The Book Marketing Blogby Penny Sansevieri
April 22, 2015
Ask the Author is a very cool feature on Goodreads but are you using it the right way? Patrick Brown of Goodreads takes us through how best to use it for maximum impact and exposure! Check out this video on Penny’s YouTube channel!
April 21, 2015
Welcome to Tip #52, the final tip of our 52 Ways to Market Your Book! I hope you’re enjoying these tips and they are helping you sell more books. Want the complete book of tips? Get it here!
Getting top ranking on Google may seem like a lofty goal, but many authors we work with do achieve this. And while they may not come up on the #1 spot on Google, they can get pretty high. The secret, though, isn’t in “gaming” the system as many people like to think. In fact, Google is too smart for most black hat marketers. On average, Google changes their algorithms over 500 times a year. Why do they do this? Well, mostly to make sure that websites that are focused on content farming and other black hat SEO tactics don’t climb up the search engine ranking.
In 2011 Google implemented changes, which are now being referred to as the “Panda” update. What this did is go after content farms and the like, lowering their ranking by up to 90%. What are content farms? Sites that are focused on high volume, low-quality content. These sites often try and sell AdWords on their pages to game the system and make money that way. Google is always on the lookout for these types of sites and unfortunately during this update, bigger and respectable sites like Suite101 and EzineArticles got hit hard, too. If this story concerns you, and it should, keep in mind that you likely won’t become a site like Suite101 unless you are singularly focused on content aggregation.
If you’re ready to boost your site up in the search ranking, here are a few tips to help you do that:
- It’s not about you: Your website is not about you, it’s about your consumer or end-user. Google’s singular focus is to make sure websites are focused on the user. Make sure that your site is focused on your consumer/reader. What does that mean? It means that you need to take yourself out of the equation and really, really make sure your site is all about the people you are targeting.
- Links, Links, Links: You want to get links, but not just any links. You want links from high traffic, high quality sites. I’ve shared other articles on how to get these: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/how-to-help-google-find-y_b_515969.html
Going through these pieces will definitely help you.
- What’s on your SERP? What does SERP stand for? It means Search Engine Results Page, and if you’ve never looked at yours, you probably should. This is the page that shows content from your home page, generally the first three lines or so. If the first paragraph on your home page is just about you, and not about your reader, it will not only affect your ranking but your clickability as well, so again, keep this focused on the reader.
- Keywords and title tags: While many of us are focused on keywords, most of us ignore title tags. What are title tags? They are what your page name says at the very top of your search bar. You should be using keywords in this area, which will help with your search engine ranking.
- Site updates & ad space: I love our AME blog, and it’s really helped with our search engine ranking. Why? Because search engines love fresh content and every time you update your website, it tells the search engines that you’ve added new content. But one thing you won’t see on our blog are ads. Why? I don’t care for them, particularly on our site, and I don’t think they monetize enough for me to consider adding them. Also, too much ad content can lower your ranking in Google.
Getting a higher ranking in Google isn’t that hard, but it does take time. There is no such thing as overnight results or ranking and for sites who subscribe to this, they often find their site disappeared or was “sandboxed” by Google. The secret really isn’t a big secret, but basically it’s this: keep your site current and relevant. If you have a website that’s focused on your consumer, you update the site via your blog, and you spend time doing some helpful link building, I can almost guarantee you’ll see your website go from page 54 to page 1 – and wouldn’t that be great?
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April 20, 2015
Learn how to maximize the Goodreads giveaway with this video on Penny’s YouTube channel. If you’ve ever done a Goodreads giveaway of your book you know that it’s a great tool to help you get the word out. But are you using it right? Patrick Brown of Goodreads takes you through some simple but powerful tips for getting more out of each giveaway you do!
April 16, 2015
Welcome to the third installment of our April “Social Media Series.” This week, we’ll focus on Pinterest. Check out these tips to make the most of your Pinterest book marketing!
Wondering when to post what on Pinterest?
Well let’s have a look at best times to post:
10-4PM is a big time for pinning, 32% of all pins are added during that time and after dinner, so 9pm to midnight sees around 18% of all pinning.
- * Monday: Fitness
* Tuesday: Technology
* Wednesday: Inspiration and inspirational quotes
* Thursday: Fashion
- * Friday: Humor
* Saturday: Travel and adventure
* Sunday: Craft, food and recipes
One of the stand-out categories on Pinterest is humor, more than 3 million pins are saved to boards each day.
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April 14, 2015
Welcome to Tip #51 of our 52 Ways to Market Your Book! I hope you’re enjoying these tips and they are helping you sell more books. So, ready? Here we go!
Six Simple Ways to Promote Your YouTube Channel!
We talked about making interesting and fun YouTube videos in a previous article http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/a-quick-and-easy-guide-to_b_926451.html, and now we’re going to look at how to promote those videos! First, if you’re not on YouTube you should be. Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month and over 4 billion videos are viewed a day, which is amazing. Meanwhile 60 hours of video are uploaded every minute to YouTube, so if you’re going to get seen, YouTube is where you want to be.
Make your video searchable: With so many videos getting uploaded to YouTube each day, it’s more important than ever to ensure that your audience can find your video on the site. How do you do this? First, make sure you have a compelling title. Use your keywords and make a strong emphasis on the benefits of the video. People don’t want to be surprised, and the minute you make them figure out something, you’ll lose them to a more focused and succinct video title.
Next is your video description. I see a lot of videos on this site without descriptions and that’s a big mistake. Why? Because if you capture your audience with the video title, you really want to keep their attention with a compelling description. Remember, solve their problem, offer solutions, and entertain them. Whatever it is you’re doing, tell them clearly in a keyword rich description.
Make them short: Don’t push long videos to this site. Short is key, and studies have shown that viewer interest starts to decline as you inch towards that two-minute mark. If you have a long video you want to upload, consider editing it down into shorter segments. Also, while the two-minute mark is key, I find that educational videos can sometimes be longer. We run short seminar excerpts up to seven minutes and they do fine.
Page Layout: When you’re setting up your YouTube channel, be sure and use the “Player View.” I don’t recommend using a grid view which is also an option. Additionally, set your video to play automatically. When you’ve done that, create playlists of your most popular videos. You’re going to keep updating this as viewer preferences change. The dashboard on YouTube gives you a lot of options, use them!
Get a custom channel: Make sure your YouTube channel is branded to you, your book, or your business. A custom channel will help represent your message better and makes your entire video series look more professional.
Annotating your Channel: Have you ever watched a YouTube video and see words or a call to action pop up during the video? These are called Annotations and anyone uploading a video to YouTube can use them, they’re fantastic! You can use Annotations to drive people to a sale, get them to another video or video link on your site. Almost whatever you want. If you want to learn how to do Annotations, here’s a great article on it.
Promote your channel: Be sure to push your channel out through social media channels. Promote it on Facebook, Twitter, your own website and even in your signature line. Every time you upload a video you should promote it on these sites, and every once in a while, push a random video to your list to keep reminding them you have a fantastic YouTube channel!
Finally, YouTube got a real boost from Google+. Now you can load a video into the “Hangouts” section of Google+ and watch a video together with others in your Hangout. (Don’t know what a Google+ Hangout is? Click here) It’s a great way to share and comment on videos and you should be encouraging your readers to try this. In fact, why not invite your followers to join you in a Google+ Hangout to watch a video and get their instant feedback? You could gather great data!
The importance of YouTube can’t be overstated. It’s a fantastic platform and, if used properly, can really help ignite interest to your book. Don’t burn out on it; getting on YouTube can be fun, lots of fun. But sometimes (like with any social media) if you aren’t staying with it, you might burn out or lose interest. Check out my ideas for creating YouTube content to keep your channel going. Be a star on YouTube, you’ll be glad you did!
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April 9, 2015
Welcome to the second installment of our April “Social Media Series.” This week, we’ll focus on how to get more bounce from your Facebook ads. Check out the tips to make the most of your book marketing on Facebook!
Facebook ads have become more complex as their ad department keeps rolling out upgrades and modifiers to their ads. Getting traction has been harder and harder however these simple tips (which we’ve tried) should help you gain more visibility for your Facebook ads:
Use an Image of a Smiling Woman
You’ll be amazed how well this works – and it’s not just for Facebook ads but the ad world in general has known about this trip for a while, too. A smiling, happy woman has shown to have some of the highest click-through rates. Don’t use complex images with lots of people because remember, users are seeing these in their newsfeeds and often while they are on mobile.
Don’t target too narrowly
Facebook has a fantastic targeting feature that lets you show ads to only a specific group of people, however if you go too narrow, you’ll have a pretty ineffective ad campaign. So how large should your audience be? I would suggest 1,000 to 3,0000 minimum, anything under 1,000 is just a wasted effort.
Don’t Make them Guess
Remember we need to tell people what we want them to do, ads are no different. Having a clearly defined call to action (CTA) is really important. Make sure your consumer knows what you want them to do: get your “free book” or “download this now!” Whatever it is, make sure it’s clear and focused. Don’t make them guess because I can guarantee you, they won’t.
Don’t Use the Same Ad
One thing I recommend is ad rotation. If people see the same ad over and over again they’ll stop “seeing” it, so rotate a few ads. This will also tell you what ads work better and which ones don’t work at all.
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April 7, 2015
Welcome to Tip #50 of our 52 Ways to Market Your Book! I hope you’re enjoying these tips and they are helping you sell more books. Want the complete book of tips? Get it here!
The Power and SEO Behind Blog Commenting
For the past five or so years, we’ve organized teams to support an author’s efforts to increase the SEO of his or her website. We’ve done this a number of ways, but the biggest and most powerful was – and is – blog commenting.
When we first launched teams to offer blog commenting, most people didn’t have a clue how powerful this type of marketing was. Most Internet people did and have been doing it ever since. Now it’s become more mainstream, and everyone seems to want to jump on the blog commenting bandwagon. But let me caution you, because there’s a right way and a very wrong way to do this. I’ll explain both.
Creating a Blog Commenting Plan
The first step in blog commenting is creating a plan and, of course, knowing who you’ll be engaging with. Here are a few ways you can get started:
Deciding who to follow: Who will become part of your online networking tribe? These are the people influential to your industry. They might be competitors to you, or spokespeople. They might also be authorities in one way or another. Whoever they are and whatever they offer, it should somehow dial into what you are promoting. I recommend that you make a list of the top 5-10 names. Don’t go overboard for now. I’m sure there are more people you could engage with but to start, I want you to focus just on a few. You can grow the rest of your list from there.
Once you have your list, you’ll want to start following their blogs and also find out where they are appearing. This might mean commenting off of their website, I’ll explain in a minute why that’s important. First, let’s look at how you can organize this information:
RSS feeds: This is the quickest and simplest way to get started. Subscribe to their RSS feeds and keep all of these in your online reader. That way you can spend a few minutes in the morning going through your blog posts to see which ones you want to comment on.
Twitter: This is another great way to find content to blog on. Follow your favorites on Twitter and follow the links to their blogs. This will often give you great insights into the biggest and most popular posts on their website. Don’t forget to comment on their Twitter posts too!
Google Alerts: Another great system for finding good content to comment on. Plug in the names of the folks you’re following. Also, enter their blog URLs too! Often bloggers will reference a blog post and not the name of the person blogging. Having this link as one of your Alerts will allow you to follow each and every mention of this blogger. So, why do you want to blog off their site? Anytime a blogger is featured on a website, it’s likely that site is one you’ll want to follow too. Or, at some point you may also want to blog comment on that site as well. It’s a great way to network with folks who might one day interview you or feature your book!
Tips for a Great SEO Plan
Frequency: I generally recommend you try to comment on 3-5 blogs a week. I also recommend you spend no more than 30 minutes a day ferreting through blogs and posting, anything more becomes a time-drain that will prevent you from keeping up this work.
Engagement: Remember that each comment is no different than a post you would write for your own blog. You’d never consider writing “great post!” on your site and leave it at that, right? You should consider writing short but thoughtful posts for your blog comments. Offer additional insight, another perspective, or a link to where the reader can get more information. Don’t be salesy, that’s the first way you’ll get blasted.
Quality over Quantity: As per the above note: make it count. Don’t worry about the amount of posts you do, but spend the time considering the quality of the comment itself. You’ll find much better engagement and response when you do.
Where’s the Juice: The SEO juice from this strategy will be apparent in the incoming links that now direct to your site. Each time you post a comment it will ask you for your URL (if you’re already registered on a particular site, the login will remember your URL and post it in each comment). While not all blogs allow follow links, there’s a lot of debate on no-follow blogs and whether they are still good for SEO. What is “no follow”? No follow is a term used in the SEO world to describe sites that can block your outbound link (the link to your site), using a No Follow Tag. See here for more on no follow: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=96569
The No Follow essentially tells Google not to consider your link when ranking for algorithm. Even though you may get referral traffic, Google will act as if you aren’t even on the site. Meaning, you may get traffic from the link, but no “link juice” per se. This deters a lot of SEO people, but my take is this: If a link from a high-traffic site will get you traffic, why not post there? We still see a significant amount of traffic from links posted on No Follow sites. Also, keep in mind that search engines pay a lot of attention to social sites like Twitter and Facebook which are both No Follows.
The point being, a strong SEO plan should include blog commenting. Not just for the SEO benefits, but for the engagement and connections blog commenting brings with it. Consistent, high quality posts will not only bring you great traffic, but also fantastic connections as well.
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April 2, 2015
Welcome to our April “Social Media Series.” This month, we’ll focus on why it’s critical to use social media to publicize your book, and how to increase your book promotion with social media tips.
Facebook Frenzy – are you using Facebook to market your book? If not, you certainly should be. Check out these important Facebook stats and tips on the best time to post on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn!
Facebook Stats Did You Know?
- 30 million businesses now have a Facebook Fan Page.
- 19 million businesses have optimized their Fan Page for Mobile. Have you?
- 5 million businesses now spend money on Facebook ads.
- Businesses are paying 122% more per ad unit on Facebook than they did a year ago.
- 399 million Facebook users only use Facebook on mobile each month
- 928 million people use Facebook on a daily basis, this number increased from 802 million last quarter.
- 63% of Facebook users engage on a daily basis
- If you wonder where your time is going, check this out: The average Facebook user spends 40 minutes a day on Facebook, this number used to be 20 minutes.
- Not quite sure about Instagram? This image-driven platform is used by 200 million people each month.
- Not using video on Facebook? Maybe you should: Twice as many people now watch videos on Facebook in their feed compared to just six months ago.
When is a Good Time to Post on Social Media?
While the exact right time and date for optimal posting does vary by industry (and you should keep an eye on your stats), there are some great guidelines to follow:
According to Social Media Today, Facebook engagement is higher (by 18%) on Thursdays and Fridays meaning that the best time to schedule your most important posts is towards the end of the week. BufferSocial reported that 1pm is the best time to get shares while 3pm gets the most clicks (all times EST).
According to MediaBistro, Twitter engagement increased by 30% on the weekend. During the week engagement on this site peaks between 1 and 3PM EST – which correlates with lunch breaks!
SocialNewsDaily says that the best time to post on G+ is 9am and 11am and the worst times are 6pm and 7amEST. Mid-week posts tend to get higher visibility on G+ and 9am Weds is a great time to post as well!
Because LinkedIn is so B2B driven, it would make sense that their optimal times are between 7am and 8:30AM and 5 to 6PM. Also (according to IT World) Tuesdays and Thursdays are the best days to post on LinkedIn.
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March 31, 2015
Welcome to Tip #49 of our 52 Ways to Market Your Book! I hope you’re enjoying these tips and they are helping you sell more books. So, ready? Here we go!
Twitter is a great way to meet people, develop relationships, and promote yourself and your book or business. But it’s important to avoid being seen as someone who just self promotes.
Most of your tweets should be about helping others, but you also need to inject some personality, to put the “social” into social networking and help people get to know you. Here are 50 ideas for tweeting or promoting:
1. Teach stuff – teach a little mini-lesson on Twitter. Delve into your area of expertise or just talk about book publishing and how to get published.
2. Share sites or blogs that your followers would be interested in. Be their “filter” to new and exciting information.
3. Use Socialoomph.com to post tweets to your account for later posting so you don’t have to be sitting on top of Twitter every minute of the day.
4. Use Twitter as a news source: you can easily announce news both from your world (as long as it relates to your topic) and from the world of your expertise. For example, I’ve done tweets on book industry stuff, breaking news, etc.
5. Widen your network – follow other Twitter folk, this will not only give you some ideas for your own “tweets” but it’s a great way to network with other writers or professionals.
6. Offer advice: use Tweetdeck.com or Twitter Search (search.twitter.com) to see who’s asking for info on your area of expertise and then offer them some help/insight. This is a great way to build relationships.
7. It’s ok to market yourself but be careful about pimping your stuff too much.
8. Be original, useful and helpful.
9. If you’re on tour with your book or doing an event, tweet on that and invite your local followers to attend.
10. Tweet any good reviews your book gets, it’s always fun to share the good stuff!
11. Every Tweet counts (don’t tell people you’re washing your cat); don’t just tweet on useless stuff or you’ll lose followers.
12. It’s not all about you (again, back to the cat) people want to know useful stuff, I know, it’s getting repetitive but there’s a reason: it’s important.
13. Promote your Twitter account in your email signature line and on your blog
14. Network: don’t expect your followers to grow if you’re not following other people. Network; search for others in your area and follow them.
15. Personal is ok. Even though I said not to post useless information it’s still not a bad idea to (from time to time) post a personal Tweet or two. Provide value and twitter-followers will beat a path to your door.
16. Follow everyone who follows you. You can use sites like Socialoomph.com to autofollow everyone who follows you. These services can also send a nice welcome message to your new followers.
17. There is a lot of noise on Twitter, and the sooner you get comfortable with that the better. It’s like being at one massive cocktail party; you have to find ways to filter out the noise. Sites like SocialOomph can help you do that.
18. Embed a link or some other sign-up in your welcome message; this is another great way to capture emails for your newsletter (assuming you have one).
19. Use sites like SocialOomph or Twitter Search to see who’s talking about you and then follow them, too, or comment on their tweet.
20. It’s ok to repeat your tweets. With the volume of messages people get your followers will often miss some of your posts.
21. Feed your blog through Twitter using Twitterfeed.com.
22. Join Help a Reporter out: @petershankman for tweets on media leads (it’s a great service!).
23. Don’t feel like you have to respond to every tweet, but I generally try to respond to all tweets that are replies to mine (you can find these under @replies on your Twitter home page).
24. Want to stay on top of your market and find stuff to Tweet about? Then go to Alltop.com and search for your category. There are thousands of them up there. Here are a few to consider: alltop.com, twitter.alltop.com and publishing.alltop.com.
25. Review a product or book on Twitter.
26. Follow big names in your market on Twitter: this will often bring in their followers too, and you want to see what the “big guys” are up to.
27. Get a good picture: don’t leave your avatar blank. Personalize your page if you can, but a good Twitter picture is a must.
28. Tweetbeep.com is a lot like Google alerts. You can plug in your keywords and you’re pinged each time they are used.
29. Are you ready to add pictures to your Tweets? Then head on over to Twitpic.com, this site will let you upload pictures and tweet to them.
30. Use YouTube to share helpful videos you think your followers will love.
31. Music on Twitter is also possible thanks to TwittyTunes (http://twittytunes.en.softonic.com). This site is great for sharing music and it has a simple Firefox add-on that lets you Twitter on music you’re currently listening to!
32. Invite people to subscribe to your ezine and offer an incentive.
33. Introduce other authors or experts to each other or to your Twitter followers (they should also be on Twitter)
34. Participate in Follow Fridays #FF and Writer Wednesdays #WW. Recommend your favorite tweeters by using the #followfriday or #FF hashtag along with their user names.
35. Link to your own articles and blog posts. Shorten the URL using bit.ly so you can track the number of clicks you get.
36. Link to great videos.
37. Ask for advice or ask questions that encourage responses.
38. Comment on someone’s interesting Twitter background or clever bio.
39. Offer a free downloadable ebook or sample chapter, with no strings attached.
40. Thank others for mentioning you on Twitter.
41. Link to an interesting Wikipedia entry on your topic or specialty.
42. Link to a transcript from an interesting Twitter chat.
43. Post an inspirational quote or message.
44. Link to other blogs, helpful articles.
45. Reply to someone else’s Twitter post.
46. Run a contest.
47. Promote a special offer exclusively to your Twitter tribe.
48. Retweet (RT) someone else’s posts, it’s a great way to network!
49. Thank someone for RTing your post; it’s always great to acknowledge someone for doing that!
50.Talk about the latest trends in your industry.
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March 27, 2015
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