Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Claim Your Name - Author Self Branding And Book Promotion For Online Success Ecourse Day 10

In the last segment we talked about using the media to get more exposure for you as an author and your books. In this segment we are going to about gaining competitive edge to build a successful online presence for you and a more recognizable brand name for you as an author and your books.

Creating a competitive edge is another important aspect of branding. Today, the online world has many methods of branding. The most popular method of branding and gaining the competitive edge is through the use of blogs. Blogs allow a site to increase traffic, improve rank through search engine results, and even helps with credibility building also.

Just in case you aren't familiar with how a blog works here is a short introduction. Blogs are websites that use the new Web 2.0 technology which allows visitors to a site to post their own comments, articles, and more. Giving a user the access to post things to your site allows them to feel a sense of ownership in your career. They work in many ways which may include forums, discussion boards, or even look like a daily diary in a sense. They keep the visitors up to date on current events and allow for discussion to take place.

There are many reasons to use blogs as an author--first and foremost among these are accessibility to your target audience and the ability to build a personal connection with them. 

Let's talk about how you can use a blog to your benefit.

If you do decide to add a blog then there are many things to consider so you get the most out of it. Before you begin, consider the importance of things like keywords and phrases, links, useful information, and even contact information, do your research and assemble the data necessary for your template.

The primary purpose of blog writing for branding is to gain more exposure and get the word out to people that you exist. Blogs are an excellent way to create hype and exposure because the web has billions of readers, and if you can turn just a tiny segment of those into loyal readers of your books you can have a successful career as an author.

When using a blog it is important to make sure that you use important keywords that are relevant to the books you write and the interests of your target audience. These keywords and phrases should be the words that will be typed into the search engines when a user is looking for what you offer. The keywords should be used naturally throughout the content of the blog. They will work by allowing your blog to be pulled up in the search engine results when users type in the specific keywords and phrases you used in the blog.

Adding links to blogs is a very important thing for two reasons. They provide an easy method to get back to your site and provide an inbound link. Users always appreciate an easy way to find you. If you are talking about your books and offered in a blog without links to where the customers can purchase them then it will do no good. Customers will only search for an author or book for a very short period if they search at all. You have a better chance of a customer when a link is right there in the blog so they can easily click and make their purchase.

URLs are also beneficial for a business because they provide inbound links. Search engines often rank a blog or website through popularity. Popularity can be built by inbound links from other sites, so it is a good idea to offer incentives for other blogs and websites to link to your blog. The more inbound links you have the more popularity a search engine thinks you have.

An important part of this is to post interesting and relevant comments on other people's blogs that will allow you to leave a link back to your own blog or website!  Working together for the common good, the blog owner receives relevant comments and new content that they did not write themselves and you receive a high quality backlink to your own site.

A blog needs to provide beneficial information for the visitors and readers. When there is something useful or interesting to the reader they will come back for more. Blogs give you the opportunity to provide the free advice and useful information that will interest the users and cause you to gain credibility for being knowledgeable about the topic or genre that interest your target audience.

Smiles and Good Fortune,
Teresa Thomas Bohannon

It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s
dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent.
– W. Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915

Monday, January 30, 2012

Claim Your Name - Author Self Branding And Book Promotion For Online Success Ecourse Day 9

In the last segment we talked about establishing your identity as an author. In this segment we are going to about using the media to get more exposure for your brand and your books.

Media is extremely important when branding a business. There are many different outlets and they can be used in many different ways to your advantage and even for damage control. Proper branding means staying tight with the media as your friend. Some say to keep your friends close and your enemies closer and this is true with the media. They can make you very popular or ruin you but nothing really in between. You need the media on your side at all times.

Let's begin with the local media.

There are many different local media outlets that you might consider using when you are looking to brand your name as an author or your books. You can use local newspapers to announce sales, events, and public appearances. Local television stations are useful for interviews and news segments--when you have something newsworthy to report.

Other methods of local media may be local websites for town members. Some towns have a site for the community where people can post things like classified ads and other public notices and promotional items. They are free sites and sometimes used more often than the newspapers because of this.

You could also write letters to the editor. These can offer your opinion on an segment or a response to previous editorial coverage that supports or offers a different point of view. Letters should be short, normally two or three paragraphs long, using statistics, reasoning and substantiated claims rather than impassioned statements. Letters to the editor should be directed to the editorial department. 

Another way you can use the media to your advantage is to write your own articles and distribute them to the press. This can be very beneficial. If the press needs to fill additional space in their paper they may use them.

Sending articles to the press is free. The will not charge you to use them, nor will they pay you for them.  The same is almost always going to be true for online media as well.  However, if there is a traditionally published magazine that would benefit from an article featuring your genre, you get the benefit of additional promotion and payment for the article. Article writing can be a very beneficial way to advertise you as an author and your books.

Volunteering to speak is another great way to get media attention.

Volunteering to speak for area organizations, such as civic and service clubs, chambers of commerce, schools and social organizations, can expand your audience and lead to additional media exposure. After you secure a speaking engagement, alert the media by news release or media alert depending on the time frame. Make sure you include why the lecture may interest the public, when, where and for whom it is intended and your level of expertise on the subject.

Just be sure to choose your speaking engagements wisely. In the last segment we talked about brand prospecting and public relations. In this segment we are going to talk about establishing your company's identity.

Establishing your identity is very important when you are fighting for a place in a market or a certain niche. You may know exactly who you are but you need to get your name out there and for people to be aware of your existence. There are many ways you can establish an identity in a local community or on a global scale.

Let's start by talking about making donations.

Donations are always good when it comes to establishing an identity around your local community and anywhere else. This gives you good exposure and media exposure. When customers see your name as a donor, not only does it look good for you but it gets your name out there permanently.  The online version of this would be participating in giveaways and other promotional events, particularly those that are formed to draw attention to or raise funds for charitable causes of worth.

This part of the branding process is important because it helps an author build credibility and trust with the customers in the market.

Now, let's talk about giving away free information.

In the online world where people are accustomed to receiving the written word for free--giveaways are a necessity!  However, there are things that you can give away for free without constantly giving away the farm. So give away free samples in the form of book chapters, informational and educational blog posts, mini books on complimentary topics in your genre. 

Get your brand to travel.

Another thing you can do is get people to wear your brand. You can put your logo, name or book cover on various items of clothing, such as T-shirts, hats, tote bags, scarves and more. Then use the clothing as gifts or for door prizes at speaking engagements or other events. This can be a costly form of promotion for the average author; but especially if you have established a personal connection with the recipient they will willingly use it to help promote your name. In this way, your name could go to more places that you ever imagined.

Make sure you look for your next segment soon. We will be talking about using the media to get more exposure for your brand.

Smiles and Good Fortune,
Teresa Thomas Bohannon

It is not wealth one asks for, but just enough to preserve one’s
dignity, to work unhampered, to be generous, frank and independent.
– W. Somerset Maugham (1874 - 1965) Of Human Bondage, 1915