about a concept I call “build the hill.”

First, I want you to consider this.  You are trying to get a snowball to roll.  I want you to examine the following four types of plains you could be trying to do that on.

Now I want you to ask yourself:  Which of these would be the easiest to get a promotion snowball to roll on or down?

Let’s examine them a little closer.

You drive all the traffic to your site or blog.  The only way anyone knows your content exists is if YOU tell them, and you have few or no promotional outlets–places to consistently tell people about your content. When you don’t promote, it all shuts down. Everything depends on you. You have no places to promote on or very limited ones that you don’t know how to use. Basically you have content only and no promotional plan. (Pulling is weak; promos are inconsistent, haphazard, or nonexistent.)

 You still drive all traffic, but you do have promo places to post. You post the content and then all of the promos. Content and promos (all you).  (Pulling is weak but visible; promos are only instigated by you.)

You get help driving traffic to your posts through being on others’ blogs, cross promoting on Twitter (you post for them, they post for you), being interviewed and reviewed on other people’s sites. You don’t have to do it all… you just have to get it started.  You use the leverage of other people’s built-in audience.  (Pulling is stronger because you have a pool of audiences to draw from; promos may be instigated by you, but are picked up and spread by others.)  An example of this would be if you did a guest blog.  You have content.  You pull audience members TO you from the audience of the other blogger (i.e. they read it and jump to your blog or book to see more) AND both you and the blogger (hopefully) promote the post.  You are no longer on your own!

In Landslide Marketing you instigate the content and the promotional effort but many others pick it up and blast it far and wide to their audiences.  Cross promotional book launches and parties are a good example—where you are all promoting the same event together so that it benefits everyone in the group.  These can be really powerful before, during, and even after the event.  Best of all, you only have to do  a fraction of the total promotional effort to see maximized results.  (Pulling–you are reaching everyone’s audience not just yours; you can promo the event and thus your content to the whole audience.)

With Grace and Faith, the idea is this:

Say that each member of a particular promotion has 500 followers, and you have 500 followers as well.

Now say that in a particular promotion, you have 10 members including you.

If you did the promotion on your own, you would promote to 500 followers (yours).

But joining together, each one promotes to their 500 followers, and suddenly your promotional message is going to 5,000!

Further, let’s say that each of you was following how to pull market and in 3 months you increased your followers by 20%.  Now you’re looking at 600 followers each… or 6,000 people!

Do you see how landslide marketing could make a huge difference?!

So, what kind of marketing are you doing now?  Uphill?  Flat?  Downhill? or Landslide?  Which would you like to be doing?

Next time, I will show you how to begin to build your hill so you can attain landslide-style marketing results.

Categories: Basics Tags: ,