Put an End to the Overwhelm

I hear it all the time. Authors, speakers, entrepreneurs, designers, photographers, small business owners, Realtors, plumbers, job seekers… They are all facing the same problem.

Marketing is time-consuming! Especially when you’re trying to figure it out as you go.

Actually, the whole thing can become simply overwhelming. Since they don’t know where to start, they often don’t get started or they make slower progress than they want and need to.

That’s one of the reasons that I write this blog.

I enjoy helping people find the tools and techniques that really work.

I like to take a specific issue and figure out the best way of fixing it, so that I can then pass it along to my clients and readers.

Whenever possible, I prefer to test things out for my own needs before recommending them to anyone else. But sometimes the best I can do is research it, knowing the needs of my clients, and let you know which I would choose if I were going to be using it.

Know what you want to accomplish

That exact situation came up recently. I was in conversation with a friend on Facebook who was looking for a magazine designer.

Since there are many different approaches that can be taken to designing a magazine, I asked her some leading questions.

  • Did she want her magazine to be online, in print or both?
  • Did she want to design her magazine online or upload a PDF that was displayed in an online reader?
  • Did she want flexibility in her design (for enhanced creativity) or did she want a template she could work from (for ease of use)?
  • Did she want just text and images in her magazine or other types of content like video, MP3 and ecommerce options?

These were just a few of the questions we discussed.

Find the right tools

In this particular context, my friend was looking at potentially using LucidPress to generate her magazine. I’d also found FlipSnack and suggested she compare the two, along with Issuu, which is a popular online document viewer.

She narrowed down her choices to LucidPress and FlipSnack and asked what I thought of them. So, I took a few minutes to look at the features and functionality of both, and to research a few comparison articles to see what existing users thought of them.

What I found was that selecting the right tool was contingent on knowing how you wanted to use it and what you wanted to get out of it. (Isn’t that always the case!)

A wrench is not just a wrench

A field of nuts with one selectedAs an author, speaker or entrepreneur, it’s important to know, first, what your objective is and then, second, what your preferred operating method is, before making a choice about the tools and platforms you want to integrate into your business.

If the tool makes things harder for you, it’s not the right one.

If it limits your ability to achieve your objective, it’s still not the right one.

Look for tools that are the right fit for you.

Don’t just assume that because everyone else is using it, you should too. Everyone else is not you!

I was commenting to my son recently about the wide selection of socket wrench handles hanging on a hardware store wall. You might think that a wrench is a wrench is a wrench. But that’s simply not true.

There are different size wrenches (1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″, 3/4″, 1″, 1-1/2″, 2-1/2″ and 3-1/2″ to start with), ratcheting and non-ratcheting, fixed socket or interchangeable, metric, standard and Torx sockets, and so on.

Even if you settle on the specific tool you want, you’ll find that one manufacturer’s handle has a different grip than another’s. And while both may be perfectly usable, one fits your hand better than another.

Use the tools that are right for you

The same is true as you build your business. There are plenty of tools out there to work with. But you need to know what job you want to use the tool for (to make sure it has the right functionality to accomplish the task), as well as which one suits you best.

You could have the best tool in the world, but if it’s not something you’re comfortable with, you’re simply not going to use it!

That’s a frequent conversation that I have with my authors.

Which social media platform should I be on?

What is the absolute best method of marketing my book without a budget?

What’s the one thing I should do every day to reach my audience?

There is no “one size fits all” answer to that. It’s unique because you are you and your ideal reader is your ideal reader. You aren’t everyone else.

That’s why it’s critical to develop a marketing strategy that has you, your offering and your market in mind.

It’s also how consulting a marketing strategist can help you create an optimized plan that ensures that your budget is being applied to the activities that will work best for your specific product, goals and audience.

Fitting the pieces together

Connecting the pieces

So, if you are feeling stuck or if your book marketing simply isn’t getting the results you want, I encourage you to book a strategy call with me and get unstuck! I can help you connect the pieces so that you feel confident about your next steps.

Oh, and if you were interested in the outcome of the LucidPress vs. FlipSnack review, check back next week and I’ll share those results.

 

A Blab with Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome.com for the BiztoBook Conference

Lain Ehmann launched her online BiztoBook conference last week, and there have been some stand-out speakers thus far.

(Frankly, I have to admit, I don’t like the format of the conference. There is as much as 3 hours of content a day, and you have 48 hours to listen to it before it expires, even while new content is rolling out each day of the conference, including over the weekend. I’ve already missed more than half the speakers, which is disappointing. But there is an option to purchase all of the recordings at a discounted rate that ends today.)

Anyway, my personal favorite of the topics I’ve been able to catch thus far was Lain’s Blab with Pat Flynn from SmartPassiveIncome.com and PatFlynn.com.

He’s someone I’ve been following for years now, so it was nice to listen in as he shared some of his recent success in the publishing world.

Pat recently wrote Will It Fly?: How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time and Money. This was his first self-published book. (He had an earlier book, Let Go, that was published using a little-known platform called Snippet.)

In this Blab, Pat Flynn shares how he wrote and published his new book, and discussed his astonishment when it reached #1 in the Amazon rankings for various categories, as well as hitting the Wall Street Journal’s Bestseller list.

Listen in to hear what he had to share.

The Power of Knowing Why

The first month of a new year has come and gone already and I’m finding myself reflecting on many of the conversations I’ve had of late.

January has traditionally been the goal-setting month, whether it’s a New Year’s Resolution or business goals for the year, many people appreciate the mental “restart” that comes with a new beginning.

From the conversations I’ve been having, though, it seems that many people mistake “goals” with “plans” or “projects.”

If you have ever read about successful people, you may have heard this before.

[Read more…]

22 Ways to Create Compelling Content When You Don’t Have a Clue [Infographic]

The folks at CopyBlogger have done it again! They’re the experts when it comes to creating great content, and this infographic is no exception.

As they acknowledge, even professional writers sometimes get stuck for content ideas. And the same is true for authors and speakers. There are times when the well simply runs dry.

So, what do you write about then?

I’m hoping the ideas that are shared here will help get those creative juices flowing.

And thanks again, CopyBlogger, for always being willing to share!

22 Ways to Create Compelling Content - Infographic
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

One Kind of Book That I HATE!

You all know that I love books, but there’s one kind I hate!

In speaking with other business owners, I’ve found I’m not alone… There are plenty of consultants, entrepreneurs, authors, coaches, photographers, designers and other small business owners who feel exactly the same way that I do about these books.

They’re a continuing source of pain and misery, and yet they’re a barely tolerated, oft-ignored necessity.

Have you guessed what kind of book I’m talking about?

Confession time… [Read more…]

How to Market Your Book Yourself the Right Way

Today’s guest post is from Jennifer Landry, a dedicated web journalist living in Malibu, California. Jennifer specializes in writing articles about business, marketing and the social media landscape. You can follow her on Twitter at @jkalandry.

Start Marketing First

Jennifer Landry headshot

Jennifer Landry

This may sound counter-intuitive, but hang with me for a minute, and this will make sense. Start connecting with your potential readers long before you plan on asking them to purchase a book from you. Building your network, or as Seth Godin terms it, “your tribe” takes time.

There is only one sure way to build a tribe: consistently deliver value of some kind over and over so that people know they can trust you to deliver value over and over.

For writers, this means writing things that do one or both of two things–entertain and inform. Typically non-fiction writers work more on the “inform” end of the spectrum and fiction writers operate more on the “entertain” end. But there is no rule that says you can’t do both. The fact is, one of the reasons writing is so hard is that there aren’t really but a few rules, and they are more like general guidelines. Unfortunately, the same goes for marketing. [Read more…]

11 Reasons Why Writing a Book is Good for Business

Emerald Lake Books logoHave you ever wondered how to make a bigger impact than you already have?

For many business professionals, time is the rate-limiting factor. You can only connect with so many people in a given number of hours. So how do you take things to the next level?

Well, there are a number of different ways.

Speaking is one of them, and something I do a lot of and enjoy, but it’s not for everyone.

Creating videos is another. Video content is easy to share, simple to create, and has the potential to make a viral impact, but it requires some technical ability.

Blogging is another means of connecting with more people with less effort, yet it requires steady website traffic.

So there’s no one magic bullet. You’re better off if you try to implement a mixture of all of these.

But there’s one more thing I’d recommend, assuming you have it in you. There’s writing a book.

Not everyone is cut out to be an author. It’s time-consuming, hard work and can take months or even years to pay for itself.

However, for those who do take up the challenge, writing a book can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

Here are some of my top reasons why I think becoming an author is good for business. [Read more…]

What Inspires You to Create a Breakthrough Mindset?

Woman Holding the Sun in the Palm of Her Hand - Photographer unknownNo matter what you do or who you are, there are times in our lives where our own weaknesses and inabilities can limit what we accomplish. To achieve more, we need to learn something new or overcome a limiting mindset.

And it’s not just one area of our life we need to focus on. Every day, we fill multiple roles. We’re in business. We’re a friend or family member. We’re a parent. We’re a colleague. We’re a role model or we’re being mentored.

There are so many different facets to a life that it can be hard to be intentional about all of them all of the time. But it’s important to be aware of what we do well and where we can use some improvement.

I think that’s one of the reasons that I enjoy the wisdom of people like Zig Ziglar and Les Brown so much. They are very real individuals, who understand what it means to be human and to overcome challenges. Their inspiration can yield better business partners as well as better parents. [Read more…]

Whatever Your Calling, Be Sure to Have Fun!

We each have our own unique set of gifts and talents. And when we use them, we make the world around us a better place. But sometimes, we can get so caught up in completing our goals, that we take the fun out of something we used to enjoy. I know I’ve found myself in that spot more than once.

So, today, as reflect on those who have given their all so that we have the freedom to give our best, take a few minutes to relax, enjoy and reconnect with those who are important to our lives. They’re the reason that we’re doing what we’re doing, after all!

That connection will fuel you to do whatever it is that you are uniquely called to do in this life, and to make sure that you never let the fun be sapped out of it. Believe me, it’s contagious to those around you and “fills your tank” for the next challenge ahead.

You know what I’d love to see? Share a link in the comments below to something (or someone) that reminds or inspires you to have fun or, better yet, share your own video of you following your calling and making it an experience for those around you!

And then, go out and have some fun today!

A Way for Authors to Give Back

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone! 🙂

Have you ever been suddenly struck by a thought that you knew you needed to act on right away? That happened to me recently.

I was browsing one of my favorite LinkedIn groups this other day, and I saw this post that simply said:

We are proud to be a part of Authors Supporting Our Troops 2014. I’m packing up signed copies of my books… to be shipped to our troops in Kuwait and Afghanistan.

Unfortunately, the author didn’t post a link where others could find more information. But the idea appealed to me. Both my sister and brother-in-law are former military and actually met while in Kuwait (after they’d both gone back as contractors). So I wanted to learn more.

I knew from my own loved ones how important it was to have diversions (movies, books, magazines, good ole American junk food, etc.) and other things that made you momentarily feel like you were back at home.

Authors give back by Supporting Our TroopsA quick Google search yielded a Facebook event page and a blog post shedding more light on things.

The event started in January and will continue through April 15th. Its organizer, Armand Rosamilia, is collecting fellow authors’ books to send to our troops stationed in Kuwait and Afghanistan.

He was inspired to host this year’s event when he found out that his hero, Joe McKinney, who was last year’s event coordinator, no longer had a contact to send the books to. Since packages must be addressed to a specific recipient and Armand’s “Special Gal” had a dear friend who was being sent to Kuwait in April, Armand decided to pick up where Joe left off. (You can learn more about the origins of this event here.)

He has made the special request that all books be signed by the author, believing that “the troops will love the read and also knowing the actual author sent the books or the actual publisher.”

It’s such a simple way for authors to give back, and yet will deliver a sense of “home” to those who receive and share them.

If you’re not an author, you can still support the effort by making a donation to help defray the cost of shipping the books. (Contact Armand directly if you’re interested in donating.) And anyone is welcome to buy a t-shirt to commemorate their involvement.

At the time of this writing, 485 people are participating in this event, and over 1,100 autographed books have already been sent to Armand to support our troops. That’s an awful lot of authors deciding to give back. But there’s always room for more!

I added my name among them, as have a few of my friends. I know it was hard for my sister when she was stationed in Kuwait. She didn’t want to worry us here at home, so often didn’t share the details of what was going on in her life. It’s only recently, years later, that she’s started to share some of it with me.

If being inspired, challenged or entertained by any of my books helps a soldier who is far from home escape for a little while, it’s the least that I can do. After all, they’ve sacrificed so much more for us and for our freedoms.

Won’t you join me in supporting this effort? Pledge your books, buy a t-shirt, or donate some money to defray the shipping costs. Every little bit counts!

And leave a comment below to show your support. For every comment left this week, I’ll donate one of my autographed books to the effort (up to 10 copies of each of my printed books).