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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.

Pinterest Traffic: Start Pinning

Pinterest Traffic: Start Pinning

Are you missing out on Pinterest traffic? Chances are that you are.  One of my clients was curious about a sudden flow of traffic from Pinterest, and called me. I’d been encouraging him to try Pinterest for at least a year, but he’d taken a look at the site, and had decided it wasn’t for him.

Then he got traffic from kind people who pinned his products, and he’s now decided that Pinterest should be part of his social media marketing endeavors.

Pinterest Traffic: Get images, and a Pinterest account

Here’s what I love about Pinterest: your pins are long-lasting. Unlike Twitter or Facebook, your pins don’t have a shelf-life which is measured in minutes. You can get traffic from stuff you pinned months ago.

If you’d like to get started with Pinterest, start by looking at the images on your offerings. If you don’t have images, create some.

This doesn’t need to be a major investment. One of my client has a B2B website offering services. He’d never considered images. We developed some templates with placeholder images  with the help of a designer. He can take photos himself, then drag them into the templates, save, and upload them in a couple of minutes.

Once you’ve created some images, get a Pinterest business account. Create a couple of boards for your business. Make one board business-related, and the other fun — Pinterest is a social media network. Some ideas:

Create Pinterest boards with specific questions your website’s visitors have, or around a specific theme. For example, if you have an online business selling accessories, create boards for each kind of accessory, and for your designers too. Check out what major brands are doing. Keep your boards light-hearted.

Give Pinterest a try. You may be surprised at how effective it can be as an additional source of traffic to your website.
, and on Twitter: @angee.

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

Pinterest Traffic: 3 FAST Tricks You Can Use Today

Pinterest Traffic: 3 FAST Tricks You Can Use Today

Want some Pinterest traffic? Some of my clients still don’t believe that they can get useful traffic from Pinterest. While it’s true that Pinterest won’t send you masses of traffic when your account is new, the traffic you do get pays off. It’s engaged, and responsive – conversion rates for Pinterest are 50 per cent higher than for other sources.

Let’s look at some FAST tricks which will increase your Pinterest traffic quickly.

By the way, we’ve just released a new program which helps you to make the most of Pinterest – Pinterest for Writers: Creative Strategies To Increase Your Writing Income FAST. It’s aimed at writers, but the information works for any small business.

1. Find and Reach Out to Influencers in Your Niche.

If you’re used to doing outreach for links, you know how to approach people. Firstly, create some boards, with great images. Pay attention to your pin’s descriptions, and add hashtags. Treat optimizing your boards and pins just as you would any other search engine optimization (SEO) project.

Then, reach out to other pinners in your niche – pinners who are targeting an audience which is similar to yours. Make a list of these pinners, and follow their boards. Comment on their pins, and repin them. Contact your targets, asking them to pin one of your pins. At this stage, don’t be greedy. Ask for a single pin, but don’t stop there. Aim to form a relationship. Pinterest is a social media network… get social.

Mention your pinning colleagues in pins you post. “Mentioning” on Pinterest is just like mentioning on Twitter. Make sure you’re following at least one of their boards, then use the “@” symbol, and the pinner’s user name. They’ll be notified of your mention.

You’ll find other Pinterest tips and tricks here.

2. Create Attention-Grabbing, Share-Worthy Images.

Images are at the heart of Pinterest. Here’s an excellent post on how to create share-worthy images. It gives some great advice:

Social media expert Kim Garst matches audience expectations with useful tips by regularly posting images with social media advice and tagging them with #biztip.

Her community shares these problem-solving tips like wildfire, which results in an exceptionally high organic engagement rate on Facebook.

Initially, working with images will feel clumsy and unnatural. Have fun with it; do your best. You may not be a designer, but you have innate creativity. You don’t need a Photoshop subscription. I use Picmonkey and Canva more often than I use Photoshop.

3. Share Your Pinterest Presence: Let Everyone Know You’re on Pinterest.

It’s easy to forget this – I do! Let people know you’re on Pinterest. Add Pinterest widgets to your website, and promote your boards and pins on other social media.

Did you know that you can embed pins? Embed your boards and pins onto your website and blog. The more people who know you’re on Pinterest, the more people will find your boards, and the more followers you’ll get. More followers means more Pinterest traffic, and as we’ve said, Pinterest traffic converts.

So, there you have it: three FAST and easy tricks you can use today to get Pinterest traffic.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, too.

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

Increase Web Traffic and Consumer Engagement With Pinterest: 3 Easy Ways

Increase Web Traffic and Consumer Engagement With Pinterest: 3 Easy Ways

Want to increase your Web traffic with Pinterest? Not only does Pinterest drive traffic, it also enhances consumer engagement. Make it easy for consumers to pin your images. When their followers see your images in their streams, they may repin, giving you more opportunities for traffic.

These tips are easy to implement, and at least one will give you a “duh!” moment because it’s so simple. By the way, if you’re in an unglamorous industry, and can’t easily source glitzy images, you can nevertheless use Pinterest as traffic source.

Denise Wakeman suggests:

In fact, you don’t need stunning photos or a sexy topic to attract followers on Pinterest. Joan goes through the steps she uses to create images of helpful how-to tips, even for the most boring topics, using nothing more than PowerPoint, and then cross-promotes each tip to her blog, website, or a social media site.

I often use Keynote on my Mac to create text-focused images for Pinterest. Several of my students use MS Word to create Pinterest images. Alternatively, download the free Open Office office suite, and use its Impress app to create your images.

If you want a Web-based image creator, I’ve become a fan of Canva. It’s a free app which creates gorgeous images suitable for pinning. You can create custom images sizes in Canva: for Pinterest, images of 600 x 900 work well – I created the image at the top of this post in Canva and PicMonkey.

Tip 1. Hand-craft descriptions for your pins.

Make it as easy as possible for people who are searching Pinterest to find you. I had a “duh!” moment a few weeks ago when I realized that I’d ignored my pins’ descriptions, even though I know that you need text and keywords to enhance search-ability.

Each pin has its own “page” on the Web, so in SEO terms, think of a pin’s description as a page description. You’re given 500 hundred characters for a description, which is around 100 words. Add a keyword as a hashtag, and describe your pin. In addition, consider adding a URL to your pin, and asking for repins.

Tip 2. Comment on others’ pins.

Engaging via commenting on pins gets traffic to your Pinterest boards. When you comment on others’ pins, anyone reading your comments can click on your name, which is a link to your Pinterest account.

If you spend just ten minutes a week commenting, it will give you an uptick in followers and traffic.

Tip 3. Add text to images when appropriate.

Text helps your images to stand out in people’s streams, and can encourage consumer engagement with your brand. Not every pin will need text. If you’re pinning products however, including text with a product’s primary benefit can drive a click. Adding your logo can help too.

An article in Mashable recently reported the Pinterest drives more traffic than Twitter and LinkedIn. If you’re not getting your share, implement these three easy tips today.

Pinterest Power: Get Up to Speed On Pinterest, It’s More Useful Than You’d Think

Pinterest Power: Get Up to Speed On Pinterest, It’s More Useful Than You’d Think

Are you using Pinterest for your business? I know that many businesses aren’t. On the other hand, I’ve run into several companies which use Pinterest as their one and only website; that’s something I wouldn’t have considered, but it works for them.

We discussed how to lure customers via Pinterest, and if you’ve been holding off using Pinterest, here are three tips which will help you to get up to speed.

1. Get up to speed fast.

Not sure how you’d use Pinterest?

Jeff Sieh suggests (and provides a clever video):

One definite way you can use Pinterest for your small business and drive more traffic to your website or blog is by optimizing your pins for search purposes. Create compelling descriptions which include your relevant keywords but remember there is a 500-character limit. Make your descriptions count by being short, concise and strategic in what you say.

2. Use Pinterest for market research.

Keep in mind that 80% of Pinterest users are women, and Pinterest has 500,000 business accounts. This makes it a happy hunting ground for researching your target market, and competitors.

5 Ways to Use Pinterest for Your Business suggests:

Before you undertake any marketing campaign, you have to undertake market research first. With Pinterest, you can gather all the valuable market research in one place without anybody else knowing. Pinterest’s user friendly and visually appealing nature makes it easy to compile all the relevant data (videos, blogs, infographics, and much more) related to your target market.

3. Grow your boards.

On Pinterest, you pin your material onto boards. Create boards for your products, your customers, and just for fun.

Your boards aren’t static. Check them frequently, as they grow.

Karen Leland suggests:

Rearrange your boards. If you want to reorganize the order in which your boards appear, simply place your cursor over your name in the main toolbar in the top right corner of your screen and select “Boards” from the drop-down menu. You’ll now be able to see all your boards. Located just above your boards and smack dab in the middle of the page is the “Edit Profile” button.

Did you know that you can even pin boards onto your website?

Pinterest drives traffic, and as we said: “Pinterest drives more referral traffic than YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn — combined.”

Get up to speed today; you’ll be pleased you did.

 

, and on Twitter: @angee