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Writing Journal 52: Traffic From Ebooks

Writing Journal 52: Traffic From Ebooks

My writing journal for Friday, October 3, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Another busy day ahead; a meeting this morning, which cuts into my day. Not to worry.

Happy days — I’ve finally settled on a sleuth for the mystery novel who’s perfect for the series. I wrote a long screed to the client, putting my case for this sleuth, so we’ll see what the verdict is on it. Words: 2,600.

With that load off my mind, I focused on completing the book proposal for the memoir. I’ll do a little more on it tonight, then I’ll send the draft off over the weekend. Words: 1,500.

Breakfast for Honey. I have breakfast while writing a bunch of email messages.

Then, it’s time to prep for my meeting. I organize my schedule for the day, and try not to think about everything I need to do. Action, rather than thinking about it, is the key.

I’m back. The meeting was great, and I managed to pop into the library to do some fact checking for the book proposal, and for another project.

A client asked about ebooks for her business. She’s got an ecommerce store, and is getting fewer sales because traffic is shrinking. Paid advertising isn’t helping as much as she’d like.

She’s wondering about content marketing, and how ebooks play into that. So, let’s look at it.

Traffic from ebooks, and the rising tide

Traffic is hard to get in 2014. In 2015, it will only be harder. A tsunami of content flows onto the Web each day: millions and millions of pieces of content.

Many companies are using content marketing today. It’s the new big thing but it has challenges. Many, many challenges. Why content marketing fails for many who try it is explained in this excellent slide deck from Moz, Why Content Marketing Fails.

Basically, here’s how it works. You post content. You get recognition. You build trust. People remember what you’re selling and when they have a need for it, they may buy. As Rand points out in the slide deck, you fail, fail, fail… and then you succeed.

Content marketing has been part of the Web since there was a Web. Now there’s a fancy name for it, but it changes nothing about the way it works. It’s all about trust and recognition, and being persistent until you succeed.

So, how does traffic from ebooks play into that?

I tell my students: be everywhere. Spread yourself around. The more people who hear your name, the better. Amazon is a search engine too. So are the other ebook retailers. iTunes has a search engine. And YouTube.

Someone sees your name in your ebook description on Amazon, and remembers it. If they read your ebook, you’re lucky, but the point is — Google indexes Amazon.

Content marketing and SEO

You have a website. You’re on Twitter, and Facebook and Google+. And now you’re on Amazon too. Google indexes ALL that, and as Rand points out in his slide deck, the rising tide of SEO lifts all boats. So, you’re building a profile, as someone who’s here, there and everywhere, and Google takes notice.

You just keep going and going, and your “everywhere” thing grows. You get more traffic, and make more sales. Along the way, you make connections, which also help.

That’s how you get traffic from ebooks. You’re on Amazon, and everywhere else, too, and your boat (profile) is lifted everywhere. That’s the macro point of view.

On a micro level, what the hey — you may sell a few ebooks AND get traffic. Remember to put your URL and info in the front and back matter of your books. :-)

It’s late afternoon now. I spent a busy afternoon on several copywriting jobs which grew out of my meetings this week. I also assessed my content calendars for clients’ blogs.

Finally, a quick overview of today’s activities and word count, and a longer review of what got done, and what didn’t get done this week. And that’s it for another day.

Oh woe, oh junk folders…

Before I forget. I posted a quick note on the freelance blog about Team Up. Several people mentioned that they found the ezine messages in their junk folder, and were upset about potentially missing out, since it’s the final coaching program for the year. We’ve extended Team Up enrollments until this Sunday to help.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Your Google+ Business Page: Create An Asset

Your Google+ Business Page: Create An Asset

Got a Google+ business page? Me too. However, a Google+ business page has been a hard sell to my clients: “I’ve got a Facebook page, why do I need a Google+ page too?” 

The short answer: Google. Google’s been promoting Google My Business:

Google My Business connects you directly with customers, whether they’re looking for you on Search, Maps or Google+.

Here’s the FAQ to Google My Business. Basically, Google’s tying everything together — search, maps, and social media via Google+, and it all starts when you set up your Google+  business page and verify your address. (Google will send you a postcard.)

Look on your Google+ business page as an asset: one you need to promote your business effectively.

 What about SEO?

Search engine optimization (SEO) will always be important. The “search engines” are just software scripts. Your website and blog pages need meta data to tell the scripts what each page is about. Your pages still need to be “optimized”, in a sense. And you still need links to your pages. Nothing has changed; Web content is what it always was.

However, social media is becoming ever more important, and search engines are getting smarter. Google wants to tie all your business information together  to help your customers to find you, and to do a better job of indexing the Web.

So, a Google+ business page as gone from “meh, who needs it? I’ve got Facebook”, to becoming the foundation of your online marketing. Don’t fight it. Click the big blue “Get on Google” button on the top right of Google My Business, and get started. :-) As Google is at pains to point out, it’s free, so it won’t cost you anything.

You’ve got a Google+ business page, now what?

Start posting to your page, and getting followers to your page. Social Media Examiner gives you 11 ways to get followers to your Google+ business page:

One of the first tips I give people is to use your Google+ personal profile to interact with your Google+ business page content.

Since Google’s using your information for Web search, it’s vital that you show willing, and get some content on your Google+ business page, and some engagement going too.

Google advises:

Keep your customers in the know by posting updates, news and special offers on your Google+ page. Your customers can +1 and comment on the content you post, giving you a direct connection to their feedback.

Treat your page as you’d treat your other social media pages. Promote your page on your website, and ask customers to respond. As Google suggests, make it worth their while to visit your page and interact by posting special offers for them.

So there you have it. Like it or not, your Google+ business page is important. It’s a vital asset for your business. You need one. Google has spoken. :-)

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.

Guest Blogging Slam: Bye, Bye Easy Links

Blogging Services from Angela Booth

If you’ve been using guest blogging for SEO and links, the freezing winds of Google are blowing your way. Matt Cutts’ web spam team is looking at businesses which use others’ blogs to get easy links.

Search Engine Land reported on a tweet from Matt Cutts, “Today we took action on a large blog network.”  The article says:

The belief is that Google specifically went after MyBlogGuest.com. If you Google their name, it no longer shows up in the search results.

Ouch.

Does this mean that guest blogging is DEAD?

No, no, no… As I said in an article on guest blogging on my Fab Freelance Writing Blog:

Google’s warned people against guest blogging, when it’s done to scale – that is, if a company gets a thousand pieces of crap a month written solely for the links. When it’s done with quality content, and not solely as a link-getting activity, Google has nothing against the practice, as Matt Cutts noted:

“Added: It seems like most people are getting the spirit of what I was trying to say, but I’ll add a bit more context… And there are absolutely some fantastic, high-quality guest bloggers out there. I changed the title of this post to make it more clear that I’m talking about guest blogging for search engine optimization (SEO) purposes.”

So if you’re creating genuinely useful, quality content, and offer that content to others, you can use guest blogging for promotion.

It’s all about your intent…

Think about your intentions with guest blogging. Do you want to post on a blog which is read by your target audience because it’s a good marketing strategy? Go right ahead.

Or do you want some easy SEO link juice? If you do, beware. Anything which is done to scale will come back and bite you.

FWIW, I’m still guest blogging, and I’m blogging for my clients too. It’s worthwhile, esepcially if you want to build your search profile as an authority in an area. And of course, to get traffic. :-)

It’ll be interesting to see how this Google slam works out over the next few weeks.

Online Press Release Tips: 5 Ways to Get Value for Money

Online Press Release Tips: 5 Ways to Get Value for Money

A decade ago, you could write an online press release, post it to a PR website, and get great results. You needed to use appropriate keywords, but your little press release was great value for the time you invested. In 2014, Google’s severe on press releases written purely for SEO – no more free traffic for junk releases.

This doesn’t mean that press releases are worthless, far from it. They’re an essential tool. If you use them correctly, not only will they enhance your marketing campaigns, they’ll also help you to get customers. Consider this: if major companies continue to use press releases, why don’t you?

Let’s look at how you can get real value from the online press releases you create. (Note to self: write more press releases for my own business…)

1. Focus on Your Entire Marketing Campaign, Rather Than a Single Press Release.

You’re launching a new product. You’re running online and offline advertising, you’re using social media to get the word out, you’re blogging – you’re even running a Pinterest contest.

Whether you’re doing a big launch, or a mini one, online press releases fit right in. Be aware however, that press releases aren’t advertising. They’re factual, and are written in the third person.

You’re free to use any angle you like: straight news, or human interest. If you’re looking for media attention, a human interest story may be the way to go. Do customers use your products in unusual ways? What good works have you done lately? Years ago I wrote a press release for a company which helped a lady who ran a shelter for abused pets; it was a lovely story, and got press.

2. Quid Pro Quo: Give and Get.

An online press release is targeted directly to your audience. You’ll reach potential customers who’ve never heard of you. So, make it easy for them to stay in touch. Offer readers a freebie in exchange for their email address.

And of course, use the email addresses you collect. Many small businesses never bother using their customer lists; this is a huge waste of resources.

3. Pitch Your Story to Bloggers in a Sentence or Two.

Bloggers can extend your reach by hundreds of thousands, even millions. Ideally, you’ll have reached out to bloggers long before you launch your campaign.

Pitch your story to bloggers, but keep it short.Greg Kumparak, mobile editor, TechCrunch says:

“Know how to make your pitch in a sentence or two — if you can’t wrap up your own product in a concise and interesting way, we probably won’t be able to either.”

Add a link to your online press release to your pitches.

4. Post Your Press Releases to Your Website.

Press releases are the gift that keeps on giving. Post them to your website, into a “Press” area. Anyone who wants to learn more about you will appreciate your releases. Over time, your press releases will show the evolution of your business; they build your credibility with people who’ve never heard of you.

5. Keep Your Releases Short: Add Support Materials for More Info.

Keep your press releases short: a maximum of 400 words for the meat of the release. Get your point across with your story: aim for an emotional connection. Use a conversational tone. If your eyes glaze over when you’re reading, rewrite – “don’t be boring” applies to press releases too.

Most press release distribution websites allow you to add media to your releases. Take advantage of this. Add documents, images, and videos ( if you have them). Offer the press release as a PDF download.

Online press releases are a wonderful addition to any marketing campaign, yet few small businesses use them. Major companies use them as a matter of course. Try these tips; you’ll be pleased with the results.

Need help with your online press releases? Contact Angela.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

 From here on out, a marketing plan that consists of (and even more importantly, relies on) “rank well in Google” is a bullshit plan. Because Google doesn’t care about you, or your website or your business. They care about theirs.

From:

GOOGLE PROPAGANDA, SEO AND WHY MARKETERS NEED TO WAKE UP

Want a great search engine ranking? The best way to get it is to forget about it. Build your business. Market your business. Let Google do what it does, while you do what you do.

Web Content Dilemma: Guest Posting, Yes or No?

Web Content Dilemma: Guest Posting, Yes or No?

You want traffic, so you post Web content to your website or blog regularly. It works. However, with a tsunami of content flowing onto the Web each day, it’s very hard to get noticed. You decide that you need more content to draw traffic.

One day you have a lightbulb moment, and decide that you need to write guest posts for popular websites. They get much more traffic than you do, and they offer a link back to your site. So you offer an article to a popular site. Your article is accepted, and you get your link, and a trickle of traffic. Your daily traffic is increasing.

Guest posting is amazing, you decide. It works! So you spread yourself far and wide, posting on others’ sites, and chasing links.

I love guest posting, and enjoy posting on sites like LifeHack. However, Google’s Matt Cutts has repeatedly warned that overdoing guest posting may not be a great idea. Sooner or later, Google will come down on websites which chase guest posting links.

The solution is…

Post your best content on your own website.

MOZ CEO Rand Fiskin, in Why Guest Posting and Blogging is a Slippery Slope suggests:

For your marquee content, your best stuff, I strongly – see how I’ve underlined strongly – strongly suggest using your own site. Reason being, if you’re going to put wonderful stuff out there, even if you think it could do better on somebody else’s site, in the long term you want that to live on your own site.

The problem with guest posting is that even if your name is on the content, you’ve lost some rights (maybe all rights, in some cases) to the content. Even if your guest posting venue merely claims exclusivity for a couple of weeks, and you retain all rights, the content nevertheless is posted on someone else’s website.

It’s a dilemma. Should you guest post, or post your Web content primarily to your own website?

When to guest post…

Consider your business goals, as well as your marketing goals. What do you want to achieve in the longterm? If your aim is to be a thought leader in your industry, your choice is obvious: post your best content to your own website. Make the most of your content too – repurpose it. Integrate your content with the rest of your website.

When should you guest post? Ideally, when you want to form a relationship or partnership on the website on which you post your Web content. Or, guest post on a website which is read by your target audience.

Consider that guest posting your content is a short-term solution. Yes, you get links, and those links may be valuable right now. However, you’ve lost control of that content.

As Rand Fiskin suggests in his article, guest posting can be a slippery slope, if you look on it as an easy way to get links and traffic, and start to scale it. Some links can damage your website.

We’ve discussed repurposing your content. As time goes on, you can reprise your content too, as long as the content lives on your own site.

Web content is valuable. Think carefully before you give your best content away too cheaply.

Quick update… is guest blogging DONE?

Some hours after I posted this post, I received Matt Cutts Declares Guest Blogging ‘Done’ … Are We All Screwed? from CopyBogger.

(Giggle) Love the title. 

I went to the source, Matt Cutts, who’s made it clear that he’s talking about guest blogging solely for SEO:

Added: It seems like most people are getting the spirit of what I was trying to say, but I’ll add a bit more context. I’m not trying to throw the baby out with the bath water. There are still many good reasons to do some guest blogging (exposure, branding, increased reach, community, etc.). Those reasons existed way before Google and they’ll continue into the future.

You can create guest posts as Web content to your heart’s content. Just make sure you’re not doing it SOLELY for links. And keep your best stuff on your own site, as much as possible.
Blog management

, and on Twitter: @angee