Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Promote Your Book -- and Yourself -- with Online Articles

You can gain exposure for yourself and your books by using your nonfiction writing ability to write articles and “news releases” (short articles) that you post to online article directories and distribution services. You can also submit them to e-zines, which represents a more targeted approach. I’ve done this consistently for more than a year, and if you Google my name, you’ll find load of entries. Not only that, if you search for any of the many subjects about which I’ve written – all of which pertain to the books I’m trying to promote – you’ll likely find something I’ve written on that very subject.

Let’s start with e-zines. These are magazines published on the Internet. Some print magazines also have e-zines, and sometimes these carry different articles. I tend to go for the e-zines that are published only on line and that carry articles solely on topics related to my books. Therefore, you can often find my articles in Jewishmagazine.com or Interfaithmagazine.com. The latter pays me a little for my articles; the former does not, but it affords me its 3,000 unique visitors a day and a link to my web site. That’s great exposure and publicity, especially since my bio mentions my book or books.

As for article directories, many of these are free, and you can submit to them yourself. This can be very time consuming, however. Instead of doing this myself, I choose to use a service called SubmitYourArticle.com (There are others out there.), which costs me $37.00 per month for unlimited article postings per month. They are sticklers about what you post – no outright promotional stuff that sounds like a press release, for instance, but they then submit it to a huge number of article directories for you. (There is some upfront work involved; you have to get a Yahoo e-mail account – or some place where the tremendous amount of posted articles will show up – yes, other people’s articles arrive in your inbox -- and give it to all the directories, which takes a lot of time. Once it is done, though, it’s quick and easy. I never even look in that Yahoo e-mail box, by the way. I have to say that the upfront work has deterred me from leaving the service and trying another. I wouldn’t want to start all over again if I came back to them!) I am happy with the number of places I find my articles published, and I seem to get a lot of web site traffic from these listings.

Another service can be used to submit articles all over the Internet; I can’t even begin to tell you where all your news release will go, but boy it goes. It’s called PRWeb.com. They offer a range of services, the cheapest being $200. I posted a news release there last December, and it received 82,000 hits! My web traffic increased quite a bit, and I did find part of the news release used in a newspaper article in the South. I was hoping to enroll some people in a teleseminar, however, and that didn’t happen. Lots of people I know swear by PRWeb.com, but it isn’t cheap. I’m planning to use it to promote a teleseminar a friend of mine and I are running this January. We’ll split the cost, and see if we get some enrollment this time. Be sure when you write your release, however, that you use lots of key words, so people can find your article.

The more exposure you get online, the better when it comes to building your platform. You just never know what will come of it. I spent a year writing news releases almost every week and paying money to submit them on line or giving them away for free. I paid to have myself listed as an "expert" on Expertclick.com, where I can post four news releases a month and have them read by journalists. I thought it was for nothing, even though I knew that I'd plastered myself all over the Internet and increased my web site visitors from an average of 500/month to between 2500 and 4000/month in a year. (My unique visitors went from an average of 300/month to an average of 2500-3000/month in a year.) Oh, some lady did mention something I'd said in a blog once and, as I said, one part of a news release ended up in a newspaper article, and there were all those pieces picked up by e-zines. But nothing big happend. The media weren't calling me as an expert for interviews.

Then, after a little more than a year, suddenly things started to happen. I was contacted by a regional magazine for an interview for an article. I was asked to do a podcast interview (for a show with 38,000 listeners/month), and it looks like I'll be asked back as a regular guest. And I received a request to participate in a virtual book launch party wehre a possible 500,000 people might see my name and face -- and download my free gifts (related to my books). Then someone asked me to write a blurb for the back of their book, and now I'm speaking with someone about writing a piece for an anthology that is closely related in subject matter to one of my book projects.

It's taken more than a year, but my platform is building a little bit at a time, and I'm becoming an "expert." So use your nofiction writing skills to promote yourself online. It's time consuming and hard work, and it costs a bit of money, but I do think it pays off in the end.

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