Posts Tagged ‘fauzia burke’

Your Website and Google Analytics 101        

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

A sign with a question mark that asks: What are you goals?As an author, you need to have a website so your readers and community can learn about you. In order to know if your website is attracting traffic and is working for you, take advantage of free Google Analytics and connect your website. Google Analytics can tell you so much information even at a glance. If you are new to Google Analytics here’s a little overview to help you get familiar with the data you can collect and review.

Google Analytics 101

Number of visits

Your number of visits is the number of times someone comes to your site. If the same person comes back more than once, that’s tracked as two visits.

Unique Visitors

The number of new people coming to your site. Each unique person is counted once.

Page views

Page views are the number of pages on your site that were viewed. Each link on a website takes you to a new page. An increase in page views indicates that more content is being viewed across your website. You can see where people are going on your site and how many pages they view per visit.

Bounce rate

The bounce rate is the percentage of people who see one page and then leave the site or bounce off the page. Aim for a decreasing bounce rate. It means people are finding content they like and you are likely achieving reader engagement.

Average time on the site

This indicates how long someone stays on your site. This is a good number to track to see if it’s improving or declining.

Top content

Track the content that gets the most page views and best traffic to show your high-performing pages and then you know what works and you can do more of it.

Social visits

Find out what social media sites send the most traffic to your website by going to the Traffic Sources section of Google analytics and click on “All Traffic.” You will be able to see the websites that send traffic to your site.

Traffic source keywords

Track the keywords people use via search engines to get to your site. Keywords people use that have a low bounce rate, high time on site and lots of page visits are the ones you should use in your blog post titles, and as tags and categories. Your keywords also can be a good indication to you of the content that resonates with your readers.

SEO

Keyword search engine optimization (SEO) is important, but so is sounding like you. People expect authentic communication not marketing copy. Make sure your site isn’t so optimized for SEO it hardly reads well.

For more information on how best to use Google Analytics to drive traffic to your website, read my Q & A with Social Marketology author, Ric Dragon. He provides excellent insights on how to gauge if your website is effective. . Understanding what draws people to your website is instrumental to giving your visitors more of what they want and encouraging repeat and longer visits.

Why You Should Connect Your Site to Google Analytics

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Google AnalyticsIf you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. Or, what isn’t tracked can’t be improved. If you have a website, you have to know if it’s working for you. It’s important to know what specifically is working well so you can do more of it. It’s great if your mom is visiting your website, not so great if only your mom is visiting your website. The easiest and most effective way to track your website progress, and discover what’s resonating with your visitors is connecting your site to Google Analytics with a little bit of tracking code. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of tracking your site’s Google Analytics.

Benefits of Google Analytics

  • It’s free. Works well as a tracking tool for small businesses or authors who have small advertising budgets. You can use the data to run targeted marketing campaigns.
  • It’s easy to track website visits, page views, user demographics and other information.
  • Identify trends and make changes to your website in real time to best meet the needs of your visitors.
  • Find out where most of your visitors are located.
  • Learn the keywords or topics people are searching for on your site. (Hint: This is a big content clue of the information your visitors are most interested in having.)
  • Find out what pages people click on the most and what pages keep visitor interest for the longest amount of time.
  • Easily identify your best or most effective marketing efforts.
  • Discover how many people access your website via their mobile devices and assess if your website is mobile-friendly.
  • Enhance the user experience by gathering data of what content people like the most and using that data to align your content with visitors’ interests.
  • Make changes in real time if you aren’t satisfied with the performance of your website.
  • See which search engine keyword search terms deliver traffic to your site, and how effective your search engine marketing (SEM) efforts are.
  • Find out which online marketing campaigns bring the most conversions.
  • Use referral and keyword data to improve your site’s search engine rankings and to increase your awareness of who is linking to you when, where and why.

If you are an author and you have a website, hooray! Having a website is one of the top branding strategies I recommend to authors to create community. The next step is to effectively manage your website and let the data to guide you. Use Google Analytics to provide you with feedback on what you should do more of (what’s working!) and what you should stop doing (what’s not working!). Google Analytics is a free tool, so it really is a no brainer.

For more information on how best to use Google Analytics to drive traffic to your website, read my Q & A with Social Marketology author, Ric Dragon. He provides excellent insights on how to gauge if your website is effective. . Understanding what draws people to your website is instrumental to giving your visitors more of what they want and encouraging repeat and longer visits.

Making My Case: Why Authors Need Websites

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

a post-it note that reads: Who Are You?I heard there’s a rumor going around in book publishing that authors don’t need websites. I kid you not, in 2014 I still hear people saying authors don’t need a website. If it was a true rumor, many authors would exhale with relief. Who has the time to get a great website up, keep it updated with fresh content and still have coveted writing time? If you are an author, you may view getting your website up as a time-suck or annoyance, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need one. Authors without websites, your careers are like houses without foundations. Not convinced? Here are five reasons why you’ve got to get your author website up.

1. Your readers want to learn more about you.

In our digitally connected world, you can’t put your book out there in the world, but leave yourself in the shadows. Your readers want to know you. They want to know your interests and values, and they want to be able to converse with you online. Your website is the place where readers find out more about you and your expertise. Your website is where you build your brand and keep your content alive in real time. You should own your site. If your publisher owns your site, what happens if you decide to change publishers or decide to self-publish some day? As you develop a blog (which can be re-purposed content from your book) you can regularly reach out to your readers with content of value. Your website houses your content for your email newsletters. And if you want your blog to get more views, you want to be able to share it on Google+ (so it comes up in Google searches). Without a website, your blog is homeless.

2. You need a place to build your community.

As you collect email addresses of your interested readers (I call them your super fans) you are a creating a vetted community of people who are stepping forward and saying, “I am interested in you and what you have to say.” Your website is the ideal place to collect these names for your email newsletter. You are building community. While you can converse on social pages, your website is a home base where collecting emails and generating content meet. Your mailing list is a big asset, you should have control over it. Without a website, it would be difficult to collect email addresses on a consistent basis or have a home base for the content you send out in those emails.

3. You need a place for ecommerce.

If you want to sell other products or services, or that’s your plan down the road, no other social media platform (not Twitter, not Facebook, not Pinterest) can organize the products, books or services like you can organize them on your own website. You can integrate your website with shopping cart tools, add new products all the time and have them organized under a one-click navigation (i.e. under the word, Shop.) Better still, your website can include testimonials from your super fans, solidifying your brand, expertise and the products you offer.

4. Other social media platforms don’t cancel out the need for a website.

Your website is where you are in control. No one else can change the rules like they can on other social media sites. While some players in the publishing industry contend that you can use a social media site in place of having a website, I couldn’t disagree more. A website is where you call the shots. If you are only on social media sites, you are always playing another person’s game. Facebook or Twitter could change the user experience and you just have to follow along. For example, Facebook recently changed its model to more of a pay-to-play platform, so if you opted for a Facebook business page in lieu of your own website, you now have to play by Facebook’s rules. Do you want to be dependent upon Facebook’s algorithm or functionality of who sees your content? If you have a website, you get to decide what your audience sees. Your website and each social media platform are each totally different entities. Knowing your readers and where they spend their time will tell you what social pages you should sign-up for, but bottom line: You always need a website.

5. Why take a hit on your digital reputation when you can avoid it.

Ever hear the quote, “it’s not what you say, but sometimes what you don’t say that speaks the loudest?” Well, that applies to your website too. If your interested reader does a quick search for you and doesn’t find a website, are you okay with that says about you? Not having a website could be viewed as unprofessional, out-of-date, and not connected. Publishers who want you to be a marketing partner for your book, may see your lack of a website as a reason not to take you seriously as a writer. If you want to grow your brand and your business, you need to show up with a website.

Despite popular belief, your website doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated. You can keep it simple. WordPress is often recommended as a hosting platform because it’s author friendly, easy to use and easy for people to find (good search capabilities). Keep in mind one thing: It’s better not to have a website, than to have a bad one. If you have a website, make it good one.

Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. A nationally-recognized speaker and digital branding expert, Fauzia writes regularly for Huffington PostMariaShriver.com and MindBodyGreen. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke and Facebook. To talk with FSB and ask publicity questions about your book, please join us FSB on Twitter and Facebook.

Ask Yourself these 14 Questions to Expertly Market Your Book

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014
Market Your Book

Market Your Book

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s really never been a better time to be an author. There is a lot more competition than ever before, but there are also a lot more opportunities. For the first time in the history of publishing, authors have direct access to their readers. Our new world of direct access to readers requires authors to spend more time and effort to get the word out about their books, but with that investment there is great reward. Authors are building community, making a difference and finding great joy in the process.

I own a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors and I often hear from authors who feel overwhelmed with the process of building a brand or finding an audience. Social media has opened the door to a world of possibilities, so where to begin? If you are an author, here are 14 questions you can answer to market your book with expertise.

1. Who is my book for?

Answer this question on paper and a picture of your audience will begin to emerge. Once you can describe your audience, you will have a better understanding of where you can find them online.

2. Who do I want to help?

Think of the problems you want to help solve for your audience and share your knowledge. Create connections through online conversation. Offer value with solutions, ideas, resources or expertise.

3. What does my audience care about?

Don’t follow the next shiny object online; take time to consider what social media platforms make sense for your brand. Just because a social media platform exists or there’s an app for it, doesn’t mean you have to use it. Decide what sites and tools you will use to find and communicate with your audience. To avoid overwhelm, start with a website and one or two social media platforms. You don’t have to do everything all at once.

4. What’s my digital reputation?

Your name and reputation are at stake when you build your brand. You can get help with your social media efforts, but make sure you invest your own time to safeguard your brand. If you outsource some of your social media efforts, make sure all the messaging is consistent with who you are and your personal brand. Your brand is your reputation or story.

5. What’s my top goal for writing my book?

Identifying your goals for writing your book determines your priorities. Nonfiction writers are often driven to write a book to shed light on an untold story, help others with their expertise, build a business or acquire speaking engagements. What’s your top goal? Keep your top goal in mind to decide how to spend your time online.

6. What can I do today?

You don’t have to go viral to gain an audience. Sustained small efforts to keep people talking can be just as effective as a campaign that goes viral. Your ongoing conversation with your readers can result in speaking engagements, paid blog posts, interview opportunities, more fans on your Facebook page, more traffic on your site, increased sales, and a recognition and expansion of  your brand—Brand YOU. Think of what you can do daily to keep the conversation going

7. Does the content I share on my website or on social media entertain, enlighten, inform or educate?

If it doesn’t, don’t share it.

8. What’s my purpose?  

Your purpose for your book is your most meaningful goal as an author. Maybe you want to help people, make a difference, or offer solutions of value. Those goals have a deeper emotional hook than wanting to sell books. As author Seth Godin so aptly put it: “Build it and they will come” is only for the movies. Publicity won’t happen because you have a desire to sell books. Connecting to your more meaningful goals is how you can make things happen. Give value and you will receive value back.

9. Is my website about me and is it professional?

People follow people, not books. When you build your website, make it a website about you first and then your book. A professional website is the single most important step toward your digital marketing plan because it’s your home base. Make sure you update your content is current and you update it regularly. Make sure your site is linked to any other social media sites where you are active. If a person cares enough to come to your site, make sure their trip was worth the effort.

10. How much do I know about reader?

Do you know if your reader is male or female? Young or on the older side? What are the values of your reader? Education level? Where do you think your reader is online? What social media sites? The more you know about your reader, the easier it will be for you to find them online. When you know your reader well, it becomes easier to know what they want, provide content of value, and stay in your lane of expertise.

11. Am I investing in the relationship with my audience or community?

Assess today if you are truly investing in the relationship you have with your readers. Readers today expect more from authors than just a book. Readers want a relationship with writers. Are you invested in their interests? Do you answer their questions? If you help your audience, they will feel connected to you.

12. What is my dream for my book?

Determining your dream can fuel your motivation to dig in and build your brand for the long haul. Building your brand and marketing your book is a marathon and not a sprint.

Be on TV?

Become a columnist?

Speak at conferences?

Offer consulting services?

Sell movie rights to your book?

Other ________________!

 13. Does all the content I produce sound like me?

There is no competition for you. No matter how much you like how someone else’s brand or business, you won’t be effective if you try and be someone else. People will be drawn to you when you are authentic and relatable. Be uniquely you.

14. Am I super to my super fans?

If someone takes the time to sign up for your newsletter, that person is a super fan.  Treat your super fans as such! Communicate with your super fans by thinking of what you can content of value you can provide for them. When you keep the interests and needs of your community top of mind, you can’t go wrong with what you share.

While it will take work, enjoy today’s direct access relationship with your readers. As you build your audience, you will simultaneously create opportunity for you and your brand, while you make a difference in the lives of other people.

© 2014 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

 

Keep Going: 10 Digital Marketing Tips for Busy Authors

Thursday, September 18th, 2014
a journal or notebook

Digital Marketing Tips for Busy Authors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hopefully you’ve read Getting Started, my first 10 digital marketing tips for busy authors. This is wave two. Remember, the most effective marketing plan for your book is one that you work on continuously. I know it’s easy to get social media fatigue (or overwhelm) by thinking of all the possibilities of what you can do online … but just take it step by step. Soon you will have a process to market your book and build your brand as an author.

Here are ten more digital marketing tips for you.

1)  Connect to your purpose for writing your book.

As author Seth Godin so aptly put it: “Build it and they will come” is only for the movies. Publicity won’t happen because you have a desire to sell books. Your more meaningful goals will drive conversations and make things happen for you (other writing or publicity opportunities, speaking engagements, etc.) Goals like “I want to help people” or “I want to make a difference” are where you can find connection that resonates. Give value and that’s what you will receive. What is your most meaningful goal for writing your book? (Bonus: Reminding yourself of why you wrote your book can be just the motivation you need to sustain your marketing efforts.)

2) Google your name.

(It’s okay, we all do it!) Think of personal branding as your Google search results. Your brand is your reputation or story. Your brand is what people think of you, so stay on top of your brand. For example, if you see a negative comment on a blog post, respond positively and publicly. Don’t delete, use it as an opportunity to show others who you are.

3) Make your website about you.

People follow people, not books. When you build your website, make it a website about you first and then your book. And you really do need a website. Here’s why!

4) Craft your reader profile.

Answer the following questions about your readers to create your reader profile statement.

Is your reader male or female?

What other books/authors/magazines does he/she reads?

TV shows they watch?

What are some of the common values or traits of your ideal readership?

Does your audience have a problem, concern or frustration that your book seeks to solve?

What does your audience want?

What are the top three audiences for the book?

What do you consider the top competitive titles for your book?

Education level of your readers:

Do they need/want your book for pleasure or business?

Is your reader on social networks?

Which ones?

Once you have your reader profile statement, you will get a better sense of who your ideal audience is and where you can find them online.

5) Think about your reader.

What does your reader want? Use your reader profile to identify what your reader and audience wants. How can you serve your reader? What problem can you solve? What can you help with? Write down your answers to get a crystal clear picture of how you can meet your readers’ needs.

6) Create two-way relationships.

Today readers expect more from authors than a just their book. Readers want a relationship with writers. Assess today if you are truly investing in the relationship you have with your readers. Are you invested in their interests? Do you answer their questions? When the content you create helps your readers, they identify with your brand, and feel loyal and connected to you.

7) Be able to quickly describe your reader.

There is no everyone.com. Readers are part of micro-communities. They want good books, and they will support authors who will support their interests and passions. List five ways you can identify your reader. (What are your shared interests and passions?) When you know your reader front and back—it’s easy to know what they want, provide content of value, and stay in your lane of expertise.

8) Dream big.

What is your dream for writing your book?

o   Be on TV?

o   Become a columnist?

o   Speak at conferences?

o   Offer consulting services?

o   Sell movie rights to your book?

o   Other ________________!

Determining your dream can fuel your motivation to build your brand for the long haul. After all, seeing results from your brand is a marathon and not a sprint.

9)  Be You.

Don’t try and emulate anyone else or any other brand. A personal brand lets you carve out your niche. There is no competition for you. What makes your brand unique? List three things.

10) Keep the conversation going.

It’s perfectly normal to feel like your brand is a one-way street. You wonder if anyone other than your mother is reading your blog. Wait for it. Remember, your brand is like waiting for a newborn to smile. It doesn’t happen when you want it to, but when you are patient, it will happen. Keep the conversation going on a regular basis and don’t give up. View each day as an opportunity to do something.

Do you have any questions about marketing your book? Chime in below and let’s get the conversation going!

© 2014 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

Getting Started: 10 Digital Marketing Tips for Busy Authors

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014

Woman Laying on Couch with ComputerYou are an author. Your book is finished. Or you are still working away page by page. You wish your book would sell itself due to its sheer brilliance, but realistically, you know it’s going to take some leg work to market your book. You want to share your story and get your message out into the world, but with today’s endless list of social media sites and tools, you feel a little overwhelmed. You are faced with a myriad of choices and the one-word dilemma all of us share: time. How do you market your book and still have time to write?

If this sounds like you, you are not alone. It’s a common problem most authors face. Let me help you with 10 digital marketing tips.

1) Start now.

It’s never too early to start. Even if your book is in the idea phase, it’s not too early to start building your brand and finding your audience, because it takes time. Ask yourself: Who is your book for? Answer that question on paper and a picture of your audience will begin to emerge. Once you can describe your audience, you will have a better understanding of where you can find them online.

2) Invest often.

You will get as much out of your personal brand as you put into it. Think of who you want to help. Think of the problems you want to help solve for your audience and share your knowledge. Create connections through online conversation, always offering value with solutions, ideas, resources or expertise.

3) Decide what works for your audience.

Busy authors have to figure out the best options for publishing their book while simultaneously working on branding and marketing. Don’t follow the next shiny object online; take time to consider what social media platforms make sense for your brand. Just because a social media platform exists or there’s an app for it, doesn’t mean you have to use it. Decide what sites and tools you will use to find and communicate with your audience. To avoid overwhelm, start with a website and one or two social media platforms. You don’t have to do everything all at once.

4)  Identify your audience.

Answer these three questions:

  1. Why did you write your book?
  2. Who is your book for?
  3. What interests do you share with your audience?

Answer these three questions and you will be writing a description of your audience. You have to first know who your audience is before you can find them on social media.

4) Protect your good name. Monitor your digital reputation.

Your name and reputation are at stake when you build your brand. You can get help with your social media efforts, but make sure you invest your own time to safeguard your brand. If you outsource some of your social media efforts, make sure all the messaging is consistent with who you are and your personal brand.

6)  What are you goals for you book?

Identifying your goals for writing your book determines your priorities. Nonfiction writers are often driven to write a book to shed light on an untold story, help others with their expertise, build a business or acquire speaking engagements. What’s your top goal? Keep your top goal (or two) in mind to decide how to spend your time online.

7)  Determine your value proposition.

Who does your book help? Read your answer to this question often as it will give you the motivation to do the continuous work it takes to promote your book and build your brand.

8) Take time to read.

Readers make the best writers. Need a good book recommendation? I have 14!

9)  Know your small efforts count.

You don’t have to go viral to gain an audience. Sustained small efforts to keep people talking can be just as effective as a campaign that goes viral. Your ongoing conversation with your readers can result in speaking engagements, paid blog posts, interview opportunities, more fans on your Facebook page, more traffic on your site, increased sales, and a recognition and expansion of  your brand—Brand YOU. Think of what you can do daily to keep the conversation going.

10) Brand You.

All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc.Tom Peters. When you engage with your audience online ask yourself: Does it:

  • Entertain?
  • Enlighten?
  • Inform?
  • Educate? If it doesn’t, don’t share it.

If your true passion is writing, I know marketing can appear daunting. Take a day-by-day approach and realize every effort counts. As I tell many of my clients, sometimes waiting to see the rewards from your efforts is like waiting for a baby’s first smile. You just have to be patient, because your day will come.

© 2014 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

 

6 Tips for Designing Author Websites in 2012

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

By Fauzia Burke

In 1996, we launched our first ever website. It was for the NY Times bestselling author Sue Grafton. Not only was it an honor to design our first site for such an important author, but at the time it was such a big deal that the New York Times even wrote about it.

Today websites are common place and every author has a site. However, looking towards 2013 when forecasts predict that there will be 1.7 billion mobile internet users, authors need to make sure their sites are attracting the mobile and social readers.

Here are 6 tips for designing author websites in 2012

  1. All in the Name – Your website should be under your name. Even if you publish multiple books with multiple publishers, all of which have their own websites, you need a site in your name. You can link to all the other sites or better yet bring all the information under one umbrella site and redirect the other URLs to the new site. This is essential for a strong brand strategy.
  2. What the Heck is SEO – I know SEO (search engine optimization) is important but so is sounding like yourself. We live in a time where people expect authentic communication not marketing copy. I have seen sites that were so optimized for search engines, that they hardly read well. As an author, you need to make sure the text on your site reads well, represents your work, and sounds like you.
  3. To Blog or Not to Blog – I know most authors hate to be told that they need to blog. I even hate it. Who ever has the time? So my advice, don’t blog if you hate it. There I said it. You’re free, but… Yep there is a but. New blogs will bring traffic to your site from searches. If you don’t need or want unqualified search traffic, you can skip blogging. However, if you think people searching for vampires would be interested in your book, then you will have to write a few blogs about vampires to attract that traffic. Regardless of whether you blog or not, you should consider a site in WordPress as it makes it easy to update the site yourself.
  4. Mobile Friendly – More and more people are accessing sites on mobile devices so there are a few things to remember. If your site has Flash make sure you test it on different tablets and smart phones to make sure it is working well (Flash does not work on iPhones & iPads). It’s important to make navigation easy as people may be using fingers rather than their mouse to move around. Large graphics and dark colors are not ideal for mobile reading. On a positive note, most WordPress sites will display perfectly fine on mobile devices, making a mobile version unnecessary.
  5. Social Links – It’s important to have links to your social networks (which should also be in your name) and ways to share your site on social networks. Adding the Facebook and Twitter widgets to your home page might be a good idea as well because they display your recent posts. It’s an easy way to keep your site updated.
  6. Photos and Graphics – With sites like Pinterest gaining traction, try to add photos and graphics to your site. You can buy stock photos or better yet take them yourself.

Websites are a crucial link between you and your readers. It is the one place, the hub, of all your activities. Feel free to add extra content, reviews, maps, drawings, family tree, anything to connect with your readers in a personal way. Just remember you are dealing with a social and mobile reader, so plan accordingly.

If you are looking for ideas, check out our portfolio.

© 2012 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a publicity and website development firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors on the web. For web publicity and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke.


Steve Jobs Makes Me Better

Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

by Fauzia Burke

Steve Jobs stepped down as the CEO of Apple on Aug. 24, 2011, and if you read the news on Twitter first, then you also saw the millions of tweets thanking him and feeling sad at the news of his departure. Think about that for a minute: we, the people, were thanking the CEO of a company for making us better.

Most of us don’t even know the CEOs of companies, but we know Steve Jobs. We know him because he was always on our side. His decisions about design, beauty and elegance were not about technology; they were about us.

Apple makes great products, but I was not always a Mac fan. Actually, until 2007, I was a PC user. I just assumed that Macs were for those creative types, the artists and graphic designers and photographers and movie makers. I am a publicist and a small business owner. I figured I could do with a PC.

Our family’s love affair started with the iPod, of course. John, my husband and our home and company CIO, had bought several MP3 players and told our tween girls that they were the same as an iPod, just a lot cheaper. Of course, that was not going over well, so we bought them iPods. Those were the first Apple products in our home.

Upon seeing the elegance of the design, both John and I got iPods, as well. Then John bought a Mac Mini for the home to test it out in June 2007. We thought our girls would enjoy the music, photo and movie programs. Not only did they enjoy them, but we loved them, as well.

In fall 2007, John then bought himself a MacBook Pro, and for our daughter’s 13th birthday we got her a MacBook (we owe our current Mac devotion to her love of Apple products). After seeing John’s laptop, I, of course, had Mac envy and wanted a MacBook Pro for myself.

Now our home was almost totally powered by Mac computers, and we were loving them. The programs and templates allowed me to do my best work. The laptops were effortless. Gone were the days of my laptops overheating (yes I am talking to you, HP) or freezing for no reason (that’s you, Microsoft). I could already feel that this laptop was about me. It just worked.

In our Web design department at FSB (our firm), we moved to Macs in the office. Now the Macs had started moving into the office, as well. We were switching our website development to Dreamweaver and did not want to buy the expensive program for PC, so in came the Macs. They were, of course, a big hit.

In the meantime, one of our publicists’ computer crashed from a virus (remember the blue screen of death?). By this point, John was frustrated by how much tech support was needed by the PCs and decided to get her a Mac Mini. This required our company to change our software needs, which were PC based, so we developed an awesome database that was Web-based. Now we were platform-agnostic and could work from anywhere. Fabulous!

By 2008 the entire FSB office was converted to Macs. Everyone loved them and felt that they were so much easier to work with. None of us was thinking about how to work with our computer. We were just doing our work, and the Macs were just working. It was all about us.

Then there is the classic story of getting our first iPhones. John really wanted one, but I figured a phone is a phone, and I did not care. But he convinced me that it would be a great anniversary present for each other. I rolled my eyes but went along with it. So on our wedding anniversary, we were standing in line at a Mac store waiting to buy our iPhones. I rolled my eyes and told him he owed me. Then we got the iPhones, and 24 hours later I was converted and was found saying, “You can take my iPhone from my cold, dead fingers.”

There was no turning back. We were Mac devotees. Yesterday I started to count how many Apple products we own, and I lost the count at 30. Our home and our office are completely powered by Apple products, and we could not be happier.

As a small business and a tech-savvy family, our Apple products have made our lives better. We do our best work on our Apple hardware and software. The Macs in the office, including the server, have saved us money and hours of frustration in tech support.

Like millions of others whose lives have been made better by your products, we, as a family and a business, thank you, Steve Jobs, for improving our family life, saving us money in our small business and giving us the tools to do our best work. We all wish you the best of health and continued success.

It Takes a Village to Promote a Book

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

by Fauzia Burke

“Markets are conversations,” said the authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto and it is still the number one thesis on their Web site. Social media allows you to have those conversations. When I wrote a Blog on Huffington Post called “It’s 2010: You Really Need to be on Facebook”, I was shocked by the response. In fact, Donna Fenn, author of Upstarts wrote on her Bnet blog that judging by the response, you’d think that I had asked people to walk around naked. It is surprising that anyone could still deny the benefits of social media for marketing.

Today’s marketing is truly about conversations. So if you are going to spend the time and money marketing a product or service, you should think “will this start, maintain, or enhance the conversation?” Will this get people talking, will they take it to their twitter feeds and Facebook pages? Will they forward, post, or retweet this?

I have found that it is seldom that one big hit that results in conversations. You need a lot of attention, some big, some small, all moving the conversation forward. If you compare hits to the old formula that big is best, then the smaller blogs have little impact. But if your goal is to truly broaden the scope of the discussion, you need lots of people talking on lots of different Web sites and blogs.

Even a feature on Web sites like CNN.com or Oprah.com does not guarantee instant increases to your Web site traffic or book sales. In fact, these days even a Today Show appearance is no guarantee. However, I believe a sustained effort to keep people talking results in speaking engagements, paid blog posts (yes there is such a thing), interview opportunities, more fans on your Facebook page, more traffic on your site, increased sales, and a recognition and expansion of “brand YOU.”

Selling books is almost always the first goal of every author, however if you chat with them a bit they’ll say things like, “I want to help people,” “I know my book will make a difference,” “I want to make sure people know what is really going on,” “I want to make people laugh,” “I want to entertain my readers” or “I envision a world where people love what they do and if they read my book they would.” I often take on projects based on these secondary goals, the goals that speak to the truth of the person and the importance of the book. These are the goals that are worth talking about.

As a marketer, I can’t ever get people to talk about the author’s first goal. Not once has a reviewer said, “Please buy this book because the author would like to have a bestseller.” However, those secondary goals have always started conversations and sparked interests and led to interviews and discussions.

Many of the bloggers we work with post their reviews on multiple blogs and Web sites like Twitter, Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, Ning, Library Thing, Facebook, and more, all of which increase the search visibility of the book and author. In that way, those reviews or features are all fluid and viral. They do not stay where they are created. They often take flight and have a much broader life than just the traffic on their own blogs.

Search results, conversations and virality are most important in today’s connected market place, and they are achieved by a broad spectrum of coverage, not just the sites that get the most hits.

So as of today, think about the real reason you wrote the book, the reason why only you could have written it, think about those secondary goals, and then get on with the business of starting conversations.

What do you think it takes to promote a book these days? Please share your comments. Thanks.

12 Social Media Tools for Publicity

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

by Fauzia Burke

The explosion of social media in the last few years has brought with it a whole slew of social media applications and tools designed to help publicists deliver and monitor better results. As I have written before, I think social media has been a huge help for publicity. However, choosing the tools is important in helping you save time and be effective. I’ve compiled a list of 12 tools that lighten the social media workload at FSB, and I hope you find them helpful as well.

Blog Searches:

Blogpulse: You can search for a URL, name or topic. I think it gives good results for a given topic, even though I’m not always crazy about the results. However, every now and then I find things here that are missed by Google or Google alerts.

Google Blog Search: This is the most thorough blog searching tool around. You can find blogs for any topic.

Technorati: This is a great site of blogs by topic and ranking. Very helpful.

Digital Presence Assessment and Management:

Addictomatic: This site is very helpful in gauging a digital footprint as it searches the web for latest news, blog posts, videos and images. A cool element is that you can customize the dashboard by simply dragging the boxes around.

Hootsuite: We use Hootsuite in the office and even pay for the pro version. I think it is an excellent program that we find more reliable than Tweetdeck. You can manage several accounts and schedule posts for Twitter and Facebook.

How Socialable: This site gives you an evaluation of your brand’s visibility. It’s not great for personal brands, but a good tool for big brands, like your company.

Klout: One of the most popular Twitter popularity tools, Klout measures influence rather than just followers.

Social Mention: This site allows you to search an author, company or topic across the Web. You can get results from 100 social media sites in one place. My favorite part is that it gives you sentiment (positive, neutral or negative) of the mentions all over the Web, along with top keywords and top hashtags. It’s handy.

TweetReach: This is one of my favorite sites. It allows you to search a topic, author, handle or name and see how many people were reached by those Tweets. You can also see who sent the Tweets and how many followers they have. Very helpful for publicists looking for influencers.

TwitterCounter: I love this site. It allows you to see the Twitter stats for any handle. You can see if the trend is for gaining followers or losing them. Also shows you how many Tweets are made everyday by any handle. Good for research and for monitoring the success of your company feeds.

Topic Search:

Google Trends: If you are working on a news topic, this is an excellent source as it gives you insights into the traffic and geographic visit patterns.

Twazzup: This site allows you to filter news from live Twitter content. It’s good to see trending topics and influencers for a given subject. Better for topic than an author’s name.

Having a social media platform for communicating is extremely important for the success of your publicity campaigns. The majority of the tools presented in this list can make communicating your messages on target and easy to manage/track. I invite you to choose the ones that help make your social media experience more productive and better still, enjoyable. Do you have a favorite tool not on this list?

For the latest on web publicity, social media news, and personal branding, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke.