“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.

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A few links about remote-ness and marketing

Okay, Everybody Out of the Pool

HP’s Meg Whitman follows Marissa Mayer’s lead: All Hands On Deck

Then this article from the NY Times Bits blog says that there has not been a work policy change at HP. Apparently the company has just made more room for those working at home to come work in the offices if they want.

Two recent books (by guys) advocate for getting out of the office:

Remote: Office Not Required, by Jason Fried and David Hansson

The Year Without Pants, by Scott Berkun

Here’s a blog post at HBR penned by Mr. Berkun, an overview of his book.

And slightly more locally, my version of Patch.com asks, “Who works from home?” (Though I’m not quite sure how to make sense of this map. Except to say that more than 200 people in my neighborhood work at home. What are they all doing each day?)

(Bad) Marketing

Book: QR Codes Kill Kittens

Kind of a funny video of author rant about idiotic use of QR codes. At bottom of page. (Should have been at the top of the page, I think.)

(Good) Marketing

Angry Young Woman Uses Her ‘Telekinetic Powers’ in a NYC Cafe

This is quite amusing. Promotion for the remake of Carrie.

Thanks @PeterWiggins

A few links about reading, publishing, timeliness, & poems about dogs

Emotional intelligence, improvement of

For Better Social Skills, Scientists Recommend a Little Chekhov

But psychologists and other experts said the new study was powerful because it suggested a direct effect — quantifiable by measuring how many right and wrong answers people got on the tests — from reading literature for only a few minutes.

Does Reading Literary Fiction Make You a Better Person?

(Same story from Publishing Perspectives.) At the end of this article is a link to participate in the study. You don’t have to read any literature, just look at pictures of eyes and determine an emotion. But they do ask you how much fiction vs. nonfiction you’ve read in the past year. (Just so you know, I got 31 out of 36 correct. I think that’s pretty good. But then, I read literary fiction.)

Publishing: Traditional vs. Self (Before we die this will cease to be a story)

Is Publishing Still Broken? The Surprising Year In Books

Self-publishing is a huge and disruptive force in the publishing industry, but contrary to popular belief, it’s largely benefiting publishers.

Bowker Data Offers Surprising Insight into Traditional and Self-Publishing

First, more publishers than ever before signed authors who had previously self-published their books, a far cry from the days only a few years ago when choosing to self-publish was an all-or-nothing choice.

Just in case you were thinking about making a magazine app

Why tablet magazines are a failure

8 apps a day. (Average number of apps opened by mobile users each day. Out of an average number of 41 apps on the device.)

Manners, improvement of

On going over your time

Just don’t do it.

Marketing & Design & Creativity

From today’s Very Short List (@VSL), “the delightful email that shares cultural gems from a different curator each day.” Today’s curators were David Kelley, founder of IDEO and Stanford’s d.school, and Tom Kelley, IDEO partner and bestselling author. One link was to an article titled “Mermaids & pirates take the fear out of hospital scans” about the redesign of MRI scanners.

“I mean, some of the most effective insights we got came from kneeling down and looking at rooms from the height of a child.”

Good news on the one hand, except if you think that this insight is coming after the fact, it’s a little depressing that these machines and the experience for little children wasn’t considered beforehand. Oh well. Better late than never, right?

Curating this edition of VSL was also a good marketing venture for @kelleybros, whose book, Creative Confidence, publishes next week.

Poetry

Mary Oliver’s ‘Dog Songs’ Finds Poetry in Friends

Hey, I’m a dog owner.

Some links about self-publishing, an Amazon protest, long walks, and a boat-like bike

These next three items are thanks to @EditorialHell who puts together a newsletter from Berrett-Kohler Publishers called BK Communiqué.

PleaseDontBuyMyBookonAmazon.com

And he’ll help support your local indie bookstore. And he’s just one town over from me.

Self-Publishing Could Become a $52 Billion Business: Report

Unremarkable men walk 40 miles for no particular reason

“It’s not anti-charity; it’s pro-friends, pro doing-anything-you-feel-like-doing.”

Cambodian Grrrl: Self-Publishing in Phnom Penh
This just sounds like a good story. Any time someone helps others tell their own stories, it’s good for all of us.

Just plain weird. Discovered this story while reading blog of author Anne Elizabeth Moore.

Making iOS 7 more readable
For those of us over 50.

If you’re a bike commuter and there’s a body of water between home and work.

 

Aquatic bicycle

Picture taken from SBK website.

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.)

A few links about publishing, marketing, & social media

Publishing

Small Press Secrets to Establishing a Vertical Marketplace

One of the things which smaller presses understand is that you have to belong to a community to serve it. This means approaching readers as a fellow book lovers, which many publishers (both large and small) do by blogging or tweeting about books.

A New Survey Finds a Drop in Arts Attendance [Still, there’s some good news for people selling books.] [ Highlights of the survey here]

Among the good news is that a larger proportion of African-Americans and Hispanics are attending arts performances than ever before. Older Americans are also reading books at a higher rate, and a greater proportion of younger Americans are attending outdoor performing arts festivals. And every age and ethnic group found more of its members going to movies.

Marketing

The 6 Best Book Marketing Blogs

Social Media

How to Use Social Media Tools to Save Time

I use Buffer to determine the best times to tweet or post and then schedule content as I find it across the web. The goal is to automate a portion of my social media in order to free up my time to engage with my audience throughout the day.

The Greatest Tweet of All Time [thanks to @DavePell]