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THE SOCIETY OF MIDLAND AUTHORS

April 2010 Publicity Tip

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Rags to riches: To succeed, clean up your online presence
by
Tom Ciesielka from TC Public Relations

As I write this, I am wearing an apron. There is a mop to my left, a broom to my right and a duster in my hand. Spring cleaning fever? You bet. But I'm not cleaning up my house (to my wife's dismay). I'm cleaning up my online presence.

Over time, we all have joined numerous groups online, opened up various accounts, updated different profiles, and published content related to ourselves and our businesses. But how often do we check on all of that content and all of those accounts?

"Cleaning" and updating your online information should happen twice or three times a year at least or more, depending on what you are "cleaning." We're here to give you a checklist to make it a nice, painless process, free of Lysol-fume-induced headaches.

What to clean:

For your book and/or personal Web site:

News:
The news page should be updated monthly at the minimum. This is where you can highlight recent media attention or your recent activities as it relates to the industry at large or your geographic region. Letting this get two or three months out of date gives a very poor impression to website visitors.

Homepage:
Give your Web site visitors a reason to come back often. Have a news teaser on your homepage that links to your news page. Sync your blog to a section of your homepage so content is always changing. Consider adding some personality to your site by incorporating a "sticky" idea that engages visitors (we use a post-it note on our site).

Bios:
Often times, we write our own website biographies as soon as we are hired or as soon as the website goes live. Then we leave it stagnant for years. Just as the news changes, so do you! Update your bio at least once a year, highlighting new achievements and new interests.

For all your social media accounts:
Pictures: Most social media accounts allow you to upload a picture so that people can identify you. It is wise to use the same one or two pictures across all platforms so that you keep your identity constant.

Profiles:
With profiles, you need to decide which nuggets of information about you are the most important, and make sure that information is available on EACH profile you have. This is an important part of maintaining your brand. As with bios on Web sites, this information can change, so be sure to revisit each profile at least once a year to make updates.

Alerts/Privacy:
Each platform has different settings for privacy and notifications. Take 15 minutes to log in to each program or application you use and see which settings you may want to change. Do you want to know when someone starts following you on Twitter? Do you want all of your friends to know when you comment on something on Facebook? These are all easy to control, so make sure you know what power you have.

I guess there really is no need for the apron ... or the mop, the broom and the duster. Unless I want to clean the area around my computer ... or go home and surprise my wife with a house that sparkles.


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