Posts Tagged ‘PR’

10 Skills to Thrive in PR Learned from Reality TV

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

I have a confession to make. My guilty pleasure is reality competition shows like Project Runaway, Top Chef and Amazing Race. I know I am not alone because all these shows have seen years of success and ratings. Recently, I thought working in PR is a lot like being a candidate in a reality competition: same pressures, same deadlines, same high expectations. I also noticed that there are some common skills between the candidates who do well in these shows and the ones who are successful in PR.

Here’s my take on the skills you need to be successful in PR and reality TV:

1. Be open to new ideas — Be a constant student and be open to discovering new ways of doing things. PR is always evolving and you should be too.

2. Initiative — Do more than what was asked of you. Not only will your initiative be appreciated by colleagues and clients, you will be setting a leadership example for those around you.

3. Teamwork — If you are a team player, you probably have the right attitude. You can’t be a component of a team if your only focus is to grab the limelight for yourself. Instead, be a team player by talking less, listening more and encouraging each member of your team to play up their strengths.

4. Time management — If you are late to work, late to a meeting or late with a project, you are saying a few things about yourself that are unfavorable. For one, you are saying you aren’t personally accountable or reliable and that’s not good. Two, you are saying that you don’t respect someone else’s time, also not good. Meeting deadlines is ultimately an issue of respect and trust — two things that are essential in PR.

5. Respect for others — Respect other people’s thoughts, ideas, insights and feedback and they, in turn, will respect yours.

6. Humility – Humility makes you likable and that’s helpful in any work environment. Remember PR is like fashion, “one day you’re in and the next day you’re out.”

7. Resilience – Resilience is all about sailing through the highs and the lows with a clear head and the ability to learn quickly from missteps. PR is full of highs and lows and there is nothing you can do to control that, but you can develop an attitude of resilience to get through the rough days. A healthy dose of optimism doesn’t hurt either.

8. Organization – You can’t survive in PR if you are not organized. A good rule to follow is to plan your next day before the current day ends. Tackle big priorities early in the day. Write everything down — on your electronic calendar or in a planner. Stay on top of everything. Best way to deal with the stress of PR is to stay organized. Here’s a blog I wrote that might help too: PR is Stressful, But You Don’t Have to be a Stress Monster.

9. Hard work – You can’t be a stranger to hard work if you want to work in PR. Roll up your sleeves and dive in. View each day as a blank slate and work as hard as you can — even on the days you don’t feel like it.

10. Curiosity — A curious mind indicates that you have a healthy attitude and the ability to incorporate new ideas — even when they are not your own.

A select few reality TV Shows aren’t without merit, but don’t tell my husband or he’ll roll his eyes at you too. Next time you watch a reality competition show, notice the traits of the best candidates. They may be more helpful than you thought in predicting your success in PR.

© 2012 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 digital publicity and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke.

PR Is Stressful, But You Don’t Have to be a Stress Monster

Monday, August 27th, 2012

I have seen PR people stressed out, screaming, sending emails in all caps, and worse. A new study puts public relations as number seven on the top 10 most stressful professions. As a public relations executive, of course I have days that are stressful, but I don’t think that has to make the entire profession stressful. Some of our industry’s drama may be self-induced. According to a recent article by Rob Biesenbach, some people take a “perverse pride in how stressed out they are,” as if people think their level of stress determines their importance — or the importance of their careers. It doesn’t have to be that way. I love my job. I know it’s important. I find joy in doing it well . . . but unless I am risking my life or the lives of others, my job cannot be that stressful.

If you want to move away from stressed out mode and alleviate some of the stress from your PR job, try incorporating some of these strategies.

Plan Ahead

Lack of planning or not anticipating the needs of reporters — especially tight deadlines — can turn into an emergency. Communicate often with your clients, and then communicate more. Understand publishing cycles, and prepare ahead of time by having client quotes ready. Get graphics and other media converted in all formats so you don’t lose an opportunity because of delay. Confirm the clients schedule so you can reach them quickly. Make sure all contact information is in a central place so others can step in and help if you can’t be immediately reached.

Realize publicity is not advertising

You are not paying a media outlet to promote your product or client. Basically, you are begging them to work on a story idea with you. If your story idea is good and you have targeted the right person, the chances are good that you can get a placement. If a reporter is not interested, has recently covered a similar story or her editor has chosen to go in another direction, there may not be much you can do. That is the reality of PR. Our clients pay us for our time, our expertise in knowing which stories have legs and our contacts. Unfortunately, this can make for the perfect recipe of miscommunication. If you can communicate honestly with your clients, things will be less stressful. Don’t over-promise. Even if your BFF is the producer for The Daily Show, you can’t guarantee an appearance for your client. Set reasonable expectations so your client is not disappointed.

Touch base often

Regular updates and reports keep everyone on the same page. If you are honest with your clients, they’ll respect your efforts. I tell my staff that communicating when things are not going as expected is critically important. Recruit your clients to help when things are falling flat or the reception is lukewarm. They may have great ideas to turn things around.

Keep Your Promises

One thing I hear often is that publicists don’t do what they said they would. In a job without guaranteed results, it is crucial that your clients trust your efforts. The best way to do that is to keep your promises — every one of them. If you say you’ll call in 10 minutes, do it. If you have a phone conference, never be late (or only once). Send reports on time and like clockwork. Be dependable, reliable and trustworthy.

Select Clients Carefully

Don’t fake it until you make it in this profession. It is important to pick projects based on your passion to promote them, and not by the money. Working on projects that you care about, makes begging and bothering editors, (oops, I meant following up, worthwhile.) Working on projects that don’t speak to you personally will make you feel like a fake. Fake communication is stressful and ineffective.

Relax, Breathe, and Smile

Sometimes things don’t go as planned or expected and during those times you just have to go with the flow. Remember to: Relax, Breathe, and Smile. A little perspective is a good thing. We’re not saving lives here.

Nothing you do will make your job completely stress-free, but it also does not have to be the seventh most stressful job in the world. Publicity can be a lot of fun, and when done with integrity, enthusiasm and honesty, it also can be respected.

© 2012 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 digital publicity and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke.

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.

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.

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.

Home Run Food Fun

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

We have three new books on our shelves that will set you on an exploration of your home kitchen like never before. Save time and money by investing more in family and friends with Teen Cuisine and DIY Cocktails, turning your home into a playground of unforgettable experiences. At the same time, discover a revolutionary doable diet that encourages healthy wholesome foods without the restriction of those sinfully delectable delights in Carrots ‘N’ Cake. Together, these books will help you celebrate food, family, friends, and yourself without having to call for the check.

Teen Cuisine by Matthew Locricchio

Whether you’re a first-time or seasoned chef, you can prepare and take pride in the more than 50 mouthwatering recipes in this book for all times of day.

Here are just a few examples:

  • Sunrise Muffins
  • Grits and Cheddar Cheese Souffle
  • Pizza from California, Chicago, and New York
  • 4th of July Shortcake

And there are so many more flavorful dishes!  All the recipes feature organic ingredients and foods that are available in supermarkets from coast to coast.  No recipe is too hard for the beginning cook.  Just follow the step-by-step directions and enjoy making your favorite dishes from scratch.

With stunning photography by award-winner James Peterson, this one-of-a-kinda book will provide a show-stopping culinary experience!

Teen Cuisine from Marshall Cavendish Corp is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

DIY Cocktails: A Simple Guide to Creating Your Own Signature Drinks by Marcia Simmons and Jonas Halpern

Black Rose, Blood Orange Tequila and Soda, Kentucky Apple Sour: the newest trend in cocktails is creating your own! Now, the editors of DrinkoftheWeek.com have concocted the only guide that teaches you to create your own infallible thirst-quenchers. Using a simple system of basic ratios, you will learn to:

  • Mix new flavor combinations for the perfect new blend using the Flavor Profile Chart as a guide
  • Master advanced mixology techniques from infusing liquors at home to creating custom-flavored syrups
  • Serve the perfect drink every time, whether it kicks off a rowdy party or winds down a romantic evening!

With only ten ratios to master, you’ll shake, stir, roll, and build literally thousands of unique and exceptional cocktails. All you need is a good thirst, an active imagination — and DIY Cocktails!

DIY Cocktails: A Simple Guide to Creating Your Own Signature Drinks from Adams Media is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Carrots ‘N’ Cake: Healthy Living One Carrot and Cupcake At A Time by Tina Haupert

Let them eat cake! From one of the most popular blogs on the internet comes an innovative, even fun way to diet. Carrots ‘N’ Cake is all about eating your carrots. . .and savoring your cupcake, too.

For some people, losing weight means restrictive dieting, obsessive calorie counting, and constant hunger. Not Tina Haupert! She learned that it didn’t have to be that way. Tina shows how to drop the pounds and keep them off by adopting eating habits that are healthy, balanced, and above all, livable. She serves up easy-to-follow fitness routines, food tips, and her most popular feature: cookie Friday.

TINA TELLS HOW TO:

  • Hang with your friends on a Friday night without packing on the alcohol pounds
  • Navigate buffet tables at parties
  • Handle the holidays painlessly.
  • And more!

Carrots ‘N’ Cake: Healthy Living One Carrot and Cupcake At A Time from Sterling is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

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.