Want to Boost Traffic to Your Content?

If you blog, you need this tool!

MissingLettr is a cross between a virtual assistant and an automated drip campaign, but it’s for bloggers.

And one thing is for certain. If you use it consistently, it’s going to boost traffic to all of your content.

boost traffic using missinglettr

Missinglettr claims to create “strategic, automatic social media campaigns that drive traffic for an entire year. Leaving you to focus on writing your next blog post.”

And that’s exactly what it does (almost!).

I will say that the one drawback I currently see is that it’s not integrated with Facebook yet. That said, Facebook integration is in the works, so I don’t anticipate this being a problem for much longer.

Update: 3 hours after I published this post, Missinglettr announced that Facebook integration should be released by Monday next week (5/15/2017). How’s that for fast?!

As for the rest of the system, though, think about the evergreen content you create.

When you publish a new post, your social media manager (whether that’s you or someone else) has to figure out which content from the post is innately “shareable,” then make up images, then figure out which hashtags to apply to create greater visibility, then schedule out the dates for each post…

It can really bog down the works!

So, many bloggers never get around to sharing a link to their latest content more than 2 or 3 times before moving on to the next post.

All that content and so few readers…

Missinglettr solves that problem for you because every piece of content you write will have a drip campaign set up specifically to create engagement with that content and to boost traffic to your website.

After you create your account, you connect it to your social profiles. Currently, Missinglettr supports Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Facebook is due soon, and Pinterest is also on the “Road Map” of future improvements.

The pricing plan you choose determines how many social accounts you can connect with. If you’re just getting started, there is a personal plan that allows you to connect to 4 social media profiles and 2 websites, while managing 4 campaigns per week per site, all for just $15/month.

If you have a larger team, more websites or want to share even more content, you can scale up from there. Ultimately, I’m sure you’ll find a pricing plan that’s right for you.

Once you’ve connected Missinglettr to your social profiles and given it with your blog feed, it continuously monitors your site for new content.

Whenever you publish a new post, Missinglettr scans it and proposes 9 social media posts that can be dripped out over the course of the next year to your various accounts. The proposed posts are complete with images, text and hashtags that are all relevant to the content of your blog post.

You can then edit and approve the posts all in just a few minutes.

Take a look at how easy it is to use!

Missinglettr is more than just a scheduler. It will help you to boost traffic to your site, which will, in turn, translate into more book sales, email sign-ups and client revenue if you play your cards right.

A quick review of LucidPress, FlipSnack and Publitas

Last week, I mentioned a short assessment I did for a friend that looked at LucidPress, FlipSnack and Publitas. (You can see the start of this story in “Putting an End to Overwhelm.”)

I promised those who were interested in the actual assessment that I’d share it this week.

Just to give a little context, a friend had posted on Facebook asking for someone to recommend a magazine designer.

I know a fantastic graphic designer who has the skills necessary to design a magazine, but depending on my friend’s requirements, he might or might not be a good fit.

Evaluating LucidPress, FlipSnack and PublitasSo… I asked some leading questions, trying to determine whether to recommend my designer, figuring at least if I couldn’t recommend someone, others reading the post thread would have more information to jog their thinking with.

These are just a few of the questions I asked:

  • 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?

The important thing to note here is that the tools I reviewed aren’t just for magazines. They can be used to create any kind of online book. For example, a brochure or catalogue.

Or, if you have a PDF that you want to make available to read online on your website, it provides an attractive reader for it instead of just simply opening the PDF itself. This could potentially allow you to grow your mailing list by granting access to the content, without actually giving them a PDF that could be freely shared with others.

One of the tools in particular also enables you to integrate a shopping experience into the PDF itself, meaning that someon could click on an item they’re interested in, get more product information and see the price, then add it to a shopping cart and purchase it.

As a publisher, I can see many possible uses for that, including a sleek edition of my catalogue that would be embeddable on my Facebook page and website as well as shareable in social media. Nice!

A quick review

Anyway, what follows is my unedited review of the platforms she was curious about, and my reasons for making the final recommendation I did.

LucidPress

Lucidpress is going to have a little less flexibility in terms of design, since it has you create your publication using its templates. You work online and then drag-and-drop content in from social media, DropBox, Google Drive and elsewhere. It makes it easy to use, but limited in its capabilites if you want to “get fancy.”

From there, you can export what you create into a PDF for printing else where. You can also save it as a JPG or PNG (not too certain of the value of that for something that’s multiple pages!), share it on social media and embed it on your site.

It does allow real-time collaborations, so you could have more than one person on your team working on it at a time. But I don’t know how relevant that is to you.

It also offers a revision history of the magazine (possibly not of interest to you) and analytics (which should always be of interest). 

Since it encourages “saving on printing costs” by sharing your publication, I am curious as to how well it handles PDF creation, but that’s one of those things I’d have to test out to know for certain.

I will say that as soon as people start telling me there are templates, it says that they’re targeting a DIY audience.

That’s not a bad thing, but the problem with templates is that it limits your ability to be creative.

For that reason, LucidPress would not be my top choice. (Plus, looking at the magazine templates, I didn’t see anything inspired or inspiring…)

FlipSnack and Publitas

So, next to look at FlipSnack and a competitor that I found this morning, Publitas. Both take a PDF you’ve designed and convert it to an online publication for you. You can then embed that publication on your website and Facebook page. Social sharing is enabled and analytics are available (although depending on your pricing plan, it my only be available for the past few months).

However, I’m leaning more toward Publitas than FlipSnack.

It emphasizes making its product light, meaning that it loads fast and that their focus is on maximizing your page’s display, without adding a heavy frame or navigation to it. If you take a look at their examples, you’ll see what I mean. (I just like the look and feel of the Publitas version more).

Publitas also allows you to include things in your publication that FlipSnack doesn’t seem to offer, like integrating video content into it and adding ecommerce. (You can click on an item for more info and get a pop-up with the product description and price.)

Since this publication is intended to be part of your business model, understanding how you’re going to monetize it is important, and Publitas makes that the easiest to do. You can sell tickets to your next event or course, include affiliate or JV partner resources, etc. directly within the publication.

So, that would be my recommendation. I like its look and feel, ease of use, flexibility, and capabilities.

However, since both FlipSnack and Publitas take a PDF as its source, you could always test them out from the same source and see which one appeals to you more from that standpoint.

I know there’s a lot here, but hopefully, it helps you to make your decision. For what it’s worth, it’s also highly rated on Alternative.to, when you look for alternatives to Issuu. 

So let’s dream a little

With all of the features that are available using tools like these, how might you integrate something like this into your business? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

How many times have you had an idea that doesn’t move forward because you’re caught in the bottleneck of a decision? Feel free to pick my brain and I can help you in the exact same way.

YouTube Famous, Making It Big on the Internet

I recently came across a 2015 book release called YouTube Famous: Making It Big on the Internet by Rosie Matheson.

YouTube Famous by Rosie MathesonIts cover caught my eye, as all good covers should do, reminding me of the old Brady Bunch trailer with colorful boxes, each containing a smiling face that urged you to smile right back at them.

Making it big on the internet?

Isn’t that what so many of us hope to do? I don’t know about you, but I don’t particularly care if it’s on the internet or in real life. Making it big speaks to me of financial freedom, the easy life, and having all the time in the world to spend with my friends and family enjoying the things I love.

That’s luxury to me!

So I explored the book further. It’s description said:

YouTube has revolutionized the viewing habits of millions of people around the world and looks likely to continue doing so. YouTube Famous presents case studies of 20 of the world’s most successful YouTubers providing original content to inspire those who might want to set up a channel of their own – it’s also a book which will be enjoyed by fans. Complete with tips to produce your own programs, it shows how YouTubers built up their channels from scratch and developed content to please their growing fanbase. With a growing online world and more and more people tuning in to the internet, particularly young people, this is the book you need to read for the secrets of success.

The highlighting is my own, and acknowledges what stood out to me in deciding whether to read the book or not.

As I interpreted it, the author would use case studies of successful YouTubers in order to show what sets them apart from other YouTubers who are struggling to figure out how to make their channel work for them. The intent being, to show the reader what the necessary ingredients and steps are to achieving success themselves.

Overpromised and underdelivered

Unfortunately, YouTube Famous overpromised and underdelivered. It read more like a celebrity tabloid than a serious study of successful people. I now know more about who on YouTube is straight and who is gay, who’s dating each other and who’s not, than I anticipated when I first picked up the book.

I’m not too certain how the author came to choose these particular individuals as the best case studies. The author did say that she ruled out anyone who started off rich or has had the backing of any organization with corporate muscle. Yet, a few of the people profiled were sponsored by Skype and other corporations, so I’m not too clear how she’s defining “backing” here.

Regardless, she acknowledges that the people she selected to profile all fit a common mold. They are ordinary people who have built up their channels on the strength of their personalities, their wit and the quality and originality of their work.

As I read through the book it became apparent that most are from the UK, and they all got their start essentially either vlogging about make-up or being comic goofballs and pulling pranks.

The oldest member of the YouTube crew (did I forget to mention, they’re all friends?) was born in 1983 and started their channel no later than 2011, seeming to imply that if you’re older than your mid-30s and didn’t jump on the YouTube wagon long before now, you’ve missed the boat!

Also, it seems that every single one of them has a viewing audience made up of teenage girls. So if you’d hoped for information that might help you reach any other demographic, you’re on your own.

A few more flaws

As far as the tips to grow your own channel that the author promised? It seemed like an abandoned effort. The first few profiles end with a grey box in which you’ll find some tips. But after the first few, there were no more to tips called out for you. They needed to be inferred from the profiles themselves.

Which brings me to another major flaw in this book. With all of the frequent references to the YouTubers, their channels, and specific videos on those channels, the eBook didn’t contain links to any of them. Had it done so, there were a few video descriptions that sparked my curiosity enough to watch them, but not enough to go look for them.

The best of the tips

All that said, here are the best tips that I culled out for myself and wholeheartedly agree with (although they weren’t new to me).

  1. Be yourself and treat your viewers like they’re your friends, not prospects or strangers.
  2. Invite and respond to comment, and let your subscribers be part of the channel’s growth.
  3. And most of all, find ways to collaborate. Every member of the YouTube crew saw significant growth in their number of subscribers when they were introduced to someone else’s audience.

What I didn’t find in the book were the production tips mentioned in the description, as well as information I’d anticipated like the mechanics of growing a channel (looking at viewer consumption data to determine what content to create, how to broadcast videos to get the greatest visibility, etc.).

Instead, most of the YouTubers profiled seem to take a “seat of the pants” approach, either recording whatever it is they feel like or taking viewers up on dares.

While I had personally never heard of any of the 20 YouTubers profiled, their subscriber and viewing numbers are impressive! And they do speak to the fact that YouTube is a different medium than TV. It serves a different purpose and needs to be handled as its own broadcast medium, even as its own art form.

Deliver on what you promise

As for the book itself? I think the publisher got the blurb wrong, and it put the author in an awkward position. The book promised to the reader is not what was delivered, and it appears an editor tried to shoe-horn what the author wrote into what the publisher wanted to publish, with unsatisfactory results all the way around.

Had the book subtitle and blurb positioned it as collection of celebrity profiles of young and famous YouTubers, that would have been one thing (and my review rating would have been different, as it is I only gave it 2-stars on Amazon).

Trying to pass it off as a business book offering case studies on how to create a successful channel was a mistake. To do that would have required a more in-depth look at what made each channel successful, so that the reader could replicate it on their own, and a more varied sampling of case studies.

If you’re over 35 and hoping to reach an audience other than teen girls with your brand, there’s not a lot to go on in YouTube Famous.

Nobody Cares About Your Book! Media Training Insights from TJ Walker

TJ Walker is the host of the #1 rated YouTube Channel devoted to Daily Public Speaking and Media Training Improvement, and a prolific fellow instructor on Udemy.icon

Media Training icon

Media Training for Authors: Promote Your Book in the News

I recently came across a course of his that’s geared specifically to helping authors find and prepare for media appearances. It’s called “Media Training for Authors: Promote Your Book in the News.”icon

Of course, from the author’s perspective, media appearances are about selling more books. Right?

TJ is quick to affirm that if you approach the media from that standpoint, you’re going to get nowhere fast.

Nobody cares about your book!

At least, not anyone beyond you or your family and friends.

So, how do you go about securing media appearances when your ultimate goal is to sell more books?

TJ advises in this course that you don’t make it about the book. Make it about the knowledge and expertise that you have to offer to the media outlet and their audience.

I could say a lot of the standard boilerplate stuff about what makes for a good course here. Insert it all. It applies! The production quality is good. The presenter knows his material. He has all the bases covered in terms of what you’d need to know to successfully pull off your first media appearance. It’s all right there.

What makes this course so good?

What I especially liked about TJ’s content was that he designed the course to be more than just a series of lectures with associated quizzes. Instead, he invites, nay, urges, you to stop the videos and practice what he’s just taught.

The only way to improve your on-screen experiences is to practice being on-screen. So, he gives you a variety of exercises to do through which you grow and learn how to become more appealing to media producers. He’ll even provide feedback on your video if you post it in the discussion area.

TJ also teaches you about finding a hook that captures the attention of producers and appeals to their sense of curiosity. These creative news hooks make it easier for you to get what you ultimately want, which is the exposure that a particular media outlet can give you and your book.

Since publishing this post, TJ has offered my readers
an exclusive discount on his course!
Normally priced at $297, you can buy it for just $9!

Buy Now button - http://alewebsocial.com

You’re not always going to be able to work the book into your interview. There will be times when the most you can hope for is the “soft sell” that goes along with having your book mentioned in your bio for the show. But that’s okay. It’s another piece of content that adds to the publicity of who you are and what you’re about.

One of the key take-aways of the media training course was that producers aren’t going to care so much about your authorship as they do about your expertise.

Now, for non-fiction writers, hopefully you’ve written a book that taps into your area of expertise and your media appearances can easily be pointed back to your book.

When it comes to fiction authors, your expertise may be less closely related to the subject of your book. Perhaps it’s about a specific time-period (the one in which your book is set) or about a given marketing strategy.

Regardless, the media is going to be more interested in your expertise, so figure out what that is and how to clearly communicate it to the producers you reach out to.

The more you make your expertise available to the producers and valuable to them, the more likely they are to mention your book. But it has to be about them and their needs first.

This is just one of the many valuable things TJ has to share in this course. He’s been training people to become better speakers and make the media impact they desire since 1984. So he’s not just some fly-by-night “expert” who decided to post a course on Udemy to see what happens.

He backs his course with his own personal guarantee.

If you take the course, consume all the media training content, and do the exercises that he sets out for you to do, and you still haven’t seen the results you’re after, he will give you one full day of his personal coaching for free. That’s essentially a $10,000 guarantee (the cost of a full day of one-on-one coaching with him).

Of course, you have to put in the work. You have to watch the course, do the exercises, follow through on what he tells you to do. But if, after all of that, you’re still not “getting it,” he’ll help you figure it out.

How’s that for a guarantee?

And, if you have questions at any time during the course, just post your question and he will create a video response for you. The sad thing, in my opinion, is how few people are actually taking advantage of his offer thus far! There are currently 1854 people enrolled in the course, but only 2 or 3 people have actually posted a question asking for feedback.

So, what does the course cover?

TJ teaches you how to:

  • look your best on TV
  • prepare your messaging
  • answer questions
  • speak in sound bites
  • eliminate nerves
  • determine if your interview was effective
  • conduct satellite interviews
  • avoid the top three media mistakes
  • how to avoid saying “um” and “uh”

… and more!icon

Media Training for Authors” consists of over 100 lectures (13.5 hours of content!), as well as bonus interviews with publishing legend Dan Poynter, and access to 5 of TJ’s books on public speaking and media training. And if you buy this course using my special coupon code “taraisgreat,” it’s only $9!

Or you can become the media yourself…

He even gets into how to “become the media” if you’re interested in taking that approach to creating publicity. His position is, the more media exposure you get, the easier it is to sell books.

I asked my friend and NYT best-selling author, Jeffrey Hayzlett, whether he agreed that creating your own media works effectively, since he hosts the C-Suite TV Show “Mind Your Own Business,” and his response was:

“If you want to sell books, the best thing to do is have an engaged community. Now if that is your own show—with lots of viewersthen yes. A mailing list of fans and friends, a social media network where you share and have folks interacting. Then all other activations are a big plus—getting on TV, RADIO, REVIEWS, podcasts, book signings—ALL of it.  BUT its only good if you activate it to a network or engaged community.”

Could it get any easier?

TJ’s course isn’t going to teach you how to create that engaged community, but it is going to show you how to come off looking and sounding your best, and that’s a great place to start. I highly recommend that you buy your copy now!

And, hey… While you’re at it, you may find my own LinkedIn Masteryicon courses effective in helping you build that engaged community. Just enter the coupon code “MediaTraining” in any of my courses to receive a discounted price.

Wondering What Theme or Plugin that Site Uses?

Have you ever looked at a website and thought to yourself, Gee, I wonder what plugin they’re using for that? or Wow! I really like that theme. I wonder which one it is?

It doesn’t matter whether you have one website you maintain or scores of them, we all look for inspiration from other websites we like.

The Old Way of Doing Things

Does this story sound familiar to you?

I found a website that did something I liked, but I had no idea what theme or plugin they were using to do it.

So, I right-clicked and selected “View Source,” then scrolled through the source code, hoping I might recognize the part that provides some quasi-identifying information.

Once I found it, I’d Google it, and then try to figure out which of the search results was the one I wanted.

If I was really lucky, after a few minutes, I’d find the right one and I’d be happy.

But if there was more than one thing on the site I liked, I had to go back and repeat this process for each element I wanted to identify. [Read more…]

Researching Killer Topics Using KindleSpy

KindleSpyEarlier this week, I came across to the new tool that quickly has become my favorite new toy. It’s called KindleSpy.

If you haven’t heard of it yet, KindleSpy allows you to research book ideas and competing titles on Amazon.

Consider this, perhaps you’ve got a few different ideas for the next book you want to write. But where should you spend your time and effort? KindleSpy can help you answer that question quickly and easily.

This tool comes as a Google Chrome extension. When you use it to access Amazon, you can research any category or author page to learn vital information about the books that are selling there.

Not only that, KindleSpy can gather information about the best-selling titles in a category and show you the top five words used in those best-selling titles. With a little wordplay, you can use those five words to create a potentially best-selling title of your own.

With the information the KindleSpy shows you, you can research your various book ideas and determine which ones are most likely to earn you money. [Read more…]

The Importance of Regularly Backing Up Your Work

For writers and speakers, if you’re using any kind of electronic device for your writing, data backup is as important as writing in the first place. Computers crash. House fires occur. Hard drives implode. Hackers destroy and steal.

Data loss is a hard reality to accept when it happens to people whose words aren’t their livelihood. For authors and speakers, however, realizing that your work is lost to the ages can be unbearable.

Luckily, the days of disks, hard drives and blank CDs are over. Cloud storage presents an easy, and often free, alternative. Even better, it puts the responsibilities of storage and security on a third party and gives authors and writers the mobility they need to succeed.

The Importance of Regularly Backing Up Your Work - Aleweb Social Marketing

Cloud storage offers mobility and security for writers and speakers.

Why Cloud Storage?

When you store your work locally, you own the responsibility of keeping it safe and secure. Also, if you want to bring your work with you, you have to physically bring your work with you – or email it to yourself.

By hosting your data remotely, a professional service dedicated only to data storage takes over. They host your work on servers or databanks that are temperature controlled, protected both digitally and physically and available to you any time from anywhere. Cloud storage allows you to access your work from all your devices, or any computers, with nothing more than a password. [Read more…]

7 Tips for Successfully Finding Volunteer Book Reviewers

It’s the blessing and the curse of living in an increasingly interconnected world. Finding out what other people think of things is incredibly easy. As a shopper, this is helpful. However, as an independent author, getting people to read and write book reviews is now mandatory if you want to succeed, and finding people to do that honestly can be a huge and time-consuming challenge.

Take this conversation that I started on LinkedIn, for example. I was preparing for the release of my latest book, “The Best is Yet to Come,” and decided to find out what recommendations other authors had for finding reviewers. For those who are budget-poor and time-rich, they provided some great ideas.

[Read more…]

How I Got More Book Reviews Using Story Cartel

StoryCartel logoI’m often asked by my clients how to go about getting book reviews for their latest title. I have a few of my own ideas, but thought I’d open up the question to members of the Book Marketing group on LinkedIn. It was there that I learned about a site I’d never heard of before called Story Cartel. I thought you might like to hear about it too.

If you are willing to offer your book in digital form on Story Cartel for 30 days, and can offer $30 worth of Amazon gift cards for a contest, volunteers will download your book (for free), read it, post an honest book review on Amazon (and wherever else you request), notify Story Cartel of their review, and then be entered into a drawing for one of the gift cards. There are three winners (that’s why 3 are needed).

The idea intrigued me, but I wanted to make sure it was worthwhile before recommending it to my readers. [Read more…]

Book Review: The Millionaire Map by Jim Stovall

The Millionaire Map by Jim Stovall, cover imageAs I was posting my own book for review on StoryCartel this weekend, I saw that Jim Stovall’s latest book, The Millionaire Map, was available for review as well. Knowing Mr. Stovall’s work from his great movie, The Ultimate Gift, and another of his books, The Lamp, I eagerly grabbed a copy, excited to read it.

Little did I realize at the time that it was exactly what I needed to read right now.

Less than 24 hours later, with 6 pages of notes by my side, I’d read all 160 pages of the book.

I found myself frequently posting quotations from it to my Facebook friends, and sending personal notes to specific friends whom I knew would benefit from reading his thoughts as well.

Mr. Stovall was hitting on the same struggles and sticking points that my friends and I have been sharing of late, and it was great to have the wisdom and insight of someone who has been where we are, leading us to where we want to go.

[Read more…]