Posts Tagged ‘internet marketing’

Internet Marketing for Pennsylvania Writers

Susquehanna Writers Internet Marketing (SWIM) has been quiet the past two weeks as holidays kept us busy with other things. We’re getting back in the saddle this Wednesday, January 5. We’ll meet as usual at the Mondragon book store on Market Street in Lewisburg, PA (12:30 PM). In case you haven’t been there: once you’re inside the main entrance, go up the stairs to the first landing and turn right. Pass the hallway that heads back along the right side of the stairs and find the first door on your right—it’s across from a window.

More Social Media Marketing in Central Pennsylvania

I’m planning to start a new SWIM session in January and am checking in with area writers’ groups to find out when the most people would be interested in attending. The new group will meet on a weeknight or weekend so it doesn’t conflict with work schedules. I’ll post meeting times if there’s enough interest. Please spread the word and ask interested writers to contact me.

SWIM already draws writers from the Sunbury and Selinsgrove area, but it’s within easy reach from Williamsport, Mifflinburg, Danville, and even Bloomsburg when you consider the quality and quantity of material we cover. Please: if you’re a writer within 40 miles of Lewisburg, get in touch to learn whether SWIM makes sense for you.

Publishing, the Internet, and Writers

I’m sure I sound like a broken record to some of you (Remember what a “record” is?), but I want to emphasize: The emerging publishing model is very simple: As an author you will have a direct relationship with your readers. Publishing companies that figure this out and make changes soon enough will become marketing and marketing support engines, but they will rarely print books. On-demand printing will accommodate people who demand ink on paper.

We’re already seeing that publishers prefer an author who has an impressive online presence. Some publishers are cutting back the marketing support for their own titles, relying more and more on authors to do the work online and through traditional means.

Aspiring writers today need to look ahead two to three years and see that self-publishing is the new road to success: Amazon is giving authors 70% of the revenue for sales of eBooks for the Kindle. Good luck getting 15% from a traditional publisher. The writer who can complete a book, build a following online, and sell the book through Internet Marketing and electronic distribution will sell books as more and more publishing companies go under.

And the Kindle? What’s available today is going to be obsolete within a year (guessing, but confident). eReaders will be full-color tablet computers that deliver multimedia content. Click an illustration and you’ll be watching video or browsing a photo library. Traditional publishers will get this wrong again and again before the emergent Internet publishing industry delivers designs and production technology that makes sense for this new reading platform.

Sure, traditional publishing will be around for a while, but opportunity for new authors will continue to diminish and only the most amazing work will find its way onto paper. In the meantime, authors who promote themselves online and who deliver their work electronically will have a leg up. You can quickly gain an edge against well-established authors who are allied with traditional publishers that still struggle to figure out this whole Internet thingy.

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Web Social Marketing Strategies for Writers Week 6: Find a Keyword

Recent Web Social Marketing Strategies blog entries have summarized the meetings of Susquehanna Writers Internet Marketing (SWIM). This group of writers meets weekly in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania to learn techniques that can build Internet presence and promote their works online.

This week’s meeting brought us very close to starting blogs. Our blogs will be the focal points of all our social marketing strategies. Our other online activities will invite the world to our blogs where we’ll demonstrate our craft and establish authority in our areas of interest.

We started, as usual, with a discussion about the importance of increasing activity on Twitter. Someone on my social network recently asked a bunch of people with similar concerns to join a Facebook group and share insights. In one day there had been a lot of interaction in that group (and it has continued since). My point of sharing this story was to emphasize how the contacts in your social network can become very important to you. Until you show your own chops and get your network established, you’re missing out on these opportunities.

Keyword Research

We’ve had mixed experience doing keyword research with Market Samurai. A few of us have found key phrases with decent stats, but that aren’t necessarily easy to work into conversations. A blog built around a marginal key phrase can be awkward; you’ll know it when you read one: the sentences will be grammatically and stylistically hacked-together to include a phrase that really doesn’t fit.

So, we bounced phrases around to decide whether we could write them into conversations naturally.

We looked at the Market Samurai keyword competition matrices for a few key phrases, and I gave my interpretation of the statistics they provided. Again: some of the key phrases look very good.

Creating a Blog

I provided an overview of 2 options for starting a blog:

  1. Use a free services such as blogger or wordpress.com. The advantage is that the service is free. The disadvantages are that a URL that is part of some other domain may receive less Google love than one that you own outright. Also, free services are rather limited in the selection of themes (appearance) and plugins (added features beyond the blog) available.
  2. Buy a URL and host WordPress (free software) on a commercial service. The disadvantage of this is that you spend about $100 per year for the service and the URL. The advantages are many. For example, there are no restrictions for what you do on your own URL. You can commercialize your own URL, while you may not be able to commercialize a blog on a free service. Hundreds of free plugins are available to help you build Google love and otherwise customize your blog; many of these won’t work on a free blog service. You can expand a WordPress blog on your own URL by adding pages within WordPress, and by adding custom-built web pages outside of WordPress, if you so desire.

You can be successful with free blogging services and with your own URL, but I’m encouraging that you buy a URL and host it yourself because I’m confident we can get such blogs high in Google’s rankings very quickly; you’ll build your online presence more rapidly when you own your blog.

Find a Hosting Service

You can use any hosting service you prefer to hold your own WordPress blog, with one technical requirement: Make sure the hosting service comes with CPanel. CPanel is a dashboard for managing everything you do on your hosting service—uploading files, creating email accounts, installing new web sites, and dozens of things that will probably never matter to you. CPanel is important because software we’ll use to set up blogs relies on the CPanel services.

I recommended the hosting service Hostgator for two reasons:

  1. I know Hostgator and they are reliable and responsive on support issues
  2. Hostgator is relatively inexpensive. If you pay for 3 years and have only one URL, they charge $5 per month. I especially like their Baby Plan that lets you host unlimited web sites for a fixed price. Today it might be hard to imagine having even one web site, but some day you might add a second and third; with Hostgator the cost doesn’t increase when you add sites. Of course, if you start with the “Hatchling” plan for a single URL, you can probably upgrade should you later decide to add more URLs.

If you decide to go with Hostgator, please do me the favor of clicking over to their web site from my Web Social Marketing Strategies web site (or from the links in this post). I confess that I receive a referral fee when you do this, so you can see I have some “bought” bias toward Hostgator.

For Next Week

My hope is to start blogs next week. This will involve buying the URL, registering with a hosting service, pointing the URL to the service, and installing WordPress on the new site (we might be stymied on this last one; it can take a day or two for a new website to show up on the Internet in central Pennsylvania).

At class I asked everyone to do three things by next week:

  1. Find 4 or more key phrases that fit the criteria (see last week’s post) and that you feel comfortable about working into conversations. It’s OK to have one key phrase that fits, and several others that are pretty close.
  2. Decide on your level of financial commitment to your online presence: Either free services only, or about $100 per year to host your own.
  3. TWEET!!! Seriously: more chatter on Twitter, please!

If you have time and inclination, this would be a good time to write a blog post or two or three. Even 200 words is adequate, and generally try to keep your posts under 600 words. You don’t have to post a blog entry the moment you install your blog, but it’s kind of nice to be able to.

Work in whatever word processor makes you happy. For you 2-computer people, consider writing in a Google Docs word-processing file. If you remember your password at the meeting, you’ll have access from whatever computer you bring.

IMPORTANT!

If you’re ready to start a blog on Wednesday AND you’re going to host your own, you’ll need a credit card to submit payment to the hosting service and/or the Domain registration service from which you buy your domain name.

PLEASE DON’T PANIC or feel pressure to jump in. If you’ve done decent keyword research, but you’re not ready to blog… or if you haven’t had time to find just the right key phrase, we’ll still be around. Once the blog is up, things can get pretty lively!

See you Wednesday!

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