Posts Tagged ‘authors’

Developing Your Digital Marketing Blueprint

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

by Fauzia Burke

Here are seven steps to developing a digital marketing blueprint. Many people skip the first four, but these first few steps are the crucial difference between success and failure. I have also uploaded slide presentations to help you along.

  1. Assess Your Situation – This first step is perhaps the most important. Before you can commit to doing more digital marketing, you need to know what’s working and what’s not. Take a snapshot of where you stand. Think of the following questions: how well is my website working for my goals? Do I have email addresses of my customers? How many fans or followers do I have on Facebook or Twitter?When you are assessing your website, look over the traffic numbers. How many people come to your site, which pages do they visit, how do they find you, and how long to they stay? These answers should give you an idea about the effectiveness of your site. If nobody is staying on your website for more than a few seconds, then something needs to be changed.Another element of assessing your situation requires an honest assessment of your resources. How much time, knowledge, technology or money do you have to devote to digital marketing? If you don’t have a lot of time you might need to hire somebody. If you don’t have a lot of money you might have to set aside some extra time to do this work on your on.
  2. Know Your Customers – Understanding your target audience will help you devise the best digital marketing strategy for you. Digital marketing is customized and personalized so it is essential for you to know your customers so you can serve them best. Learn about their age group, their gender, their industries. It’s also important to know the tech savviness of your customers.
  3. Designate a Storyteller – For any digital marketing strategy to be effective you need a designated storyteller, marketer, brand evangelist. If you skip this step, your digital marketing strategy will not be sustainable.
  4. Set Goals and Timelines – Without setting realistic goals and timelines you will not know when you are achieving success and when you are missing the mark. Some realistic goals are: improve your website; build a mailing list; start a fan page on Facebook or get more fans on Facebook; start making videos and getting them distributed; start writing a blog, or syndicate your blog; look into twitter or grow your followers.
  5. Implementing Digital Marketing – Once you’ve taken the first 4 steps you digital marketing strategy will become much more obvious to you. Then you can start implementation a plan. I find a lot of people jumping from new thing to new thing without really setting goals or having assessed their situations. In my opinion, the six essential elements of digital marketing are: website, enewsletter, blog, Facebook, video and Twitter. For more details on these elements you can read my blog on 6 Elements for Digital Marketing.
  6. Monitor Your Progress – Although a lot has changed in marketing in the last few years, the most exciting change is the availability of free monitoring tools. You can set up email alerts for your name on either Google or Bing, and use Google Analytics for analyzing your website traffic. If you set up a fan page on Facebook, you can use Insights to gain valuable information. My favorite tool for monitoring Twitter is still TweetReach.
  7. Be Flexible – Digital marketing is new to everybody and we’re all trying things out. It’s important that you just keep an open mind and experiment. Experiment with your time, and experiment with your money. If you succeed learn from it and try it again. If you fail, just smile. Take a deep breath, and try something else.

Digital marketing is a very innovative field right now and everybody is trying different things in different combinations. You just have to find the right combination for you and your customers.

Making It In America

Thursday, March 10th, 2011

What does it take to make it in America? There are so many business, economic, social, and cultural conditions to consider and arguments to be settled to know where to even begin. But the following books will get you on the path to understanding what makes this nation tick and who’s tugging at what ropes so that you can decide for yourself how you’re going to live within one of the most colorful nations in the world.

Divinity of Doubt: The God Question by Vincent Bugliosi

Vincent Bugliosi, whom many view as the nation’s foremost prosecutor, has successfully taken on, in court or on the pages of his books, the most notorious murderers of the last half century – Charles Manson, O.J. Simpson, and Lee Harvey Oswald.

Destined to be a classic, Bugliosi’s Divinity of Doubt sets a new course amid the explosion of bestselling books on atheism and theism – the middle path of agnosticism.  In recognizing the limits of what we know, Bugliosi demonstrates that agnosticism is the most intelligent and responsible position to take the eternal question of God’s existence.

Divinity of Doubt from Vanguard Press is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Where Does the Money Go? Rev Ed: Your Guided Tour to the Federal Budget Crisis by Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson

Now revised and updated to include current predictions about the effects of the Great Recession and President Obama’s healthcare overhaul, this guide to deciphering the jargon of the country’s budget problem covers everything from the country’s $12 trillion and growing debt to the fact that, for 31 out of the last 35 years, the country has spent more on government programs and services than it has collected in taxes. It also explores why elected leaders on every side of the fence have so far failed to effectively address this issue and explains what you can do to protect YOUR future.

Where Does the Money Go? Revised Edition from Harper is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Consider: Harnessing the Power of Reflective Thinking In Your Organization by Daniel Forrester

There’s an intangible and invisible marketplace within our lives today where the products traded are four fold: attention, distraction, data and meaning. The stories and examples within Consider demonstrate that the best decisions, insights, ideas and outcomes result when we take sufficient time to think and reflect. Including interviews with leaders such as General David Petraeus, attorney Brooksley Born and global investor Kyle Bass, Daniel Forrester shows us that taking time and giving ourselves the mental space for reflection can mean the difference between total success and total failure.

Consider from Palgrave Macmillan is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Boombustology: Spotting Financial Bubbles Before They Burst by Vikram Mansharamani

With the increased complexity and volatility surrounding financial bubbles, we need a more effective way to spot and understand these events. Based on his popular seminar at Yale University, Boombustology presents Vikram Mansharamani’s multi-lens framework for evaluating the extremely elaborate social phenomenon of financial market booms and busts.

The framework found within these pages offers a robust understanding of the dynamics that precede, fuel, and ultimately reverse financial market extremes. Regardless of your economic or financial background, Boombustology will put you in a better position to spot financial bubbles before they burst.

Boombustology from Wiley is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

What Could Happen If You Do Nothing? A Manager’s Handbook for Coaching Conversations by Jane Murphy

“What could happen if you do nothing?” offers managers clear, usable tools to enhance the way they listen and engage their people. Mini-dialogues, sample questions, listening tips, and suggestions use familiar situations to show how to transform business challenges into coaching opportunities. This is an essential resource for developing employees to their full potential and for fostering better working relationships for individuals, teams, and the business itself.

What Could Happen If You Do Nothing? from Giraffe Business Publishing is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Social Networking Importance

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

By Fauzia Burke

We recently posted a Twitter basics blog post that covered the fundamental parts of tweeting that many beginners find confusing. Well, the response has been quite positive and a few of our clients have expressed an interest in knowing whether or not social networking was really worth the extra effort for authors. The overall answer is yes. We’re getting to a point today where authors are thought to be behind the curve if social media tools are not being equipped. Does that mean it’s too late for those who haven’t taken their campaigns online? To that we say no. And to help those who have not adopted social media skills yet, we have decided to share why an online outreach is so important.

The Importance of Social Networking

Social media has given us great ways to protect and build our digital reputations. Today we have the ease of searching conversations, the ability to set alerts to help us monitor our names, the constant availability of learning opportunities and more ways to communicate and interact with others. All of these tools, which were not available just a few years ago, now make it possible for us to be proactive in maintaining, building and protecting your personal brand and help spread word-of-mouth about our books.

Here is also an inspiring video about the importance of social networking.

Developing a personal brand takes time, but the good news is that the tools are free and you already have the expertise in your field. Social media now allows you to share your knowledge and build a following. Once you “know” your readers you’ll have a lot more control over your career and will be able to promote not just your books but also your apps, conferences, videos, webinars, websites and more. Your personal brand will make you more valuable to your publisher and agent as well.

Some Resources

How to Create Your Social Media Presence
How To Make Your Personal Brand Visible With Social Media
5 Easy Ways to Build Your Digital Reputation
10 Golden Rules of Social Media

FSB also provides clients with regular updates on social media. We recommend that you sign up for our newsletter, visit our blog and follow the tweets on two handles that provide resources and tips for digital marketing.


HuffPo Blog:

Twitter: /


Do I need to be on Facebook? Quick answer is yes. Facebook has 500 million users worldwide. Together they are creating a community of savvy consumers, connecting with friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances to share advice, information and yes, recommendations. More than 30 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photo albums, etc.) are shared each month.

People on Facebook read books and tell their friends and colleagues about books. Engaging on Facebook also allows you to be closer to your fans and prospective readers.

Instructions are provided at the end of this post.

You may want to start by watching this video on Howcast to get oriented and get step-by-step instructions.

An excellent place to start is the Mashable Facebook Guide.

For general questions and step-by-step instruction, please visit Facebook’s help center.

Some Resources

5 Things That Don’t Work on Facebook Pages (and 5 That Do) by Aliza Sherman
Facebook 101 Business Guide on Social Media Examiner by Mari Smith

Everyone on the FSB staff is available on Facebook and you can find us all there. You can also “like” the FSB Facebook page:


If you are hesitant to join Twitter, you are not alone. However, we want to encourage you to give it a shot. Set up an account, follow some people and learn some things. People on Twitter are very generous with their time and knowledge. Yes, you will spend time on Twitter that you already don’t have, but you will also learn things that will make you more valuable, smarter and “in the know.”

Even if you don’t plan to be very active, it is important to get a handle and follow others. It is also a good way for your publisher and friends to discuss your book by referencing you. You can use Twitter to provide links to your blog posts, media events and reviews. However, no one enjoys a 24/7 advertisement. A good rule of thumb is to have a 4 to 1 ratio for self promotion. One self-promotional tweet to 4 that will help others or engaging in the community through reply or retweet.

The best advice is to spend time just observing and seeing what others are doing before posting much yourself. There are people you already follow (favorite authors, must-read columnists, magazines, newspapers, influential friends) and now you can follow them on Twitter.

Some Resources

Best first step is to watch this video for starting with Twitter

Twitter Tweet Anatomy
Twitter 101: Tips to Get You Started
Twitter for Business by Twitter
Learn the Lingo
5 Tips to Grow Your Twitter Presence by Problogger
A Personal Branding Checklist for Twitter by Social Media Today
Twitter Hashtags by Marketing at
8 Ways To Find Relevant Followers On Twitter by Small Business Trends

Together we have 14 Twitter feeds here at FSB. You can find and follow us here:
Web Marketing . Social Publicity . Online Branding . Consulting

Twitter Tweet Anatomy

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

by Ken Ishii

For authors, Twitter is an incredible platform for promoting not only your book(s), but publicizing you – as an author, as an expert, as a person.  Twitter gets compared to Facebook and texting when, really, it’s a social networking platform unlike anything out there.

There are millions of people on Facebook and it’s the top social networking service for good reason.  Using Facebook is a great way to connect with friends, family, and people that have decided to “like” you.  But if you’re looking for new users to introduce your book to, it can take a great deal of time and effort to get outsiders to visit and interact on your page.

Using Facebook is arguably becoming one of the most time consuming activities in the US that many simply can’t afford.  Some would rather email or text each other.  A bit too direct for most marketing campaigns to be successful.

Twitter combines the economy of texting with the networking power of Facebook to create something too fast and far reaching to ignore.  Getting started is as easy as signing up on the Twitter website.  Enhancing your experience and finding marketing success, however, is a whole other game.  We collected several resources that will help you get engaged with the millions of people that are having just as many conversations every second of the day.  Fauzia Burke has an article, Twitter 101: Tips to Get You Started, on The Huffington Post that will get you up and running so you don’t end up spending time wondering what retweets or hashtags are.  What the heck is a anyway?  You’ll find out soon enough.

One of the difficulties I notice people having even after reading a tutorial is getting used to the endless streams of confusing text racing back and forth between users.  To that, I say there’s nothing like hands-on experience.  But for now, I’ve put the brakes on a few tweets for you to examine at your own pace.  Bonus!  Click on the messages with links to go to the articles that are mentioned in the tweets below!

Twitter’s 140 character limit may be the very reason for its success.  It forces conversations to get straight to the point.  With this limitation, though, you’ll find users getting creative with their tweets using abbreviations and compressing text.  While an entire list is hardly practical, it is good to know some of the basics and we have them listed below to help decode the tweet-speak.

Going forward you’ll probably be interested in employing Twitter to help promote your book.  Twitter Power by Joel Comm will show you how to use Twitter for marketing purposes which will help build awareness for your book and strengthen your personal brand.  See the video below for more information.

2010 Social Media Stats and Insight

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Happy New Year to everyone out there. Hope you had an enjoyable, safe and sound holiday with all your loved ones.

Now that “2K10” is set tidily in our past, a collection of social media reports and statistics detailing top trends from last year have surfaced to help anyone lost at digital sea get back on route to where the online action is. Now that there are over 300 social media services vying for your time, it’s wise to know where the pack is heading. Hopefully you’ll find the information below helpful when planning your social branding or marketing strategies from here and into the rest of the year.


As reported by AddThis, a social sharing service, Facebook continues to lead the race with 44 percent of the total social networking service volume in 2010. That’s a growth of 33 percent from 2009.


After examining over a billion tweets, social media monitoring company Sysomos revealed some interesting information about the service nearly everyone has heard of but has taken time to embrace.

The number of Twitter users with over 100 friends has tripled since 2009 which could say the platform is good at forming tight communities. Still, 2010 could be seen as the year of experimenting as 80 percent of all users have made fewer than 500 tweets and that 90 percent of all Twitter activity came from less than a quarter of all users. The company also states that more and more people are disclosing location, bio, and web information to Twitter profiles. Looks like these users have found a service they find valuable and worthwhile.


With Facebook now a household term, it’s hard to believe that MySpace was once the most popular social networking site. ComScore, a web measurement firm, reports MySpace worldwide total unique visitors to be less than 13 percent of Facebook’s visitors. At the same time, AddThis shows a backward growth for MySpace of 20 percent. For marketers, it seems pretty clear where time investments are going to be cut.

Services Growth

As important as it is to recognize which services are hot and cold now, it’s crucial to track how these services are growing. AddThis has put together a chart that shows the rate at which the most well-known services are moving. Note that while Facebook is leading the pack, other services still have their eyes on the prize.

Whether you’re posting updates on Facebook, experimenting on Twitter, or transitioning from other services, being active with social media is essential to any branding or marketing campaign. We were glad to see authors embracing social media with roughly 50-70 percent of our clients on Twitter in the summer.  By the end of the year, 100 percent of the clients we represented in December had Twitter profiles they used to market their expertise and books. For 2011, the question is no longer whether you should participate, but rather how you’re going to connect with your online audience.

Study: Twitter Chatter Sells Books, Sometimes

Tuesday, December 28th, 2010

By Fauzia Burke

Recently, two Hewlett Packard scientists developed an algorithm that projected movie sales with 97% accuracy based on Twitter chatter alone. Inspired by this and other recent social media studies, my staff and I decided to conduct some social media research of our own to see if Twitter chatter sells books.

As promised in my previous post, I would like to share the preliminary findings of our research based on the perceived correlation between Twitter chatter and Amazon rankings. First, we began exploring the types of social media search tools that are now available. We discovered some fantastic applications, such as Addictomatic and Topsy, but eventually chose TweetReach to conduct our research. TweetReach searches Twitter chatter, allowing you to see how many tweets have spread on Twitter and how many users received tweets about your topic.

During recent publicity campaigns, we started to notice a relationship between TweetReach numbers and Amazon rankings (most of the tracking was done on paper books, we are now tracking both paper and Kindle versions and I’ll give you an update on that in a couple of months). We were excited and began to do more research.

After tracking over 20 books during a 6 month period, we realized that the correlations are there but they are unpredictable. There were certainly times when high Tweet Reach numbers impacted Amazon rankings (Twitter chatter sold books), but unfortunately there were just as many times when they did not. Like any research with a wide range of variables (demographics, subject matter, relevance, quality, reputation, activity level of authors, etc.) it is too early to draw absolute conclusions. What we can say with confidence is that being active on social media sites has great benefits for branding as well as spreading word of mouth.

At FSB, we begin each publicity campaign with a detailed “web snapshot” of a client’s brand. With this preliminary research, we glean an overall, holistic understanding of where a particular author is in terms of their platform online. We note their blog, how many followers they have on Facebook and Twitter, and what links are listed on the first page of a Google search for their name.

What we have noticed over and over again is that active authors have dynamic Google page results. Authors that are not engaged in online brand building have a static Google search page often populated by outdated content and database links. We also saw that social media “sharing” is key to driving traffic to guest blogs, reviews, interviews and even in-person events.

As a result of these findings and our ongoing research, the daily mantra at FSB has evolved into: “If it can’t be shared, it shouldn’t be done!” Essentially, we have adapted our decision-making and productivity to ensure that each publicity hit/placement will be shared to create a viral effect, which benefits our clients’ brand visibility and help us sell books. Many sites, such as Huffington Post and make it very easy for readers to share and spread information by utilizing one click sharing. With this application, hitting the re-tweet button or Facebook share or like button will immediately disperse that information to member’s social networks.

By now, we know that social media participation is a crucial aspect of any publicity strategy. Reviews, guest blogs, interviews all lend credibility to the topic and authors, but it is also necessary to develop different forms of content, such as videos, slideshows, and articles, to successfully promote books. Additionally, posting content daily is essential for gaining and maintain followers.

We are well aware of the fact that every voice adds to the chatter and, with each bit of shared information, the bigger picture begins to unfold. Because word of mouth on Twitter spreads very quickly, “you have to be in it to win it.” I urge authors, publishers and publicists to start the chatter! Make sure you have a variety of social outlets where you can share information, grow the visibility your features and share your successes.

Have you personally experienced the effects of viral media? How has it positively impacted your work, your brand, or sales?

Social Networking Your Brand

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

by Ken Ishii

It’s not enough to rely on traditional marketing platforms today. There’s a shift in both habit and attitude that is making “push” sales a thing of the past. Our time is being stretched around a stack of new tools and technologies leaving us with less room for fast-fading television, newspapers, and magazines. To compensate for lost time, consumers and sellers alike are budgeting their minutes strategically. That means passing on activities that require physical interaction in favor of virtual interaction using devices like computers and mobile phones that are tethered to the modern lifestyle.

Understandably, people choose to “unplug” from time to time, falling back on activities away from the Internet, but these are moments when most can’t be bothered with ads. Devices that skip over television commercials and efforts to disguise ads in print are further indications of traditional media’s weakening effect on the public.

Brands in every industry across the globe now have robust websites that serve to meet the demands of societies everywhere that are migrating from a physical world to a more portable and palatable virtual space.  The subsequent rise of social media was almost inevitable. Of course people would need places to socialize and express themselves. Crossing the digital divide didn’t mean we would eliminate our need for interaction.

So social media is big. A transplanted global populous without border patrols or passports limiting our interactions. To give you an idea how much social media has taken off, let’s take a look at a recent Nielsen study. According to the definitive media research company, social networks make up the largest share of time Americans spend on the Internet. This beats time spent on e-mail which has, for long, held the top spot on the list. Considering one is a leisure and the other a work related activity makes this finding flat-out remarkable.

Social media gives sellers, in this case authors, an unprecedented opportunity to connect sympathetically with fans and newcomers alike. Networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr offer previously unavailable access to reader likes and dislikes and, most importantly, give rise to formations of meaningful relationships with like-minded communities.

If you’re new to social media, you might find the weight of information daunting at first. On or offline, balancing relationships with people is never an easy task. Like forging a friendship in the physical world, getting people to open up to you takes time and nurturing.  If you’re introduced to an established circle of acquaintances however, your road to success becomes a much smoother ride. Like in any relationship, the bottom line is trust. Your reputation is gold. Without it you’ll be in a virtual room talking to yourself and the four sides of your screen. FSB Associates President Fauzia Burke wrote an article for The Huffington Post that simplifies the difficulty of protecting your online identity into a list of five steps that will build and maintain your digital reputation.

At FSB a large audience of “real” communicators spread across specific areas of interest are here to welcome you. Together we’ll create your voice and build and maintain your online reputation through strong relationships grounded by meaningful interactions with the most influential social media communities around. There are an innumerable amount of impostors out there attempting to cash-in on this explosive marketing phenomenon.  Savvy consumers have little tolerance for spammers though. Don’t let a seemingly innocent pitch turn into an over-ambitious gaffe leaving a mark on your name. We have the experience, resources, and skills necessary to help manage your online reputation and build your personal brand.  There are new trends and challenges on the horizon for the new year and we look forward to conquering them with you in 2011.

RIP Hardcovers … Long Live the Kindle

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

By Fauzia Burke

I wonder if manufacturing hardcover books makes sense anymore? In talking with fellow publishing friends, we agree that the current publishing model is not ideal. For example, selling books essentially on consignment, taking huge returns, giving advances that don’t earn out, not having enough marketing dollars, all create huge challenges to the current model. The biggest threat to this model is not the e-book or the Internet, it is the hardcover book.

As a Kindle user I am noticing more and more that I am no longer buying hardcover books. I recently realized that I may never need to buy a hardcover book again, and this is shocking to me! I love books! My husband and I are “book people” — we have worked with books all of our careers. Like all us book people, we have huge bookshelves creaking under the weight of their contents. We have books in our bedroom, under our sofa, in our bathroom. I buy books every week and yet I still find myself wondering if I need to buy a hardcover.

I will, of course, never stop reading or buying books, but I now prefer to download them on my Kindle. Not that the experience of Kindle reading is better than the physical book. (It’s certainly not for me.) I do miss the paper and the feel of a book in my hands, but these days the convenience of a Kindle often dictates my decision. I love the convenience of having multiple books at my disposal. I love the fact that I don’t have to worry about how big or heavy a book is before I decide where I will read it. I love the fact that I can download a book the moment I want to read it. I recently downloaded a book on the train for my ride home. I am just never giving up that convenience. Clearly I am not alone as Amazon enjoyed a “69% surge in third-quarter profit, led by strong sales of its Kindle e-reader [in 2009]” according to CNN Money.

So I wonder, if a person like me won’t buy a hardcover, how soon before no one does? Brian Murray, chief executive of HarperCollins Publishers said in a recent WSJ interview that “hardcover sales in the industry are down 15%.” I have a small office. There are eight of us working together, and three of us have Kindles. All three of us are buying more ebooks than hardcovers. Even here, in my office, the publishing model is changing. We do not require book publishers to provide us with expensive book jackets, paper, transportation, warehouse storage, or bookstore space. We do ask for their word that the book is good, and worth our time and money.

How much energy and money can we save if we stop publishing hardcovers? Book publishing is not dying, it’s evolving. We need good editors and publishers more than ever to show us the best ideas, polish them, and give us books to think about and talk about.

‘You Gotta Be In It To Win It’

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

From many years of promoting books online, the one thing I know for sure is that each book has its own sales trajectory. Some start selling right out of the gate and reach great heights, others take the scenic route and sell steadily for years, and yes, there are some that don’t sell well at all. We–publishers, marketers, authors–can make the same effort for both kinds of books and yet some books resonate with buyers better and more quickly than others. Why is that?

As much as I would love to say, “I know the answer,” or “I guarantee your book will be #1 on Amazon if you hire us” it’s just not possible. We have worked on many books that have become huge bestsellers and many more that we wished would have sold better. What I do know is that as publicists, we work with diligence and commitment, believe in the books we promote, are creative and flexible, follow-up religiously, and hope for a little magic.

When books don’t sell as well as we’d hoped, it is of course disappointing. However, the effectiveness of an online campaign should not be judged by book sales alone. Through TV you can reach millions of people with one segment, where this is not true online. Online exposure is diffused. You may get millions of hits, but they will be staggered. The millions of people will more likely come from different sites and see the information at different times, days, months or even years. When you think of online exposure think longevity and message control.

The Internet offers longevity. Web features and links are available to readers now, and new readers months and years from now. Like a snowball rolling down a hill, these features are able to grow thanks in large part to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, which thrive on the constant sharing of information.

Additionally, it is amazing how well online placements translate into long term visibility on Google. Earlier this year we worked on Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton. Published by Scribner, it was a New York Times Best Seller. We are very proud of the Web campaign we ran, and feel it was a strong component of the overall campaign, while by no means the most important. Scribner did a spectacular job with the publicity. Doug was on TV, radio and had reviews in major newspapers including the cover of The New York Times Book Review. Out of curiosity I decided to check out the long-term visibility of this publicity campaign. Six months after the book was published, I did a search on his name and book title on Google. In the first 4 pages and 40 links, 24 were from promotional activities. To my surprise (and delight) 67% of the promotional links were Web features. TV made up 4%, print 13%, event promotion 17% and there were no radio links at all. In this case, it was clear that the Web features had staying power.

It is also easier to buy a book online. Unlike most advertising, TV appearances, print features, speaking engagements and radio interviews, all Web features are linked directly to a bookseller. Making the step from “I like this book” to “I want to buy this book” literally one click away.

Like the Lotto ad said, “You gotta be in it, to win it.” If you are not available online when people are searching for information, the chances of them finding your book and buying it are slim. Remember that every reader who takes the time to “seek and pull” online information on your book or related topic is an interested, committed, and qualified buyer. Just the kind we like.

There Is No Competition for ‘YOU’

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

by Fauzia Burke

With over 15 years of experience in online marketing, I can say without a doubt or any reservations, that developing a personal brand online is crucial to your success as an author.

Personal branding is new to all of us, but its importance is growing exponentially. So the question I get asked most is, “What’s in it for me? Why should I invest in building my brand online?” The most important element of a personal brand is that it helps you be yourself and stand out from the crowd. After all, there is no competition for you.

The essential elements of personal brand development include: web publicity, blogs, syndicating content for guest blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.  The benefits of these activities increase considerably when conducted in a well-planned and cohesive manner. First, it is best to establish goals for developing your personal brand.

Two of the most important goals of Personal Brand Management are:

  • To increase brand awareness through consistent social media interactions
  • To increase credibility and establish expertise via web exposure

Developing your personal brand takes time, but the good news is that the tools are free and you already have the knowledge. Social media now allows you to share your knowledge and build a following. Once you “know” your readers you’ll have a lot more control over your career and will be able to promote not just your books but also your apps, conferences, videos, webinars, websites and more. Your personal brand will make you more valuable to your publishers and agents as well. In my opinion, personal brand management is today’s resume.

Social media has given us great ways to protect and build our digital reputations. Today we have the ease of searching conversations, the ability to set alerts to help us monitor our names, a constant availability of learning opportunities, as well as a myriad of ways to communicate and interact with others. All of these tools, which were nonexistent just a few years ago, now make it possible for us to be proactive in maintaining, building and protecting our good name.

Creditability — Web Publicity allows others to lend credibility to your work by posting reviews, interviews and mentions of your book on their site or blog.

Expertise — The benefit of a regular blog is that it allows you to show your expertise and share your knowledge. Four out of every ten Americans read blogs, according to a study by Synovate/MarketingDaily. This trend is increasing daily.

Syndication — Once you have a blog written, it is best to submit it on other sites such as The Huffington Post. If possible, you should also submit your articles to other blogs and sites for guest blogging opportunities. Each time your blog gets mentioned or posted, so does your name and the link to your website. Over time this is the best way to increase the Google ranking of your site.

Relationship Development – More than 500 million active users spend 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook. It is no exaggeration to say that without a Facebook presence you are at a great disadvantage. Engaging with your readers will lead to higher book sales and career advancement.

Share Expertise — At first, Twitter may seem overwhelming and difficult to use, but as you spend time on the site you will likely discover the benefits of sharing resources and collaborating with others.

Networking — About 35 million people use LinkedIn. It is the most professional of social networks and essential for showcasing your professional experience, contacts and recommendations.

Show Yourself — The popularity of YouTube is growing hourly, currently it gets 2 billions views a day. Today, people are looking for an authentic connection with you. Posting a video of yourself allows potential fans and readers to learn more about you, your expertise and your passion.

Although social media engagement may not provide instant gratification, it should be viewed as an investment of time and money in your career and your future. I have experienced first-hand the benefits of personal branding, both for my clients and myself. I have witnessed the difference between launching a book for an author who has work to develop a strong personal brand, versus an author who did not invest any resources in building an online presence.

In the coming year, I urge you to devote some time to developing a plan that includes all of the aforementioned elements. Decide how much time you can devote to each aspect of building your brand and also where you will need to invest in receiving help from experts.