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.

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?

Book Review: The Micro-Script Rules

The Micro-Script RulesI met author Bill Schley at the eMarketing Association’s Power of eMarketing conference in October this year, where we were both presenting. When he found out that I’m a blogger and sometimes do book reviews on my site, he gladly offered me a copy of his book, The Micro-Script Rules, in exchange for a review. The one catch? Well, he signed my copy with “Remember! You must blog or no Santa!”

I had every intention of reading and reviewing the book in November, as I’d originally told Bill. So I must start my review with an apology to the author… It’s Christmas week, and I’m still hoping that Santa will come! So, please accept this review and my apologies; unexpected life events side-tracked me for a time, which caused a backlog on my writing calendar.

That aside, let me tell you the key point of this book.

 It’s not what people hear.

It’s what they repeat…

Having told you that, you may think that there’s no reason to read the book now. Even the author suggests, after the first page, that all you really need to know is that the right 5 words always beats 5,000. He acknowledges that stories are more important to tell than ever, but that you need to know how to tell them in one line or less. That’s pretty much the central topic of the book.

If you already know that and have mastered the art of storytelling in one line or less, there’s no need for you to read the rest of the book. But for those of us who aren’t master storytellers yet, Bill offers the remaining 150+ pages that serve two great purposes. First, they use descriptive text and examples to identify what a micro-script is, how it’s used, and why it’s important. Then, the book goes on to help you develop the micro-scripts you need for your own purposes.

The clarity of the instruction and easy writing style of the author makes it a simple read, but a valuable addition to anyone’s book shelf whether you’re in business, or wanting to attract attention for other reasons. (I can see this being a great resource for teachers!)

So, if you’re looking to improve your storytelling skills in 2012 or to create great micro-scripts, based on your dominant selling idea, that people will want to share, this is the book that will help you to do just that. It’s one that I am definitely happy to have added to my bookshelf.

Following the author’s guidance enabled me to generate a new title my forth-coming eBook that is highly memorable as well as shareable. So, instead of telling my readers to be on the look-out for “How to Launch Your New Book Online” (boring!), I can tell them that they need to pounce on “The Plan that Launched a Thousand Books” as soon as they see it! Which title would you prefer sharing?

5 Tips on How You Can “Warm Your Leads”

There are three types of leads we all deal with in our businesses. Hot leads are those folks who are ready to buy NOW. Warm leads are those who will be ready to buy soon, but aren’t quite there yet, often due to time or money constraints. And Cold leads are those individuals who are never going to buy from you, no matter what you do.

While it’s easy to “cherry pick” the Hot leads (and you should definitely do that), the majority of our business is in converting our Warm leads into Hot leads. So, how do you “warm your leads?”

Here are 5 simple ways to do just that:

  1. Offer prospects relevant, valuable information on a scheduled, recurring basis.
     
  2. Communicate to prospects efficiently, aside from the normal, time-consuming, one-on-one methods.
     
  3. Log all communications between your office and the prospect in an organized fashion.
     
  4. Arm yourself and your sales reps with an arsenal of specific information that can be given to prospects upon request.
     
  5. Track the progress of each lead through the sales pipeline, so you always know where every lead stands.

Some would say that before you start you should filter your list of Warm leads and remove anyone who doesn’t need your product or service or who can’t afford your product or service. While there’s merit to targeting your list, in most cases, you don’t know who your prospect knows and you don’t know what they have in their bank account. Therefore, give your prospect the opportunity to let you know their needs! You can only do this by being in touch with them, getting to know their needs and interests, and building a relationship with them.

To avoid the time-drain that warming leads can create, you must have efficient systems and processes in place that enable you to gauge the interest level of your leads, and make note of when that level shifts. The goal here is to raise the temperature from warm to hot!

Aleweb Social Marketing has solutions for each of these techniques. If you’re interested in converting more of your Warm leads into Hot leads, contact us and we’ll help you get started!