Tag Archives: digital marketing

How to score a regular blog gig

huffpost grab

There are some things that are just kismet. Soon-to-be-published writer meets commissioning editor at exactly the right time. Pitches the perfect blog storm and suddenly you’re queen of the blogosphere with a regular gig on a major website. ‘Hello’ to merrily extending your brand and ‘Come on in’ to keeping your all-important book in the cyber-sphere.

Witness new author Hattie Holden Edmonds and her great HuffPost blog charting her very own self-publishing journey. As it happens!

This week Hattie’s kindly reporting on our first session together a kind of ‘twitter-anti-aversion therapy’ for her (you can read some more on that here). But exactly how she scored that perfect blog gig is really the stuff of legend because she really was in the right place at the right time. If there is a moral to this happy tale – or at the very least something to learn from this, it’s network, network, network.

Whether you start out on twitter and work your way up or maybe you’ve got a friend with a friend who knows someone who walks the dog of Jonny Geller etc… Use your contacts, ask your friends and put aside your ordinarily rather British reserve. Americans don’t suffer false modesty and neither should you. To build your brand will require work, knocking on doors and sometimes being a little cheeky by calling in favours.

Hattie is taking the world by storm, one perfectly formed blog shower at a time. But she’s also putting in the miles by going round local bookshops and charming the socks of them. Tear yourself away from your computer…even from the demands of the next book because if you’ve self-published that’s only the beginning. Your next big challenge is getting out and about and meeting the right people who actually want to, and can help you and your book.


Content marketing – an editor’s view


content marketing

I’ve had the great fortune to be editor of three popular websites over the last seven years. The websites have all been aimed at women in the main, but as we all know – women don’t just want to read about one thing. We read about every topic under the sun, from politics to parenting and hedgerows to hair loss.

It’s always been clear to me that commissioning regular guest posts and features is the best way to get the best content for our users. Sadly budgets are not what they were, so much of that commissioning was done on either a shoestring budget – or with no payment whatsoever. The later of which is what many web owners would class as content marketing. Which is a win-win when it’s done the right way.

Content marketing is the use of rich, quality content to attract customers to your product/site.

From an author’s point of view – this might translate to any of the following actions:

Tweeting or posting via any social media channel valuable links to great articles/products or images

Writing guest posts for community and/or bigger/relevant blog-sites

Inviting other writers to write guest posts on your blog

In my day job, I get a steady stream of offers of ‘quality free articles for your site’. On the face of it that sounds like a no-brainer – what could be better than free brilliant content to drive ever more traffic to your site? But, in fact many of the offers come with caveats, most of which involve hidden or visible links to commercial organizations. Often the email requests state that they have in-house writers who will write about any subject of our choice. Desperate for links, many companies are hiring poverty-stricken writers to churn out anything they can hide a link in. Well, they can keep emailing because the last thing we would do to our valuable user-base is inflict this kind of pernicious marketing on them. My view, and that of many editors is – if you want to do the hard-sell on your product to our users – pay for it like everyone else.

But, if you are an author – you have a big advantage. Your ‘product’ is a book. And, hopefully one that at least some of our users would naturally be interested in (do check first though that the topic would appeal). If you do feel it’s a relevant book then have a good think about an angle we might be interested in publishing for you.

In my next post I’ll give some tips on how to pitch your guest post. Until then it’s a good idea to spend some time searching the web for sites that would appeal to your potential readers. But do be realistic – it’s a big world (wide web) out there and you won’t have time to create bespoke pitches for everyone. Better to start with two or three perfect fits than waste hours pitching wrongly to all and sundry.

A Twitter guide for writers


Earlier this week I was going on about how I solved my pal’s twitter-hate. She’s a ‘proper’ writer, so every time she faced the void of twitter, felt the pressure to perform coupled with the need to sell (her book)…her fingers and mind were rendered utterly frozen.

We talked for quite a while about why Twitter can work for authors. We talked about finding people not just looking to buy a book – but looking to buy your book. And I thought I would jot some of what we talked about down – just in case there was someone out there who might find it useful. Remember, my friend is totally new to twitter so this really is advice for the absolute beginner.

We started with some cold hard facts:

How long can will she realistically spare to tweet?

I’ve read various ‘rules’ about twitter and especially how often to tweet. But many of these so-called rules are quite unrealistic when you take into account everything else going on in most people’s lives. So rather than setting yourself up to fail, think realistically about where this whole trail of social media needs to start. Create a focus and above all avoid a scatter-gun approach. Then, the understanding of how and why to tweet should come naturally.

What’s your twitter name?

Firstly, don’t think of twitter as a short term project. And don’t call yourself after the title of your book. You’re a writer – this is the first book published, of many.  Simply put – your best bet is your author name – otherwise how are people going to find you and connect?

Link your blog:

Tweeting in isolation – won’t help you sell your book, product or brand. Hoping to accidentally make friends with India Knight so she sells it you for you is also a fantasy, and one that is only going to waste your time and energy. So, to begin with let’s assume you have a blog and you can link it to twitter – not just in the profile blurb but in the blog back-end so that any new content gets automatically shared with your followers.

Everything you do online should link to your blog

Your blog can do much of your core digital marketing for you –  detailing all the wonderful sales pitches you like with pictures, and as many sentences as you can muster (over or under those pesky 140 characters) Include lots of links…to where to order your book on amazon, and of course to read all the great reviews on goodreads,

You can even write here about where you got the idea for the book, what books you love (supporting other new authors is a great way to get support for your own work)…and so much more. Your blog is your brand statement. It showcases everything great and interesting about you and ‘your brand’ so starting with that is the best first step to any use of social media. But back to twitter.

Who to follow:

One the key things to remember about twitter is, maintaining your focus.  Lots of newcomers pile in following celebrities fired up by tales of the friend of a friend who tweeted with Stephen Fry. That said, unless Stephen is likely to tweet ‘Buy my twitter-friend’s book’ it is probably not a good use of your time. And while tweeting about #GBBO may win you a handful of possibly fair-weathered friends, it won’t necessarily match you with people who are looking for a great new book to read. So at the very beginning think about who you admire and what you want to talk about (yes, even if it’s as basic as your journey to getting published).

If you’re totally at sea  – then find someone on twitter you want to be in x years time – an established like-minded fellow writer perhaps. Then look at who they are following, and follow them.

Have a glass of wine – you deserve it.

That’s a lot to get on with for now. So why not get to this point and then have a nice break from twitter.

Read more on twitter:

I’ll link to part two just as soon as that sun goes behind the clouds. And in the meantime here’s a picture I took when i was invited to Downing Street  a few years back. The invite came out of an idea I tried out on Twitter back in the early days. Just me, my blog and a little bit of tweet-thinking got me into Number 10 with the Twitterati for the night.

It’s all out there – you just have to feel the fear and do it anyway….

downing tweetfinal