5 Ways to Provide the Fresh Blog Content Your Fans Crave

We've all seen a teenager open the refrigerator for the thirteenth time hoping miraculously that a pizza has appeared where only broccoli lay before.

There’s a marvelous scene in one of the Crocodile Dundee movies where someone points out that his hotel room has a television. He turns it on saying, “I've seen television before.” As the I Love Lucy theme fades in he says, “Yup, that’s what was on”.

Can you imagine if the food in the fridge really never changed or if the show on television was actually always the same?

There are some activities in life which hinge on variety, newness, change, to keep our attention. Eating the same foods over and over again gets boring fast – even pizza.

The single greatest reason for potential fans (which means potential purchasers of your book) to visit your website is to find something new.

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The Super Bowl is Over. Let's Get Back to Marketing.

Every year we notice a slump from the beginning of December through the weekend of the Super Bowl. In December, everyone spends their money on things other than business expenses. Then, in January, everyone stops spending altogether.

We've learned over the years that December is the natural time for us to spend a week off work, analyzing the year's activities, what worked well and why, and planning for the coming year. We set business and personal goals, then follow up all year long, monthly, quarterly, and again at year end.

We've also learned that expending effort marketing in January can be a complete waste of time—if we do it wrong. January is the time to keep it very personal, stay on people's radar, share freely, to make our marketing message "We understand you're not ready right now, but when you are, we'll be ready, too, and here's why we might be a good match when it's time." (That's not as succinct as I'd like.)

It's the Tuesday after the big game, and things are going to get back to normal. That means marketing can serve not just to stay on folks' radar, but to educate and attract, moving the right people toward our offerings, turning into the fun and games of doing business. (If you're not having fun marketing your book and your business, let's talk, shall we?)

Let Insiders (and Outsiders) Choose Themselves

We all subscribe to newsletters we mean to read and then don't. And then we transfer that feeling to our readers and worry they've done the same thing. I combat that by regularly asking folks to unsubscribe. (And if I discover I'm not reading a newsletter, I unsub myself. There's only so much time. We can't do it all. What we cull is as important as what we keep.)

Telling them it's okay to leave helps cull the folks who are staying because they're too nice to unsubscribe.

Everyone is busy. I see the choices as (a) be easy to ignore, and become One of Those Newsletters, or (b) be so good they don't want to ignore you.

Yeah, (b) is harder. It's also the professional choice.

Get the Right People on Your List by Going Organic

One of the biggest mistakes authors make is thinking their newsletter is about selling. Marketing, which is what your newsletter is part of, is about building relationships. When you have good relationships with people, they'll buy without you "selling" at all.

When you imagine that one person you're writing your newsletter for, also remember that you're not dragging a friend down the alley to mug them (because it's not about money.) Instead, you're chatting with someone who asked you to talk to them. Would you really say "I'm sure you don't really want to talk to me, so I'll keep this brief and infrequent"?

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Don't Cull Your Email List

My circle of author friends recently discussed how they were all pruning their email lists to remove the people who never opened them. I wailed loudly that this is an enormous mistake.

Pardon me while I get geeky for a moment.

Newsletter tools that report "opens" do not, in reality, know who opened your email (let alone who read it.) The only method possible right now to measure "opens" is to include a tiny invisible image in the email and hope that the recipient will enable their email program's ability to include images. In Gmail, for instance, images will not be displayed unless you give permission. Many programs, like Microsoft's ubiquitous Outlook, have a preview pane, allowing a recipient to read your entire email without ever actually opening it and activating the invisible image trigger that notifies the newsletter tool.

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