Why You Should Avoid Digital Sharecropping

In the bad old days, some folks were trapped in a poverty-inducing cycle, farming land they could never own. Rich landowners allowed ("allowed" !) tenant farmers to work the land in exchange for a share of the crop. The rich landowner, simply because he owned the land, received a share of the crops as well.

The sharecropper could never make enough to buy the land. The system was designed to keep the rich rich and the poor poor.

Eleven times a week I hear questions about "the best blogging platform." And I read recommendations of, not only various free blogging tools, but even folks who consider their Facebook page or other social media presence to be their online marketing.

If you don't own the land, you're sharecropping, building someone else's empire.

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Do One Thing

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Water wears away stone by constancy, not power, not volume.

Marketing with a long vision will serve you better than looking for short-term sales.

Every day, do one thing to market yourself as an author, or to learn more about successful marketing. Here are 20 ideas to get you started:

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Your Business Needs a Blog

In The Commonsense Virtual Assistant we wrote about the four fundamental customer needs:

  1. Get it right
  2. Get it out there
  3. Give 'em advice
  4. Give 'em a voice

A blog fills the last two needs, with proactive advice, and room for feedback, not just from your existing clientele, but from two groups we call prospects (people who are considering doing business with you) and suspects (people who should be doing business with you but don't know it yet.) Never underestimate the power of fortuitous discovery. When someone stumbles upon your blog, they may discover you're exactly what they need—but didn't realize it.

It's astonishing how many small businesses don't blog regularly. (We all realize that as nonfiction authors, we're in the book business, don't we?)

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Build Your Audience With Your Blog

Build your audience with your blogTo effectively build a strong audience for your blog, you need to clearly define the purpose of your blog. Who are you trying to reach? What message are you trying to convey? Your content needs to be of value to your audience. You may find it helpful to read other blogs with similar content to get ideas for yours.

Your audience will abandon you if you don’t blog regularly. Be consistent. I can tell you from personal experience that when I’ve slacked off and use the hit-or-miss method of blogging, my readership dwindles. When I post regularly, my audience grows. If possible, post at least weekly. It’s very helpful to create a reserve of blogs and schedule them ahead of time for times when you don’t have time to write. Some choose to spend a block of time monthly to create all their posts at once and then schedule them out over the month.

Your posts will catch your audience’s eye if they have good titles. For more information on how to create attention-grabbing titles, read this guest post by my friend Deb Lamb. Another way to grab attention is to include a photo or image.

Invite your audience to comment on your blog. Yes, this does mean you’ll need to moderate comments. Use a tool like Askismet to catch most spam comments and you won’t spend too much time moderating junk comments. Allowing comments allows a way for your audience to interact with you and each other.

Please share your thoughts below.

5 Tips for Blog Posts

five tips for your blog postsSince your blog is your marketing foundation, you want to be sure to follow these five tips for your blog posts:

  1. Create a conversation. To do that ask questions, invite others to write guest posts, respond to reader comments.
  2. Add links to other sites with information relevant to your topic.
  3. Always add an image to your post. I take a lot of my own pictures and create images. People are more likely to read something visually appealing. Then you can also add it to your Pinterest board.
  4. Use an SEO plug in such as Yoast to be sure you're getting good SEO on every blog post.
  5. Share your blog posts on all your social media networks.

Please share your tips in the comments section!