Posts Tagged ‘networking’

Books to Make the Best of Your Workplace

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

Labor Day signals the end of summer for most Americans which means it’s time to get back to business. The kids are in school and hopefully you’ve had enough time to recoup from family outings and vacation getaways to get your game face on. Done with rotating summer schedules and shorter hours, the office is a full house which means a lot of catching up with co-workers, swapping anecdotes from your holidays, and gearing up with team members to plan upcoming projects.

While we would all like to imagine the office as sunny as a trip to Montego Bay, the truth is, the typical work environment just isn’t so. In fact, sometimes the office can be downright stormy with torrential misunderstandings, high pressure competition, and raging rivals.

New books on our shelves this month focus on weakening those nasty office climates and alerting of any bad weather on the horizon. Whether you’re a leader, follower, or someone in between, the titles found below hold tremendous value as resources for creating and maintaining a company and office culture that’ll stretch those blue skies from your vacation right into your work.

The 11 Laws of Likability: Relationship Networking…Because People Do Busines with People They Like by Michelle Tillis Lederman

We all know that networking is important for success, but the networking tactics we read about take a lot of work — and can feel so phony! Wouldn’t it be great if you could network in a more relaxed, authentic way?

The 11 Laws of Likability reveals a painless new way to network that’s based on one simple truth: People do business with people they like. In this empowering book, you’ll learn how to identify and accentuate your most likable characteristics, and also how to:

  • Start conversations and keep them going with ease
  • Avoid coming across as manipulative or self-serving
  • Convert acquaintances into friends
  • Tweak your own personal style to enable engaging interactions with different kinds of people
  • Stay in others’ minds long after your initial meeting
  • And more.

Featuring real-life scenarios and packed with activities and self-assessment quizzes, this powerful yet down-to-earth book will help bring to light all of your natural likability — and give you easy, comfortable methods for creating honest, enjoyable interactions that become “wins” for you and for all parties involved.

Forming relationships is the foundation of success. And once you discover “The 11 Laws of Likability,” your road to success in any field will be faster and more enjoyable than you ever imagined.

The 11 Laws of Likability: Relationship Networking…Because People Do Busines with People They Like from Amacom is available in print and digital format from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Five Percent: Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts by Dr. Peter T. Coleman

ONE IN EVERY TWENTY DIFFICULT CONFLICTS ends up not in a calm reconciliation or tolerable standoff but as an acute lasting antagonism. Such conflicts — the five percent — can be found among the diplomatic and political clashes we read about every day in the newspaper but also, and in a no less damaging and dangerous form, in our private and personal lives, within families, in work-places, and among neighbors. These self-perpetuating conflicts resist mediation, defy conventional wisdom, and drag on and on, worsening over time. Once we get pulled in, it is nearly impossible to escape. The five percent rules us.

So what can we do when we find ourselves ensnared? According to Dr. Peter T. Coleman, to contend with this destructive species of conflict we must understand the invisible dynamics at work. Coleman has extensively researched the essence of conflict in his “Intractable Conflict Lab,” the first research facility devoted to the study of polarizing conversations and seemingly unresolveable disagreements. Informed by lessons drawn from practical experience, advances in complexity theory, and the psychological and social currents that drive conflicts both international and domestic, Coleman offers innovative new strategies for dealing with disputes of all types, ranging from abortion debates to the enmity between Israelis and Palestinians.

A timely, paradigm-shifting look at conflict, The Five Percent is an invaluable guide to preventing even the most fractious negotiations from foundering.

The Five Percent: Finding Solutions to Seemingly Impossible Conflicts from Public Affairs – Perseus is available in print and digital format from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

The Big Enough Company: Creating a Business That Works for You by Adelaide Lancaster and Amy Abrams

A guide to building a business you enjoy running without caving under the pressure to grow.

After initially launching their company, small-business owners are bombarded with a flurry of “advice” on how to grow fast, be more profitable, and imitate other successful start-ups. While these tips may work for some people, they fail to consider the astounding variety of needs, motivations, and goals that each entrepreneur has for starting her business.

Entrepreneurs Abrams and Lancaster explore how to grow an enterprise that is not only successful but also sustains the owner’s personal goals and needs-in terms of size, culture, and level of involvement. Drawing on their experience as well as on interviews with more than one hundred successful women business owners, Abrams and Lancaster guide readers through the principles that matter most when you work for yourself.

More a supportive guide than a list of dos and don’ts, this book empowers entrepreneurs to ignore popular “wisdom” and peer pressure and take charge of their businesses in a way that will help them succeed on their own terms.

The Big Enough Company: Creating a Business That Works for You from Portfolio Hardcover is available in print and digital format from Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Publishers Looking to Amplify eBook Marketing

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Our new Amplify e-book marketing program is off to a running start. Publishers are realizing that e-book publicity is going to have to play by different rules than those traditionally found in paper book campaigns. Why? Walk into a bookstore and you’re practically tripping over new releases placed strategically on tables and shelves for all to see.  E-books on the other hand aren’t availed the same service online where millions of titles vie for attention.  The hit-and-run campaigns publishers are used to are short-term events for paper books that won’t cut it with e-books and now with brick-and-mortar booksellers against the ropes, book publicity faces a whole new challenge and importance.

FSB’s Amplify marketing program focuses on turning a short-term event into an extended engagement that increases a book and author’s online visibility. By grouping similar e-books together and promoting them over a six month period, campaigns are amped by boosting their volume, duration, and networking communities. Early adopters of the Amplify program are spearheading the online book publicity movement and among them are publishers such as F&W Media, TOR BooksVanguard Press (Perseus), and Reader’s Digest Trade Publishing.

F&W Media is currently featuring a line of crime novels under the brand, F&W Crime, whose titles seen below are a good example of what makes up a typical Amplify program lineup. By promoting individual books as part of a whole, each title benefits from the support of other titles, the publisher, and FSB’s 16 years of experience, personal relationships with online media outlets, and a far-reaching social media network that includes a team of Twitter support.

Screams & Whispers by Randall Peffer

Young Cape Cod public defender and commercial fisherman Michael Decastro ventures to Saigon with his father to come to the aid of his long-lost client and love-interest Tuki Aparecio, who is in a fight of her life with a mysterious dragon lady from Indochina’s underworld. Screams & Whispers from FW Crime is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Untouchable by Scott O’Connor

A year has passed since Lucy Darby’s unexpected death, leaving her husband David and son Whitley to mend the gaping hole in their lives. The Kid hasn’t spoken since his mother’s death, and only communicates through a collection of notebooks. Untouchable from FW Crime is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

County Line by Bill Cameron

When the steadfast Ruby Jane Whittaker drops out of sight, dogged ex-cop Skin Kadash sets out to discover what drove the woman he loves to leave her life behind. Skin and Peter cross the country on a desperate journey deep into Ruby Jane’s haunted past — and toward an explosive confrontation. County Line from FW Crime is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Liquid Smoke by Jeff Shelby

Private eye Noah Braddock has found peace in his relationship with Detective Liz Santangelo and has called a tentative truce with his alcoholic mother, Carolina. So when lawyer Darcy Gill demands that he look into a death row case, he’s more interested in catching some waves. Darcy then plays her trump card: the man scheduled to die is the father Noah never knew. Liquid Smoke from FW Crime is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Twitter Tip: How to Organize with Lists

Friday, August 5th, 2011

by Ken Ishii

It’s no secret that online social networking is an efficient way to spread news fast and far. Great news for authors. And among social networks out there, Twitter has proven itself a powerful vehicle able to drive users to both familiar and new communities with little effort.

If you don’t have one yet, you should really open a Twitter account quickly before you lose a golden username to someone too quick to the draw. Already a member? Then you’ll most likely enjoy how useful Twitter lists can be.

If you’re familiar with the ins and outs of Twitter, then you probably maintain a regular stream of tweets, amassed a robust network of like-minded users, and made a habit out of lending a hand by retweeting others. With that, you probably realized how hard it is to keep track of users that relentlessly enter your network.

Like any social gathering, you’ll always find a few folks that seem to linger in the spotlight a bit too long. Twitter being no exception, you’re bound to be surrounded by virtual soapbox speakers unless you manage your tweet listening skills. So how does one handle those overly-ambitious users that drown your Twitter fellows into oblivion? You could just stop following the post-happy users altogether, but then you’ll be burning a bridge you might need to cross when time comes to promote your work. A less antagonistic approach would be to simply avert your attention away from the noisemakers. Creating lists offers a friendly solution that won’t cause tears when users find out who stopped following them on Twitter. With Twitter lists, those chatterboxes can keep their seats at the party, but you’ll get to choose which table to join.

So let’s get started. To make your own lists, visit and log in to your Twitter account. You say you rather use Hootsuite? We do too, but we’ll get to that right after this.

After logging in, you’ll be taken to your Home screen. Right above the news stream on the left are several tabs including one labeled, “Lists.” Click it, and a drop-down menu will appear where the option, “Create a list,” can be found. Think about all the categories you’ll want to get updates from regularly and then decide how many lists you want to create. Again, it might help to imagine a party with tables of different groups.

I need to throw a bit of caution out there when creating lists. With public lists, the list name, description, and users you add to the list will be visible to everyone on Twitter. You can specify lists as private to keep them hidden from other users, but keep in mind, lists make great sharing resources that others might find helpful.

Next you’ll need to add people to your lists. Search for new or familiar Twitter users and find the drop-down menu on his or her profile to add them to a list.

You can add a user to more than one list if you wish or you can create a new list right on the spot if you think of any new categories.

Over time, users might find social media management tools such as Hootsuite necessary to organize and enhance their networking experience. If you’re one of these people, you’ll be relieved to know that you don’t have to go to the main Twitter site to put together a list. There are several ways to create a list on Hootsuite. The method I like is to simply click the “Add Stream” button in the upper left-hand corner just below the tabs.

In the window that pops up, click on the Lists tab to reveal the required entry fields. If you have multiple Twitter accounts, select the profile you want your new list assigned to. On the third line, click the “Create a new list” option and then name your list. Select whether you want to make your list public or private, click “Create Stream,” and you’re done!

If you already have a list created or subscribe to a list you want to add new users to, just click on the user’s Twitter profile picture and click on the “Add To List” button in the profile box that appears. Next, select the list you want to add the user to from the drop-down menu and, within seconds, the user’s tweets will be included in the stream of messages filtered by the list.

With lists in place, Twitter comes alive with customized channels you can surf to find whatever suits your mood. You can create lists consisting of general news outlets, industry experts, valuable followers, competitors, family members, friends, favorite stores, or find other creative uses for lists to enhance your tweeting experience. If you’re looking for pre-made lists or recommended Twitter users, you can browse a Twitter list directory to save you some legwork or even get yourself on a public list.

Don’t feel like you need lists right now? Maybe it’s time to go and follow more tweeps? You can start with our FSB home team on Twitter!

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.

8 Ways to Develop Better Relationships with Bloggers

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

By Fauzia Burke

When authors come to me and say, “I want to reach book bloggers or mommy bloggers,” I often have to tell them that bloggers have very specific tastes. More specific than you probably realize. For example, when reaching out to mommy bloggers, it is really important to know the age of their kids. Pitching a YA novel to a mommy blogger with a baby won’t get you far. Pitching a Sci-Fi novel to a blogger that loves historical romance won’t work either. Sending a WWII book to a blogger that covers the Civil War will make for a cranky blogger, and sending a press release to the wrong person may actually get you blacklisted.

So here are some tips to help you develop better relationships with bloggers.

Know Their Beat

The best piece of advice to any publicist trying to build a relationship with bloggers is to build it through mutual respect, trust, and consistency. Make sure you know the blogger’s focus and area of interest.

Search For Blogs

If you are looking for bloggers, try AlltopTechnorati, or Google Blogsearch. Another interesting but time-consuming site is called Listorious; it helps you search for people and lists on Twitter.

At FSB, we have also set up a directory where book bloggers are listed by category. Each book blogger has registered and submitted the information themselves and others are welcome to join the blogger directory. The directory is available for free to everyone – bloggers and publicists alike.

Value of Bloggers

It’s good to know the traffic of blogs, but don’t dismiss bloggers with less traffic. It is important to look at the “full reach” of a blogger. Sometimes blog features from smaller blogs can generate more chatter on social networks. It’s a good idea to follow them on Twitter and “Like” them on Facebook to check out their social networks. Some bloggers post reviews on multiple sites so they can be more valuable for that reason alone. Remember also, that placements on niche sites (with less traffic) can sometimes be more effective than placements on a large general interest site.

There isn’t a consistent way to get traffic information for every type of blog. However, here are a few tips: You can always see the number of people that are subscribed to an RSS feed (usually listed on each blog web site); another way is to use a web tool like Compete or Alexa, but unfortunately these tools don’t keep traffic for all blogs; and lastly you could always check out a blog’s advertising info or media kit.

Make Things Easier

Understanding the needs of bloggers will help you work with them. Make note of the type of coverage they have. Do they like to interview authors, review books, do raffles or post guest blogs? Then make sure you send them the materials they need in a timely fashion.

Because bloggers need quality content often, we have set up a web site just for bloggers called FSB Media. Bloggers can request review copies plus “grab” quality content from published authors. We make sure we have permission already in place so bloggers can feature the content on their site with ease.

Approach Bloggers One At A Time

Every time I say that, people either roll their eyes in disbelief or try to sell me on the benefits of mail merge. Here’s the honest truth: you are better off reaching out to 50 bloggers one at a time than 500 via mail merge. You’ll actually get better results. Is it time consuming and labor intensive? You bet. Is it worth it? Yes!

Don’t Push

Without follow-up nothing will come of your pitching, so you need to find time to follow up and develop skills in asking without being pushy or rude. Every good publicist needs to master the delicate art of begging.

Represent Good Content

Don’t send out press releases, articles, or op-eds that are not written well. Make sure the content that leaves your hands always looks professional and does not have spelling or grammatical mistakes.

There are a few endorsements from bloggers on our site, and I read them as market research for this piece. Many of them noted that being consistent and professional is important to them.

Perfect Your Publicity Database

All of these tips are good and fine, but unless you make some changes to your contact database, these tips will be difficult to implement. At FSB, we have several fields in our custom-designed database that help us develop relationships with bloggers.  We record when the contact was added, by whom, and any notes about their likes and dislikes. We also keep track of all the books sent to every blogger and which ones featured our books. This practice allows us to learn more about the blogger with every interaction and only send them the books he/she would be inclined to cover.

I hope these tips help you develop better long-term relationships with bloggers. A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog on The Huffington Post called Book Bloggers Rock! where I thanked them for their hard work and dedication to books and authors. I stand by that idea and encourage publicists and publishers to change internal publicity systems to develop an ongoing dialogue and relationship with bloggers.

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

FSB Associates at Book Expo America 2011

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

To celebrate 16 years of online publicity business, FSB founder and President, Fauzia Burke, has taken the company to the Javits Center in New York City to officially debut at this year’s BookExpo America 2011. Being a recognized vendor at BEA is a big deal for FSB as it allows the company to better inform the public about its services and how they fit into the ever-changing publishing world which is right now abuzz with digital technologies. The online component of book publicity has become an integral process of today’s successful branding and marketing campaigns and FSB is proud to be at the forefront of this movement. See Fauzia’s BEA digital marketing presentation online if you missed it at the show. You can also hear her discuss these trends in a special podcast presented by BEA.

Each day at the FSB Associates booth a different set of members from FSB’s team along with Fauzia and Vice President John Burke will be greeting attendees with an in-depth presentation on the latest trends in book publicity and personal branding. Keeping with the digital theme, the company’s social publicity brochure and valuable resources are presented on USB flash drives for participants to take with them for later reference. There’s even an Amazon Kindle up for grabs for those that enter FSB’s giveaway.

Midway through BEA, there have already been tons of celebrity sightings and friendly exchanges with the big movers and shakers that make the publishing world go round. The photos below capture a taste of the fun and excitement FSB has experienced so far. Catch more up-to-date happenings on our Facebook page and Twitter feed. Or better yet, come to booth #4304 and visit us in person if you’re in town!

Whether you attend or not, make sure to visit BookExpo America’s web site for information on the large number of programs and events taking place.

BookExpo America (BEA) is North America’s largest gathering of book trade professionals attracting an international audience. It is organized with the support of association partners including the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the American Booksellers Association (ABA).  BEA is recognized for the media attention it brings to upcoming books as well as for the notable authors it attracts to the convention itself.

The Six Elements of Digital Marketing Success for Authors

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

by Fauzia Burke

There are six essential elements for successful digital marketing and when used together they make for a powerful combination. Each element is important on its own, but when you use all six together you will see a strategy that is effective, scalable and long term.

  • Website — A professional website is the single most important step towards your digital marketing plan. Your website is your homebase, so make sure it is updated regularly and is current. Use your site as a platform for all other activities. Post your blog and photos along with links to your social networks. Always remember your audience when developing content. If a person cares enough to come to your site, you need to make sure their trip was worth the effort.
  • eNewsletter — email is still the most powerful digital tool. Every single author should have an enewsletter. You should collect as many email addresses of your readers as you can. Overtime email addresses of your readers will be a huge asset. You can communicate with your readers through a regular enewsletter sent either once a month or once every 3 months. Just keep those lines of communication open.
  • Blog — A blog is the best way to share your expertise and drive traffic to your site. Use your blog on your own website along with posting it on an important high-traffic website as a guest post. Everyone needs content, and it never hurts to ask a popular blog if they want to run your blog post. Blogs don’t have to be long, 500-700 words tend to be the most popular lengths.
  • Facebook — Every author should have a Facebook fan page so they can socialize and communicate with their readers. It’s an important element of digital marketing and honestly at 520 million people, you can’t afford to ignore it. Along with being a great place to build community, Facebook fan pages also offer Insights a great tool for monitoring your audience and your interactions.
  • Video — There is not a better or easier way to show your passion and personality than video. It can be fun content for your Facebook fan page, your blog, and your website. Remember to post it on YouTube as well.
  • Twitter — I know many authors are intimidated by Twitter, but it’s a fabulous way to share resources and develop a following. I find Twitter to be an incredible tool for listening and for doing market research. You can listen to your readers, find out what other people are doing and saying, and build a relationship with current and future readers.

If you chose not to participate in digital marketing and social media, you are only hurting yourself and your readers. There are millions of people on social networks; they don’t miss you, but you are missing out if you ignore them.

Digital marketing is a wonderful way to connect with people who care about your work. Just remember that all six elements of digital marketing working together will produce the best results. There are no short cuts here, but it is all well worth the investment of time and attention.

Personal Branding Advice for Authors

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

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.

Credibility — 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 billion 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.

Twitter Tools for Tweeting

Monday, April 25th, 2011

by Ken Ishii

If you made the big step into the microblogging world of Twitter, then you deserve a good pat on the back.  News of Twitter’s utility as an information speedway during international crises and the platform’s ability to ignite publicity wildfire have made headlines worldwide.  It’s quite obvious that you’ve added an incredibly versatile and powerful instrument to your PR arsenal.

So your account is set. You uploaded your favorite profile picture, crafted a sharp bio, splashed your background with eye-catching graphics, added like-minded users to your following list, and even posted fully-loaded tweets complete with searchable hashtags, user handles, and shortened urls that link to your web site or blog. Well done.

By now you might have realized that Twitter, while fascinating, is a voracious time gobbler. Rummaging through streams of countless updates from your news stable and scrambling to respond to every retweet, reply, mention, greeting, and inquiry, you might notice the day pass before you even get to your direct message inbox. Add to this the chore of finding new people to add to your community and you’ll probably begin to wonder if your toe-dip into the social media pool hasn’t suddenly pulled you in above your head.

Fortunately for us, a bevy of tools has surfaced over the past couple of years to help cut down your maintenance time so you can get down to the business of perfecting that complex craft of writing catchy 140-character-confined copy.

Hootsuite

I’m putting our favorite one first. By far, if there’s one tool that will have the biggest impact on your social media productivity, control, and insight it would be an online brand management system. While there are a few on the market, we prefer Hootsuite because of its ease of use, features, and lack of software to install on your computer.

The free version of Hootsuite offers more than enough for most users out there. Hootsuite has an interface that puts you in full control of your account. The dashboard is made up of customizable columns that can display a variety of information streams such as your home feed, lists, trends, mentions, direct messages, retweets, schedules and more without having to change pages on the screen. There’s even an analytics tool to see how people are reacting to your tweets.

This tool is highly recommended. It has a slight learning curve, but there are instructional videos and official Hootsuite help topics to guide you.

Twitter Search

While Twitter and Hootsuite both have search boxes and allow for some basic filtering, you’ll need a tool like Twitter Search to add precision to your searches. Click on the advanced search button to start targeting your search with filtering options that include words, people, places, dates, sentiment, and more.

Twittonary

With only 140 characters to convey thoughts into meaningful tweets, you’ll find users exercising some creative messaging.  The use of established acronyms and abbreviations, as a result, could come off as cryptic to the uninitiated. Twitter glossaries and dictionaries make it easy to decipher codes you run into as well as help you apply Twitter speak to your own messages.

Twellow

Finding the right people among the millions of users is no easy task. Thankfully the online world works much like the physical one. If you were looking for a doctor, plumber, or caterer in the real world, asking around on the streets probably won’t get you very far. You might, instead, look to your local Yellow Pages. Twello works the same way but for Twitter. Find users by category, area, or name just like you would with a phone book.

TweetStats

TweetStats acts like your Twitter account’s personal assistant. This Twitter statistics application will feed you information about your Twitter activity without judgement. Just the facts on the frequency of your messages by time, day, month, and year. Tweetstats can also tell you what your popular keywords are and the amount of time you spend engaging with other users.

Klout

At some point you may be interested in knowing how effective you are on Twitter. While Hootsuite and Tweetstats metrics can help you gain insight into your Twitter activity, a service like Klout will give you a Twitter assessment that will help you decide whether your social networking approach is working or not. Using a proprietary scale, Klout will compute a score based on your activity and networking that you can brag to your friends about or work on to bring up to par. Other assessment services exist, but Klout, for now, is the most widely used.

Friend or Follow

There are many reasons why your followers/following lists are important. Mainly, your concerns should be that your networks can become indicators of who you are to potential new followers and that a Twitter restriction on the number of followers in your allowance may prevent you from adding new people to your network if you let spammers in. Friend Or Follow is a useful tool that allows you to see the relationships between you and those you follow and those that follow you so that you know precisely what kind of users make up your community.

A little poking around online will lead you to a wide variety of Twitter tools and services aimed at enriching your tweeting experience. Since new products are always being added to the marketplace, it’s a good idea to ask around before spending too much time on any one application.