Category Archives: Social Media

“Best damn marketing tool and it’s free”

Business books

I talk with clients about their book marketing strategy and there’s always the question of blogs. Should you blog, should you not blog? Some people think blogs are passé. Some think they’re not worth the effort you have to put into them. Inasmuch as I’m a great believer in blogs, I can’t tell a person how to use their time. Only they can judge that. Only they know what is most important to them. The fact is, it takes time to write a good blog post, but I think it’s time well spent.

So rather than talking about blogs in an abstract sense, I started looking around at some well-known business-book authors to see what they’re up to. Three that come to mind for me are Tom Peters (who I worked with for a number of years), Seth Godin, and Dan Pink. (Seth and Dan I know from interviews I did with them for the “Cool Friends” section of tompeters.com.)

Dan began blogging at a site called JustOneThing.blogspot.com. As the name suggests, he wrote about one thing each day. (I think you can still find those blog posts at that URL.) That began early in 2002 and ended after about a year and then he began blogging at danpink.com. Meaning he’s been blogging in one form or another for more than 10 years. Dan recently stopped blogging. (I think I read this in his newsletter.) Instead of blogging he’s posting regularly at Twitter and Facebook. And perhaps more importantly, his site, danpink.com is now a repository of resources: pdfs, videos, interviews, links to helpful articles. Dan has earned his way out of blogging, though, as I said, he’s still active in social media. He also does a monthly radio call in show, which allows anyone to ask questions directly of Dan and his guest in real time.

Seth Godin has been blogging forever and continues to blog. (It seems that Seth, too, began blogging in January of 2002. At least that’s when the archives begin at his site, sethgodin.typepad.com.) He posts every day, seven days a week. He only uses Twitter and Facebook to link to his blog. His blog is everything. No comments. He doesn’t want to be distracted by them. Neil Patel has written a blog post about the ten things you can learn from Seth about blogging. Seth posts a blog every day but that doesn’t mean he’s writing a post every day. He may write five to ten in one sitting and then queue them up for the following days. You don’t really want to find yourself in the position of having to get up in the morning and write a blog post before you do anything else. (That’s why you’ll find editorial calendar plug-ins or add-ons for some of the more popular blogging platforms.) Of course, you still have to write them.

By doing this and doing it every day and being consistent and smart and providing content that you can apply to your own life, he’s gathered hundreds of thousands of followers and with a crowd like that, it’s easy then to go on to do other projects. Which he has done. Unlike Dan Pink, who has moved away from blogging but substituted other ways of talking with his audience, Seth has stuck with the blog. In a way, he is the master.

Then there’s Tom Peters. He began blogging in 2004. Tom really embraced blogging. I remember some of those days early on when he produced half a dozen posts or more. And I’d say, “let’s save some of these for another day” and Tom would say “no” and we’d post all those and then he’d write a bunch the next day. Eventually he settled into a more or less “one a day” routine and that went on for years. I remember hearing Tom tell someone that “if you’re not blogging you’re an idiot” and that “it’s the best damn marketing tool and it’s free.”

Over time Tom began to blog less and less. But blog posts still appear now and again and whenever he speaks, his slides are posted, something we started doing at the original Tom Peters website in 1999. But an interesting thing happened with the advent of social media. Tom got turned on to Twitter and has really taken to that platform. While he shares links to information, Tom primarily converses with other people there. Most of his posts are in direct response to someone who has reached out to Tom at Twitter to ask him a question or to comment on something he has tweeted about. And people love that. Tom now spends less time writing blog posts and more time communicating directly with people.

The point here is that you’ve got three well-know business authors who’ve all used blogging as a primary means of marketing their books and their speaking. And over time, they’ve gone in different directions. But I would maintain that their blogs laid the foundation for whatever it is they’re doing now online.

So if you’re working on a business book and want to begin marketing it, and you should be doing that before you’ve published it, blogging is still the best way of putting your message out there. The problem is, is that it is the foundation. On top of your blog you have to build Twitter or Facebook or Google+ or all three or at least two. You get the picture. But your blog is still home base.

Some links about book marketing, subscription services, and email/social media etiquette

Book Marketing

This is the Future of Book Marketing

“The Twitter feed isn’t a direct continuation of the novel, necessarily. It’s just a collection of [Loud]‘s thoughts as he completes different missions and assignments,” he says. “The first book is an origin story. But now, before the next book comes out, his tweets will let him — and his new role, as you’ll see from the book — stay fresh in readers’ minds.”

Subscription services

Scribd CEO Aims for $1 Billion in Revenue from EBook Subscriptions

Scribd, the digital distribution, document storage and book discovery platform, has announced the launch of its eBook subscription service, which will give users access to an unlimited amount of books for $8.99, including a free one month trial.

Kickstarter No-Go

The Failures of Crowdfunding; No, Kickstarter Cannot Support an Opera Company

Well, you don’t know unless you try, right? (And who knows, now that they’re getting this kind of media exposure, maybe more people will throw money their way at Kickstarter.)(Update: oops! If you go to the Kickstarter page now, a notice reads “Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator 1 day ago.”)

Social Media Etiquette

Basic Social Media Hygiene

Or, a Brand You primer.

57 Ways To Sign Off On An Email
(thanks @markhurst)

According to this article, my sign-offs are all wrong. (Using “Thanks” as a sign-off is a no-no and “Yours” is completely outdated. Back to school for me.)

(On another front, isn’t Forbes use of all initial caps in headlines annoying?)

Some links about media piracy, online learning, + marketing

Piracy

Content creators use Piracy to Gauge Consumer Interest

Earlier this year Time Warner’s chief executive, Jeffrey L. Bewkes, said on an earnings call that pirated content can be “a tremendous word-of-mouth thing.” While talking about HBO’s Game of Thrones, Mr. Bewkes said the discovery that the show was the most pirated TV brand of 2012 could be “better than an Emmy.”

Online (and offline) learning

A Surge in Growth for a New Kind of Online Course

While there are some significant differences among the major MOOC Web sites, they share several main elements. Courses are available to anyone with access to the Internet. They are free, and students receive a certificate of completion at the end. With rare exceptions, you cannot earn college credit for taking one of these courses, at least for now.

In somewhat of a reaction to the proliferation of online learning sites, Seth Godin and his team have put together a project called Krypton Community College. This form of education requires people get together in person with someone leading a group. It seems that a tremendously low percentage of people actually finish any of these online courses. Seth thinks that by people getting together with other people, they’ll actually get through the course material. And the courses are only four weeks long. Interesting concept.

Boomers, Marketing to Them

Racking focus: Indies Have Found an Unsaturated New Niche

We are seeing an increasing demand in the movie-consumer market for intelligent films geared specifically toward middle-aged and older adults. This is for two reasons. One is the fact that Hollywood studios are increasingly skewing younger with their offerings, and comic book tentpoles don’t exactly provide for the kind of thoughtful stimulation your parents or grandparents particularly care for.

(This will come as no surprise to people like Tom Peters and Marti Barletta and many others who have been preaching “marketing to boomers” for years. This market has existed for a long time; it has just taken Hollywood too long to figure it out. Also, it’s not a niche. Not by a longshot. How many boomers in this country? And the latest survey about the arts? Cinema viewing up in all age groups and demographics.)

Marketing (podcasting)

3 Ways to Get Started with Business Podcasting

How I created my first podcast

Social media, for yourself

Majority of online Americans ‘Google themselves’
(from @DavePell, NextDraft.com)

The surprise here is that the percentage of people who do Google themselves has not changed much between 2009 (57%) and 2013 (56%). (Just be reassured that you’re not alone when searching your own name online.)

Social media for books—and the people who read them

Ian Greenleigh, blogging at dare2comment put up a post titled: “Breathing new life into books with official hashtags.” Here’s his first paragraph:

The other day I tweeted out an idea, and quickly received a burst of encouraging responses. I was on to something. The idea I shared was that all books should have official hashtags so that people can discuss what they’re reading as they’re doing so. This would serve both authors and readers remarkably well.

I was pointed to Ian’s site from Domino Project, where they picked up the idea in this “Hashtags for books” blogpost and wherein they claim that in the future all their books will be published with an official hashtag. For instance, Poke the Box would have a hashtag of #ptbDomino and Do the Work would have #dtwDomino. (Looking at those names, though, I wonder if Domino Project is going to publish only three-word-titled books? Okay, it’s early in the game and they’ve only put out two books so far, and of course that is a ridiculously small sample from which to extrapolate, but…)

It seems that some authors have already been toying with the idea, to mixed results. But they haven’t been working with an “official” hashtag and perhaps that can make a difference. I’m looking forward to the day when books have a big hashtag and three-letter (or however many) abbreviation emblazoned on the cover. One new element for book cover designers to deal with.

hashtag WTF

(This image, taken from musformation.com, could be the official hashtag for a book called Working the Frontlines. That’s a joke, of course.)

Book promotion and marketing

I’m working with some folks on promoting their forthcoming business book. During one of our discussions about what we were doing, one of the co-authors mentioned this list from Chris Brogan, what he calls An Author’s List for Social Media Efforts. I’d call it 21 Ways to Promote Your Book. It’s a great list of things for an author to do, definitely a “must start here” for anyone setting out to promote a book.