Monday

Three Article and Blog Marketing Tips

I think many of us writers/authors are using article marketing to bring traffic back to our sites. I've been doing it for a while and as with many things in life, I am still learning.

For those of you who may not be aware of the benefits of article marketing, it is a useful tool to create and increase your visibility online. And, it's simple to do. Just write informational or entertaining articles and submit them to ezines such as Ezine Articles, Associated Content, Suite101, and Helium.

Within these articles (at the end) you are usually allowed to include a resource box which is information about you with a link back to your site. Check the ezine site's guidelines to ensure acceptance of your article.

Now, here are the three article and blog marketing tips:

1. When including your bio/promo/resourcebox at the end of your article for the ezine, be sure to link to a specific page on your website (one that relates to your article or the offer you are promoting). Do Not link to your home page.

Example: If your article is about the benefits of having your manuscript professionally edited, link back to a post on your site relating to editing, or if you have services for hire, link to your editing services page.

2. Within the content of your blog, link to one of your related articles or posts, or both.

Example: If your blog post is about writing for children, link to another of your posts about this topic or one of your ezine articles related to it.

3. Make sure your site is focused. 

Example: If you are promoting a writing services site, it's not the wisest marketing strategy to include How To Write, or Become a Better Writer offers on that site.

Okay, #3 is more of a website tip, but your blog posts and articles are tools to bring traffic back to your site so make it work for you.

Bottom line: BE FOCUSED and make each post or article work for you in more ways than one!

I realize there may be some of you who might have questions, just ask by commenting and I'll be happy to answer.


Until next time,

Karen
http://karencioffifreelancewriting.com 

Thursday

Holiday Season Wishes

This post has a two-fold purpose:


First: Thank you to all our followers and subscribers - YOU ARE GREATLY APPRECIATED!


Second: Have a HAPPY, SAFE, HEALTHY, and WONDERFUL Holiday season.


And, we wish you a prosperous and healthy NEW YEAR!


Karen

Wednesday

Article Directories and Ghostwriting - Strategies to Save You Time

With everyone so busy these days, we are all looking for strategies to help us get more done in less time. Well, there are a few ways to do this - we'll discuss two of them today.

Article Directories

This is a great way to add great content to your site. You can visit the vast number of directories out there in cyberspace and pick and choose for the articles that work best for your niche. I’ve found articles I’ve written for directories that have been picked up and posted on a number of sites, so I know it’s a good strategy to keep in mind. The author is happy to see writers utilizing their work, and the blogger has fresh content for his/her site. That's what you call a win-win situation.

There are hundreds if not more of article directories. A few of the popular ones are: EzineArticles.com; AssociatedContent.com; Suite101.com; Helium.com; Examiner.com; iSnare.com; and ArticleCity.com. They all have a search feature that will make it easy to find the type of articles you are looking for.

Please keep in mind though, you must keep the article intact – this means keeping any and all bylines and links. Otherwise folks, it’s called plagiarism.

Ghostwriting

Ghostwriting isn't about scary stories and ghosts, it's about providing you with great content, articles and more... with you getting all the credit! This is the perfect strategy when you want that personal touch and when you want an article or story to reflect you. It is collaboration between the ghostwriter and the author. Providing the ghostwriter with facts, impressions, or ideas will help him/her create an article that will seem as if it's coming from you.

While it's fine to add articles from article directories, it's important to create your own platform also. The only way to become known as an expert in your niche is to let others know that you know what you're talking about. This means providing information with your own personal style.

You can also work with a ghostwriter to create e-books to sell, or offer as freebies on your site. This is a great way to entice readers to subscribe to your site and increase your mailing list.

And, don't forget about your email campaigns and newsletter; ghostwriters can help you keep your mailings updated with fresh and informative information.

If you're finding it hard to keep up and/or need help with your writing stop by DKV Writing 4 U. We're having an amazing New Year's Special from January 1 through the 15th. Can't be beat prices and even FREEBIES!

Until next time,
Karen Cioffi, Freelance Writer


Monday

Being a Gracious Virtual Guest

Last post I discussed being a gracious virtual host. Well, just as important is being a gracious virtual guest. Now, some of you writers may be wondering why learning about all this is necessary. Simple, an important aspect of writing is promotion - creating a platform and visibility. If no one knows you’re out there, how will you become rich and famous, right? Okay, we all know that probably at least 95% of writers don’t become rich and famous, but you still need to become known in your own space. This is accomplished through promotion. One promotional strategy is virtual tours.

Virtual tours provide an avenue to showcase you and your work. Writers with blogs feature a guest. Maybe the guest wants to promote his freelance capabilities, his expertness in a particular area, or his books, whatever the case, virtual tours is a great means to do this. Since the host is going out of his way to feature you, what should you do to show your appreciation and make the event a success?

Steps to Take to be a Gracious Guest

1. This is an important step: Make sure your content, the information you provide to your host, is fresh, up to date, and interesting. What does this mean? If you were hosted a week ago by another writer, try not to use the same exact information. If you do, it’s not the end of the world because each blogger has his own readers, groups, and promotional strategies, so it’s likely the same readers won’t see it twice in such close succession, but it’s highly advisable to try and avoid it.

To sidetrack a bit here, as the manager of a group of authors who use cross-promotion to increase visibility and readership, I pay attention to what works and what doesn’t. Having something entertaining, interesting or informative is key to attracting readers/visitors to your tour or your site. But, I’ll go into more detail about this in another article. Back to being a gracious guest.

2. Communicate with your host. Make sure you understand what your host expects and needs. Not all bloggers host in the same way. One host may want to do an interview, one may want an in depth bio, one may want an article, one may expect pure promo content…

3. Make sure you send your content within the time frame your host states. It’s kind of like being invited for dinner and showing up late…don’t do it. And, be sure you send everything your host will need. Sending it in drips and drabs is another no-no.

4. Promote, Promote, Promote the tour. This is another very important aspect of touring. While your host should also be promoting the tour, it is your guest spot. The whole idea behind doing tours is to increase your visibility. You can’t do this without promotion.

One basic strategy is to announce the tour to your social networks and writing groups – get the word out.

5. During the tour stop by your host’s site at least a couple of times throughout the day. And, if you have the time, it would be nice to stop by once the next day to answer any questions from commenters who may have visited late. You should also thank the commenters for taking the time to leave a comment.

6. Thank your host.

That’s about it. A finale note though: remember to pay it forward. When a writer is looking for someone to host him, step forward!

Karen Cioffi
http:karencioffifreelancewriter.com


Saturday

Being a Gracious Virtual Host

With the new year upon us, it might be a good idea to go over some of the basics of being a gracious and proficient virtual host. For those who may be unsure as to what a virtual host is, I’m talking specifically about hosts of virtual author/book tours.

Here’s a brief description of a virtual book tour (vbt): A vbt is a promotional strategy to create visibility for the author and his book. Writers, and others, with blogs promote the author by featuring him and his work on their blogs.

I manage a group of authors in a cross-promotional group and as part of our marketing strategy we have monthly virtual tours. While each guest does not always focus entirely on his/her book (which I call “pure promo”), no matter what the guest decides to offer it is up to the host to present it in a ‘special feature kind of light,’ especially when utilizing cross-promotion.

You might be asking, why is it so important when in a cross-promotion venture. Well, because you are also the recipient of being featured. Another host is going out of his way to present you and your work in a manner that will:

1. Attract readers

2. Make your content appear fresh and interesting

3. Include images (author and book cover)

4. Lead visitors to click on the Learn More About link

5. If a book is being featured, make it appear inviting enough to hopefully warrant the reader to click on the Buy link

So, as the Good book teaches: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you!

Now on to what makes a gracious host:

1. Communicate with your guest. Ask what he would like to feature

2. Include Steps 1-5 above

3. PROMOTE your post. This means posting messages in your groups/forums, on Twitter, and other social networks

4. Make sure visitors will find it easy to leave a comment

5. Stop by during the day of the post to respond to commenters

6. Thank your guest for being there

7. This is super duper important: do not publish another post on the day you are featuring a guest, it would be inconsiderate. Please note this pertains to hosts' who promote and link back to their blog page rather than a direct link to their guest's featured post.

So, that pretty much sums up what is needed to be a gracious host. If you can think of other ways, I’d love hear about them.


Until next time,
Karen
http://karencioffifreelancewriter.com

Wednesday

Holiday Eating Tips

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.


2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas! 
 

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.


4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.


5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of goin g to a Holiday party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?


6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.


7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?


9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.


10. One final tip: January dieting is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:


"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand and wine in the other hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO-HOO what a ride!"


Have a save and happy holiday season!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
This was posted by a member at one of my groups - she did not mention who the author is, but did say it is fine to pass along!


Karen Cioffi
Platform Building with Content Marketing

Tuesday

Guest Post - Revel in Your Uniqueness

Every now and then I find an article that I think others will benefit from and with the author's permission, I post them here. This one is one of those articles.

Revel in Your Uniqueness

By Beth Ann Erickson

I'm sure you're acutely aware that competition amongst writers can be fierce. As literacy rates fall, as more people enter the field, as publishers slash budgets, as magazines fold, as copywriting courses churn out more copywriters than ever before... it's easy to become discouraged over the state of this business.

That's the bad news.

But there's a huge silver lining to this cloud that most people rarely focus on.

With nearly 200 (literally) books published daily, with more writers entering the field, with more writers vying for a more limited number of assignments you must realize that you have one thing under your control. And that would be yourself.

You do not sell your writing. You don't sell your book either. Nobody wakes up in the morning wishing they could buy a book. They don't yearn to hire a writer either.

They're looking for an expert, someone who knows how to entertain, how to inform, how to sell.
They're looking for you.

Other authors can replicate your books. They can swipe ideas. Everything's up for grabs except for one thing.

You cannot be replicated.

So you must step out from behind the curtain and establish yourself as an expert.

“USP” stands for “Unique Selling Proposition.” It represents the one aspect of your writing career that's utterly unique. It's the one thing that can't be replicated.

Nail your USP and you've got half marketing challenges conquered.

No matter what you write, always keep your USP in the back of your mind whenever you have to pop on your marketing hat and promote yourself.

When you're considering your USP keep this in mind:

1.    What do you do better than your primary competition?
2.    What are your strengths?
3.    What are your competition's strengths?
4.    What are your weaknesses?
5.    What are your competition's weaknesses?
6.    How can you capitalize on your competition's weaknesses?
7.    How can you shift your competition's strengths to benefit you?
8.    What's unique about you?
9.    What part of your writing cannot be replicated by anyone else?
10.    How can you clearly state your uniqueness so your intended audience can comprehend it in a moment?

Ponder these points and formulate your USP. Once that's done, be sure to incorporate it into every promotion you craft.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Beth Ann Erickson is the “Queen Bee” of Filbert Publishing. She’s also the author of numerous titles as well as the Creative Mindset Newsletter. Pick up the first seven copies here. She’s also a busy copywriter, speaker, and publisher of Writing Etc., the free e-mag for writers.
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NEED HELP WITH YOUR PLATFORM BUILDING?

VISIT: PLATFORM BUILDING WITH CONTENT MARKETING

Sunday

Blogger Tip

For the past couple of months I've been having some problems with my blog. For one thing my prescheduled posts didn't post. And, my content didn't appear as I prepared it.

I have to say I was getting an error message every time I posted, telling me the HTML couldn't be accepted. Now, I don't add any HTML of my own, so I figured it was just a glitch and I clicked on ignore warning.

But, just for the heck of it I went over to blogger help and posted my problem. One of the pros there asked if I was pasting from Word. YES, I always did right from when I first created this blog - never had a problem until a couple of months ago.

So, I now paste my Word content onto a Notepad doc and then paste it from there to here. It's not really any extra work.

I'm hoping that's it. I haven't actually prescheduled a post yet, but I'll try this week.

LESSON: Don't paste from a Word doc to your blogger post.


Tip: The same thing holds true for Wordpress also.

Till next time,
Karen
Karen Cioffi, Freelance Writer