Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Tips on Creating an Author Presence and Blogging -- Interview with author, Jo-Anne Vandermeulen
My interview today is with Jo-Anne Vandermeulen who is an expert blogger and one who is willing to offer free marketing tips to other bloggers. She is also the producer and hostess of “Authors Articulating” on Blogtalkradio. And if that is not enough, she is also the founder and marketer of the online marketing business “Premium Promotional Services.” So let’s get on with it and get some of her tips!
After you published your novel, Conquer All Obstacles, you started writing a book on tips for writers which became Premium Promotional Tips for Writers. Why did you think you could write a book on helping other authors after writing just that one book?
Great question...I knew Premium Promotional Tips for Writers would make a great resource book from reading all the comments from my ‘suddenly’ HUGE following. In less than 3 months, I had over 100,000 followers and my daily blog hits were averaging around 200 a day. With this massive traffic, there were many comments about the same request...they wanted to read more marketing tips and would love to read these tips in a resource book. I knew this book was in demand from the many requested comments.
What type of response have you gotten from your readers?
Around 98% of the readers left 5-Star reviews with amazing comments of how much this book helped them conquer their online marketing feat. They felt inspired and encouraged to tackle the once daunting task of having to market themselves. They were impressed that the tips were user-friendly and all free. They learned another avenue of writing they never even knew existed...and many now enjoy online marketing.
How did you get started in writing the Tips book? Did you just use your own experiences for the book or did you draw from other writers as well?
I first read blog posts from other online marketing experts. Soon, I discovered a passion for the content. I started my first blog in October 2008 titled ‘Conquer All Obstacles – Professional Support Network for Writers’. Initially, I wrote posts about writing techniques; but by December 2008, my new passion took over and I wrote about all the incredible information I was reading from these online marketing experts.
I not only wrote about the ‘how to’ market; but also, (being a teacher for 20 years) was able to condense this somewhat technical information into user-friendly morsels of valuable content that my fellow writers could simply implement—a unique online marketing resource book different from the other self-help books for authors.
One of the concepts that I like is that you tell writers to start marketing their book before it is even published. Why do you think that is important?
Basically, I knew I had to create an author platform even before my first book was published so I took all that I read and shared the knowledge with others. There are 2 main reasons why it is important for an author to market even before the book is published:
1.) It takes time to generate an online presence.
2.) The marketing focus should be on the author first and then the book.
How do you define the term creating a buzz?
Creating a buzz is generating talk among others. I call this viral promotion—a VERY powerful method for online marketing. Basically, I compare viral promotion to a snowball rolling down a hill. Once the author starts to make an online presence and shows they have valuable content for others to explore, these new followers will be excited to share this information with others—the snowball has now started down the hill...and as more and more people read about this amazing content and where they can find even more, they will then tell even more folks...these folks will tell others, etc—now the snowball is building—growing bigger and bigger, faster and faster. Soon, the author (with the appreciated help of his/her followers) will have created a buzz throughout the Internet.
One of book segments is called “targeting mountains instead of molehills.” Could you explain that concept?
Targeting mountains instead of molehills refers to the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) graph. Whenever an author has a blog, he/she needs to register in the 3 top Search Engines (Google, Yahoo, and MSN). After he/she publishes a post or article, it is very important for them to ‘ping’ their post by sharing the highlight of the content and a functioning link with the webcrawlers or social bookmark networks such as Digg, Delicious, Reddit, Stumbleupon, etc.
Finally, with this post, the author should list keywords (including their name, the name of the post, and the title of their book) as tags. The webcrawlers from the Search Engines will then be able to snag on to your tags, content, and link, submitting them into the Search Engines. With more posts and more pertinent tags, soon your blog will elevate higher and higher in the Search Engines—the SEO graph will be spiked like a mountain. People who are searching for you, your book title, or even the subject/topic will now be able to find you without having to scroll through pages and pages in the Search Engines. Can you imagine being on the first page of Google? ...talk about massive exposure because now you are easily found.”
For someone who is new to blogging, what should be the first steps they should take to formulating their blog?
Keep it simple. Abolish ALL fears of doing things wrong or making a mistake. Write about your passion. For free, choose a template (design) from Blogger.com . Explore the dashboard or skeleton of your new blog. Go ahead and add a short article. View your creation and then edit from there. Once you’re happy with the appearance and post, click publish. That’s it!
Trust me, you’ll be surprised how simple blogging really is....and like most ‘things’ in life, your posts will become better and better with more experience...and with this building confidence, you’ll find yourself ready to modify your blog to make the entire appearance custom designed just right for you...your voice will ring true and your readers will begin to flock.
In your book you say you need to provide great content. That might scare some bloggers off in thinking they need to spend hours on end creating posts. Could you explain what you mean by that?
Creating great or valuable content is publishing articles with information your readers can use. What would bring a new reader back to your blog?
If you’re writing about your passion, there shouldn’t be any writer’s block. Again, keep it simple and write 2-4 paragraphs per post. Edit after.
How important is it to be techno-savvy in designing a blog?
With the right attitude, even a beginner with no tech background can learn as they go and have their own blog. They don’t have to design it if they grab a free blogger.com template...everything is done for you!
I guess that’s why most of my book ‘Premium Promotional Tips for Writers’ is written with the ‘voice’ of inspiration and encouragement. I wanted my readers to feel confident. I use my own experiences as being a new marketer and the tips as a reflection of how I conquered the tech terminology. I then turned what I learned into user-friendly online marketing tips for them. I wanted my readers to know that if I can do it, they can do it too. I really didn’t want to keep anything inside. I keep no secrets. Honestly, I measure my success when I know I can share the wealth of knowledge and help others.
What other books do you have in process now?
I have another Marketing Tips book that is at the Editors. Just today, She wrote saying that I should be expecting the first draft proof very soon...YIPPEE!!!...I cannot wait!...lol...
This Online Marketing Tip Book is written for authors and anyone who has products to sell online. I’ve learned to expand my audience—I can help authors and other people who need help marketing themselves and their products.
That's it for now. That's a lot of material to work with! If you'd like to know more about Jo-Anne's writing, click here. Or if you want to purchase the book, here's the info for her publisher - http://www.thelauruscompany.com/store/9