Category Archives: Sales and Marketing

What Should Come First: the Paperback or the E-book? (And How it Affects Your Marketing)

This content first appeared on Warrior Forum and has been republished here with permission from the author.

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I started another thread a little while ago titled How to Price an E-book, and this spawned a further discussion between me and another person regarding which should come first: the e-book or the paperback.

I wrote, “Whenever my company produces books for any authors (myself included), we start with either a paperback or a hardcover (their choice) and then convert those digital files to an e-book after that fact. That way, these authors have a larger net to catch more fish because they are appealing to the readers who still prefer to hold a hard copy in their hands as well as the ones who prefer to read soft copies.

To which he replied, “To be honest, I doubt that very many people on this forum are interested in creating either a hardback or paperback to begin with. They are digital marketers and create e-books first which may later be converted to paper using CreateSpace or some other service.

I can understand that point of view, but I think there is much more to consider here when it comes to both offline and digital marketing. Everyone trying to sell any type of book needs to familiarize themselves all the different players in the book supply chain, how these players can help you to sell more books (both online and offline), and what these players expect to see in your books before they’ll even pay attention to you, never mind help you. 

For example, let’s take the reviewers that I talked about in this thread: You Can Buy Book Reviews to Promote Your Ebook Online!. Publicity is GOLD to any author–no matter what type of book you’ve published, no matter where/how you’re trying to sell that book. And a positive review from a reputable book reviewer can generate an amazing amount of publicity for you. But they have certain expectations of your books…

The professional reviewers want to see a properly (professionally) designed book, and they won’t pay attention to anything else much less review it for you. They expect to see all the proper cover design components and interior components (front matter, body, back matter) before they’ll ever take it seriously. For one example, they will want to see an index at the back of a non-fiction book … and we automatically create those in our paperbacks/hardcovers before converting them over to an e-book. But if you start with the e-book first, and then try to convert it to a paperback or hardcover, it will be missing many of these necessary components. The result is that the book won’t be taken seriously by the reputable industry reviewers–the ones who can generate that golden publicity for you.

Contrary to popular belief on this forum, there are still just as many people reading paperbacks/hardcovers as there are reading e-books. If your goal is to sell your books then, for best results, you should still be producing both in this day and age. Cast a larger net, catch more fish. And the hard copy–the paperback or the hardcover–needs to come first. The e-book needs to come second.

The Difference Between Advertising, Marketing, and Sales

Here’s an excerpt from Successful Selling Tips for Introverted Authors to help you sell more books…

Perhaps the most important lesson I learned over the years was the difference between advertising, marketing, and sales, and how they all work in conjunction with each other. Here are their definitions as per The Free Dictionary (2015a):

• ad·ver·tis·ing (ăd′v r-tī′zĭng)
n.
1. The activity of attracting public attention to a product or business,
as by paid announcements in the print, broadcast, or electronic media.
2. The business of designing and writing advertisements.

• mar·ket·ing (mär′kĭ-tĭng)
n.
1. The act or process of buying and selling in a market.
2. The strategic functions involved in identifying and appealing to
particular groups of consumers, often including activities such as
advertising, branding, pricing, and sales.

• sell (sĕl)
v. sold (sōld), sell·ing, sells
v.tr.
1. To exchange or deliver for money or its equivalent: We sold our old
car for a modest sum.
2. To offer or have available for sale: The store sells health foods.
4. To be purchased in (a certain quantity); achieve sales of: a book
that sold a million copies.

To clarify, advertising is the vehicle you use to reach your target market of customers. Marketing is the language in which you choose to speak to them to pique their interest in your offering. And selling is the act of convincing them to buy from you—of coming right out and asking for the sale. The most successful salespeople harmonize all three of these components together in a well thought-out sales campaign, which I intend to teach you how to do in this book.

Since leaving that literary press and learning these new skills, I have achieved my goal and become a bestselling author. To date, my books have been publicly listed as bestsellers on Amazon’s Canadian, American, and United Kingdom ecommerce sites as well as in a traditional market—a prominent daily newspaper in one of Canada’s major cities.

I’ve published six books in total (you are reading the sixth one right now), including my two most recent titles that compile all my knowledge of the book publishing industry, as a whole, into two compact and easy-to-read volumes: How to Publish a Book in Canada … and Sell Enough Copies to Make a Profit! (Staflund, 2013) and How to Publish a Bestselling Book … and Sell It WORLDWIDE Based on Value, Not Price! (Staflund, 2014). I highly recommend picking up a copy of either of these books to complement the lessons you will learn in this one because they contain answers to basically every question you’ve ever had about how to write, publish, copyright, market, sell (online and traditional methods), price, print, and distribute a book anywhere in the world, no matter what book format you’re working with: ebooks, paperbacks, hardcovers, even audiobooks.

In this book, we’re going to focus on online advertising, sales, and marketing, alone. And, my introverted friends, I’ve got some good news and some bad news for you in this regard:

  • Let’s start with the bad news
    If you want your book to sell well, you have to be an active participant in the selling process. There is no way around this, no matter which book publishing business model you’ve published your book through: the traditional trade publishers, the vanity publishers, or the hybrid publishers. Authors are entrepreneurs. Your book is your business.
  • And now for the good news
    It is possible to sell your book all around the world using nothing more than a comfortable chair in your quiet writing room, a laptop, an Internet connection, and your own God-given talent for writing.

Need more convincing when I say that you have to be an active participant in the selling of your book for it to be truly successful? Okay.

Let’s talk about a well-known, bestselling book series you’ve no doubt heard of: Chicken Soup for the Soul by Jack Canfield. In The Secret (Byrne, 2006), Jack discussed what it took for him to make his trade-published Chicken Soup book a success. Around the time he was first published, he said he was earning only eight thousand dollars per year. Then he went on to share with Byrne,

. . . so I said, “I want to make a hundred thousand dollars in a
year.” Now, I had no idea how I could do that. I saw no strategy, no
possibility, but I just said, “I’m going to declare that, I’m going to
believe it, I’m going to act as if it’s true, and release it.” So I did that.

About four weeks into it, I had a hundred-thousand-dollar idea. It
just came right into my head. I had a book I had written, and I said,
“If I can sell four hundred thousand copies of my book at a quarter
each, that’d be a hundred thousand dollars.” Now, the book was there,
but I never had this thought. (One of the secrets is that when you
have an inspired thought, you have to trust it and act on it.) I didn’t
know how I was going to sell four hundred thousand copies.

Then I saw the National Enquirer at the supermarket. I had seen that
millions of times and it was just background. And all of a sudden it
jumped out at me as foreground. I thought, “If readers knew about my
book, certainly four hundred thousand people would go out and buy
it.” About six weeks later I gave a talk at Hunter College in New York
to six hundred teachers, and afterward a woman approached me and
said, “That was a great talk. I want to interview you. Let me give you my
card.” As it turns out, she was a freelance writer who sold her stories to
the National Enquirer. The theme from “The Twilight Zone” went off
in my head, like, whoah, this stuff’s really working. That article came
out and our book sales started to take off. (pp. 96–97)

There are a couple of reasons for sharing this story with you that have nothing to do with spirituality or the lessons taught in The Secret. First and foremost, it clearly illustrates the realities of the traditional book publishing industry and just how small a royalty unknown trade-published authors can expect to earn from their books. (Only 25¢ per copy? Ouch! He would have to sell four hundred thousand copies of his book in order to earn his goal of $100,000? Yikes!) Second, this story also proves what I’ve been telling authors all along—that it’s up to you to sell your own book, no matter which type of publisher you’re working with: traditional trade publishers, vanity publishers, or supportive self-publishing houses.

Jack Canfield is the main reason why Jack Canfield became a bestselling author—not Jack Canfield’s publisher. Repeat that to yourself again. And again. And again. Until it sticks.

Once he got the ball rolling, Jack’s book sold millions of copies. And now? Years later, just his name can sell his books without that much effort on his part, no matter whom he publishes through. But he was the one who got that ball rolling in the beginning—much more so than his publisher. His publisher simply produced a professional, saleable version of his book for him and then supplied the distribution networks where Jack could direct people to buy it. Period. The same can be said for Fifty Shades of Grey, a vanity-published book by E. L. James that went viral via social media marketing and was later picked up by a subdivision of Random House, a trade publisher that wanted a cut of those sales (Wikipedia, 2015d). And the same can be said for what will need to happen to get the ball rolling for your book.

Even if you decide to hire a publicist as yet another vehicle to increase the exposure of your book through the mainstream media (which we will discuss as an option later on), you still have to be able to explain the many virtues of your book’s topic matter to the publicist’s company so they can explain those virtues to the media on your behalf. You have to first sell it to your publicity firm before it can convince the media to pick up the story.

Once you can reconcile yourself to this fact and commit yourself to actively selling your own book, you’ve already won half the battle right there. You’ve put yourself in the driver’s seat and are well on your way to success as an author as a direct result. Now let’s dig in a little deeper to learn exactly how you’re going to do this in an introvert-friendly way.

Copywriters and Ghostwriters: What They Have in Common

© hobvias sudoneighm

This content first appeared on Digital Point Forum and has been republished here with permission from the author.

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Some people have asked me, “What is the difference between a copywriter and a ghostwriter What are their similarities?”

Well, I’ll start with the primary difference. It’s a simple difference. A copywriter is mainly concerned with producing sales and marketing copy for a client whereas a ghostwriter is someone who writes a book for someone else (whether it be non-fiction or fiction). The term “ghostwriter” simply means that, although they’ve written the book, they remain anonymous (a “ghost”) to that book’s readers because they aren’t listed as the author. The person/organization the book was written for is listed as the author … which is very similar to copywriting, isn’t it? The freelance copywriter rarely, if ever, receives public credit for the content they’ve written for someone else.

Which brings me to even more similarities between these two terms. The list of similarities–what they have in common–comprises much more. Here’s a short list:

1. Both ghostwriters and copywriters produce content for their clients. 
2. As stated above, neither ghostwriters nor copywriters receive public credit for the content they produce for their clients.
3. Both ghostwriting and copywriting are collaborative processes in that these writers need to gain a clear understanding of what their clients want ahead of time before they begin a project, and they may need to edit/correct it along with way once it has been proofread by the client.

There are three points to get that list started. How about if someone else jumps in here and picks up where I left off? What else do these two roles have in common?

Great Way to Market a Non-Fiction E-book … Find a Sponsor

This content first appeared on Warrior Forum and has been republished here with permission from the author.

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If an athlete can land funding from a sponsor, why can’t an e-book author? The key is, there has to be a mutual benefit to doing the project together. You have to pitch it as so much more than just gaining funding to help cover your writing costs for “the next best book on whatever” that you’re sure “will sell thousands, possibly millions of copies” to readers who will see the sponsor’s logo on your copyright page. Big deal … that’s all your prospective sponsor is going to be thinking as he or she yawns.

It has to be much more appealing than that, and with data to back up the big promises. That’s where email marketers can really benefit from this concept, particularly those with 20,000+ strong subscriber lists. Offering a sponsor exposure to a whole new audience through three or four of your upcoming email blasts plus their logo listed in your book’s front matter, in exchange for them paying you upfront to write your next e-book, is a much more enticing offer. And it will work even better if the content of your new e-book matches one of their products or services really well.

Here’s a perfect example: Google “Al Pitampalli” and “Citrix Systems” for more details. In a nutshell, Al got Citrix to sponsor his book titled Read This Before Our Next Meeting which is a perfect fit considering Citrix invented GoToMeeting videoconferencing. They were able to cross market to each other’s followers and both benefited greatly from the partnership.

I can see this working well for non-fiction books. Not sure about fictional books, though. Your thoughts?

Why is Blogging Important for Your Book Business?

Making the most of your book sales and marketing efforts should be one of the things you work to achieve daily. But it doesn’t take a lot of time, I promise! Only one hour per day, six days per week can do the trick. The key to your success will depend on the amount of traffic you receive, and one of the ideal ways to attract more traffic is by blogging more. Taking the time to get the information out about what you have to offer others is the goal. By knowing some of the reasons blogging is so critical to your business as an author, this may encourage you to do more of it.

Get Attention

Working to get more visitors to your blog site will take the right strategy. This means creating content that is easy to read and provides useful information to the readers who are interested in your particular topic matter. The good news is that people are looking for your topic matter all the time, and they’ll pay money for it. Regular and consistent blogging can help you to reach more and more of these people (a.k.a. your target market) by improving your blog’s SEO with the major search engines, thus making it easier for them to find you. An effective blog entry that shows people you’re a viable source of helpful information can lead to them searching for—and buying!—your book from popular e-commerce sites and/or “bricks and mortar” bookstores.

Get the Word Out to Impulse Buyers

Do you have a special promotion or contest going on that can increase interest in your book right now? If not, create one and blog about it! Because taking the time to do this could help you to increase your book’s sales potential in a dramatic way. Contests appeal to impulse buyers who may not have realized they were in the market for your book until they had that little extra incentive put right in front of their eyes. But your contest has to be appealing, of course. It has to offer a really attractive prize in order to draw lots of attention. Click on the above link for a great idea that will surely get your creative juices flowing on what sort of contest you can use to promote your own book.

Build Trust With Your Blog

I’ve said it many times before, but it’s worth repeating: one of the best ways to grow your online book sales and marketing business is blogging. Doing so allows your readers to learn more about you, as an author, while helping you get the word out about your book(s). However, you’ll need to gain the trust of your readers before they’ll spread the word for you. That’s one of the greatest the keys to successful blogging. Take some time out of your day today and listen to this blogging expert tell you how to get people to trust you so you can gain more readership and sell more books in the long run.

Update Your Blog Often

One thing you’ll want to do to ensure more success with your blogs is to write new posts frequently. This helps build reader confidence.

It’s ideal to blog at least twice per week. That’s it. Two posts per week. Two hours per post. 

In other words, you need only dedicate four hours per week toward writing and posting two 500-word blog entries. Then spend another two hours per week toward effectively sharing those blog entries (and various other posts) online via social media. That’s just six hours per week … which may translate into one hour per day, six days per week

Blogging can help authors in a number of ways. Simply take the time to get started with it. Today!

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

Celebrate Your Success!

I want to talk to you about the importance of celebrating your success once you’ve published your book. But first, click here to view PPG’s Facebook album containing pictures of some of our past author events for inspiration. 
  
For some, a simple bookstore signing is the perfect way to celebrate the publication of a new book. Others celebrate with an evening launch at a venue that serves drinks and appetizers to their guests, and they bring in guest speakers to talk about the author and the book. Some businesses even order in a custom cake with a picture of their book cover on the front, and their event is covered by the media. 
  
The sky is the limit when it comes time to celebrate your accomplishments as a published author. My only advice is that you should do something. This is a huge accomplishment! Celebrate it! 

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

[Online Marketing Tips] Complimentary Book with this Low-Cost Webinar

You know, it doesn’t matter where you are in the whole book process—whether you’ve just begun to write your book, are in the middle of having it published, or have already published it and are now looking for ways to sell it—you can benefit from the knowledge contained within this book: Successful Selling Tips for Introverted Authors
 
It can show you some really effective ways to grow your readership online in only six hours per week. That’s it, that’s all. It’s never been easier than this.
 
Do you have two short hours to spare today or tomorrow? If yes, sign up for this webinar in the time slot of your choice:
 
Successful Selling Tips for Introverted Authors – Morning Sessions
 
Successful Selling Tips for Introverted Authors – Afternoon Sessions
 
Successful Selling Tips for Introverted Authors – Evening Sessions
 
You don’t have to be an introvert to benefit from this knowledge. Extroverts are welcome, too!
 
Join any one of these webinars and I’ll mail a paperback copy of the book to the address of your choice. I hope to meet you via webinar soon!

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO)?

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of search engine optimization (SEO). The term refers to the various techniques people can use to improve (optimize) their respective webpages’ standings on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and Baidu.

As an author, the “webpages” you’re trying to promote online may be your online articles, blog posts, the e-commerce site where you sell your book(s), or even the home page of your website. It’s crucial to your success to improve each one’s SEO.

How Does it Work?

Think, for a minute, about when you use a search engine to find something. Where is the first place you look when the search results come up? The top and centre of the page? In addition, how many links are you willing to click through to find what you’re looking for? Maybe five or six at the most? Maybe your eye will scan down that first page for something interesting; or, if you have the time, maybe you’ll dig a little deeper and look through the second or third page to see what comes up there. This is what SEO is all about. Statistically, most people will stay on the first page, and that is why it’s crucial to make sure you and your book appear on that first page for as many of the major keywords that are associated with your topic matter as possible. Regular and consistent online writing (blogging) is one way to help you achieve this level of SEO.

Find Keywords

The first thing you will want to do is find specific keywords related to your book’s topic. How do you do this? It’s easy! Pull up the search engine of your choice in your browser, such as Google. Think about what combinations of words your readers will be typing into that search engine when they’re looking for your book. Type them in to test them out and see what comes up. Find as many variations as you can. The more, the better because it will give you more topic matter to create even more content over time.

Create Content

Writing blog posts and online articles that are informative and helpful will bring you more readers—but only if they contain the keywords we just talked about. Repeating a specific keyword at least twice per every 100 words will improve the SEO of that content for that keyword. Then you must share those pieces with others via email marketing, social media marketing, et cetera. Why share it? Because the SEO of that article will further increase and improve with every unique click from every new person who views it.

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

Effective Copywriting and Top of Mind Awareness (TOMA)

This content first appeared on Warrior Forum and has been republished here with permission from the author.

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Writing really effective, eye-catching copy to promote a product or service is important. When it comes to online marketing, that copy also needs to cleverly incorporate the item’s highest ranking keywords for the purpose of search engine optimization (SEO).

But there’s more to it than that, and this is where things like blogging, social media marketing, and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising come in handy. If you want to reach all your current and prospective customers, then you must achieve top of mind awareness (TOMA) with all of them by constantly staying in front of them.

Some people think of their target market as a fixed segment of the public that share similar characteristics (e.g. my customers are adult males and females between the ages of 25 to 45 who enjoy … blah blah blah, you fill in the blank). But your customers aren’t static like that. Think of them more as a fluid stream of people who are flowing in and out of your market all the time. If you want to stay top of mind with them then you need to stay in front of them all the time so that, when they’re in the market to buy whatever it is you’re selling, they’ll recall you ahead of your competitors. This will increase your chances of a sale.

Here’s an analogy for you. Think of a shopping mall. Think of all the types of stores in that shopping mall: shoe stores, clothing stores, furniture stores, et cetera. Most everyone has a need to buy shoes, clothing, and furniture at one time or another, right? But you may not be in the market for it right this minute today. You may not need it until next month or next year. And who are you most likely to buy from when the time comes and you’re in the market to buy? You’ll buy from the most trusted brand in your mind–a trust that was built up over time with regular and consistent copywriting that was shared over and over again through blogging, social media, PPC, and whatever other means.

Why don’t you fill in the blank and name “whatever other means” people can use to achieve top of mind awareness with their clients. What are some other great vehicles we can use to stay front and center with our target markets? Leave a comment below.

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.

[The Art of Copywriting] Creating Something New Out of Something Old

Kim Staflund: founder and publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG) and author of the PPG Publisher’s Blog

This content first appeared on Digital Point Forum and has been republished here with permission from the author.

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Whether you’re writing copy for your own company or freelancing for a variety of clients, chances are you’re going to be writing about topics that have been written about hundreds of times before. The best copywriters will have mastered the art of creating something new out of something old. But everyone struggles with this sometimes.

I have one possibly unique idea for the rookie copywriters who have come to this forum looking for guidance on how to best tackle a writing job. But I also invite all the pros to please add your advice into the comments below. We can all help each other. We can all learn from each other.

Okay, now for my somewhat peculiar idea…

Come up with a title for your topic that includes the words “3 Tips” or “4 Ideas” or something like that so you have a goal as to how many tips or ideas you’re going to cover in your marketing piece. Now pull out your dictionary (must be a physical dictionary), close your eyes, open it up to a random page, put your finger on a random spot on that page, then open your eyes and find the random word that you will use for your first tip/idea. Do this for as many tips/ideas as you have decided to write about so you have the same amount of random words to work with. 

Now write to those words. Figure out a way to make them fit into your topic matter in a new and creative way. You can do it. You may surprise yourself.

Again, the idea is to NOT flip through to try to find “relevant” words you’re familiar with but to stick with that first random word, get creative with it, and figure out a new way to make it relevant to your topic. Since there hasn’t been much activity on this thread, I thought I’d better provide an example of what I’m talking about.

Let’s say the topic I have to write about is “How to Improve Your Blog’s SEO Using Social Media Marketing” but I want to try something new rather than just re-writing the standard type of article for this topic. So, I choose a random word to get my creative juices flowing. For the purpose of this post, I used an online random word generator (https://www.slideshare.net/secret/BCkZEP1DQHPyuS) rather than a dictionary so I could prove to you my word choice was random. It wouldn’t let me choose only one word. It had to be two or more. The words are “wizard” and “horses.” Here is the article that resulted from those two words:

How to Improve Your Blog’s SEO Using Social Media Marketing, Wizards, and Horses

Anyone with a blog knows the primary reason why blogging is so important is search engine optimization (SEO), which means to improve (optimize) one’s standing in the organic search results on search engines like Google. You might have a fairly high search engine ranking for one or two of your primary keywords, such as your business and personal name. Blogging can help to improve your ranking for many more including some keywords you may not have considered before that will open you up to a whole new audience.

Who are you blogging for? What target market are you trying to reach? Adults or children? Male or female? What sorts of information are these individuals looking for online, other than your typical keywords, that you could intercept to bring them over to your blog?

For example, a blog that provides help, tips, and support regarding adoption can piggyback on a really prominent, instantly recognizable keyword anywhere in the world such as “Marilyn Monroe” to attract an even larger audience. Maybe the title of that particular blog entry could be: Why Marilyn Monroe Became One of the Most Successful Orphans in North America.

What about if you’re writing a blog for children and their parents about Internet safety? Do these children love Disney? Perhaps The Wizard of Oz? Horses and ponies? Start blogging about these things to attract additional subscribers: There’s No Place Like Home: Internet Safety Tips from The Wizard Oz and Not All Horses are Your Friend: Beware The Online Trojan Horse. Adding cartoon graphics of these images to your blog will make each post even more attractive.

Now your blog entries are written. Where do you share them? That’s easy. Find out which social media sites your target market is using the most and share those blog entries there. Facebook and Twitter are safe bets for your adult readers. But what about the children? Why not try out these: Safe Chat Rooms and Social Sites for Kids.

The more creative your blog, the more readers it will appeal to. Step outside the norm. Think outside the box. That’s how to improve your blog’s SEO using social media marketing, wizards, and horses … and maybe even movie stars! ​

How is that? Make sense? By choosing those two random words, I came up with a unique idea for this blog post that I may not have thought of before. Now you try!

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As a user of this website, you are authorized only to view, copy, print, and distribute the documents on this website so long as: one (1) the document is used for informational purposes only; and two (2) any copy of the document (or portion thereof) includes the following copyright notice: Copyright © 2018 Polished Publishing Group (PPG). All rights reserved.