Category Archives: T-Shaped Marketing for Authors

Make Money Online with Ebooks

Make Money Online (Book One)

Make Money Online (Book One)

Ebooks can be highly profitable digital assets for authors, online marketers, and business professionals in general. Think about it from a strictly business perspective for a moment; it’s clear an ebook is a portable business card that can be delivered instantaneously, anywhere in the world, for free or for sale, via email, blog, website, or ecommerce site.

Ebooks can be read in the comfort of one’s home or office, during a commute by train or airplane, or even when standing and waiting in line. They are easily searchable documents that can be hyperlinked to other relevant information sources (e.g., company webpages, blogs), providing even more value to readers.

Ebooks are updateable which is especially helpful to those who wish to keep their information relevant and stay on top of the dynamic Internet. With a digital asset like an ebook, you don’t have to pay storage or maintenance fees of any kind. Best of all, there are hundreds of thousands of affiliate marketers out there; they’re more than happy to help others promote and sell their digital assets all over the world. Pretty much every major ecommerce site has its own affiliate program now, and this is like having a massive sales team at your disposal without having to pay anyone an upfront salary.

Make Money Online by Providing Valuable Information

You could be in any room chatting with your family members, friends, or business colleagues. It doesn’t matter where it is or who you’re with. At some point during the conversation, a question of some sort almost always arises; what is the first thing everyone does? You each pull out your smartphone, iPad, or tablet and open the web browser to search for an answer. We all have instant access to timely information at our fingertips now, and we’re all constantly accessing it.

Make Money Online (Book Two)

Make Money Online (Book Two)

Consider this: Twenty years ago if you wanted to learn something, you’d go to the library or bookstore and pick up a book. If there was new information on a topic, it had to go through a long publication process – an average of 18 months! By the time that new information came out, it was often already outdated.

Today is very different.

We live in the Information Age. Basically, the greatest industry in the world today is the information industry. Those with access to information and the ability to distribute it the fastest are the ones who are poised to be our next millionaires and billionaires. (Singal, 2016)

Make Money Online by Connecting People in Meaningful Ways

Now let’s take that a step further. It’s not only about your ability to quickly distribute information to the masses that could potentially earn you a profit; it’s more about your ability to use that information to connect people together in meaningful ways. Intellectual property can be a priceless asset to the owners who know how to do this well.

Make Money Online (Book Three)

Make Money Online (Book Three)

In discussions with industry leaders like Seth Godin and Clay Hebert (among many others), it has become clear that we are in a Connection Economy. The connection economy rewards value created by building relationships and creating connections, rather than building assets by industrialism. This means the most valuable companies will connect buyer to seller, or consumer to content. If you don’t buy that argument, consider these facts:

1. Uber is the largest “taxi” company – yet they own no vehicles and excel at connecting riders with drivers.
2. AirBnB is the largest provider of accommodations – yet they own no real estate.
3. Facebook is the largest media company – yet they create no content.
4. Crowdfunding businesses like Kickstarter and IndiGoGo [sic] are expected to surpass venture capital for funding in 2016 – yet they have no funds to invest. (Altman, 2015)

You can create these kinds of meaningful connections through ebooks. There are umpteen unique ways for you to bond with your readers, uniting them with additional people and resources. You can write fiction or poetry to entertain them and then connect them with like-minded book club members. You can use non-fiction to educate them and recommend additional related services.

Make Money Online With Ebooks

Make Money Online (Book Four)

Make Money Online (Book Four)

There is an ebook publishing technique that many of today’s most successful independent authors (a.k.a. indie authors) are using to sell thousands of books every year. Some of these authors are earning six-figure incomes from their ever-growing online platforms. What is a “platform” you’re asking? It is a loyal readership. And that’s what the “Big Five” trade publishers—Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster—are looking for when scouting new book projects. They’ll sign the unknown indie authors with built-in audiences that can guarantee them sales before they’ll re-sign a known trade-published author with limited traction. That’s the reality of this business.

Selling physical books in an offline marketplace is different from selling digital books in an online marketplace. In the traditional offline world, authors must appeal to people such as booksellers, reviewers, and publicists to help you sell more books; but, in the online world, you’re working with mechanical algorithms and search engine optimization (SEO) to increase your exposure. This is a blessing. This is a new and highly effective way to reach the masses and earn a profit in the process. Ebooks are possibly the best way to make money online nowadays.

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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.



Organic Web Weaving: Modern Book Publishing, Sales and Marketing

Organic Web Weaving

Organic Web Weaving

Organic web weaving is every author’s road to book sales success. Writing is selling in the online world. Writers are natural online marketers. Polished Publishing Group (PPG) can show you how many of today’s top authors are selling thousands of books every year using some simple online techniques. Most of these techniques require effective writing.

The best way to sell books in today’s world is to utilize the power of search engine optimization (SEO). Effective digital publishing requires a little more finesse than simply combining traditional offline sales and marketing methods with modern online techniques. Doing so can actually be counterproductive. This is because traditional publishing takes time while digital publishing requires momentum. If you want to succeed at publishing and selling books nowadays, you can no longer “waste precious time” by publishing only one book per year or one blog entry per month. The Internet rewards speed and productivity, and the Internet is your greatest ally. Used right, it can help you stand out among the millions of books being published worldwide each year.

Organic Web Weaving Techniques That Work

"Rapid Release" Publishing

“Rapid Release” Publishing

1. Blogging: If you have published (or plan to publish) a book, you will need a website to promote it. That’s your starting point. You don’t need anything fancy or expensive; a simple blog will do. If you haven’t already done so, you can create one for yourself using either WordPress.org or Blogger.com. Just follow their user-friendly instructions along with the instructions I give you in the three books shown on this blog post.

2. “Rapid Release” Publishing: There is a form of online book sales and marketing known as “rapid release” publishing that many of today’s most successful authors are using. Many of these authors are selling thousands of books every year by publishing this way. Some of them are earning six- and seven-figure incomes from their growing fan bases. Even mainstream authors like James Patterson are jumping on this bandwagon. He publishes multiple books in short periods of time, too. He refers to his “rapid release” book series as his BookShots line.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing

3. Social Media Marketing: Did you know social media activity is one of the things Google rewards that can help to improve your SEO? Well, it is. And certain social media sites will earn you more points than others, so I’ve learned. For example, did you know YouTube is owned by Google? Now that you know, you may be more inclined to start posting more video content on a regular basis. I dedicated an entire book, titled Successful Selling Tips for Introverted Authors, to teaching authors how to utilize social media marketing as part of your online sales strategy. I strongly recommend you read it. Yes, it is possible to sell books 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. Authors around the world are proving it every day. You can join the fleet.

Organic Web Weaving Services Through Polished Publishing Group (PPG)

You can do it all yourself by following the user-friendly tips in the above three books. You can also contact PPG here to learn more about how we can help you weave a powerful web. The sooner you get started, the faster you’ll see results.

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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.




Why Social Media is the Perfect Platform for Introverted Authors to Promote Books

Perfect Platform

Perfect Platform

To understand why social media is the perfect platform for introverted authors, you must first understand introversion. Introversion is a somewhat nebulous characteristic as discussed in Carolyn Gregoire’s article from 2013 titled 23 Signs You’re Secretly An Introvert: “Think you can spot an introvert in a crowd? Think again,” she says. “Despite the growing conversation around introversion, it remains a frequently misunderstood personality trait.” Agreed. A common misconception is that all introverts are shy and anti-social; but “shyness” and “introversion” are, in fact, two very different things.

Quality Over Quantity is the Perfect Platform

Introversion is more about preferring quality over quantity in social interactions. It’s about where one derives their greatest source of energy to thrive. To clarify, extended periods of social interaction will energize an extrovert. The same set of circumstances will deplete an introvert who will then have to ‘recharge’ by spending a period of time alone afterward.

This is precisely the reason why social media is the perfect platform for introverts to promote their books. No need for forced interaction, small talk, or gregarious chatter. You don’t need to be the master networking champion of the office, or the center of the company cocktail party. If you’re an introvert and want to promote yourself and your book, all you need is an Internet connection and a plan.

Getting Social in a Professional Way is the Perfect Platform

We can talk about Twitter and Facebook. But if you’re in it for business and networking, LinkedIn is still a safe bet. Build your audience gradually. Post relevant and informative blog entries twice a week to groups that are interested in your topic matter. Once you have connections and an audience, don’t push people too hard. Don’t, for example, send people unsolicited email requests to buy your products.

Engage in conversations with those who post comments to your blog entries and status updates. Let your audience get to know you by replying to their posts and answering their questions. Again, this is gold for the introvert. You can have meaningful conversations in a controlled environment, all while enjoying the comfort of your private office.

Utilizing the Power of Key Words is the Perfect Platform

A keyword is a phrase that someone might type into a search engine such as Google, Bing, or Yahoo to try to find something they’re looking for. For example, the author of a holiday cookbook may write a blog entry containing keywords such as “best cheesecake recipes in the world” and “holiday treats” and then link them to the ecommerce site where the book is sold.

The idea is to write several of these keyword-rich articles. Then share those articles with others via email and social media websites. The ultimate goal is for your articles to show up in the top five search results on page one of a search engine because this will dramatically improve the chances of people clicking on them to read them. Obviously, the more articles that are posted online on a regular basis, the better it will work because people will be able to find you via more and more keyword variations.

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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.




Why Authors Need Blogs to Sell Books

Why Authors Need Blogs to Sell Books

Why Authors Need Blogs to Sell Books

Why authors need blogs to sell books … the reason is simple. Think of your blog as the primary web address where you can promote everything related to your authorship: books; upcoming book signings and speaking events; videos; podcasts; photography or sketches; questions and answers for your fans; et cetera. And this is important. Because when you focus on increasing your blog’s ranking on search engines like Google, you not only drive more traffic to the blog itself. You also drive more traffic to each published book that you promote through your blog. More traffic equates to more chances for sales.

There are 12 fairly simple things writers can do to help this process along as discussed in this book shown to the right. Do some of these things on a regular basis, and you’ll begin to see an increase in your blog traffic which will most likely result in some extra book sales for you. Do all these things on a consistent basis, and the end result will be a significant increase to your blog traffic, readership, and book sales over time. Below are two great tips to start with…

Why Authors Need Blogs to Impress Google

Recent SEO book by Adam Clarke

Adam Clarke recently published a book about effective search engine optimization (SEO) through Google. Basically, Google wants to keep its user base happy through these three search quality factors: expertise, authority, trust (EAT). What does this mean to authors? It means that if you maintain a consistent reputation of publishing relevant and helpful content that shows your expertise, authority, and trustworthiness within your genre, you’ll rank higher and higher in Google’s search results over time. You prove your expertise online by means of digital (downloadable) books and other relevant information that is published regularly and often on ecommerce sites such as Amazon and Kobo, your own blog, and other appropriate websites. Your authority is eventually proven by the number of book reviews, backlinks, and social media followers, likes, and shares that you accumulate over time due to these publishing activities.

Why Authors Need Blogs to Attract Other Authors

When other authors post relevant and original content to your blog, everyone benefits. Guest posts enable you to provide your subscribers with more value without spending more time writing. And I’ll let you in on a couple secrets as to why I allow my guest bloggers to post links to the ecommerce sites where their own books are sold. One, I can attach affiliate links to their books that allow me to earn a commission from their sales. And two, doing so increases the chances of people clicking on both my book(s) and their book(s) on an ecommerce site. This increases the chances of those books appearing on each other’s ecommerce webpages under the “customers who viewed this item also viewed” and/or “frequently bought together” sections. This is one sneaky way you can make an algorithm work in your favour to increase both your sales.

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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.



[PAPERBACK] The Art of Organic Web Weaving: Why Writers are Natural Online Marketers

The Art of Organic Web Weaving: Why Writers are Natural Online Marketers

Coming soon! The Art of Organic Web Weaving: Why Writers are Natural Online Marketers

COMING SOON TO BOOKSTORES (OCTOBER 31, 2018)

Non-fiction (Business Self-Help)

The Art of Organic Web Weaving: Why Writers are Natural Online Marketers
Kindle (.MOBI) Ebook ASIN: B07G7H7H1G
KOBO and E-Sentral (.EPUB) Ebook 978-1-988971-28-5
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-988971-27-8
Copyright 2018 Kim Staflund, All Rights Reserved

It takes the patience of a spider to weave an intricate web that can repeatedly attract—and catch—her prey. Spiderwebs are true miracles of organic engineering, and online marketing works in much the same way. You can grow your readership using various search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, and almost all of them include effective writing.

“Search engine optimization (SEO) is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results.” (Moz, n.d.)

What constitutes quality traffic? It is relevant visitors to your website—people who are looking for the types of books and information that you offer. What is an organic search engine result? It is a search result that you didn’t pay for—a result that occurred naturally through an intricate web weaving process.

Buy the ebook versions through Amazon’s KindleKobo, and E-Sentral.




Some Striking Statistics in Favour of Video Marketing [An Excerpt]

Video Marketing

Enjoy this excerpt about video marketing from the upcoming seventh installment of the T-Shaped Marketing for Authors mini ebook series. Coming soon to an e-reader near you…

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I’ll be the first to admit I haven’t done nearly enough video marketing—partly because I don’t enjoy listening to my own voice or seeing myself on camera (which is a necessary part of proofing and editing one’s videos), and partly because I’m a novice with cameras, lighting, and video editing software (I have a funny story to share with you in this regard). Like most people, I tend to focus on the marketing skills I’m good at while avoiding the others. But then it came time to research and begin writing this mini ebook. When I came across all the compelling statistics in favour of video marketing, I realized my procrastination must come to an end. It’s time to ramp up my video marketing game. Now. (Well, maybe after I’m done writing this book.)

As part of my research, I came across a Forbes article by Matt Bowman, titled “Video Marketing: The Future Of Content Marketing,” that I highly recommend you read in full. Here’s a short excerpt from it to whet your appetite:

Here are a few statistics to help you understand exactly how popular video marketing has become in recent years, according to news shared by HubSpot:
● Video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019.
● Adding a video to marketing emails can boost click-through rates by 200-300%.
● Embedding videos in landing pages can increase conversion rates by 80%.
(Bowman, 2017)

In the most recent T-Shaped ebook, titled Search Engine Optimization (SEO), we looked at how important click-through traffic is to the SEO of a website. When people visit just one page of your site and then leave, that’s considered a bounce; whereas, if they click on one of your links to visit another webpage on your site, that’s considered a click-through. Since click-throughs are what improve your SEO in the eyes of Google, and conversions (e.g., views of your book descriptions that lead to sales) are what earn you an income, these statistics are highly motivating.

There are three more important SEO ranking factors that video marketing can help you with: posting relevant content on a consistent basis, building up relevant backlinks to your website, and making your website mobile-friendly. Every time you post a video on YouTube that contains a link to your website in the description area, you’ve posted relevant content and created a relevant backlink to your website. Better yet, when you embed that video into your home webpage for others to view, you’ve just made that webpage more mobile-friendly:

Today, one of the biggest trends driving the digital marketing world is responsive design. When a company’s content doesn’t perform well on a given device or browser system, the business behind it loses traffic and suffers decreased conversions as a result. Fortunately, video content is fit for consumption on all devices, ranging from computers to mobile phones. This expands video’s reach and makes it more user-friendly and consumer-focused. (Bowman, 2017)

If you’re feeling resistant or overwhelmed by the idea of producing regular video content for yourself—maybe because you think it will be complicated or expensive—then you’ll be pleased to learn about one of the top “Video Marketing Trends for 2018” according to Epic Productions, LLC: creating quick, live videos (like the ones you post on Facebook) to announce a new book signing or launch event. All you must do to “go live” on social media is record yourself on your smartphone and then post it to your account. Done. When you go live, all your social media friends and followers will be notified immediately, and their curiosity at seeing you live on video is likely to make them click on the link.

That’s one quick idea on how to utilize video marketing to your advantage this coming year. Throughout this book, I’ll share a few more with you from the expensive to the cost-effective. This will provide you with a great start and some helpful resources.

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I hope you enjoyed this little excerpt. Watch for the book this coming month on Amazon, Kobo, and E-Sentral.



My Winding Road from Traditional Publishing to Digital Publishing

How to Publish a Book in Canada … and Sell Enough Copies to Make a Profit! © 2013

I started Polished Publishing Group (PPG) as a “digital publishing” company in November 2009. In retrospect, I didn’t fully understand effective digital publishing at that time. Nine years later, I can confidentally say I do, and the way I run my company is evolving as a result.

Like many others in my generation and older, I come from a traditional publishing background. I cut my teeth on paperbacks, hardcovers, and offset printing at a small literary press back in 1993. We put all our authors’ books through a thorough, substantive editing process followed by an even more fastidious graphic design and proofreading regimen to polish them to perfection. Then we “sold” (and I use that word loosely) our books by mailing out printed press releases and review copies to all the relevant media in our area, entering some books into contests, arranging the occasional breakfast launch or evening wine and cheese reading event for others, and shipping part of our inventory to various Canadian distributors to house for us. Other than that, we relied on standing orders and word of mouth to “sell” our books to the masses. Once the next season of frontlist titles came out six months later, the latter became part of the dust-collecting backlist.

An Early Education in Traditional and Digital Publishing

It was an eye-opening experience for someone like me who took this job straight out of college thinking I was going to learn what it takes to become a bestselling author from the inside out. (Even just writing that sentence makes me chuckle now.) As detailed in the introduction of How to Publish a Book in Canada … and Sell Enough Copies to Make a Profit!, I quickly learned the realities of this industry. I came to see that our top authors were the ones who bought wholesale copies of their books from us and worked tirelessly to sell them out. They saw themselves as entrepreneurs, and they treated their books as their businesses.

Small Canadian presses aren’t alone in this. Far from it. In fact, the “Big Five” international trade publishers—Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette, Macmillan, and Simon & Schuster—also admit to focusing primarily on their frontlist titles for only a short period of time. Once those books fall to the back list, the responsibility of continued promotion falls to their authors as detailed in this excerpt from Merchants of Culture: The Publishing Business in the Twenty-First Century by John B. Thompson (16-Mar-2012) Paperback:

As soon as a book shows signs that it’s going to take off, the sales, marketing and publicity operations mobilize behind it and look for ways to support it with extra advertising, trying to get more radio and TV appearances, extending the author’s tour or putting together a new tour to cities where the book is doing particularly well, and so on. … the sales, marketing and publicity operations are geared and resourced in such a way that, when they see that a fire is starting to ignite, they are able to pour generous quantities of fuel on the flames. … But if further appeals fall on deaf ears and sales fail to pick up, then the marketing and publicity effort will be wound up pretty quickly – ‘In two to three weeks we might pull the plug,’ … So how long does a book have out there in the marketplace to show signs of life? How many weeks before it becomes a dead fish that will be left to float downstream? … I would say the life of a book today is about six weeks. And quite frankly it’s even shorter than that, but you probably have six weeks and that’s it. (Thompson, 2012)

How to Publish a Bestselling Book … and Sell It Worldwide Based on Value, Not Price! © 2014

Unless you’re selling it yourselves, authors. Sell it yourself and your book will have a much longer shelflife. As long as you stay focused on selling on any book, it will remain a frontlist title for you. That’s a fact.

I knew that much nine years ago. I had also learned how to sell after leaving my job at that literary press to begin a lifelong career in corporate sales with some of the most prominent industry leaders in print media, office supplies, and multi-function digital and offset printing. I had a strong grasp on digital communications and how easy it now is to communicate and do business with people all over the world so long as each party has a proper WIFI connection. So, in my mind, I was a “digital publisher” because I operated in a virtual office environment, and because I not only had the experience and expertise to help authors produce trade-quality books; I could also teach them how to sell their books worldwide both offline and online.

But Here’s the Problem With That

I now know effective digital publishing requires a little more finesse than simply intermingling yesterday’s offline sales and marketing methodologies with today’s online techniques. Doing so can acutally be counterproductive because the latter requires patience while the former requires momentum. In the traditional offline world, authors must appeal to the interests of people such as agents, booksellers, reviewers, and publicists to help you move more books on their schedules; but, in the online world, you’re working with impartial algorithms and search engine optimization (SEO) tactics to increase your exposure as detailed here: https://blog.polishedpublishinggroup.com/2018/06/a-shortlist-of-googles-top-ranking-factors-an-excerpt-from-search-engine-optimization-seo/. In other words, if you want to succeed at selling books in this day and age, you can no longer “waste precious time” by publishing only one book per year or one blog entry per week and promoting it on someone else’s timeline. The Internet rewards speed and productivity, and the Internet is your greatest sales tool.

How to Publish a Book in the East That Your Can Sell in the West © 2018

How much speed and productivity are we talking about? There are literally millions of new books published around the world every year now. The playing field has drastically changed from when my publishing career began 25 years ago. It is far more competitive and nearly impossible to stand out among the crowd if you’re doing things the traditional way. I’ve come to see that my approach has to change with the times if I’m to survive in this new digital arena and all my authors—myself included—are to thrive. More and more, I’ve also come to see that it’s necessary to embrace a digital revolution known as “rapid release” publishing, as discussed in my latest book titled How to Publish a Book in the East That You Can Sell in the West. You can reach people worldwide now, but there is a right way to do it that will improve your odds of success. This is the new publishing model I’m now developing for PPG’s upcoming authors.

How do I know this works? I’ve watched the PPG Publisher’s Blog increase from a mere 1,000 registered users in early 2017 to over 5,000 a short year later (and still growing) by doing all the things I recommend to you in my new book. I’ve also seen downloads of my backlist books on Amazon, Kobo, and E-Sentral collectively increase from under 5 books per month to over 300 per month on average (and still growing) within the same time period. That’s my firsthand experience with this to date, but that’s nothing. You’re sure to be inspired by many even greater success stories contained within the book. And once I’ve grown my own numbers to a “respectable” level by today’s North American corporate standards, I plan to package the program to help you achieve the same effective digital publishing results with a dedicated team by your side.

For those of you who are public speakers and business professionals selling your books at trade shows and conferences, the traditional publishing methods still apply. You’ll find the first two books mentioned above are still helpful. For everyone else, stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.  

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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.



A Shortlist of Google’s Top Ranking Factors … an Excerpt from Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Enjoy this excerpt from the upcoming sixth installment of the T-Shaped Marketing for Authors mini ebook series. Coming soon to an e-reader near you…

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Throughout this T-shaped marketing ebook series, in several of my past blog posts, and in many of my other books, I’ve referenced the following six ranking factors that will help you to improve your website’s SEO. Improving your SEO is crucial to your success as an author because it will help you to attract more readers and sell more books. How do I know these things work when applied with a consistent focus? Because I’ve watched the PPG Publisher’s Blog increase from a mere 1,000 registered users in early 2017 to over 5,000 a short year later (and still growing) by doing all the things I recommend to you. I’ve also seen downloads of my backlist books on ecommerce sites such as Amazon, Kobo, and E-Sentral collectively increase from under 5 books per month to over 300 per month on average (and still growing) within the same time period. That’s my firsthand experience with this to date. I also regularly read the research published by SEO industry leaders, such as Moz, which has guided me in building my book business so I can guide authors like you in doing the same. In short, this stuff works!

  1. Publish relevant content on a consistent basis:
     . 
    Blogging is one of the best ways for you to stay engaged with your current and prospective readership; and, the more often you post something new online, the more points Google will award to your blog site thus improving its SEO. But you should know that Google is far from being the only search engine that rewards new content. Amazon and Kobo do, too, as mentioned in this book. Want to dramatically increase your SEO over the next year? Start posting relevant content on a consistent basis that pleases all these search engines.
     . 
  2. Build a high number of relevant backlinks to your website:
     . 
    In addition to blogging, I’ve also mentioned how legitimate book reviews, guest blogging, and content syndication can be used to increase the number of relevant backlinks to your website. This, too, is worthy of a higher ranking in Google’s eyes thus improving your SEO.
     . 
  3. Protect and improve your SEO with proper HTML coding (REL=CANONICAL and META NOINDEX tags):
     .
    While guest blogging and content syndication are both fantastic ways to improve your own website’s SEO, they can also cause duplicate content issues if too much of the same copy is being reused on different sites without due care. This is where implementing REL=CANONICAL and META NOINDEX tags can come in really handy as discussed in the HTML Coding for Beginners T-shaped ebook.
  4. Attract regular click-through traffic to your website:
     . 
    It stands to reason that the more content you post, the more backlinks that redirect to your site, and the higher your SEO ranking grows, the more traffic will find its way to your website and click on it. You want these people to stay there as long as possible. If they only click once and then leave, that’s called a bounce; but, if they click on a few different pages and stay there for a while to read things over, that’s called a click-through. A high bounce rate may affect your SEO negatively while you’ll garner more SEO points via an increased click-through rate—all the more reason to ensure your website contains relative and enticing content people will want to stay there and view.
     . 
  5. Encourage more social media activity and shares (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube):
     . 
    I dedicated an entire book, titled Successful Selling Tips for Introverted Authors, to teaching authors how to utilize social media marketing as part of your online sales strategy. Did you know social media activity is one of the things Google rewards that can help to improve your SEO? Well, it is. And certain social media sites will earn you more points than others, so I’ve learned. For example, did you know YouTube is owned by Google? Now that you know, you may be more inclined to start posting more video content on a regular basis.
     
  6. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly:
     
    On March 26, 2018, Google went live with its new Mobile-First Index. According to Google, “Mobile-first indexing means Google will predominantly use the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking. Historically, the index primarily used the desktop version of a page’s content when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user’s query. Since the majority of users now access Google via a mobile device, the index will primarily use the mobile version of a page’s content going forward. We aren’t creating a separate mobile-first index. We continue to use only one index.” If you want to know how to ensure your own website is mobile-friendly, be sure to pick up a copy of the Mobile Marketing T-shaped marketing ebook for some great tips.

Although I’ve written and spoken about the above six SEO ranking factors before, I’ve never discussed the below six. We’re going to review them in this book because, according to Searchmetrics Ranking Factors, they are some of the strongest factors that were found in all the sites surveyed that ranked in the top 10 Google search results:

  1. Protect your website’s security with HTTPS (SSL security certificates).
  2. Include attractive images and easy-to-read fonts in your website’s main content area to encourage more time on the site.
  3. Increase Pinterest activity.
  4. Increase Google+1 activity.
  5. Ensure you have a strong local SEO (e.g., free listings in business directories such as Google My Business, White Page, Yellow Pages, Yelp).
  6. Answer industry-related questions on your blog to encourage featured snippets inclusion (as briefly mentioned in the Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising T-Shaped ebook).

As you can see, there are even more things you can do to improve your SEO that will be covered in this latest T-Shaped Marketing for Authors mini ebook. Do all these things, and the end result will surely be an increased readership and more book sales for you. Now, let’s dive in a little deeper to learn more….

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I hope you enjoyed that little excerpt. Watch for the book this coming month on Amazon, and a couple of months later on both Kobo and E-Sentral.



Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising (T-Shaped Marketing for Authors Book 5) … an excerpt

Enjoy this excerpt from the upcoming fifth installment of the T-Shaped Marketing for Authors mini ebook series. Coming soon to an e-reader near you…

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Much like Google AdWords and Facebook, LinkedIn PPC campaigns are run as auctions. Advertisers like you place a bid to pay a certain dollar amount (e.g., $2.25) per click on selected keywords or criteria; your prize for winning the auction is effective ad placement on whichever platform your ad appears. Yet, there is more to winning a PPC auction than just placing the highest bid. Nine times out of ten, you’ll end up paying even less than you bid as these sites will only charge you whatever price per click was necessary to win the auction, and that price is based on many factors including the amount of competition involved and the overall effectiveness of each bidder’s ad.

LinkedIn PPC Targeting Criteria

LinkedIn PPC advertising is much better suited to non-fiction books than fictional novels because of LinkedIn’s audience and that of the LinkedIn Audience Network as a whole. As of writing time, your LinkedIn targeting criteria is limited to:

  • Geographical regions: Africa, Antarctica, Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, North America, and Oceania (of which you can drill down to your choice of the countries and cities that you wish to “include” or “exclude” from your campaign).
  • Other business-related criteria: company name, company industry, company size, job title, job function, job seniority, member schools, field of study, degrees, member skills, member groups, member gender, member age, years of experience, company followers, and company connections.

Once you’ve made the above choices, you can the select your bid type: cost per click (CPC); or, cost per mille which means the cost per 1,000 impressions (CPM). CPC is the best choice to make when you want to drive more sales whereas CPM is used when your sole purpose is to drive top of mind awareness (TOMA) of your brand. I personally always choose CPC because my goal with PPC advertising is first and foremost to sell books, and I believe CPC also achieves TOMA over time. Two birds, one stone … as the saying goes.




The Price of an Affluent Audience

From there, you will choose your maximum daily budget and your CPC or CPM bid for the criteria you chose earlier. Although you can start your bid as low as $25 per day and $2 per click, you’ll most likely end up paying more on this site to get any significant results. LinkedIn PPC campaigns tend to be more expensive than Google AdWords or Facebook. Some will say it’s because you’re paying for exposure to a more affluent business audience. Here’s another way to look at it according to JD Prater, author of “How Much Do LinkedIn Ads Cost? [New Report]” on the AdStage blog:

…LinkedIn boasts more than 500 million users, which is impressive but still limited compared to Facebook. With a limited supply of ads coupled with growing demand, the auction is getting more competitive, which means advertisers will pay more to enter.

…Hanapin Marketing conducted a paid social survey asking marketers where they plan to increase and decrease budgets in 2017. They found that 43% of marketers were NOT investing in LinkedIn Ads. However, 39% advertisers planned on increasing their ad spend within the following year. It looks like LinkedIn Ads are delivering results for certain companies, which is leading to budget increases. (Prater, n.d.)  

The anatomy of a LinkedIn PPC ad is similar to Facebook in that you can include an image, a punchy headline, some brief ad copy, and a link to your desired landing page. All these elements are important; but some would say the image is the most critical element. Igor Belogolovsky reports the following in his article for the Kissmetrics Blog:

Hot tip: According to LinkedIn’s own optimization team, choosing a photo of a woman typically drives the best clickthrough rates. Only use your business logo if you’re trying to build brand awareness. Don’t have too much going on in your photo — remember, it’s a small thumbnail and you have a lighting-quick opportunity to draw the eye to your ad before, poof, it’s gone. (Belogolovsky, n.d.)

If this is to be believed, then female authors may want to include your author picture in your LinkedIn PPC ads; male authors may want to include your eye-catching book covers, instead. Whatever you decide, make it stand out. Put yourself in your audience’s place. What would grab your attention? Before designing a book cover, I always recommend to my authors that they should browse the section of the bookstore where their books will one day appear and see which covers stand out ahead of the rest to them; use that data as the starting point for their own designs. I think it’s a great idea to do the same thing with PPC ads. Log into LinkedIn and view the ads on your page. Take note of what appeals to you most. Use that for inspiration.

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I hope you enjoyed that little excerpt. Watch for the book this month on Amazon, Kobo, and E-Sentral.



Reach Your Mobile Readers With QR Codes

What is a QR code and how can you create one for free?

A static QR code (static meaning “unchangeable” once created), such as the one to the left of this paragraph, is a two-dimensional barcode. You can easily create one for your blog and/or website free of charge on this website. Where traditional linear, one-dimensional barcodes (like the ones on the back of books) are used to store small bits of information about the object they are on (such as the price of that book), a QR code has a larger storage capacity and can re-direct scanners to websites for much more detailed information.

How are QR codes used?

It’s as simple as downloading a free QR reader on your smartphone and you’re ready to go. That’s why this is the perfect tool to reach your mobile readers. Anyone with a QR reader on his or her phone can now scan these barcodes from magazine ads, books, signs on the side of a road, computer screens, you name it. I even saw a large QR code on the side of a city bus and was able to scan it through the city train window so I could view a local restaurant’s take-out menu on my way home from work. Brilliant!

Why pay someone to create a QR code for you ?  

Several years ago, my company website looked much different than it does now. It looked great on a laptop or desktop screen, but it wasn’t mobile friendly in the least. At that time, I wanted to learn more about QR codes. I created a free one for myself and also paid another company to create a more professional-looking QR code for me so I could see the difference between the two. The QR code they created is shown to the right of this paragraph.

When scanning the static QR code I created for myself, I could see that it took people straight to my website as planned. This was wonderful except for one thing; that website was intended to be read on a large computer screen. When it was viewed on a smartphone, the text and graphics all appeared very tiny, and it was difficult to navigate.

There was quite a contrast when I scanned the dynamic QR code (dynamic meaning “changeable” once created) that was created for me by some QR mobile marketing experts. Not only did they create a much more attractive QR code for PPG, but they also created a much more mobile-friendly landing page that still redirected to PPG’s main site. They even went so far as to add one of PPG’s promotional YouTube videos to that landing page. 

Case in point: if your website isn’t already mobile-friendly, and your website service provider has been unable to help you fix that for some reason, then you can always use the services of a professional QR code creator. They will oftentimes create a mobile-friendly landing page for your site along with the code itself.

How can authors best utilize this technology?

Authors can place a page at the back of each of their books that contains a QR code that redirects readers to their blogs or websites to keep readers abreast of any upcoming book launches, tours, or books. It’s a real-time update for readers even five years after that particular book was published. How convenient is that?

Watch for my upcoming T-Shaped marketing book on Amazon, Kobo, or E-Sentral that contains even more great mobile marketing tips! In this ebook, we’ll discuss the importance of mobile-friendly websites along with the value of QR codes, email marketing, text message (SMS and MMS) marketing, and social media marketing for authors.

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