By Penny Sansevieri
I've taught Internet marketing and publicity classes, I've found that
marketing oneself online is still very confusing to a lot of people.
Let's face it; our company has a department dedicated to this. Why?
Because stuff changes all the time on the Internet; if we didn't have a
dedicated department researching this and reading all the "geek stuff,"
we'd never be able to keep up. So I want to give you the bottom line
basics because, at the end of the day, we all need to start somewhere
and the best place to start is online.
Blogging: If you feel like you can't do anything online or you don't have the time for extensive promotion, the quickest and simplest thing you can do is have a blog. A blog is a great way to keep your site fresh (search engines love sites that are updated often) and a blog is great way to reach your readers. If you don't have a blog or haven't blogged in a while, take heart: start somewhere and plan to blog a minimum of twice weekly. You'll need at least two posts a week to keep it current. The biggest problem though with new bloggers is deciding what to blog about. Well, here are some ideas:
Talk about trends in the industry you're in. (This works even if you write fiction; talk about the publishing industry.)
Review other (similar) books. This is a great way to network with other people in your market.
Blog "in character." Readers love this!
Develop your next story on your blog: you can ask for reader feedback on story direction, characters, etc.
Lend your voice to a "hot" industry issue or controversy.
Comment on other blogs or feature them on your blog.
Interview people on your blog.
Talk about the elephant in the room: If there's a looming issue in your market, why not offer your insight on your blog?
Feedback and blog comments: If you aren't getting people commenting on your blog, don't despair. It takes a while to get folks commenting and offering feedback, but the more you can tap into issues your reader cares about, the more comments you'll see popping up on your blog.
Publishing content: The Internet has really opened the door to publishing and pushing a lot of content online. Whether it's articles, audio, or video, there's a home for all of it on the 'Net. Consider doing article syndication as a good place to start pushing content online.
Here are some basic guidelines for article syndication:
You don't get paid for this syndication. This is always the first question I get when I talk to authors about syndicating their articles, book excerpts, or tip sheets. You post it online for others to use and promote you. What could be better?
Your articles need to be helpful, not self-promotional. The more helpful they are, the more likely they are to be used. Yes you can mention your book but my recommendation is to keep any and all promotion of it to your byline.
Article titles are important. Remember that the title of your article must be descriptive, don't make people guess what you've written about. If you do, you'll find your pieces aren't as popular as you'd like them to be.
Articles should be a minimum of 500 words, max of 2,000. Generally the most popular pieces are around 1,000 words. Don't forget your byline and website address. Also, and very important, get those articles edited before they go out on the 'Net. Once you send them out, you can never get them back.
[continued next month...]
Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the innovative Internet book marketing campaigns. She is the author of five books including Red Hot Internet Publicity, which was just sold to Sourcebooks with a planned re-release in Fall 2009. To learn more about Penny's books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at www.amarketingexpert.com.