5 Books on Building Personal Brands That Everyone Should Read

Today’s guest post is from Kelsey Castle is a freelance writer and editor who focuses on small business topics. She has a degree from Penn State and lives in Maryland.

There are a lot of opportunities out there for someone who’s motivated. However, it can be hard to get noticed. Your personal brand refers to who you are, what you’re passionate about, and the strength of your reputation.

Aleweb Social Marketing - 5 Books on Building Personal Brands That Everyone Should Read Pic 1

Learn more about developing your personal brand with an expertly written book.

If you’re still trying to figure out your personal brand, investing time in reading a top-rated book might put you on the right track.

Career Distinction: Stand Out by Building Your Brand
By William Arruda and Kirsten Dixson

Sometimes it’s not enough to just tell you how to build a brand, but to show you as well. This book includes case studies of successful professionals who have defined their brand and used it to their advantage in the workplace.

Authors Arruda and Dixon offer a step-by-step guide to identify your target audience, tell your brand story, express yourself clearly and consistently, and understand the importance of online reputation management. The book comes from a duo that are widely respected in the career-coaching community. [Read more…]

5 Tips for Getting More Facebook Followers for Your Author Page

Today’s guest post is from Brian Flax. Brian is a freelance writer based out of the Washington, D.C. area. He is experienced in a variety of topics including technology and social media marketing.
Creating "like" buttons allows people to easily connect to an author or book page from anywhere on the Internet.

Image courtesy of Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Social media has become an important way to establish a brand and market a product or service online, and authors are no exception. Creating a Facebook page also helps to establish credibility and an online reputation. It allows us to help control what is posted online and focus advertising on our target demographic.

Obtaining Facebook “likes” for an author or book page is a relatively simple process, and you don’t have to pay anyone to do it for you.

Create an Author Page

To get Facebook likes, an author page must first be setup. To create a page, a Facebook account must be established in the owner’s name. To do this, you only have to register your email, create a password, and fill out a few minor details. [Read more…]

Getting Your Story Out There

Today’s guest post is from Jical Jial of Mosotomoss. He is a Creative Stager that helps entrepreneurs to stage their story. You can see more of his writing at Mosotomossblog.com.

Create the story you want pepol to seeCreate the story you want people to see and take ownership of what you want them to hear. It’s never too late to get your story out there. I know sometimes it can feel like a daunting task to do everything yourself. There are many steps you have to take to get your story out, but if you break those steps up, it doesn’t seem so daunting.

As a writer, you may think writing your book was the hard part. But I would say, marketing the book is the hard part. When you don’t have a team of creative people behind you coming up with ideas to market the book, it can be frustrating. Don’t wait until the book is finished to start working on the marketing. I’ve seen way too many authors finish a book and then ask, “what’s next?”

To market your story is to seduce your audience into wanting more of what you have to offer. Just like you build the suspense up in your book, you have to do the same thing with your marketing. You have to create anticipation in your audience. Writing a blog post or creating lively chats on Facebook are two great ways for you to build up the suspense.

Create rich dialog about certain situations in the book without giving away any of the book. Make what you’re posting relevant to your audience. All characters must go through something, and so does your audience. Now would be a great time to pull them in, not after you have written the book and when it’s about to be published.

Today’s publishers want to know how big your audience is. That often determines if you will be able to secure a traditional publishing contract. Without an audience, it’s hard to sell the book. Having an audience to sell to says a lot about you. It says you are interesting, and people want to hear what you have to say.

I am often asked whether an author should post excerpts of a new book on a blog. I would never recommend doing that. It’s always best to blog about characters or storylines without giving away anything. It’s really important as an author for you to be engaged with your audience. So find ways to start conversations about the book, rather than giving previews of it.

When it comes to your marketing plan, don’t just think about selling the book. Most authors never think about merchandising, for example, selling T-shirts with quotes on them that your character says, like “Who is John Galt?”  Promoting your merchandise is a great way for you to not only make extra money, but build a brand empire up at the same time as building your audience. 

You are an entrepreneur, believe it or not. Telling yourself you are just a writer won’t work. When you believe you are an entrepreneur, you act like an entrepreneur. There are many more ways of getting your story out there. The main way is to build the story up before it ever really gets finished or heads to the publisher. Generate a buzz about your book as early as possible. The more people you know, the more chances you have in selling them something they want to have.

5 Unique Ways to Get Backlinks to Your Website

Today’s guest post is from Sarah Boisvert, who is an author who writes on a wide range of topics from small business to investing to high technology. She also covers social media and has written profiles of Bill Gates, Steve Wynn, and Chuck Hull.
Spider web image for 5 Unique Ways to Get Backlinks to Your Websites

Backlinks help readers find your website in the tangle of the Web! [Photo credit: Tina Phillips via FreeDigitalPhotos.com]

In this Internet age, websites are key to selling every product and service from books to videos and speaking engagements to webinars. But having a website is just the beginning. To get potential customers to find your specific website in the tangle of the Web requires having a high page rank for your keywords in search engines like Google.

Search algorithms increasingly rely upon backlinks to evaluate content strength. The logic goes that if a website is mentioned with a hyperlink to it on another website, then the content must be valuable to readers.

Knowing this, some webmasters went overboard creating links to hundreds of sites. Many of these backlinks also had no relationship to the subject matter or were connected to sites that bordered on spam.

Google responded to these tactics intended to “fool” the system, of course, and now includes relevance of subject matter in their algorithms. Consequently, backlinks of good quality are essential to driving more traffic to your website.

While it takes a little more effort now to get good backlinks, there are many unique ways to be sure your website stays within Google guidelines. Here are some tips to get you started.

Partner with Smaller Vendors

Large vendors like Amazon have established backlink programs for authors and product suppliers, but don’t ignore the smaller outlets. Get a list from your distributor of stores that carry your books and contact the manager or owner about backlinks. Organizations that hire you to speak are also a good source of backlinks. Of course, you’ll need to reciprocate and link back to these vendors on your website, but that is just good business for everyone.

Befriend Bloggers

Bloggers are always searching for new topics for blog posts. By searching for top bloggers in your subject area, you can build a list of potential websites for backlinks.

Perhaps they could include a book or podcast review, an interview before an upcoming book signing or speech, or a general interest story. This provides an opportunity for the blog to link to your website. As before, you need to be a good member of the online community and reciprocate. You can do something simple like create a page of News and Reviews with links and a brief description.

Twitter logo used in 5 Unique Ways to Get Backlinks to Your Website

Twitter is filled with media writers and bloggers [Image credit: Twitter]

Social Media

Twitter is a great social media platform for finding writers and bloggers who might be interested in reciprocal links. The Twitterverse is full of media types from national, local and international news agencies as well as bloggers covering everything you can imagine. Search for some keywords from your field and create lists of the writers you find.

There are rules of etiquette that accompany being a good member of the community. First, you’ll need to engage with the writers or bloggers, getting to know them in Cyberspace. Once you’ve established credibility and demonstrated that you’re not a spammer, you can ask for a backlink. Most Tweeters who “know” you are happy to comply.

Trade Associations and Other Organizations

Trade associations or other organizations are always happy to promote members. Often they will publish news about individual members or business and corporate members and include a backlink. This is true for every type of group from your local Chamber of Commerce to the national alumni association of your college alma mater. Get to know the membership director or IT specialist to see what kinds of backlinks they can provide.

Don’t Forget Fans or User Groups

It goes without saying that fans are always willing to help out since they are happy customers who want you to succeed. Reach out through your database or blog, but again, you don’t want to be a spammer! Limit the number of requests and, if possible, offer an incentive such as a small gift card or a promotional item.

Working on backlinks has an additional benefit beyond search engine optimization. You’ll be interacting more with the world, and it’s through being visible that good PR opportunities also arise. Following these five tips, you’ll be sure to increase sales of all your products and services through a variety of channels.

5 Reasons to Check into a Person’s Online Reputation Before Entering a Business Relationship

Today’s guest post is from Bev Sninchak, a veteran freelance writer with 16 years of experience producing content for both print and online publications. She writes about many subjects, from managing your online reputation to mastering social media strategies. She lives with her husband, kids, and a menagerie of pets in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
Cufflinks, not cuffs! - Aleweb Social Marketing

It’s best to have a business partner in cufflinks rather than cuffs!

When you start a company with another person, you are connected to them personally, professionally and financially. Are you sure you know everything about your soon-to-be business partner?

Here are five reasons to check into your potential business partner’s reputation so you can avoid unexpected pitfalls.

1. Criminal Background

If you plan to start a business with an individual, it’s a given that you want to be sure he or she isn’t a criminal—or worse, a felon. You wouldn’t want to place your company in the hands of a known embezzler or con artist, so it’s paramount that you check your would-be partner’s criminal record.

If you fail to investigate your partner and don’t uncover a hidden villainous background, you’re not only risking the personal safety of you, your employees, and your customers—you’re gambling with your livelihood and financial future as well. [Read more…]

3 Ways to Use Guest Blog Posts to Promote Your Brand

Today’s guest post is from Bev Sninchak, a veteran freelance writer with 16 years of experience producing content for both print and online publications. She writes about many subjects, from how to use SmallBusinessReputation.com to manage your online reputation to mastering the latest social media strategies. She lives with her husband, kids and a menagerie of pets in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado.

Use Guest Blog Posts to Promote Your Brand - Aleweb Social MarketingIf you have a blog and you update it regularly, you might be wondering what else you can do to expand your brand’s online reach. One effective way to promote your brand and mix things up a bit is to guest post on other blogs.

Here are three ways to effectively utilize guest posts to increase interest in your brand.

1. Target Appropriate Host Blogs

The most effective guest posts will appear on blogs that relate in some way to your product or brand. For instance, if your product has to do with telecommunication, it wouldn’t make sense to write posts for blogs that have to do with baking cupcakes. Keep your focus tight and relevant when it comes to targeting potential blogs to pitch your guest posts to.

The smartest way to be invited to guest blog is to be a participant on a blog as a commenter. If you’re already active in the blogging community, then you have a head start. If you aren’t active yet on industry-related blogs, now is the time to get familiar with the online blogging community and make you—and the brand you represent—visible.

You can also seek out blogs that are open to guest posts by visiting websites such as BloggerLinkUp.com or MyBlogGuest.com.

2. Know Your Audience

When you write guest posts for other blogs, always keep your audience in mind. Get a feel for the voice and style of each blog you’ll be guesting for. Take special note of the tone and writing style. The regular audience of a particular blog will have set expectations for the kind of blog posts they’ll read in the future, so model the format of your guest post to that of the source blog you’re writing for.

If your targeted blog uses technical language, reflect that in your guest post. However, if a blog’s posts are written for the general public and are light on industry jargon, avoid confusing terms and wording.

Read past blog posts from your targeted host blogs and check out the comment sections as well. Perusing reader comments can give you insight into the education, knowledge and interests of a blog’s followers. Keep in mind that the average adult reads at a ninth-grade level. Don’t churn out a guest blog post written at a post-graduate level and risk alienating your audience.

3. Make it Personal

Yes, readers are interested in your business, and you want to guide them to your product or brand, but don’t forget to add a personal touch as well. People find personal-themed blog posts interesting because of the voyeur factor. They also draw a lot of traffic.

Many readers will ask questions such as, “What is the company’s CEO’s personality like?” Take, for example, the late Steve Jobs. Although Apple’s products attracted buyers on their own merits, plenty of people (avid Mac users and PC users alike) were curious about Steve’s history, personal philosophy, and work methods. The same can be said for Bill Gates and Microsoft. One way or another, the brand is always connected to the people behind it. Make that connection with your brand and your guest blog readers as well.

You can tap into the personal factor in your blog post, as well as promote your brand, by making readers feel like you’re having an intimate conversation with them, as if you’re sitting down with them and chatting over a cup of coffee at a local shop. When you communicate with readers on a personal level and connect it to your profession, you instill confidence in people and, by association, your brand. Let them see glimpses of your personality and business philosophy.

By taking advantage of guest blog posts, you will keep the attention of your regular subscribers and attract new ones over to your home blog. In addition, your new readers will likely follow you on other social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook. Guest blogging is an essential way to effectively market and promote your business and build your clientele.

3 Video SEO Tips You Can Use Right Now

Today’s guest post is from my friend, Chris Westfall, the National Elevator Pitch Champion. Enjoy his insights into how to use video SEO properly to share your compelling story.

Your brand deserves a great story, and these video SEO tips will help you to make your message matter.

While YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world, if you want your story to be heard, you’ve got to master video SEO tricks. But you may be surprised to know that YouTube may not be the best place for your video. Or, perhaps a better way to say it, there’s more than just YouTube, if you’re interested in the best video SEO.


Three Tips for Creating a Great Video Message Online

Once you’ve crafted your great video content, you still have to ensure it gets found! So, here are the next steps to follow.

  1. For Great Video SEO, put your message on Vimeo.com – It may seem counter-intuitive since Google owns YouTube, but videos on Vimeo.com are actually ranked higher in searches, in terms of video SEO. While the audience for Vimeo is smaller than YouTube, the SEO rankings are based on the relevance of the content. Google will often rank Vimeo.com above YouTube, even with similar keyword content. So, what’s the takeaway from this tip? Get yourself a Vimeo channel and post your content on Vimeo! And, if you don’t believe in the power of video SEO juice from Vimeo, make sure you include a link to your YouTube channel and post your content in multiple locations. While many will disparage duplicate content from an SEO perspective, video SEO is multiplied when your content is posted on multiple sites. Make sure Vimeo.com is part of your marketing mix for great video SEO.
  2. Get smart about your keywords and title, if you want great video SEO – Do you use Google’s keyword search tool to determine the name of your video? How about for the keywords you include in the video’s description? Using the keyword search tool from Google adwords will give you great insight into your video SEO. It’s counter-intuitive, but you want to be general (not specific) in order to be found. If you want your video to attract eyeballs, use the Google search tool to identify where the eyeballs are. In other words, use terms that are highly searched and include those words in both the title and the description for your video.
  3. Great video SEO starts with great links – Make sure that your description field includes at least one link. It’s a great idea to include a link to your website, your blog, or other content that’s meaningful (for example, if you have a Brand Yourself page for your personal brand, or an About.me page, or even a LinkedIn profile, you can include these links and improve your video SEO. Want to get really fancy? Then include a link to your vimeo.com page, and do the same from inside Vimeo.

Video SEO is What Your Brand Deserves

With these three ideas, you can create greater backlinks, identify additional resources for your viewers, and generate the kind of traffic that gets your message noticed. If you’ve taken the time to create some good video content, you deserve to have that content viewed. Use tools like YouTube and Vimeo to make sure your message gets out there.

And remember, there’s no substitute for great content. Video SEO is about understanding how optimization works, but great content is an even bigger boost to your brand.

About the Author:

Chris Westfall is the national elevator pitch champion, and the author of The NEW Elevator Pitch. His YouTube channel has nearly 700,000 video views and over 550 subscribers. His website is westfallonline.com and his YouTube channel is /westfallonline. His video production business is Your Online Video, Inc. and he regularly consults with high-growth businesses on effective video production.

Pinterest 101: How to Use the Site for Your Business

Today’s guest post is from Bev Sninchak, a veteran freelance writer with 16 years of experience producing content for both print and online publications. She is interested in business-related podcasts, and writes about many business-related subjects, from online marketing tips to social media strategies. She lives with her husband, kids, and a menagerie of pets in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Colorado.
Social reciprocation - Aleweb Social Marketing

Multiply your client base by social reciprocation

If you thought Pinterest was a leisure site used primarily for pinning cute decorating photos or images of crafts and hobbies, think again. Pinterest can be a powerful site to get exposure for your brand or to gain new clients.

Not sure how to employ this new online promotion strategy? Read further to discover creative ways to use this unique site to revolutionize how you promote your business online.

Keep It Visual

When using Pinterest, keep in mind you are aiming to interact with others on a visual level. While you’ll still need to use text to include product descriptions and prices, be sure to mix things up by using your boards for company-related videos, charts, graphics, and product photographs.

Remember, pins don’t always have to be static, boring photographs. Upload dynamic videos that show your personal brand in an innovative light, using everything from demonstrations of your latest products to a series of micro-interviews with your CEO. If you use case studies as part of your business’s sales strategy, present those case studies as video presentations to demonstrate how using your services can be beneficial and necessary.

Be Creative

Check out how other businesspeople are using Pinterest, and employ some of their successful strategies. Offer snapshots of your personal brand’s culture, mission statement, and philosophy. Create stunning infographs that not only provide integral information about your products and/or services to customers, but do it in a way that pops with color, style, and creativity.

The key is to get your potential customers excited about the merchandise you bring to the global marketplace. The attention span of the average consumer on the internet is mere seconds, so you’ll need to grab would-be clients and hook them quickly if you plan to capture them for future sales.

Get Social

Not only is Pinterest a visual site, it is a social venue as well. Most pins on Pinterest—an estimated 80 percent—are repins of others’ content, so be sure to produce a variety of visual content from which others can choose. If someone repins content from one of your boards, make sure to extend your appreciation to them.

In addition, build connections and open dialogue with possible customers by following their boards, repinning their pins, commenting on their posts, and liking their content as well. To personalize your interactions, employ hashtags as well. Whenever possible, also incorporate SEO keywords.

Stay Connected

If your business is already on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn (and if it’s not, it should be), your next step is to connect all of those social media platforms back to your new Pinterest account. Integration is key; you want to be sure you have connection and a seamless, organic flow between all your promotional resources.

Link your other social media to Pinterest and install the “Pin” button and “Follow Me” buttons to all your other profiles. Add the “Pin” button to your company’s website and blog, also. If you have an online product catalog, make it easy for shoppers to use the “Pin” button to snag images and information about individual products or collections. The rule of thumb should be this: If you want to promote it, make sure visitors can easily Pin it.

To keep abreast of the latest developments on how to effectively use Pinterest for your business, bookmark the Pinterest for Business page and visit it often. Once you get familiar with Pinterest and how you can use it as a resource for your personal brand, you will never look at online marketing and sales promotion the same way again.

How are you using Pinterest for your brand?

4 Unconventional Ways To Market Your Book

Today’s post is a guest post from Josh Allan Dykstra, a fellow member of the Lead Change Group. Josh and I had the chance to meet and talk for a bit at SANG in October, and I’ve truly enjoyed getting to know him. Since he recently released his new book Igniting the Invisible Tribe: Designing An Organization That Doesn’t Suck, I asked him to share a few thoughts on what’s worked best for him in promoting his book online.

Josh Allan Dykstra - Principal, Strengths DoctorsSo, I hear you’re an author with a book on your hands. Or, perhaps, you have a book in production which will soon release to be your groundbreaking tome. First, congratulations! Please don’t take these compliments lightly — many, many (maybe even most) people would “like to write a book someday.” Simply by the act of actually completing the task, you have made yourself a scarce resource. You’ve put your thoughts into the world in a careful and meaningful way. This is something to celebrate!

That said, even though you now (or will soon) have a book that you’re incredibly proud of, what you probably don’t have are millions of eyeballs, poised and ready to consume your brilliant and innovative prose. Don’t let this get you down; it’s a problem most new authors face, honestly. Most of us aren’t radio hosts or TV stars. We don’t have 100,000+ followers on Twitter or celebrity status.

So how do us “normal folks” get the work we’ve slaved over for months (maybe even years) in front of the right readers? Here are four ways you may not have considered:

1. Strategically Join A Great Group

Of course, we’ve all heard ad nauseam about the benefits and importance of networking. This is true, of course, but in this example I’m not talking about rubbing shoulders with just anybody. Some groups provide specific benefits to authors and content creators, and these are the kind of groups you want to look for. For me, being part of the Young Entrepreneur Council has been amazing. The YEC has media partnerships in place that members can take advantage of, and it’s helped me get my writing featured in Fast Company, Business Insider, etc.

2. Find Niche Bloggers

The idea here is fairly simple: connect with the people who run the blogs that already talk to the groups of people you want to connect with. The easiest way to identify these sites might be to think about the places you yourself go to find interesting content — if you like it, it’s likely the people who will read your work will, too. Send a note to the blog’s owner (usually easy to find on an About Us or Contact page) and offer to do a guest post, video chat, or email interview; whatever the blog owner thinks will connect most with their audience. If you can show that you’ll create value for their readers, many bloggers will jump at the chance to get great (and free!) external content.

3. Partner With University Professors

Do you know any professors who teach something related to your material? Offer to get them a free copy of your book and see what they think! If they find it helpful and you can get on the syllabus as required reading, classrooms can be a great source of recurring revenue — and, perhaps even more exciting, a perfect way to get your ideas into the heads of impressionable minds. I’ve found the best way in is through the professor directly; many times they have complete “creative control” over what they want their students to be exposed to. If you can get them excited about your work, they’ll be a great advocate.

4. Start and/or Lead A Tribe

This is the hardest, but probably best, way to grow your readership. Because of the ways the world is changing, particularly in regards to technology, it’s easier than ever to connect with the people who care about the same big, hairy problems you do. Stake your claim and purchase the URL. Start talking and writing about it everywhere. Obsess over how to create value for the members of your tribe, and make sure your book is a worthy conversation piece for tribe members. I won’t lie and say this is easy — it takes a tremendous investment of work and time — but once you are seen as a thought leader of a movement, you’ll find that book sales will come much more easily.

It’s an amazing privilege when people give us their most scarce resource of time to read our thoughts, isn’t it? I’m truly honored you gave a bit of your time to read my thoughts here. My sincere best wishes to you on your adventures as an author!

//

Josh Allan Dykstra is a recognized thought leader on the future of work and company culture design. His articles and ideas have been featured by Fast Company, Business Insider, MSN.com, Under30CEO, and The Agency Post. He is a co-founder of Strengths Doctors, a consulting firm that helps leaders and entrepreneurs design energizing places to work. Josh’s eclectic background includes projects with organizations like Apple, Sony, Genentech, Starbucks, and Viacom/CBS as well as startups, nonprofits, and universities. He holds an MBA in Executive Leadership from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and his new book, Igniting the Invisible Tribe: Designing An Organization That Doesn’t Suck, is available on Amazon.com. Connect with him online at http://joshallan.com.

2013 – The Year of Social Selling

Today’s post is a guest post from Kurt Shaver, a former VP of Sales turned Social Selling speaker/trainer, and founder of The Sales Foundry.

If you want to guest post on this blog, contact us for our submission guidelines.

Social Selling Boot Camp 2013Often, major shifts in business occur when a confluence of factors combine to change the status quo. Think about the impact that affordable cars and trucks plus the interstate highway system had on the railroads. More recently, consider the impact that the Internet plus mobile devices are making on the newspaper industry. Old-fashioned selling techniques may soon begin to fade away, too, due to the influence of multiple Social Selling factors in 2013.

Consider these factors:

The Rising Awareness of Social Selling: The term Social Selling is yet another spin-off of the Social Media mother ship (i.e. Social Business, Social Enterprise,…). Individual consumers starting embraced social applications 7-8 years ago. As audiences grew, corporate Marketing Departments and Customer Service jumped in a few years ago. Now, corporate Sales Departments are realizing that they cannot manage the bottoms-up social activities of select salespeople. Instead, they are developing top-down social strategies so they can standardize and manage these activities.

Big Changes at LinkedIn: As the 800-lb gorilla of B2B Social Selling, LinkedIn experienced some significant milestones is 2012:

  • 1-year anniversary of IPO (think “cash to innovate”)
  • 185M members and counting
  • Launch of Sales Navigator, a dedicated version for salespeople.
  • Biggest redesign of the Profile format in company history

Taking Center Stage: Thought-leaders started using the term Social Selling about a year ago and a few conferences held break-out session on the topic.  Now dedicated Social Selling conferences and seminars are appearing on the 2013 calendar.  These events combine the proven principles of sales prospecting (rapport/trust/credibility) with new tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, and others. The fact that organizers can draw both attendees and exhibitors is evidence of the growing popularity of Social Selling.

So, as you plan your 2013 goals and strategies, consider how to take advantage of the growing power of Social Selling tools and techniques.

Want to learn the latest Social Selling techniques? Attend a free introductory webinar, “New Ways to Grow Sales with Social Selling,” this Wednesday, January 16, from noon- 1:00 PM ET, or jump right in and  join the Social Selling Boot Camp, a 30-day virtual training program beginning February 7. Save $200 with Coupon Code: 200BCA. See full program information here.