Social Media Sharing: Your Own, or Others’ Content?

Social Media Sharing: Your Own, or Others' Content?

Social media sharing can be a challenge, especially the ratios of the various kinds of content. Should you blast out your own material, or should you minimize your own input, and focus on sharing others’ content which you hope your audience will find valuable?

A couple of authors asked about social sharing ratios in reference to the article on book marketing in 30 minutes a week.

Kevan Lee of Buffer posted “6 popular ratios for sharing content on social media”, and you can certainly follow others’ formulas. However, it all comes down to your audience, your time, and the social media network.

To be honest, I don’t think about it too much. Of course, I don’t consider myself a social media expert. Apropos of social media experts, B.L. Ochman’s funny post: Twitter bios show epic growth – to 297,897 – of self-proclaimed social media gurus will make you smile. “Social media whores”? Who knew? :-)

As regards sharing, I’m with Buffer. Kevan Lee said:

Our social media updates are 90 percent our own content and 10 percent from others, and many days those numbers are even more lopsided.

Here’s why my sharing’s 90/10 too, pretty much. Two reasons:

  • It’s easier to target your audience with your own material – you know the audience you want to reach; and
  • Your audience isn’t served well if you consistently repost others’ material which they’ve already seen in their social stream many times before.

Consider that it’s YOUR social media account. This is why you need to…

Be Yourself When You Share.

Social media is social, but I’m not comfortable posting images of my lunch or my coffee shop snacks to social media, nor do I do post that sort of material for clients. Other people are comfortable with that, and that’s perfect for them. Be yourself. If people don’t like what you’re sharing, they’ll stop following you, as they should.

Curate Content on Social Media, if That’s Your “Added Value.”

I’ve been on Twitter since 2007, and a few years ago, my entire @angee Twitter account was others’ content, which I curated. That seemed to work well at the time. However, the Web’s constantly changing. It wouldn’t work for my audience today, because too many others are doing that. Your account becomes just another “me too”, in that case.

However, if curating content on a social media account is your value-add to your audience, and ten other people aren’t doing it, go for it. You can devote a social media account purely to curated content, with just a smattering of your own content. It all depends on your audience, and on YOU.

So, in summary, do whatever you feel will work for your audience. Adjust as needed, and as the Web changes. Most importantly of all, have fun with it. Your social media accounts are yours, and as long as you’re creating and adding value, and entertaining, you’re doing it right.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Blog Power: 2 More Essential Content Tips

Blog Power: 2 More Essential Content Tips

Everyone’s blogging today; if you don’t have a blog, you feel guilty. However, blogging isn’t for everyone. It takes time. Your time may well be better spent. On the other hand, if you feel that a blog would benefit your business: create one. A blog can be immensely valuable for your business, in ways you’d never expect.

Well over a year ago, I created My Top 10 Content Tips; I’ve just updated the post. Its accompanying slide deck has had over 3,600 views on SlideShare. Reading over the post, and considering the amount of content that’s produced daily, here are two more essential content tips.

1. Keep It On Your Blog!

Many companies decide that rather than blogging, they’ll devote all their resources to their Facebook or Google+ page, and send out streams of tweets. Blogging just seems too time intensive, and demanding.

That’s true. However, your blog is media that you own. Content you post on other sites is at another company’s mercy. Not to mention, it’s hard to find again. Put your content onto your blog first, then tweak it for use elsewhere.

2.  Automate Sharing, But Don’t Turn Into a Robot.

Apps like Buffer make it easy to schedule your blog post reshares, and social media messages, but don’t schedule everything. Show up on social media websites, and get social.

You’ll find many useful content tips on social media. For example, I’d never considered “plussing” my own posts and comments on Google+, but Mike Allton advises that you do:

First, within Google+, you’ll need to understand that there are three possible “Social Signals” on every post: a +1, a Comment and a Share. Every Google+ user can take any of those actions on a single post, including the original post owner. Creating the post itself does not count. But as each social signal is effected, the +1 count on any one single link included in the post goes up. To a maximum of 3 +1′s from any one unique user.

You don’t need to spend hours on social media websites, but after you automate, pop in every day or two and plus your shares, and those of others. And of course, interact. Social media networking is called that for a reason.

If you missed the previous article, read the first of the top ten blog content tips here.

 

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Book Marketing: Get Results in 30 Minutes a Week

Book Marketing: Get Results in 30 Minutes a Week

Book marketing can be amazingly simple, but nevertheless effective. Even if you hate marketing, you can get great results in just 30 minutes a week. Schedule it once a week, or split it up, into three ten-minute sessions. Even if you hate the idea of promotions, you can do it.

My students ask questions like:

* “HOW do I market?”

* “Is this enough?”

* “What should I do now?”

You’ll find some easy marketing ideas below. Essentially it doesn’t matter WHAT you do, as long as you do some promotion.

A digression: hate marketing? Many hardcore writers do. (Me included, oddly enough, I’d rather write… :-)) If you hate, hate, hate the idea of promotion, forget about it. Write another book. End of digression.

1. Set Up Your Social Media Profiles – Choose One or Two Social Media Websites.

We’re not counting this activity in your 30 minutes a week. Setting up your social media profiles may take you 45 minutes or so, but you only need to do it once. Review your profile every couple of months, as you book marketing activities change, and tweak as necessary.

Before you start, develop some creative material – images. Your creatives can be book covers in various sizes, some CTAs (Calls to Action: advertising images), images of yourself, image quotes from your book, or anything else you choose. Your creatives grab people’s attention. Use canva.com to create FAST images, completely for free.

Now set up profiles on two social media websites. You can choose any two you like. Book marketers get results on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, however your mileage may vary. Choose the two with which you’re most comfortable, and set up your profile pages on these sites.

Here’s my Twitter profile page.

Angela Booth on Twitter

Essential: use your book’s cover as a profile background image: people need to associate you with your book. If you’re promoting several books, create a collage of your book covers, and add the link to your Amazon Author Page on your profile.

2. Create Types of Social Media Shares.

Your types can include:

Shares of Others’ Material.

Let’s say you’ve written a nonfiction ebook about online dating. You an reshare the content of influencers in that niche, or of anyone in the niche, as long as you feel it’s useful and important to your followers. If you’re writing suspense fiction, your can reshare other suspense writers tweets and posts – readers are always looking for great new books.

Thoughts and Questions.

What are you reading? You can post your current reading using the hashtag #amreading. Alternatively, what are you writing? Post using the hashtag #amwriting.

I’m currently on a Georgette Heyer kick, so I’m posting #amreading, as you can see in the Google+ post below.



You can also ask questions of your audience. What are they reading? Who’s their favorite character?

Book Announcements, and Promotional Material.

You were wondering when we were going to get around to promotions, weren’t you – here we go. :-) Promote away. Use your ebook’s covers, quote images, and anything else you’d like. Tweet and post snippets from your book.

VITAL… include your Amazon link, please, so people can buy your book.

It’s easy to forget to do this. I often read something about a book in which I’m interested, and when I search for the retailer link, there isn’t one. I need to copy and paste the book’s title into Amazon… and sometimes I think – “later.” Make it as easy as possible for people to click through to your ebook on Amazon or wherever you’re selling.

Reshares of Your Own Blog Posts.

If you’re running a blog, don’t be shy – reshare your blog posts. Over time, you’ll develop a lot of content. I have around 4,000 posts on one blog, and 2,000 on another. You’ll develop masses of content too: use that content to promote your books.

3. Create Draft Content for Social Media Posts.

I create a week or two’s worth of draft content in a spreadsheet on Sunday evenings. It’s become automatic now, and takes me around 15 minutes. It may take you a little longer when you start out.

4. Schedule Your Content: Use Buffer.

Buffer makes it simple to line up your content for sharing. You can schedule for specific times, or use the Settings scheduler, and so that your posts go out at regular times. Buffer is free for a basic account, and it’s all you need for book marketing.

So, there you go. Once you’re set up with the types of material you’re sharing, you can create and schedule your book marketing in just 30 minutes a week. See? Marketing can be easy. Dip into your social media accounts for a couple of minutes occasionally during the week, to respond to people.

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, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Super-Fast Product Creation: Buy PLR and Profit

Super-Fast Product Creation: Buy PLR and Profit

I love product creation; it’s been a mainstay of my online business since 2002. However, there are hassles. Product creation takes time, above all. You can cut down on that time dramatically when you buy PLR.

Not familiar with PLR? I’m currently offering PLR to three products which I’ve withdrawn, and explained PLR like this:

If you’re not familiar with the term, “private label rights” products, commonly referred to as “PLR”, are products to which you have extensive rights. You can put your name on the products and sell them as your own; you can add and remove text; you can split them up to make new products; you can offer them as bonuses to your own products… basically, you can treat them as your own, and use them in any way you choose.

How to Use Purchased PLR in Your Own Products.

You can use PLR products you’ve purchased in many different ways:

  • To kickstart your own product creation;
  • As social media content;
  • As bonus added-value material to your own products;
  • On membership sites;
  • In newsletters you’re sending out to customers;
  • As the basis of audio, video or presentation material you create.

I created a monthly newsletter for a UK gym company for several years, and bought health and fitness PLR extensively to repurpose in the publications. The balance of new content to PLR was around 50/ 50. The company was happy, because they got inexpensive content, and I was happy because I spent less time on the newsletter each month.

When I created a social media campaign for a marketing company, I used a lot of edited PLR in tweets, Facebook postings with images, and as fast and easy reports. When you look at PLR as raw material, it’s like baking a cake. You have the basic flour, fat and protein. By the time you’ve mixed it up and baked it, the raw material is completely transformed.

Death by PLR: Avoid It – Use PLR as Raw Material.

Once Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) became popular a few years back, Internet marketers jumped on it mindlessly. They shoveled PLR onto the Kindle bookstore. Predictably, Amazon got very cross, and swept away much PLR.

Pay close attention to what Amazon says:

Public Domain and Other Non-Exclusive Content

Some types of content, such as public domain content, may be free to use by anyone, or may be licensed for use by more than one party. We will not accept content that is freely available on the web unless you are the copyright owner of that content. For example, if you received your book content from a source that allows you and others to re-distribute it, and the content is freely available on the web, we will not accept it for sale on the Kindle store. We do accept public domain content, however we may choose to not sell a public domain book if its content is undifferentiated or barely differentiated from one or more other books.

You can use PLR as the basis of your own products. Remember what I said about using PLR as raw material, then baking it into something which looks completely different?

I don’t use PLR on Amazon; I publish content under several pen names, and ghostwrite ebooks for clients. However, if I wanted to sell an ebook on Google+ for small business for example, I’d buy good PLR and use it as raw material. Why not? It would kickstart my own thinking, and by the time I’d revised, edited and added fresh content, its own mother wouldn’t recognize it as PLR.

If you’re wary of product creation, even though you know it would benefit your business, take a fresh look at it, with the idea of judiciously using PLR in your new products. It saves time.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Fear of Writing: 3 Tips to Help

Fear of Writing: 3 Tips to Help

Do you have a fear of writing? If you do, you avoid writing tasks. You procrastinate.

In professional writers, “fear” often feels like resistance. This resistance may be a good thing, as I shared on Google+:

Usually, when I wake up in the morning, I make a cup of coffee and start writing fiction immediately. It’s easiest for me to write fiction first, before I start writing “real” stuff – nonfiction. I was a little spooked this morning when I opened my email instead.

Why was I resisting? Why, oh why wasn’t I writing?

But I went with it. When I finally opened my fiction WIP, the story took off in an entirely new direction. I’m thrilled. I didn’t work on any fiction at all yesterday; I had a couple of client deadlines. It seems my subconscious mind was gestating a new (and better) direction for this story during the downtime on it. I’m pleased.

Is resistance fear of writing? In the above instance, it wasn’t. I wanted to write, but felt that I wasn’t ready. I knew I’d work on the fiction project at some point during the day.

What about a real fear of writing? Can you write anyway? Yes you can. Try these three tips.

1. Switch Your Brain: Be Happy.

This exercise sounds weird, but it may work for you – quirk your lips to the right, to trigger your left brain:

If you pull the left lip back repeatedly, it can trigger the right brain. You may feel sad. Pulling back the right lip can trigger the left brain, and a feeling of happiness.

Go on, try it. It works for me, and it may work for you. You should feel a sudden little jolt of happiness which will make your writing task seem a lot less intimidating, and more fun.

Read the LEFT BRAIN RIGHT BRAIN article which explains the exercise; it’s interesting. A lot of brain lateralization theory has been debunked, but it’s still a useful way to think about creativity and your brain.

2. Start Writing – Write Stream-of-Consciousness Material for Ten Minutes.

I’ve been using this little trick for a couple of decades, and I teach it to my writing students. It puts you into “creative” mode; writing triggers more writing.

Here’s all you do. Get a timer, and set it for ten minutes. Now start writing, and keep writing. Write anything you like, whatever words pop into your head. There’s only one rule: KEEP WRITING, no matter what, until the timer goes off.

You can type, or write by hand, it’s up to you.

Writing for ten minutes changes your mood. I discovered this when I started a daily walking regime. For the first ten minutes of the walk, I hated it. At around the eleventh minute, I started to enjoy it.

You can apply this “ten minute” rule to lots of things. Just keep doing the task for ten minutes, and you’ll start to enjoy it.

3. “I’m scared of writing because…”

This exercise works if you have a deep-seated aversion to writing. You may need to repeat it several times. If you do, it will remove your fear of writing completely. One of my students practiced this exercise several times a week for a couple of months. He has no problems with fear of writing now.

As with the stream-of-consciousness exercise, set a timer for ten minutes.

Write “I’m scared of writing because…” and keep writing for ten minutes. Try to write in whole sentences if you can. If you can’t, don’t worry about it. Again, write whatever comes. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar, or censoring yourself.

If you wish, you can try this exercise using your non-dominant hand (that is, if you’re right-handed, write with your left hand.)

As we’ve said: if you keep repeating this exercise, eventually you’ll stop being afraid of writing. I’ve no idea why it works, it just does.

So there you have it; three tips to help you to overcome your fear of writing, and make writing fun. :-)

Got a writing challenge? I’ve been helping writers for 20 years. Get in touch.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Write Your Book: One Essential Trick

Write Your Book: One Essential Trick

You want to write your book, but you can’t get started. You’ve been planning the book for years. You know that the book will give you authority, and prestige, and you know you must get it done.

I’ve worked with many authors who are “writing a book.” Except they aren’t. They procrastinate endlessly. One client decided she’d write her book when she retired. By the time she contacted me, she’d been retired for three years, and still hadn’t started her book. (Yes, she did write it, and publish it, within a couple of months after we started working together.)

Here’s a secret: you don’t have to write “the book” right now. You can work your way up to it, by using Amazon.

Write a “Lite” Version: Have Fun and Be Playful.

You procrastinate because you want your book to be successful. You fear failure.

Amazon lets you publish your book fast. So, why not create a “lite” version of your book? This won’t be THE BOOK, the one you’re procrastinating on. It will be a version of your book. An experiment. It can also be your own private focus group.

For years, I’d advise authors who were unsure about a book to create a blog on their book’s topic. If their blog got attention, their book would too. On the other hand, if their blog was completely ignored, they needed to rethink their book. And yes, this worked for fiction too.

In 2014, Amazon gives you everything you need to test your book. Who knows? You may even make some money.

Vital: have fun with this. You’re not writing THE BOOK, after all. You’re experimenting; testing your idea. Be playful. Get it done. You risk nothing, and you may gain a great deal.

Give Yourself a Deadline.

Here’s the key: give yourself a deadline to write and publishing your book. Yes, the fun, “lite” version. You can create your book’s cover quickly: use Canva:

From go to whoa, the exercise won’t take you longer than five minutes.

I ghostwrite both fiction and nonfiction for clients. Although they’ll hire a cover designer when the book’s done, I like to include a cover in the MOBIs and PDFs I send them. Canva makes it super-easy for me. Thank you Canva.

Write your book, create a cover, and upload it to Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.

It’s a little trick to help you to write your book, and it works. Get started. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Productivity Tricks: Time Yourself

Productivity Tricks: Time Yourself

How often do you find yourself working hard, and achieving little? Usually this happens when you take your eye off the ball, so to speak.

An example. I’m ghostwriting a series of Regency romance novellas for a client, and I’m endlessly distracted by research — this morning I read about bag wigs for example. This took me on a journey of further reading, and before I knew it, I’d wasted 15 minutes on pointless research, since bag wigs were long out of fashion in the Regency period.

Obviously I have a problem with focus, so let’s look at some productivity tricks this week.

The first one: use a timer.

I’ve been using Repeat Timer Pro which is excellent. However, it doesn’t allow you to track your productivity, so I was looking for an app which would help me to do that. I’ve been hearing good things about Tomatoes (Mac), and since the app looks easy to use, I’ve just installed it.

Tomatoes app

Jens-Petter Berget said of the Tomatoes app:

I have full control over each day and how I’ll be working. Every completed pomodoro is archived. This way, at the end of the week, I can evaluate the week and how productive I’ve been. I’m also tracking all interruptions, to see what I can do to have more focus when I’m working.

We’ll see how it works for me. I’ve never followed the Pomodoro Technique in any meaningful way, but I do find that it suits me to work in 25 minute sessions for some tasks. You can work on anything if you know that a distasteful task will be over in less than half an hour.

When I first installed the Tomatoes app, I freaked a little, because I couldn’t see a clear way to edit the timers. In Repeat Timer Pro, you can set timers of various durations. I have a five-minute timer, for example, for free writes, which I do as warm ups for most projects, to clear my mind and help me to focus before I get started on a task.

In Tomatoes, you set one duration. I decided on 40 minutes, because 25 minutes isn’t long enough for most of my projects.

We’ll see how it goes by the end of this week; I’m hoping that using Repeat Timer Pro, and Tomatoes in combination, will help me to limit distractions, and increase my productivity.

If you’ve got a favorite productivity trick, please share. Leave a comment here, or on Google+.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Write Kindle Romances: Special Offering

Kindle romances

Kindle romances are hot. Want to try your hand at them?

As I said here:

To sell ebooks, write what’s selling

Romance sells. Readers gobble it up in many different flavors: straight romance (contemporary or historical), erotica, paranormal romance (which includes sub-genres like vampire romance), young adult, and the HOT new flavor, new adult (just out of college)…

Romance is the hottest selling genre in fiction. You can make an unbelievable amount of money if you’re hard-working, and lucky enough to hit a nerve with readers.

We’re having lots of fun with our Hot, Hotter, Hottest: Write Bestselling Kindle Romances writing class. We ran an offering for the class when it was launched, but people missed it. So, in response to many requests, here’s the offering again.

Join us, we’d love to have you. Details here.

Write novels, novellas or short stories, your choice.

We cover writing at any length in class, so you don’t have to write full novels. It’s a great idea to start with short stories if you’re new to writing fiction. If you’re already writing at novel length, consider writing some short stories, they help with promotion.

Speaking of promotion, I know that many authors freak out about it. As I said in Writing Romance Fiction For Fast Promotions and Sales:

There are endless ways to promote your ebooks. The simplest way: don’t bother. Create a mailing list on aweber or similar, and include a little note in the back matter of your ebooks, telling readers how to subscribe, and leave it at that.

See you in class. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Writing Workflows: Write and Repurpose With Markdown

Writing Workflows: Write and Repurpose With Markdown

We’re all writing more these days: business documents, social media updates, and endless emails and messages. I’m constantly refining my writing workflows, and I’m sure you are too.

Markdown is at the heart of my workflows. I started using plain text with Markdown syntax as my preferred writing environment several years ago, purely to save time.

Here’s why. You can transform a Markdown document into HTML, RTF, or PDF and even EPUB in just a second or two. It doesn’t matter what I use to create a document; I can open it in Marked, and export it to other formats more or less instantly.

Markdown documents are just text, so you can write in Markdown on your phone or tablet – any text editor can create Markdown documents. I wrote a couple of blog posts on my phone at the hairdresser’s yesterday, for example. This morning I copied them to MultiMarkdown Composer, my current favorite Markdown editor to save as files. Then I copied the files as HTML with a couple of keystrokes, and posted them to a blog.

Write App: Elegant Simplicity and Perfect for Social Media

Since I write in Markdown, I’m always checking out text editors which offer Markdown options; I end up buying far too many of them. My excuse? Time. If an app helps me to save an hour or two a month, it’s well worth the money.

When I spotted that Write was out of beta, I had to get it. I’d heard many good things about it. TNW’s Nick Summers called it “gorgeous”, and he’s right.

Write’s perfect for writing snippets – short social media updates, and then repurposing them. For example, you might tweet something, then expand the tweet into a Google+ post, and expand it further into a blog post, or develop it into a presentation.

Alternatively, you can head in the other direction: create tweets and other social media posts from Markdown documents.

write app

As you can see from the above image, Write’s window is divided into three sections. Your library on the left (folders on your computer, Dropbox, iCloud, Google Drive etc.) The center area offers a search query box, and a file list. Then there’s the editor, which you can pop out into a free-floating window, either full-screen, or not.

However, Write really shines when it comes to sharing, as you can see in the image below.

sharing with write app

Write offers the usual Markdown sharing as HTML, PDF et al as primary options. I love the instant sharing to Twitter and Facebook. Just select a snippet, and if you’ve set up your computer to send social media updates, you can post an update at a click.

Write’s the Perfect Editor if You Use Markdown – or Even if You Don’t.

Use Write for:

* Quick social media updates;

* Emails, and documents you want to attach to emails;

* Web content;

* Basic business documents;

* … anything you choose, really.

I couldn’t see myself drafting long documents in Write, I prefer Scrivener. But for short documents, it’s perfect: you can focus on your writing, and can share it in many formats. My writing workflows have benefited from Write; yours may too.

Discover the Copywriting Course That Builds Your Copywriting Business in Seven Days

The Copywriting Course That Builds Your Copywriting Business in Seven Days

Seven Days To Easy Money: Copywriting Success helps you to build your own copywriting business in just seven days. It’s a complete program, with everything you need. Each day you have objectives and tasks. Just complete the tasks, to build your business.

Coaching is included, and no additional materials or purchases are required. Join us, you’ll have fun, as you build your business. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.