Social Media

The definitive guide to SEO for authors

15 August 2017

From Nathan Bransford:

What if there was a way to virtually guarantee your book hits all the bestseller lists without being a “big name” author or buying your way onto the lists?

Sound impossible?

People have done it. And here’s the secret…

You need to build an AUDIENCE of people ready to pre-order your book.

It’s the exact strategy that Tim Ferriss used to become a four-time New York Times best seller.

In this article (NB note: written by SEO expert Michael Tesalona) we’ll break down exactly how it’s done. Spoiler alert: you’ll need to get very good at blogging and SEO.

. . . .

Building an audience online is about:

  1. having a blog and
  2. getting thousands of people to that blog

If you have thousands of people visiting your blog every month and reading your content it is possible to get those same people to buy your book.

How do you get thousands of people to your blog?

Search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing send them.

The process of getting your blog  – or any website –  to appear higher and more often in search engines is called search engine optimization, or SEO.

. . . .

Your blog should be about the topics related to your book.

If you write zombie horror fiction like David K Roberts, you blog about zombie stuff.

If you write self help like Tim Ferriss, you blog about human performance.

Define your category and think of blog topics related to that category.

Once you know your blog topics it’s time to do a little keyword research.

. . . .

Keywords are the words people type into search engines.

. . . .

You need to find out what keywords are related to the topics you discuss on your blog.

My favorite tool for keyword research is Moz’s keyword explorer.

We simply type in our main topic, in this case our topic is “zombie apocalypse”

. . . .

The Keyword Explorer gives us a list of one thousand keywords related to our topic.

. . . .

By reading through this list we can easily come up with a few blog ideas

  • “zombie apocalypse movie” – post about one zombie movie or maybe a list of the best ones created
  • “zombie apocalypse quiz” – post about signs we are heading towards said apocalypse
  • “zombie apocalypse survival kit/guide” – post about everything you need to survive brain eating zombies

. . . .

Your blog posts need to be the perfect article for the keyword you are targeting.

If your keyword is “zombie apocalypse survival guide” the post needs to be 10x better than any other blog post around covering a zombie apocalypse survival guide.

Link to the rest at Nathan Bransford and a link to Moz Keyword Explorer

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Social Media for Children’s and Adult Books: Who Posts Where?

9 August 2017

From Publishing Trends:

Look at some of the top authors on Twitter and you’ll see that the list is pretty evenly divided between authors of books for children and adults.  Paulo Coelho weighs in at 12.2 million, followed by JK Rowling at 11.3 million.  Then a steep fall to Anthony Bourdain (6.1) and John Green (5.33), Stephen King (3.52) and Neil Gaiman (2.62), and Chris Colfer (2.52) and Margaret Atwood (1.7).  You get the idea.

Facebook mirrors Twitter in that Coelho is still at the top, but with 20.5 million followers.  Others are closer to parity with their Twitter followers, e.g. Stephen King has five million on Facebook while John Green (who’s on every major platform) has three million-plus on Facebook. James Patterson has a healthy 3.7 million.  Lemony Snicket has a half million under A Series of Unfortunate Events and Rick Riordan has more than three million under Percy Jackson.

Beyond Twitter and Facebook, the numbers are generally much smaller and harder to track.  Still, in conversation with agents, publishers, social media gurus and writers, it’s clear that authors are generally encouraged to embrace one or more social media platform. However, what they really accomplish in promoting themselves differs depending on what their goals and expectations are their level of commitment and skill.

. . . .

Most agree that authors should engage with social media only if they are comfortable. Rachel FershleiserHMH Executive Director of Audience Development and Community Engagement, says she’s a “huge believer in authors setting their own boundaries,” both in terms of where to post and what to write about.  She encourages authors to try Instagram, because it’s generally the least contentious, and allows an author to express his or her personality “without the stress” of a network like Twitter. Writers HouseDigital Director Daniel Berkowitz thinks that, for many, how one interacts on social media “almost runs counter to how an author operates.” Authors want their posts to reflect the same level of writing that their books exhibit, and so are anxious about achieving that, especially on “of-the-moment” platforms like Twitter.  In her blog post, So You’re An Author Without a Social Media Presence: Now What?, Jane Friedman warns that, while engaging in social media offers “an opportunity to learn about your readership as well as better establish your platform,” it’s “not necessarily an opportunity to hard sell the book you’re about to release.”

Link to the rest at Publishing Trends and thanks to Laine for the tip.

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Adobe Spark

8 August 2017

Adobe makes some of the most complex software available for personal computers.

PG is familiar with Photoshop and Lightroom and has used them regularly for several years, but is convinced that he and 99.9% of the users of each program don’t utilize more than 5% of the features Adobe has baked into the programs.

Adobe has recently announced Adobe Spark. Spark is focused on the creation of attractive social media graphics. It is a very unusual product for Adobe because:

  1. Spark is easy to use; and
  2. Spark is free (at least for now and maybe forever)

PG is not a big social media guy, but, over the past few months, he has been doing some work in that area for projects unrelated to TPV.

Here is a Spark graphic that PG created in a format suitable for Instagram:

And here’s the same graphic sized for a Facebook post:

And for a Twitter graphic:

And for a Pinterest pin:

Changing the formats for various social media platforms was usually accomplished by a single click to choose the social media format. On a couple of occasions, PG tweaked the placement and size of the subhead. In each case, the tweaks took less than 20 seconds.

Spark also permits you to change the look of a message very quickly. Here’s a new look with the same copy that required about 30 seconds:

You can also cycle through a lot of different layouts/text looks quickly.

Here’s another take on the original ad:

And here are some quick changes in text treatments using the ad above:

 

Or, in about 60 seconds, you can change the background photo, layout and color palette:

 

You can also use Spark to create cool web stories and videos. That’s a touch more complex than social media, but still much easier than with other tools PG has tried.

If you want to try out Spark (remember, it’s free), here’s a link.

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Confessions of a Content Creator

31 July 2017

From Medium:

Gut: Hey Brain, want to write something that’ll almost certainly expose us to massive criticism?

Brain: Uhhh, no?

Gut: TOO LATE, DOIN’ IT, HERE WE GOOOO!!!!

As a content creator, I don’t really care about data.

There. I said it.

Don’t misunderstand: I know I’m supposed to care about data. I’m supposed to end that opening sentence by saying, “but I’m working hard to improve my analytical chops.”

But the truth is, I’m really not.

Instead, I’m working hard to improve my creative chops. It’s what I love. It’s what I was put on this earth to do. I aspire to create things that make you feel stuff and think stuff and want to spend more time with more of that stuff.

Now, I’m no fool. I know I’ll look far better if I claim that I’m data-driven. After all, I’ve worked for online startups and tech companies my entire career. We’re the crowd responsible for the data-first ways currently permeating even the most analytics-agnostic fields.

I know I’m supposed to say I care a ton about data. But, well … I just don’t.

. . . .

Here’s the thing: I’m not alone in feeling this way about data. There are others like me, others who create content for a living — damn good content at that — and we don’t really think about data all that much. We’re walking among you right now, working on your teams, attending your meetings, nodding at our CMOs who shout of MQLs and monthly lead-gen metrics.

We pretend to care. But we don’t really care.

We really care about our craft. We really care about what our intuition is urging us to try. We really care about making things others like — nay, love. And as it just so happens, this is the skill that many businesses are starting to realize they need but can’t often find.

Link to the rest at Medium

PG notes that Content Creator is one of the many jobs that didn’t exist when he was a little squirt.

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Should You Automate Your Instagram Marketing?

26 July 2017

From Advertising Age:

If you’re halfway through the year and your 2017 Instagram goals are starting to feel a bit too ambitious, bots may sound like a good answer.

Instagram automation tools help tons of accounts reach new audiences with algorithms that target users using generic comments, likes and follows, which every so often leads to those users checking out your account and, hopefully, deciding to follow you.

The problem is, this type of social automation can damage your brand faster than a tap-happy intern. Automation needs to be handled very carefully. So how do you decide where to draw the line?

Recently, Instagram took steps to draw the line for you. Major Instagram automation platforms, such as Mass Planner and Instagress, are quickly being shut down because Instagram “requested” this.

Honestly, these services scared the crap out of me. Injecting a bot’s automated engagement algorithms into a brand’s DNA may cause a boost in followers, but in the end there’s a simple name for it: spam. Posting meaningless comments on posts is not only in bad taste, it could seriously damage your rep. Can you imagine your brand commenting, “This is great! *thumbs-up*” on someone’s post about the family dog that recently passed away? That’s the risk you’re taking.

. . . .

The trick to Instagram success — like all social media marketing — is patience. The best social companies online focus on both creating genuine content to connect with fans and being proactive about engaging with the right people. Brands like LaCroix have become dominant forces on the platform by building on small wins over time. You have to keep your eyes on the long view.

. . . .

A prime example is outbound engagement. Rather than just focusing on creating great content, think proactively about how you engage with other users. For example, you may want to follow and engage with the people who follow your top competitors or the accounts that inspire you most. Other tactics include committing to posting five comments per day, setting up a hashtag calendar, restructuring your photo database for easier posting, using a tool like OnlyPult to schedule photos in advance, and organizing your notes and schedules so you remember to regularly post throwback photos.

Another crucial tactic is influencer marketing. Partnering with popular personalities allows brands to cut through the “Insta-noise” in a way that’s impossible with a branded page. Microinfluencer marketing is just as effective. By encouraging your regular, day-to-day customers to become ambassadors for your brand, businesses of any size can reach a much-wider audience in a super genuine way that really sings on the platform.

Link to the rest at Advertising Age

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Will Facebook Become the Ultimate Online Book Club?

23 July 2017

From Book Riot:

I’ve noticed a trend that I’m not sure I like. Many friends are spending more time on Facebook and less elsewhere on the internet. If they jump out of Facebook it’s because someone shared a promising link.

Bookworms have discussed books online since computers were networked in the 1970s. It began with email, mailing lists, and forums. Usenet News and Bulletin Board Services (BBSes) always had groups devoted to book talk. Book clubs formed on CompuServe, Genie, The Well, Prodigy, AOL and other online services. After Mosaic, web browsers made virtual book clubs easier, more fun, and better looking, replacing those older technologies.

. . . .

Two years ago my co-moderator of an online science fiction book club started a Facebook group to generate traffic for our club. It didn’t. But that Facebook group now has 3,500+ members. Our old group has less than a dozen active participants. Of course, most of the Facebook members are lurkers, but it’s still a thriving online book club. I found another science fiction Facebook group that had over 7,500 users.

Smartphones may account for much of Facebook’s activity. Facebook just passed 2 billion users. I knew Twitter, Facebook, and other social media services worked well from smartphones, but it never occurred to me that online bookworms were moving to those services in droves.

I expected Goodreads to become the ultimate online book club, but I might be wrong. My blog gets most of its traffic now from Facebook. It used to come from other blogs, websites, Twitter, and sometimes Flipboard. Facebook is how Book Riot gets most of its traffic. I assume most online newspapers and magazines get much of their traffic via Facebook too.

. . . .

I recently joined Space Opera Pulp on Facebook, an online book club for readers who love the old pulp magazines. It’s enthusiasm and energy makes my Yahoo book club seem like a funeral where the coffin’s occupant had few friends. Is Facebook becoming the popular site for popular people to talk about popular reading?

Last week I joined a Facebook group with 25,000+ westerns fans and it answered a question in minutes that I had been Googling off and on for days. That same post got a bunch of comments, whereas my blogs and essays here get few.

. . . .

Will social media sites consolidate around one company? Response to my tweets has fallen off this past year. They are usually about books.Will Facebook be the T-Rex that eats all the competition? What if Facebook gets to 3 or 4 billion users? Will there be any way to resist it then?

Link to the rest at Book Riot

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I’m Writing a Book. Does That Mean I Have to Tweet About It?

22 July 2017

From Publishers Weekly:

I started my writing career in the early 1980s as a satirical essayist. I wrote a book but was eventually lured away by the crazy money writers make in film and television. A few years ago, having accrued some cash and a Writer’s Guild pension, I returned to more literary pursuits.

My reentry into the publishing world’s atmosphere was staggering. I was the 1950s airplane passenger—accustomed to flying in style—walking onto a flight today and being trampled by earbud-wearing passengers in velour running suits hogging the overhead bins with skateboards. When did this happen? How? And why?

I sent a proposal for a book of satirical essays to several agents. Responses ranged from radio silence to the standard “humor is subjective” to, “In today’s market, if it came down to Oscar Wilde or Grumpy Cat, most agents would sign the cat. I know I would.”

“You’re a very funny writer,” another said. “What’s your platform? You need followers on Twitter and Facebook.”

But getting followers is a job in itself. I’m a writer. That takes up my day. Writing is hard and even harder to do well. Now I have to draw attention to myself with something other than writing in order to draw attention to my writing? Maybe I’ll post pictures of my pug playing shuffleboard on the QE2. Then I’ll get a book deal. For my pug.

Will there ever be a new writer, I wonder, who hasn’t the time or the interest to tweet, who is too busy writing a novel to write a blog about writing a novel? Will no writer ever again be discovered by an agent or an editor until he or she gets enough hits on Tumblr, which, by the way—and I hold the entire publishing world responsible for the internet grammar laissez-faire attitude—is missing an e.

. . . .

I start a blog. I stop. I create a public Facebook page. I never look at it. I open an Instagram account. I close it. And I will never understand how or why anyone would have a YouTube channel.

“You’ll have to self-publish,” I tell myself, recalling the snickers just the mention of Vantage Press garnered in the ’80s. “Some self-published books have become bestsellers,” I say, trying to convince myself, dangling a most unappetizing carrot. Yes! Fifty Shades of Mollie. The Joy of Mollie. The Mollie Prophecy. Those agents will rue the day.

No, they won’t. They have mob wives and sister wives, makeover moms and dance moms, Kardashians and Jenners, and that teen mom who does pornos and fights with her mother.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

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Stop Telling Bloggers They Aren’t Writers

19 July 2017

From Medium:

Being a writer means that you’ll never have a shortage of criticism, whether it is offered up to you in heaping scoops of vitriol from faceless masses on the internet, or you gather it yourself from your never ending well of neurotic self-doubt. Hooray.

Add “being a woman” into the equation and your cup overfloweth.

Fortunately, we writers are rational beings and so we give as much credence to positive comments as we do negative ones. JUST KIDDING. We focus on the terrible stuff that is said to us like we’re being paid by the hour.

. . . .

But then, embedded in a grammatically creative Amazon review [of my new book], I came across this line:

“She’s a blogger, not a writer.”

And like all things that strike a nerve, it did so because it hit close to home. For years, I’ve dismissed the writing that I’ve done on this blog. I’ve shrugged when people asked me what I did. I somehow convinced myself that writing a blog for a decade somehow means that I’m not actually writing, even as the awards and the accolades and the positive press began to accumulate.

. . . .

The criticism that we bloggers endure emerges often not from our work itself, but from the medium that we’ve chosen. The poet is never accused of not really being a writer, nor is the columnist, nor the essayist. But the blogger often is. We are accused of being literary dabblers, amateurs, hacks.

Link to the rest at Medium

PG regards himself as a quipper, not a writer.

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Keeping Up With Changes to Social Media Platforms

11 July 2017
Comments Off on Keeping Up With Changes to Social Media Platforms

From Buffer:

Keeping up with new changes on the various social media platforms is essential to staying ahead on social media.

. . . .

So how can you keep up-to-date with all the latest and breaking social media news without sacrificing too much of your time?

. . . .

Here are my six favorite social media news sites and blogs:

  • TechCrunch Social: TechCrunch tends to publish breaking news about social products before most other publications and provide a deep analysis in their report.
  • Social Media Examiner News: Every Friday, Grace Duffy of Social Media Examiner rounds up top social media news and provides a short summary of each piece of news.
  • WeRSM: WeRSM covers news on all well-known social media platforms from Facebook to WhatsApp to Tumblr and more. There’s also a breaking news section on the site.
  • The Next Web Social Media: The Next Web publishes a mix of social media news, trends, and interesting stories on social media.
  • Social Media Today: Besides marketing tips, Social Media Today has quite an extensive coverage on social media news.
  • Jon Loomer: Jon Loomer writes about advanced Facebook marketing and advertising tips. While his blog might not be a news site, he often shares how to use the latest Facebook ads features once the features are available to most people.

Link to the rest at Buffer

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Last month, Facebook launched a pilot program with 6 local newsrooms. Here’s how it’s going

11 July 2017

From Poynter:

Last month, a group of local newsrooms began working with Facebook as part of a project by the social media platform to establish stronger ties to local news.

Six newsrooms are part of the first six-month pilot program, with another six to follow. Those newsrooms, Berkleyside, Honolulu Civil Beat, Texas Tribune, QCityMetro, Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Homepage Media Group, are members of Local Independent Online News Publishers and the Institute for Nonprofit News.

Each organization is working on their own project during the six months, building a direct relationship with Facebook, undergoing training and learning best practices for using the social network.

. . . .

Members of the project, who come from both editorial and business ranks at their organizations, have several goals.

“One, we want to help them have a direct relationship with people at Facebook,” Murray said. “That’s something that sounds simple, but for many, many news publishers, trying to get ahold of someone who works at Facebook is nearly impossible.”

. . . .

David Beard, who previously worked at The Washington Post and PRI, is working as a consultant with the newsrooms to get a sense of what they need, what they need to do and what Facebook needs to know about them.

They’re all very different organizations with very different needs, he said. But they do have one need in common.

“I think in some ways it’s something as simple as a mechanism for an answer back,” he said. “Just to be able to say, ‘We’ve had success in a dealing with Facebook,’ it’s not just ‘go see my links for certification’ or ‘go to the FAQ page.’ It’s something beyond that.”

The projects each outlet is working on vary. For instance, at Philadelphia Public School Notebook, email lists have been an important tool. Does Facebook have tools that will help those lists grow? Could they alter those tools to help grow subscribers or members?

. . . .

“One common refrain we heard is that they are keenly interested in more education on products like Instant Articles and how their peers are using them successfully,” Mabry said. “Our intention with this project, and the Facebook Group we’ve created for these publishers, is to provide more resources and a more direct conversation along with opportunities to learn from one another in the process.”

Link to the rest at Poynter

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