Tagged: social media

Interview with an Author: Alex Clermont

Self-promotion is one of the beauties of Social Media. A company, a dev team or a single person can build an entire business on Social Media Marketing. Although studies have shown that not every business can do it, for many others this is their best option. Take my brother, Alex Clermont for example. He’s an author that got tired of dealing with traditional publications. Frustrated by the amount of obstacles he had to go through to get his work in front of an editor he decided to publish and advertise on the web.

When Alex’s book “Eating Kimchi and Nodding Politely” came out I couldn’t help but take notice of his web presence; I was really proud of him. His book is selling and with reviews on Amazon building I decided to sit down with him so I could pick his brain.

Why did you decide to self-publish?

I got frustrated with the constant rejection letters that come with submitting to literary journals and other publications. It’s tiring to spend months sending out a single story to 30 different publications and have them all reject you. Gertrude Stein spent 22 years submitting before getting a single poem accepted. After some research it seemed like self-publishing could be a better route.

That’s pretty awesome but since you’re an unknown it must have been hard for you to get attention online. How did you come up with your marketing plan?

Well I thought about two things: First, what mediums can help me reach an audience of people who’d be interested in what I’m writing about. Second, what’s free. The free thing was really, really important. From that I devised a plan that included the creation of my blog, a Facebook fan page, a twitter account and a bunch of other stuff that creates a brand image of a cool guy that writes deep stories about you, me and the rest of us.

My blog was really essential since it was both personal but also contain short stories that gave visitors an idea of my writing style. I tried to avoid what I saw as flaw in other indie author blogs. I didn’t try to write about my process of writing. At this beginning stage of my career that wouldn’t attract fans, but other would-be indie authors who aren’t interested in becoming my fan. I also tried to keep the quality of the stories on my site on a professional level. People who often self-publish creative writing on their website/blog put up amateurish poem and quickly put together stories. I wanted my blog to really put on display my abilities, so I put up almost the same quality of writing that I’ve submitted and published through others.

What did you want to accomplish by doing social media?

Branding was my aim with social media. I just wanted people to know about me. I needed to project three or two essential and likable characteristics about myself that people could gravitate towards. I figured if i spread that image around enough, backed up with content, I could create a fan base. You know, book groupies.

Do you like doing all the marketing by yourself?

No. I hate the fact that I can’t focus on writing all the time but I like having direct control of my image plus I get all of the revenue.

What are your thoughts on traditional media?

I think traditional publishing is going down a very dark road and more people [writers and readers] are looking at ebooks… As an author you have more of the revenue and more of the control and you don’t have to wait around for success. A lot of great authors like Michael Crichton got many rejections before someone printed their novels…. Publishers aren’t the arbitrators of anything.

Would you consider all this a success?

I do. I can connect with my audience and built a long-term career. People are reading [my work] now, buying it now, commenting on it now, as we speak.

Alex spoke to me about his average monthly sales and I have to admit I’m impressed. It’s easy for best-selling authors to sell online but for an independent author to write, publish, market and sell a book by himself it proves that the world is changing. Producers and consumers are interacting in more direct ways and it seems like we’re all the more better for it.


Alex Clermont is a writer born and raised in New York City. He also regularly posts short fiction pieces on his website AlexClermontWrites.com Alex’s first book “Eating Kimchi and Nodding Politely,” is a collection of narratives about his time living in in South Korea. He also smiles a whole lot. Say “Hi” if you get the chance. :)

New Year – New Rules? My SEO Predictions For 2012

Happy New Year Everyone!

It’s 2012 and since I don’t expect the world to end like so many dooms day sayers I am looking into the future. At the beginning of every year experts and analyzers look at previous trends and make predictions on what’s suppose to happen in their industry. SEO and Internet Marketing is no different. I’m no Rand Fishkin but I’d like to give you my two cents anyway.

Mobile SEO

One of the things that I’ve been hearing for that last couple of years is that mobile SEO will be the new, hot thing that everyone needs to look out for. I heard that in 2010 and in 2011 and you know what we all found out? That the importance of mobile SEO services is very overrrated and not as useful as we thought it would be.

The reason that’s true is because the major difference between mobile search and regular search (desktops and laptops) is that mobile searchers make shorter queries; all that means is that you need to work on broad keywords. Other than that we learned that mobile searchers are often local searchers, so if you have a local business you need a website and you need to think about SEO. Aside from, it’s pretty much the same. It’s like a new ingredient has been added to a recipe. It’s nice and it does influence the flavor of things but it’s not the big game changer everyone and their blogger was saying it would be.

I don’t expect more out of mobile SEO than that. No doubt smart phone usage will go up but that fact won’t change the way SEOs work.

Image Search

I haven’t heard of any predictions this year on mobile search but I can make a few of my own based on my experience with it. As search engines get better at interpreting images, they will become a more important part of on page SEO. Will it be a game changer for the industry? No, it’s game changing days are over but image reading has become incredibly sophisticated and image optimization shouldn’t be overlooked. I’ve seen an incredible amount of traffic come in from optimizing images. Google Image search does a great job of providing traffic to the websites that I work with so it’s a good idea to make sure that you have this basic element covered. As Google gets better at reading images it’ll be important to not misrepresent your images with bad alt tags but make sure you have them!

Social and Search

I’ve heard a lot of things about how Social Media Marketing and SEO are becoming two of the same thing. I’m finding this to be true,  It’s harder and harder for websites to rank with out social marketing. This is great for big creative businesses but not as much for small ones who don’t want to put the time into maintaining a twitter profile. Google Plus is a minor ranking factor, shares and retweets count in building profile [and therefore website] authority and good customer service always helps your business thrive. If you have a boring businesses and don’t want to dive into social media you may not be able to survive against companies that do. Industries like industrial plumbing won’t have to embrace social media as quickly as Tech does but if they want to rank they are going to have to keep up with the times.

International Ranking

This is kind of becoming a thing of the past. Unless you’re a mega, multinational, multi-industry corporation it’ll get harder and harder for you to rank in search engines globally. Why do I say that? Because having a website isn’t a novelty anymore; having an optimized website is standard practice now. The web is growing at an unbelievable pace, according to Mashable’s web growth. In the infancy of the internet a website probably had several thousand real competitors in it’s industry, now I’d guess a site has several million. I’m guessing because I don’t know, no one truly knows the numbers because the web is growing so fast.

If you want to rank internationally you can’t just say “we are an international company” and have an 1-800 number, you need to prove it! And you prove your worth on the international market  by having different location listings, phone numbers, domains with corresponding languages and make sure it’s SEO friendly.  The bigger the web gets the harder it will be to have a wide reach, this is another reason why Social Media Marketing is so important (hint, hint).

There are a few other predictions that I can make but I’m sure this is a enough for now. We’ll just have to see how things play out.

 

Social Media Failures Part 1: What You’re Doing Wrong

 

social media fail

Are you failing at Social Media?  If you are, you’re not alone.

I’ve met a few people with failing Social Media campaigns. The first thing I ask is what is the goal of their Social Campaigns? More often than not, I get blank stares. You’d think that having a goal would be an obvious first step but a lot of businesses skip this completely! It’s crucial to have a goal with any marketing endeavor and yet so many professional businesses seem to be aimless.

After walking through their process together, I’ve realized that they are all making the same mistakes. I’ll go through these big mistakes in this post for anyone trying to catch their own campaign.

 

There is No Goal

If you don’t have a goal, how will you know you’ve acheived it?

How will you be able to measure success, failure or mis-steps. If you want to know how you are doing, you’re going to need to know what you want to accomplish and just having more followers isn’t going to cut it.

There is No Strategy

There are a lot more business that have a strategy than those that have a goal, which kind of surprises me. They know what they are going to post and how they are going to post it, what is okay to tweet and what is not. So as fantastic and as advantaced as these companies are, they are still not going to achieve much if they don’t have a goal they are reaching towards but back to the point.

Before any business can put itself out there it should know how do they want to represent themselves, how do they want to connect their profile with their website and vise versa. What is acceptable behavior and how will complaints online be handled.
All of these things need to be well thought out before you start so you can make sure that you’re getting the most out of social media instead of just wasting time.

There is No ‘Social’

I’m not sure how many times I need to tell people to stay social because I’ve haven’t reached that point yet. I’ve said it countless times and each time I do, they just cringe.

No one needs to know your companies R&D secrets or needs to see pics of drunken employees at office parties but if you’re not interesting, no one will care what you have to say.
Why should someone follow your fan page on a social platform if you are not being social? They can read your blog for updates, they can visit your products pages to buy. If someone is going to be a fan on Facebook you will need to be fan worthy.

 

Get Back on Track!

If any of these issues sound too familiar, don’t worry, there are easy ways to get your social media campaign back on track. If your campaign feels aimless go back and address the key points above. Just because things haven’t been going well doesn’t mean you can’t turn them around and we’ll go over that in the next blog post.