Determining Your Ideal Audience: Who Can Learn the Most from What You Have to Say?

Today’s guest post is from Amy Kirkegaard is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics, including social media, online reputation management, mobile payments and prominent individuals such as Timothy Broas.

When you have a new product or a service to sell, you need to promote it in order to find potential customers. If buyers don’t know about it, they can’t buy it.

As an author or a speaker, you have an enormous audience in front of you. How you approach this group is important. One size does not fit all. You cannot successfully reach everyone at once.

Photo Source: elevator_prozak

Photo Source: elevator_prozak

Before writing or speaking to an audience, it’s critical that you know as much about them as you can. All audiences are not the same. This means you need to tailor your communication to fit your audience. It’ll require a little extra work, but the rewards will be worth it in the end. The success of your brand depends on it.

Write a short description of the audience you are trying to reach. Examples are young couples looking to save money for retirement, or women across the world looking to learn more about self-defense, or retired schoolteachers looking for inexpensive vacation destinations.

Use the questions below to help you determine your audience. [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.

When Social Networking Does Good

I’ve been providing social marketing services for three years now. Yet, one of the things I’ve seen a significant increase in this year has been the ability of social communities to rally together for a good cause. Whether it’s spreading news or raising funds, there is no parallel to how rapid a message can spread when shared over social networks.

In my local area, since August, lost dogs have been found, runaway children have been restored to their families, news of a long-time family friend’s passing quickly spread, a kidnapped child was returned safely to his guardians, and an online community formed to support two families whose lives were devastated by a home gas explosion.

When the tragic shootings took place in Sandy Hook (a neighboring community to where I live) on Dec. 14th, 2012, news spread like wildfire over the social networks. As always, I found Twitter to be the best source of news. Facebook couldn’t keep up with or spread the information quickly enough because of its closed nature. But with a few appropriately placed hashtags, I could find out everything I wanted to know as it was unfolding; actually, more than I wanted to know since my own children’s schools were also on lock-down until the situation was under control.
eMarketing Association logo
What I didn’t know until today was that the very next day, a colleague of mine suffered a tragedy in his own family. Robert Fleming is CEO of the eMarketing Association, an organization whose conferences I have spoken at over the past couple of years. It’s related LinkedIn group is the 4th largest group on that network, out of over 1.5 million groups!

On Dec. 15th, his 12-year-old daughter suffered an illness and was paralyzed from the neck down. Within 5 hours’ time, she went from being perfectly healthy to being completely paralyzed, unable to eat, speak or breathe on her own. She still remains in the ICU at this time. But is in good spirits. A website to chart her progress will be up and running in another day or two at rhanasjourney.com.

While the information I have is limited and the family deserves its right to privacy as it deals with these difficult circumstances, Robert is hoping to see good come out of this circumstance regardless. On LinkedIn today, he shared an announcement with the eMarketing Association Network group.

100% of all profits from conference registrations, certifications, sponsorships, memberships and ecourses will be contributed to a fund in [his daughter’s] name, for her care, now through the end of January.

With this offer, you’ll be able to hone your eMarketing skills as you prepare for 2013, and know that you are helping a little girl heal at the same time. So, why not take a moment and make an investment in both her and yourself. See what the eMarketing Association has to offer today. And, as Robert finished his announcement, “Our best wishes to you for a fantastic new year.”

To Tweet, Or Not To Tweet

Thomas Comer | B2B CFO http://www.b2bcfo.com/partner/tcomer/Thomas R. Comer, MBA, JD, a partner in B2B CFO. Tom attended a talk I gave at a NetworkPlus event in Westport, CT, this spring, which just happened to be of the same name. It’s one of my more popular Twitter talks, “To Tweet or Not to Tweet: Whether Twitter is a Useful Business Tool or a Devious Distraction.”

Without knowing what the topic was that day, Tom had brought along this poem he’d written. With his permission, I share it with you. (Apologies from both of us to The Bard.) 🙂

To tweet, or not to tweet, that is the question:
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of cyber-obscurity,
Or to take arms against a sea of competitors,
And by opposing end them? To log on, to search,
No more; and via Google to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural junk mails
That flesh is heir to: ’tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To log on, to search;
To search, per chance a “hit” — aye, there’s the rub:
For in that SEO of hope what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this limited liability company,
Must give us pause — there’s the respect
That makes the value proposition so long.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of clients,
The promised referral, the proud man’s brochure,
The pangs of unreturned phone calls, the Internet’s delay,
The insolence of networking, and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his laptop make
With a Facebook page? What would consultants bear,
To blog and sweat under a weary life,
But for the dread of something called LinkedIn,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will,
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus the hyperlink doth make cowards of us all.

What are your views? IsTwitter a useful business tool or a devious distraction? If you don’t know and want to find out, feel free to give us a call or book our talk for your organization.

The Oft-Forgotten Tool in our Marketing Toolkit: SlideShare

Are you an author? A speaker? A trainer? A marketer? All of the above? You know there’s a very powerful tool that’s often overlooked that we could be taking out and using more often; or at least I know I could. So, today’s post is going to cover some interesting examples of how you can use SlideShare to increase your visibility.

  1. Start first with the increased exposure that posting presentations to the SlideShare site itself gives to you. Developing a strong presence on the site, with a complete profile, suitable keyword tags for each presentation, etc. will allow others to find, appreciate and share your material and samples that much more easily. It also provides a great place to send event planners, training coordinators, etc. who want to see a bit more of what your work looks like. According to the SlideShare website:

    SlideShare is the world’s largest community for sharing presentations. With 60 million monthly visitors and 130 million pageviews, it is amongst the most visited 200 websites in the world. Besides presentations, SlideShare also supports documents, PDFs, videos and webinars.

  2. Jazz up your LinkedIn profile by incorporating the SlideShare app into it. To do so, in LinkedIn, select the More menu, followed by Get More Applications…, and then select the SlideShare Presentations app to add to your profile. Configure the app to connect to your SlideShare account, and then visitors to your profile will be able to see the most recent presentation you shared. If they click on the app logo, it will take them to an expanded version of the SlideShare app where they can explore other presentations as well.
  3. Embed a presentation on your website. If you have a presentation or two that you want to highlight for your website visitors, SlideShare provides you with the necessary embed code to be able to do that. Here’s one that I just uploaded from a talk I gave last March.
  4. Pin presentations from SlideShare to Pinterest boards. I recently got into a debate with someone about Pinterest and its ideal uses. They saw it as a place where women share recipes and post inspirational quotations. The thing is, Pinterest is such a powerful site and has an incredible level of engagement. So, why wouldn’t you incorporate it into your business strategies, marketing tactics or even your job search? Here’s a great SlideShare presentation on creating Pinterest resumes. The same concept can apply for various speaking topics, book subjects, training courses, etc. Be imaginative!
  5. Periodically share your presentations in your status updates on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Create a few pre-crafted posts that you can add to your editorial calendar and keep continuing traffic coming to the presentations you want to have the most visibility. Schedule these posts in your post planner (I use Hootsuite), so that they run on auto-pilot.
  6. Remember to craft your presentations well! A well-crafted presentation will catch people’s attention, prompting them to share it with their networks as well. Consider adding video to your presentation or an audio track, wherever appropriate, to bring the presentation to life.
  7. Generate leads using SlideShare. If you upgrade your free account to the PRO version, you can use LeadShare to enable viewers to contact you directly, right from your presentations! With a LeadShare campaign running, a lead capture box is displayed after the first 10 slides, at the end of the deck, or by a permanent display button on the player. To learn more about Leadshare, click here.

What are some of your favorite ways to use SlideShare?

Happiness, Joy and Big Fat Klout Scores Indeed!

joyful rodent Pictures, Images and Photos

Photo courtesy of Photobucket user l5gcw0b

A friend of my mine shared a link to an article on Facebook this morning. The title caught my attention. “Happiness, joy and big fat Klout scores.” Hmm…  I had to click on the link and see what that was about. (If you’re still with me at this point, can you wait until you’ve finished reading this post before abandoning it to go read that one? Or at least come back here when you’re done? Thanks!  :-))

The author, Mark Schaefer, makes a very good point, and it’s well worth reading in his own words, even though the post is almost a year old now. The message is still timely.

Are you using social media to create happiness, joy or a big fat Klout score? These are three major distinctions, and your purpose has a lasting affect on how useful your marketing will be.

Let’s look first at the Klout score, because I know so many people like to see how they can manipulate that score and others like them (Kred, PeerIndex, etc.). Your Klout score is based on an algorithm that looks at how influential your social media presence is. It’s not a bad thing to be aware of to see if your strategy is accomplishing what you’d hoped it would. But I see it as a yardstick to measure effectiveness, not as a goal to be achieved. No one is ever going to praise you at your funeral for that awesome Klout score you had.

The next one we’ll tackle is happiness. Everyone would agree, happiness is a good thing to share within your social networks. Just to be clear though, as Mark puts it:

… There is a difference between happiness and joy.  You can be happy about a hamburger.  You can be happy about a song. Happiness is temporary.  Joy is peace.

Within your social marketing strategy, happiness would be offering that free sample of your book, or a discount code for your product or services. It’s a temporary thing that people are happy to share with their friends and connections, but it has no lasting effect.

If the purpose of your social marketing is to create “happy customers,” you’ll be engaged in a constant quest to find that next thing that will spark them to action and brighten their day. Offering them the same thing repeatedly will eventually lose its charm and appeal.

However, when you understand the reason for the journey you, personally, are on, and the difference you want to make in the world around you, you understand your why. It becomes easier to make business decisions because you have something to navigate by.

I recently had the opportunity to speak on a topic that I have the knowledge and skill to speak on, but it’s not part of what I’m trying to accomplish with my life and my business right now. When I was still unclear about my why, I would have taken the speaking opportunity even though it was a bit in left-field. Yet, now I could see that it wasn’t relevant to what I’m working to accomplish. I was able to offer up another topic that was in alignment with my purposes, and that was suitable for the audience. It worked out incredibly well. However, even if the speaking engagement had fallen through, it would have been alright because I wasn’t chasing down a rabbit trail that distracted me from my purpose.

When you know your why, you feel joy in your work and it’s reflected in your social media activities. Joy is lasting. It’s contagious even! When you are joy-filled, others want to be around you, and they want to learn why you are the way you are.

It’s often said, “People don’t remember what you say, but how you made them feel.” When you engage in your social marketing activities with joy, people that want what you have naturally start appearing. The message spreads, not because of what you’ve said, but because of how you’ve made them feel. No discount coupon or Klout score is ever going to accomplish that for you.

 

So, what’s your WHY? What energizes you about what you do, and makes you ready to get up each day to tackle it again? Share it below. We’d love to hear about it.

4 Steps to Quickly Promote Your Ideas

Carmine Gallo of Gallo Communications

Carmine Gallo | Photo credit: Gallo Communications

Communications Coach Carmine Gallo shares tips on how to craft your business story so that it can be shared in 60 seconds or less in this Entrepreneur.com blog post from January 2011. He says that there are 4 questions that need to be answered in one sentence each. They are:

1. What do you do?

2. What problem do you solve?

3. How are you different?

4. Why should I care?

The same 4 points are critical when looking for endorsements for your latest book, when you’re trying to secure speaking opportunities at new venues, or when you’re looking for media opportunities.

The people you’re engaging with are oftenbeing bombarded with information every day. It comes at them through the phone, the TV, the radio, the internet, their inbox, their mailbox, their iPod, their iPad and more!

To deal with the information overload, we’ve become dependent on receiving byte-sized pieces of information, or snippets, that enable us to quickly process whether the conversation is something we want to pursue further.

In my earlier review of Bill Schley’s book “The Micro-Script Rules,” we talked about the importance of creating a compelling story; something that people want to repeat.

The same concept applies here. When you’re working on presenting your topic to a publisher, celebrity endorser, journalist, event organizer, etc., keep your information clear and concise, but make sure that the idea sticks in their mind.

Consider rephrasing Gallo’s questions for your topic.

1. What’s your topic?

2. Why is it relevant?

3.How is it different?

4.Why should my audience care?

Answer each of these questions in one sentence or less when you present your topic for consideration. To these, I would add one final question, and that is:

5. Why am I the one who should present it?

Keep your responses short and to the point, but make them memorable. Jane Perdue of the Braithwaite Innovation Group recently told me in conversation, “Be brief. Be bold. And be gone.”

The people whose attention you’re trying to catch are being sought out by hundreds, if not thousands, of others; all of whom are hoping to catch their attention. To promote your ideas, you have to be the best at communicating them quickly, easily and in an engaging manner.

Remember this quotation from Albert Einstein. “If you can’t explain it to a 6-year-old, you don’t understand it yourself.” The same applies in presenting your ideas and topics. If you can’t explain them succinctly, you don’t understand them yourself. Give enough information to spark curiosity without going into great detail about everything and, if your contact is interested, they’ll request more information from you.

 

Thanks to @carminegallo for inspiring this blog post. If anyone wants to practice being bold and brief, share your ideas below! We’d love to hear them.