Archive for the ‘Building Online Platforms’ Category

How to Extend Your Platform

September 22, 2009

[The following post is rewritten from the blog of Chris Brogan, social media consultant and author of Trust Agents (John Wiley & Sons). Used with permission.]

Today I’m presenting at the Writer’s Digest conference. This is a bit of a dream, because from the moment I thought I was a “serious writer,” Writer’s Digest products were my guides to what I thought I’d have to do to succeed. Now they’ve asked me in to show people the crazy hazy edge. Today they want to know about the book as platform and seeding your future.

I’m going to start with a great quote from Bob Stein, from the O’Reilly Tools of Change event. He defined a book as such: “A book is a user-driven media where readers and sometimes authors congregate.” Do you love that? Is that crazy? I love it.

I extended myself into a platform. People try to ask about this at events, but because they don’t exactly know or see the edges, they don’t ask the question the way I’m framing it for you now. What do I mean? What’s it mean to be a platform?

I am me. I make media. I push the media onto this blog (at the time of this writing), 30,000 or so folks get this via a subscription, and over a month I’ll have 250,000 unique visitors. I have this linked to my Facebook, so another 4750 people get this. If I tweet the link, just short of 100,000 more people get this. I speak at dozens of events a year.

That means my ideas spread pretty darned far. Not TV show far, but not bad, eh?

You can do the same thing. That’s really what I’m going to say to people. I’m going to talk about HOW I set it up, how I built the network, what I did to nurture it, and how I use it to help other people, and finally, what that does to help me.

Do you know how? You’ve been here awhile now, right?

I started by connecting with people in one place and making relationships. I invited those people to my other platforms. I explored their interests. I learned what mattered to them and tried to fuel it. I moved into new platforms. I went everywhere that information could spread easily. I went nowhere that information was penned in. I connected with as many connectors as I could. I put my ideas into forms that other people could take them and run. I reinforced and encouraged others. I thanked others. I asked for very little in return for everything that I gave.

I co-wrote an entire book on how to make information and value move through systems, that most people buy because they they think it’ll teach them the secrets of social media. The secret is that these tools let us build better relationships. That’s it.

That’s platform, friends. You’re great alone, but you’re everything once you figure out platform thinking and how to equip and empower value transactions.

Make sense? What am I missing in my descriptions? What do you want to ask, given what you see above? What would you add, my brilliant friends?

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4 Ways to Build Your Author’s Platform

July 29, 2009

Just yesterday the largest Christian publisher in the U.S. Twittered about the importance of authors from all genres building their online platforms.

  1. There there were 561,000 new titles published last year, he wrote. That’s a lot of competition for any book, regardless how timely or well-written.
  2. Shelf space in most bookstores remains constant and small bookstores – even chains – are going out of business faster than new stores are being built.
  3. All kinds of media compete for your reader’s attention. From TV to the Internet, from newspapers to magazines, from radio to billboards, everyone has a message to sell.

The publisher put forth 4 ways you can get noticed as an author, your books can get read, your message delivered to your audience:

  1. Write a truly remarkable book. One of our most recent titles, Already Gone, by Ken Ham and Britt Beemer, has sold more than 50,000 copies since its release in mid-May 2009. The subject is timely and Ken Ham has an established reputation.
  2. Take responsibility for your own success. We at New Leaf Publishing Group will promote your book as fully as possible, but ongoing, long-term success depends on you.
  3. Don’t rely on traditonal, interruption-based marketing. Media advertising and telemarketing simply aren’t effective without huge budgets behind them. The new direction of marketing is “inbound.”  Hubspot.com is a leader in this approach to selling online and offers several free webinars on how to effectively market via the Internet.
  4. Build a tribe of your own. People who share your passion for the topic of your book – from church attendance to global warming to evangelism – are waiting for authors to give voice to their passions and create means of expressing those passions. Whether you write a blog, communicate via Facebook or Twitter, whether you create videos for GodTube and YouTube, the world is waiting for you to help them communicate about your passion.

When you write great books and deliver dedicated audiences, agents and publishers will be finding you rather than your flooding the U.S. mail with queries and proposals.

Twitter or Fritter?

July 24, 2009

There have been a number of posts on this blog about the value of Twitter for building author platforms. Today Twitter itself issued the most clear and comprehensive guide to using the microblogging service I’ve seen and I highly recommend your checking it out.

http://business.twitter.com/twitter101/starting

“Twitter 101: A Special Guide” is written for businesses wanting to share information, as well as garner customer feedback. For authors, Twitter is an excellent communications tool for updating readers on the status of your latest books. It’s also very useful for sharing links to first chapters posted on your blog or website. The Guide explains why it works, how it works and ways businesses use and benefit from Twitter.

You can follow New Leaf Publishing Group on Twitter at @newleafpress.

Would You Give Away Your Books Free?

July 22, 2009

There’s a lot of discussion these days about the value of “free” via the Internet. Certainly, social networking succeeds because people help people by writing blogs that give away useful information or posting links to timely articles. All free. All in the name of building community and sharing with others as those who have gone before shared with you.

But would you, as an author, give away your books for free?

“Free” is the new medium of exchange, one social networking guru posits. Of course, what he and others (more…)

Why Should Authors Twitter?

July 7, 2009

There are lots of knowledgeable people who highly recommend Twittering as a means of both building your own online platform/presence/following, as well as researching what the online world is talking about. At New Leaf Publishing, we Twitter for a lot of the reasons listed below:

  1. Helps you listen to your industry or profession, whether it’s writing, publishing or the subject matter of your books
  2. Condenses your thoughts into 140 characters, including spaces, helps make you a better writer (more…)

To Twitter or Not to Twitter?

July 1, 2009

We’ve presented the case for generating online visibility as a means of getting published. We’ve written about how to increase your platform. We’ve posed the conundrum of best-selling versus best-writing. We’ve quoted a multi-pubbed author about using Facebook and Twitter together. We’ve explained inbound versus outbound marketing. We’ve given tips for targeting one’s blog.

Today we’re eschewing the benefits of the now-mainstream social media phenomen known as “Twitter.”

Fellow author and founder of Writing White Papers, Mike Stelzner offers the following advice for those (more…)

5 Tips for Targeting Your Blog

June 24, 2009

Writing stuff people actually care about is what we authors do. Right?

Trouble is, that’s sometimes incredibly difficult. Here are 5 specific steps to blogging that make targeting our messages considerably easier than crafting 50,000- or 100,000-word books.

  1. Test. Blogs let you discover what kind of content your public wants to read. What makes them subscribe to your blog, eagerly searching their email or RSS notifications for the latest wisdom from your keyboard? Write a few blogs and watch the “views per day” statistics. This same blog you’re now (more…)

3 Tips for Building Your Online Presence

June 19, 2009

As we’ve discussed, it’s essential that authors establish themselves online. Not only are publishers pushing for more author-initiated marketing in the digital world, the Internet is where readers go first to find research new titles. A recent poll showed 35% of all online users are over the age of 40 and some of us should be retired.

There are 3 key building blocks to your online platform (full disclosure – these were first brought to our attention by blogger and social media guru Chris Brogan). Core to successfully using your online presence is listening to what your readers are saying about you and your books. You’ll want to know what they (more…)

Why Inbound Marketing?

June 17, 2009

Used to be when you had a product or service to sell, you figured out how to tell the world. You took your product to the marketplace (farmer’s market) or you bought or begged attention (advertising, public relations) or bugged people into trying your product (sales, direct mail, telemarketing, etc). It was you who went after customers.

For authors and publishers, that meant all the above, plus whirlwind tours of the country appearing on radio and television shows, holding book signings, conducting readings at local libraries, trekking to local bookstores with signed copies in hand, and meeting and greeting as many people as possible. All  that was what one of my favorite social media marketers, Hubspot, calls “interruption marketing.” (more…)

“Use Twitter and Facebook,” Multi-Pubbed Author Says

June 10, 2009

Brandilyn Collins – @brandilyn for those of you on Twitter – is one hard-working author. I admire her marketing expertise and  willingness to share from that expertise. Nearly every week something on her blog, http://forensicsandfaith.blogspot.com, adds to my arsenal of marketing tools. She does this daily, in addition to always writing her daily word count.

Recently (June 4) Brandilyn wrote about the benefits of partnering Facebook and Twitter together as 2 key ingredients of her marketing strategy.  And because both services can be linked, what you write on 1 site automatically shows up on the other.  Brandilyn also notes that messages from fans which are posted on Twitter are public. That means every single @Brandilyn follower sees, reads, benefits from the fan mail of 1 individual. Is that great exposure, or what?

Brandilyn writes, “If you are a published author and are not yet on Twitter, I encourage you to start an account. It takes time at first to build followers. But at this point – I’m around 4400 followers now – my follow/unfollow (more…)