Promoting Your Blog: How Much Should You Set Aside in Your Budget?

There is no denying that a blog is a highly effective tool for successfully promoting yourself. While once used by everyday people to share their thoughts and opinions, a blog has now become one of the most powerful marketing tools an author or speaker can use.

Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee

Whether you have set up a blog as the foundation of your speaking or writing career or you are using a blog to promote your books, one thing is certain: You want to attract as much attention as possible. While that blog may be expertly designed, highly informative, and very engaging, if you aren’t effective promoting it, you won’t be driving as much traffic to it as you could.

What’s that? Promote a blog? But isn’t the purpose of a blog to promote your books and events? While yes, this is true, in order to effectively use your blog to get the word out about your career, you have to get the word out about your blog. [Read more…]

The BookBub Experience

Geraldine Evans Today’s guest post is by Geraldine Evans, a British writer of police procedurals that contain a lot of humour and family drama. She and I met in LinkedIn’s Book Marketing group when she shared her experience using BookBub, a site that alerts interested readers to limited-time free and discounted ebooks matching their interests.

I’ve used BookBub to find new reading material for a couple of years now, but had wondered how it works out from the author’s perspective. When Geraldine shared such a comprehensive review of her experience, I asked her if she’d be willing to do the same thing here for you.

I know there are a lot of numbers involved and that sometimes you’d prefer to avoid those, but they’re worth delving into. So, sit back and enjoy! I promise you, it will get those creative juices flowing.

Are you considering paying for an ad for your book with BookBub? What are you waiting for? Go for it! You’re likely to find it’s worth every penny. Yes, it’s expensive; it was the cost that held me back. Well, that, and the comments on kboards.com/Writers’ Café. According to many members on that forum, getting your book accepted by BookBub was about as likely as flying off on Richard Branson’s spaceship.

But my book was accepted on my very first application. No, I’m not a well-known name. No, I don’t have hundreds of reviews from a dedicated coterie of readers. And I’m definitely not sleeping with the management! And the book for which I wanted the ad is in the mystery/thriller genre, one of their most popular categories. So I had lots of competition.

But, what I think may have worked in my favour is that I was willing to be flexible on my choice of date for the ad. Perhaps, too, the fact that I write mainly in series was also a no-brainer for them. Maybe they assumed I’d be only too willing to pay for further ads for each of the other books in my 15-strong Rafferty & Llewellyn series. They wouldn’t be wrong about that as my experience with them was very positive. [Read more…]

3 Rules for Marketing Yourself Through Podcasts

If you’re an author or a speaker, marketing may not be a natural fit for your creative personality, but that doesn’t change one simple fact. Connecting with the masses is the key to building and maintaining an audience. Your creativity is why they want to hear what you have to say. Podcasting is an exciting and effective way to stand out and literally let your voice be heard.

Start first, as always with marketing, by knowing who it is that you want to reach. Then start researching the podcasts that your desired audience listens to.

3 Rules for Marketing Through Podcasts - Aleweb Social Marketing

Podcasting is a perfect way to market to the masses.

1. Aim High

Shoot to become a guest on the best podcasts you know. Pick the ones that you enjoy as well as those that enjoy success. If you settle for the shows that you’re sure you can get on, you’re settling for not just a smaller audience, but for reduced credibility. Just a single appearance on a large, credible podcast can boost sales and readership, and it is possible to get a great guest spot on a popular show.

Amy Harrop discusses marketing your book through podcasting, and one of her best conclusions is that it’s better to do one major spot than a whole bunch of less consequential shows. [Read more…]

Perseverance: A Must-Have for Authors to Be Successful

Becoming a published author is not an easy task. I’m sure you’re already aware of that… While writing may seem like the hard part, you have to think about how to design and format the book, find a publisher, secure endorsements, market the book, and promote it when the writing and editing is done.

You’ll probably even have a moment or two where you consider giving up.

When it comes to being a successful author, the key is perseverance. Tweet: When it comes to being a successful author, the key is perseverance. #success #writing http://ctt.ec/hY_lq+ #aleweb

Keep reading for tips on how you can dig in and persevere through the hardest parts of being an author.

No matter what step you’re working on in the writing process, perseverance is the key.

Forget About Your Comfort Zone

Bob Parsons, GoDaddy founder, has a list of 16 “rules for survival,” many of which can be applied to surviving and thriving as an author.

His first rule is to “get and stay out of your comfort zone.”

(You can read the rest of his rules here.)

Writing, publishing and marketing a book isn’t an easy process. If you’re unwilling to step out of your comfort zone, achieving your goals can be much more difficult than it needs to be.

The truth is, things rarely get done while you’re safe and warm in your comfort zone. [Read more…]

3 Reasons You Need a Marketing Budget and How to Get One Started

Today’s guest post is from Erin Steiner is a freelance writer from Portland, Oregon. Figuring out her finances took her a while, too.

Marketing and promoting others is easy. Of course you want to talk up the projects your friends are working on. You’re proud of them and you want them to succeed. Marketing yourself, however, is trickier. Marketing yourself feels icky. The idea of setting money aside just to market your book or your profile feels selfish.

Aleweb Social Marketing - 3 Reasons You Need a Marketing Budget - And How to Get One Started Pic 1

It’s the piece of the puzzle that’s easiest to put off…but it shouldn’t be.
Image Courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.Net

Still, you need to do it. Here’s why.

  1. What you are effectively doing is creating a “business of you.” Setting aside money for marketing and promotional purposes helps cement that in your head. It forces you to see what you’re doing as a real and serious enterprise and not just a hobby that you’d like to “go pro” with someday.
    This doesn’t stop with you. Separating out your marketing budget and business expenses from your personal finance helps others draw boundaries between the you that is their friend/parent/spouse/neighbor and the you that is a successful author/artist/entrepreneur.
  2. Setting up a marketing budget helps you make sure you always have enough on hand to pay for promotional needs. That way paying for things won’t feel like “borrowing from Peter to pay Paul.”
  3. Your taxes will be much easier. Remember: Money that is spent in the name of building and marketing your brand is often tax deductible. By separating your expenses, you can keep your professional taxes separate from your family’s personal taxes, which will save everybody at least a few migraines.

So how do you do it? How do you create this mythical marketing budget for you and your projects? [Read more…]

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.

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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…]

Creating an Aha Moment for Prospective Clients

When was the last time that you broke down what you do into small enough components so that your prospective clients understood? I stopped by a local jewelry store today, in order to have a necklace repaired.

As I was standing in line waiting to be served, I saw this display at Robertson’s Jewelers.

Robertsons Jewelers display - A creative display of services

 

I found it fascinating! I had never seen a watch broken down into such detail before, and I suddenly had a much deeper appreciation for what went into keeping a watch functioning.

It would’ve been easy to assume that a watch with a face about an inch in diameter was simple inside. However, this display showed the rich complexities of the inner workings of a pocketwatch or two.

When you tell people what it is that you do, is it broken down into enough detail that they can see the richness of what it is that you offer? [Read more…]

What’s Behind a Smile?

Leo Widrich, the cofounder of Buffer, recently wrote an article for Business Insider called “How to Smile Better, According to Science.” It’s a fascinating article, even for the layperson.In It, Leo discusses the science behind smiling.Tara Alemany, author, speaker and owner of Aleweb Social Marketing, with a real, authentic smileAn important point that he makes is that there are real smiles, called Duchenne smiles, and there are fake smiles. It’s easy for a viewer to tell the difference.

A fake smile only affects the lines around the eye socket. It does not evoke a genuine smile in return.

The Duchenne smile creates a reaction in the viewer that is hard to ignore. When someone is responding to a Duchenne smile, they mimic it and experience the same chemical rush that the smiler does.

This became a topic of conversation with a client of mine recently (before I ever read Leo’s article). I’m working on his website and he has a professional headshot that is nicely done. However, it’s not an effective photo. [Read more…]

Missing Your E-mail

Gmail logo in "Missing Your Email" on https://alewebsocial.comDid you hear about recent changes?

Gmail is rolling out its latest inbox improvements, and Hotmail and Yahoo have plans to follow suit real soon. But what does that mean to you?

Unfortunately, what it means for many marketers is that their e-mail campaigns will be filtered into a new folder called “Promotions,” never actually hitting the Primary inbox.

Depending on who you listen to, this is either the end of the world for marketers or it isn’t.

I tend to be a bit more pragmatic about the whole thing.

People who actually wanted to read your marketing messages in the first place will probably take the time to do a few simple steps to reroute your messages where they want them.

Those who couldn’t care less what you had to share won’t go looking for your messages, but they probably weren’t really enthusiastic about what you had to offer in the first place.

So, this is simply a good opportunity to clean up your list and make it more targeted, at the same time as letting individuals who have signed up for one-too-many free offers start pruning their inboxes. A win-win, really!

For those who haven’t been upgraded to the new inbox format yet, you may want to send a “farewell” message letting them know where your notes are going, and how they can mark your messages to go directly to the inbox instead.

Groupon demonstrated this nicely in a mass mailing they send out in early August.

Heads Up: Fix Yo Groupon

To avoid missing the messages you want to see, drag one of the messages from the Promotions tab to the Primary tab, and then save the changes when prompted. Alternatively, if you want to avoid the whole silly thing, you can simply delete the Promotions folder and nothing will be routed there.

And if you need further help getting your e-mail campaigns seen and responded to, contact us!

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.