The Early Marketing Of My Book Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy

This is the second post in my mini promotional series about my latest book. This one was titled The Process Of Writing Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, and I think the title is self explanatory; I could be wrong though. 🙂

Tim Lawson in front of Rocky Horror Show billboard in Singapore
Toby Simkin via Compfight

So, check that out, then come back and check out my latest book, being served on a silver platter with a lot of goodies, Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy. This post is what I’ve done in marketing it to this point, and it hasn’t been easy. Y’all know I’ll be plugging that book for at least a couple of weeks don’t you? lol

If you do click on that link you know that’s my attempt at a squeeze or landing page. It was crucial that I create that before I started any marketing. Truthfully, I spent time trying to get it mobile friendly but that got irksome; I mentioned that last time.

Marketing started around 1:30 Tuesday morning when I wrote the blog post that was going to announce it first. I gave it the title of the book with the addendum my latest book is here to let people know it was a new book and not a rehashing of my previous book on leadership. I talked a little bit about the process of writing that book, which I followed up here on Wednesday; I’ll come back to that.

I knew the first post was going out around 9:30. I also knew it would hit Twitter with that title. I knew I wanted to advertise it multiple times on Twitter but I also knew that you can’t use the same exact words more than once every 12 or 24 hours; I’m not quite sure which one it is but I never take any chances.

I didn’t want to overdo it so I ended up creating 7 different phrases, some where I put the hashtag on the first word of the book, some where I added the word “leadership” with a hashtag afterwards, and a few with words either leading the title or after the title. You don’t have to do a lot since you only have 140 characters to keep the same message while making it different.

I wanted to space out my message every 2 hours, and that worked with what I’d created. But I wasn’t done and I knew I’d be adding some other things here and there in other spaces, but would still be able to add one more thing to Twitter.

Lists Of Note
Garrett Coakley via Compfight

Next on the list was writing an article on LinkedIn. I took a major chance and decided to make the title of the article the same as the title of the book, only I used “and” instead of “/”. Then I wrote an article talking about why leadership is easy for some people and hard for others. At the end of the article I wrote a short bio mentioning the book and adding my link. Not only that but I knew that my business blog goes to LinkedIn so I was hammering the name home. Savvy?

Next, I went to Facebook and added the sales link to my business page. I couldn’t add the link to the blog until it went live and I was scheduling the post on Facebook ahead of time. I mentioned when I added the link that I’d be adding the blog post about the book the next day. My intention there was to hope to build up a little bit of suspense, though I also know that few people from Facebook actually visit either of my blogs.

Later on, I decided to break ranks a little bit and put the link to the book on my personal page as well. I wasn’t sure that anyone would think about buying the book who’s in my personal space, but I figured they might be intrigued to see that I had put together a second book and might either look at it, like it or share it.

A few hours later I added the blog post to a group I’m in for local bloggers. I figured they might be intrigued a little bit also, but the site offers everyone who’s a part of it to share their blog posts there. I don’t do it all that often but I thought this was a day to do it.

I have two Google Plus pages, one that’s more personal and the other for my business. I added the blog post from my business blog to both pages and then I added the link to the book on my personal page and the community I run there called the Leadership Cafe. What I’m now realizing is that I didn’t add the link to the book on my business page, but I’m only connected to 10 people on that page, which I created so I could have a business video channel (which you don’t have to do now but did when I wanted the 2nd channel) so that’s not a big deal.

However, as I was adding the link to those pages I realized I was forgetting something… the video! I quickly made a short video using the Google Hangout way instead of doing it on my own computer. I did that because I thought it’d be easier to add annotations to it that would link to my blog and the book. Here’s that short video:
 


 
https://youtu.be/M5FZ__XXEck

I shared that video on both of my Google Plus channels. I’ve also added the link to that video to the other messages I’m posting on Twitter, along with the link to my LinkedIn article. That means I’m up to 10 messages I can rotate on Twitter. But there’s more. 😉

Wednesday I wrote the first part of this two part series about the book, the process of writing Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, which mentions the name of the book in the link as you see, which gives me an 11th message. With this article I’ll have a 12th message; I keep hammering the title! I’ll be writing one more article on my business blog that mentions the book in the title in some fashion for next week; I’m just not sure what it’ll be at this moment.

This is my first real shot at marketing something a lot. The fear is that it might be the wrong topic. Some people think leadership books are kind of boring and dull; truthfully, a lot of them are. I’m not a “system” guy when it comes to leadership; I tell people what it is and I give straight advice, recommendations and tales that I know every leader’s going to have to deal with at some point.

So there you are, an idea of how social media marketing works. It takes a lot of work and a lot of repetition.

I hope you at least check out the link to the book, even if you’re not a buyer, and if you see anything from me mentioning the book, please share it; I’m not ashamed to ask that of you. lol If you think I’ve missed anything, let me know.
 

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The Process Of Writing Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy

Let’s get this out of the way first: I’ve just released my newest book on leadership, Leadership Is/Isn’t Easy, as part of a big package deal of goodies and such, and for the next two weeks that’s the only way it’s going to be sold. If you’re into leadership, or even if you’re only interested in marketing, go see the types of things I’m offering. This is one of the ways of internet marketers these days; instead of just selling one thing, package a bunch of things in there, set a big discount price off its value, and see where it goes. I just launched yesterday, so I have no news to share with you as far as sales and such. 🙂

BookCover03

This is my second book on leadership. I finished writing my first one in 2002, Embrace The Lead, which is over there to the left, and in the first link I talked a little bit about the process of writing it. At this link I gave the outline points of the book (it’s on my business blog) in case you’re interested in seeing what it’s all about.

Back to this book. I first thought about putting it together in 2012, after I’d been sitting at home for a long time, making my living as a writer for hire and just feeling kind of bored. At that time I had two newsletters I was writing, one on leadership and one on health care. I gave up the health care newsletter around the time I started thinking about putting the leadership book together and hadn’t thought about giving up the leadership newsletter then, which I eventually did in 2013 before I started traveling again.

My idea… take some of my earliest newsletters and some of my earliest blog posts from my business blog, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this past December, and create a book out of them. I ran the idea by a few people they all liked it, and off I went.

I had a lot of articles to go through on both fronts. Luckily, not every newsletter was specifically on leadership, but I still had to look at all of them, and all of them were in HTML format so I had to keep pulling up files online instead of just keeping articles on my computer; I still haven’t learned that lesson with blog posts. At least the blog posts were fairly easy to go through.

I worked a list of 65 posts down to 31, based on the topics I wanted to show. At that point I actually thought I was 90% done; oh, I was so wrong!

What I discovered, at least on the newsletter, is that my writing style had drastically changed, luckily for the better. My early newsletters were all over the place. I found myself with a nice idea and then spent a lot of time trying to make it a long newsletter instead of getting to a point and then leaving it. These days I call it the “Mozart Principle”; write until you’ve said all you wanted to say.

Now I knew this was going to be a daunting project; or was it? I thought about putting it out the way it was, telling my hoped-for audience that I wanted them to see the progression of my writing from the early days until 2008, which is where I stopped; I figured 5 years worth of articles was enough. I shared it with my buddy Mitchell Allen and he told me what I’d already figured out: if I couldn’t stand to read them what made me think anyone else could stand reading them? Ugh!

Thus, I had plans to rewrite… and then I didn’t… and didn’t…

Blind Date/Just Friends with a Book
Pioneer Library System via Compfight

I just couldn’t get myself to start on it. This was around March 2013 and my mind wasn’t into it. However, it turns out I should have started when I had the chance.

Because in April of 2013 I started negotiating what eventually turned out to be a long term gig in Memphis, TN; 18 months in fact. Suddenly, flying back and forth from New York to Tennessee and then working as I was pushed almost all thoughts of the book into the background.

It sat in Dropbox for a year, then additional months. Every once in a while I’d open it up, change a few words, and close it back up. I was a mess! lol

Then I had an ending date for my gig and realized I had to get back to it. Thus, I finally opened it in early September while I was in Memphis and finally went to work. Man, those early posts were depressing, and I just wanted to write every person who’d ever subscribed to that newsletter and apologize for all those horridly written early newsletters.

In essence, it was like how some people take an article off the internet and rewrite it to make it seem like an original. I didn’t quite have to do that… but the new versions looked nothing like the originals. Heck, two of the articles were so unwieldy that I ended up turning them into two articles, and each one was over 1,000 words.

I finally finished the entire book last November, the first week I was home for good. Luckily, since my style had gotten better, the last 10 or 11 articles hardly needed any work at all; whew! Then it was time for the first edit, then the second edit… I’m not saying it’s perfect even now, but I tried.

When I had it set, then I sent out a request for readers. I had 7 people say they’d read it and let me know if they understood the concepts. This is something I’ve written in the past; if you ever ask people to review something you’ve written tell them what you want them to look at. I didn’t want people arguing with me on my concepts of leadership; I wanted to know if they understood the language I was using, if any sentences were confusing… grammar!

Then I waited… and waited… by New Years Day, all of them had said they would be done. Not one of them got back to me. I followed up with all of them via email; nope, nada zip. Sigh…

What to do? Nothing. I did nothing.

Once again, it was sitting on the computer as I worked on getting my next contract. I had lots of nibbles but wasn’t landing anything. It was another cold winter and I just rolled with it.

A few weeks ago I lost out on another contract that would have paid exquisitely; I was irked. And then I remembered I had the book sitting there in Word and decided it was time to put it out. One night, just before I fell asleep, I remembered an article I read back in 2002 by Paul Myers talking about “thud factor”, that being to pack a lot of related things into a package to show how much value was there, then market it at a price higher than the product would go as a standalone because of all the extra stuff, and at a later date you could offer the product on its own for the normal rate.

Thus, the book package idea was born. The steps…?

62:365 - Concentration
phil wood photo
via Compfight

First, I ended up having to reformat the book twice because there was some kind of error in the original file. When I tried a trick that normally works, copying the book into Notepad and then into a new Word document… it taunted me for my stupidity. What finally worked was copying each article individually into Notepad and then copying the entire thing into another Word document.

Then I had to reformat the entire thing, but I’d messed up and forgotten what I’d done the first time around. Suddenly, the book went from 157 pages down to 127 pages, and I couldn’t tell you how. Still, I printed a few pages to see what it looked like in print, because at some point I hope to have it in print also, and it looked… like a book. 🙂

I don’t want to tell you everything that’s in the package because I want you to go check out the product page. However, I put all the files into one folder so I could compress them into a .zip file. That bad boy still came out to 442MB; ouch! But it’s the best I could do; value is big!

Next, I had to write the sales copy. I wrote 3 different versions of it, then ran it by my friend Kelvin because he had some knowledge of how to market via sales copy. He made a few suggestions, I implemented them, then created the sales page, coding the entire thing; yeah, some of us still write code.

Next, I tried to get it to fit under Google’s stupid mobile friendly rules… oy! I spent about 90 minutes on that, going back and forth with numbers. At one point it looked like it was pretty close to Google’s standard on mobile but it looked horrible on a browser. That wasn’t going to work for me so I decided to just format it so it looked good to me. I got that, and when I checked Google gave me 87 out of 100 for user experience and 97 out of 100 for speed; good enough for government work.

Once I set up Paypal, which also meant creating a “thank you” page with a link so people could download the file, I was set. All I had to do was wait until my business blog’s post went live Tuesday; whew!

I’ll save how I’ve worked on marketing it for the next post, which will probably be on Friday. Normally I only have two posts a week but since this is for a special event you’re getting three; how special you must feel! 😀 I hope you’ve stuck around to read this, and I hope you check out the product page. More on Friday!
 

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Capturing Email Addresses – I’m Almost On Board

In January 2014 I wrote a post titled To Capture Or Not Capture Email Addresses; That Is The Question. As the title suggests, I was looking for a compelling reason to start capturing email addresses, beyond the old saw “the money is in the list”. As the comments on that post indicated, only one person was making any real money from having a list.

where its at
Chris Preen via Compfight

My major lament about it all was I had nothing tangible to sell, thus what would the purpose be? After all, without a product there’s no money to make right?

Well, it’s 16 months later, and now I’m closer to going the route of capturing email addresses. Why?

Two reasons.

The first is that one of the thoughts from last year, the only one that broke through my mind, was the possibility that RSS feeds might go away. Even though there’s been no more talk (at least as far as I know) that Feedburner will be shut down by Google, since they’ve been shutting down lots of other stuff one never knows what they might do.

I love RSS for my own use and I’m sure lots of other people do also. However, I know some people, out of fear, have gone to something called Feedly, while others have started using Flipboard. I’m using Flipboard myself, but I’ve only connected 3 blogs to it, one a local sports blog that shows up in my general feed, while the others I have to specifically go to.

What am I also worried about? At one point I had nearly 400 people subscribed to this blog. Now it’s down to 151, and I have no idea whether they’re subscribed to the RSS feed or the email feed, mainly because I can’t find that one on Feedburner anymore. I do know that most of those who used to subscribe did so through the RSS link.

Thus, having the ability to capture email addresses might be the smart thing to do to make sure people will continue receiving my stuff… if they want it.

The second is that I’m about to not only have a couple of new products, but I’m going to be doing a massive push for sales of the two products, and starting to capture email addresses wouldn’t hurt the process long term, especially since, if it turns out to be successful, I might be doing more of this type of thing.

Still, I want to differentiate the email from what most people send out. My thoughts are that I would send out an email once a week highlighting every post I’ve put on on all my blogs, any videos I’ve created, any interviews I’ve given, and have a brief thought of my own on there that’s not anywhere else. I don’t know many other people who could claim to offer that much information weekly.

Of course, the issue might be deciding what type of original thought to share. Having multiple blogs gives me multiple topics to discuss, but will the people who subscribed through this blog care about leadership? Will the people who subscribe through my business blog care about finances? Details, details…

I haven’t solidified all the details yet but now that I’m close I’m ready to ask some of you what you think about it all. Remember though… just because you offer advice doesn’t mean I’ll necessarily take it. lol I say that because I’m expecting some of the opinions are going to counter each other, and I’m smart enough to know it’s pure folly to try to appease everyone.

By the way, if I do this thing I found a WordPress plugin that looks like it’d be up to the job. It’s called WP Email Capture, and it sets up a double opt-in process to make sure no one’s subscribing someone else just to be sneaky. After that… I’ll figure out how to send out my newsletters, which will initially probably be manual since I don’t expect a major run early on.

That’s all I have for now; your thoughts on it all?
 

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Getting More Eyes On Your Facebook Business Page

I’m always reading and then trying new things. Whether or not they work, I like to share what happened with the testing. This time around I’m going to talk about Facebook business pages; some folks call them fan pages but since mine has my business name associated with it (as you can see by my business logo over there on the right) I’m calling it a business page.

Facebook Screenshot
Neeraj Kumar via Compfight

Just 2 months ago I talked about some changes in promotions of myself and my business via social media, and I declared that Facebook was a disaster. And I wasn’t lying. At that time, there wasn’t anything I could do to generate any interest whatsoever.

I was seriously thinking about dropping the page and moving on with life; I just couldn’t pull the trigger though. Instead, I read a couple of articles that happened to mention a couple of things in particular.

One talked about video and how Facebook was starting to share more of those with the masses. I have lots of videos on two channels on YouTube, and I’d been sharing some of those links. However, they really didn’t seem to be doing much for me.

Sometimes I’m slow though. I finally realized the recommendations weren’t to share links to videos, but to actually upload videos. If you look at your news stream you’ll see a lot of videos there. Many are shared from other pages, but at some point at least half of those are original videos, most very short, but still uploaded directly by the originator.

I decided to take a shot at uploading my own videos to my business page. What I noticed that instead of when I used to share videos that linked to YouTube and got less than 10 views, suddenly videos were getting upwards of 30 to 50 “reaches”. That doesn’t actually mean people watched them, but underneath the reaches you see the view figure, and those had at least doubled from what I was getting before. Not all of them but more of them.

The other article talked about more free flow thoughts on a page rather than linking to blog posts, which is what I mainly did. On that front I should have been paying attention to the few times when I actually wrote something original on the page. Those always got way more views than when I’d write a sentence or two and then pasted a link.

Thus, it was time to try a couple of new things. One involved writing brief articles, maybe 3 or 4 paragraphs. The other involved one of my newer Twitter strategies, which was posting an original quote of mine and adding an image to it. Both of those strategies started getting more reaches and views from subscribers to the page, which was uplifting.

I didn’t stop there though. I started to think about sharing some of these things with my personal stream. That came from a personal video I shared last year on this blog when talking about airport stories, which I’d posted a YouTube link onto the business page but never had shared with my personal stream. This time I wrote a brief bit about what happened, posted the video directly from my computer, and also shared the link back to the blog post.

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Les Stockton via Compfight

That bad boy took off, and my friends loved the video. A couple asked for more videos; who’d have thought that would happen? So, I started sharing videos from my business page to my personal page. Not all of them; I know there are some leadership and social media tales that most of the people in my stream could care less about.

Many people love motivational stuff though, so I started sharing those posts. While I was at it I realized that some folks might also like my quotations on my personal page, especially since each one has an image with it.

Success! Suddenly I was getting hundreds of reaches, Facebook was telling me how these posts were performing better than the norm (while trying to get me to pay to promote them further; as if!), and, with just that effort, I started getting a few more people liking that business page. I don’t have a giant number, but at this moment I’m up to 371 when just 6 weeks ago I was stuck on 352.

That’s not bad, especially since I haven’t sent out any new invites during the time. This means that people must be sharing some of my posts because even though half the people who joined already knew me (those are the only folks you can invite to a business page), the other half (I know, 19 means one person would be cut in half; just go with me lol) are people I didn’t know before they signed up to the page.

Frankly, I’ve been happy with what’s been going on. Because of that, my message is starting to reach a few more people and it’s made Facebook a much better experience. I still don’t have tons of activity, but I have some hope for it to happen now. I’ll own up that I haven’t increased traffic to either blog all that much, but because of the increased activity on the page a couple of people will actually click on a blog link now if I promote it a bit better on the page; that doesn’t depress me one bit.

That’s what I’m seeing. No promises that it will work for everyone but that’s my experience. Give it a shot and let me know how it works for you.
 

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Trying To Become Mobile Friendly Isn’t A Friendly Process

Ever since Google and a couple other search engines decided they wanted to rank websites that they consider mobile friendly higher than other sites, people like me have been tearing our hair out trying to figure out how to get there. I can tell you it’s not easy at all.

For those of you who haven’t heard about this or don’t understand what it means, let’s talk about mobile friendly sites for a quick minute.

Growing Smartphone Collection
Michael Kwan (Freelancer) via Compfight

It seems that more than 55% of all web traffic is now being performed via some type of mobile device. This means smartphones, tablets, readers, etc. It doesn’t mean laptops or notebooks and definitely not desktop computers.

Mobile friendly for the specific items I mentioned means that if someone pulls your website up that it’ll load fast and look like it was designed for a mobile experience since the screens are smaller than what some of us are traditionally used to. Strangely enough, it’s their expectation that the website needs to look good if someone’s looking at it on their phone vertically, which means the long way, rather than horizontally, meaning you’re looking at more physical real estate.

Frankly, I’m a horizontal viewer whenever I need to use my phone to look something up. It’s easier to hold my smartphone in two hands and easier to type that way. I might search for something vertically, but once I pull up a site I always move horizontally because it’s a better viewing experience in my opinion.

Never mind that for now I suppose. Let’s look at trying to get one’s site mobile friendly.

This is the link you can use to find out if your site is mobile friendly or not, courtesy of Google: https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/. Go to this site and put in the URL of your website or blog.

If you’re having issues, go to this other link, also courtesy of Google: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights. It will give you insights as to how you might fix whatever your issue might be.

You’ll get some kind of score. If you’re already using something on your blog to make your site mobile friendly (I use WP Touch) then you’ll probably come up as being friendly, although some people say it’s not 100% effective; I’ve done okay so far. If not, the most common issue is the font, in which case you just go into the plugin and select one of the supposedly favored Google fonts and get on with life.

Maurizio Pesce via Compfight

If it’s your website… you’re probably in some kind of trouble. Google will give you a score, then they’ll give you links that you can click on to refine what your issues are and give you a chance to fix them.

I have three static websites, and none of them are compliant. However, by working on some of these things all of them are at least 80% compliant, one of them at 93%. However, there are issues, which I’m going to point out and, maybe, some day someone will be able to help me get around them because so far the advice has been the same but none of the fixes have worked.

Before I go too far, let me tell you that size seems to be the major issue overall, as in how it will look on a smartphone if you’re looking at vertically, as I mentioned above. This is how they begin scoring you; after that it’s speed.

The biggest recommendation I kept getting was to add this code into the header: meta name=viewport content=”width=device-width initial-scale=1″. For every one of my sites, when I put this sucker in and tested the site again my score went down. So, instead of using this I started experimenting with different widths. I tried going larger first but it seems bringing it down in degrees works better. On the site I got to 93% I changed the width to 400; system assumes it’s pixels so I didn’t define it further than that. Eventually I tried taking out the “initial-scale=1” part and there are no difference in score at all.

The next thing is your fonts. For all my sites it kept telling me that the fonts were too small. I kept changing the pixel size, by degrees of course because you don’t want your site looking goofy; they say they don’t want it looking strange either. They recommend making the size 16px; only on the site that I got to 93% did it make a difference; not sure why it didn’t work on the other sites. Still, it’s something to play with.

After that you might have to do something with your logo image if it’s a large one. On two of my sites the logo is larger than 320px. If you try shrinking your logo it looks stupid; trust me on this one. However, the fix that was recommended that raised my score was to not put a “restrictive” size on the image. Instead, make the width 100%; it allows the phones to resize it somewhat… I’ll get back to this point later.

The final thing… do you run Adsense on any of your sites? On the site I’m getting the 93% on, my lingering issue has to do with my Google Adsense code. At first they were griping because I wasn’t using what they call an asynchronous version of their code. Turns out they changed their codes somewhere along the line; totally missed that.

So, I went back and changed the codes on most of my sites. The top code size is 728×90, which is one of the highest converting codes Google’s ever put out, and works well on my site (this is my medical billing site by the way). Guess what… Google hates that size! That’s the last thing it wants me to fix, and it’s their code!

Pffft--Daily Image 2011--October 7
rochelle hartman via Compfight

Come on now; that’s just not fair! It’s still a code choice in Adsense, which means their own code isn’t mobile friendly. Thus, they’re going to penalize me and lots of other folks for using their own code; tell me that’s not the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard! Sigh…

Not only that, but when I looked at each of my websites after making the changes… vertically they all look stupid. Horizontally they look a lot better, and one can resize as necessary to read easier, especially with the larger phones.

Thus, my contention that trying to go mobile friendly isn’t a friendly process whatsoever, and Google is a big part of the problem. Trust me, I’ve researched this a lot and most of what I’m seeing either keeps recommending things that don’t work, like what I’ve mentioned above, or talks in riddles with language I just don’t understand. Many recommendations are to totally change your design, with an understanding that a lot of small businesses (me!) might not be able to do it for a while.

My saving grace? On two of my sites I have blogs attached to them that are mobile friendly. So, I shouldn’t take a big hit if I take one at all. The other one… I’m not really worried about it yet, however it’s the one site that just might need a total redesign because I built it in a very complicated way. I like it, but it’s never done what I wanted it to do so if I have the time it just might need some major reworking.

That’s my tale and my sharing… as much as I could. What have you been dealing with, if you’ve bothered to deal with it? I know my buddy Pete changed his sites over to WordPress so he could run the mobile app. I don’t have that luxury unfortunately, as I’m running a couple of scripts that I couldn’t run with that software. Anyway, share your thoughts on all of this; I need a cookie!
 

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