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THE SOCIETY OF MIDLAND AUTHORS

December 2008 Publicity Tip

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Use Web Sites and Technology to Network with your Readers
by
Tom Ciesielka from TC Public Relations

 

Remember the iPhone? Yeah, you know, the new phone from Apple that came out last summer? Well, now it's the iPhone 3G. I don't remember seeing 2G. Or even 1B. Actually, there might have been a 2.5G in there somewhere. But still, this tells us two things: One, technology can advance at a mind-boggling rate. And two, there will always be someone with a more technologically advanced phone than you, even if you buy it on the day it debuts.

Lucky for us, we don't need a crystal ball to take advantage of new technology and Internet trends. The following suggestions explain ways to use these new developments when trying to communicate with the public. While reading this tip, I challenge you to think outside the box. Actually, forget the box altogether. Let's pretend there has never been a box. It is just you and a world full of endless possibilities.

Let's get social

Social Web sites are taking over the Internet. According to a study by Morgan Stanley using Alexa Global Traffic Rankings, seven out of the 10 most-frequented Web sites in 2008 were social Web sites, compared with one of 10 in 2005. You want to know where the people are? They are online. They are being social e-butterflies. They are on (to name a few) YouTube, Facebook, Hi5, Wikipedia, Orkut, Live and the "oldie" (but goodie) MySpace. If your potential customers or clients are online, where do you think you should you be? A couple examples of what you could do with these sites:

YouTube. Create a video to post on YouTube and let the power of viral marketing do its thing. Ahhh, the beauty of "copy, paste and forward." Have you been interviewed on television? Post a clip of your interview on YouTube, giving yourself and your books represent double the exposure.

Wikipedia. Wikipedia says, "people of all ages and cultural and social backgrounds can write Wikipedia articles." That is an open invitation from the Wiki masterminds to write an article about yourself. This can increase your credibility as well as search engine exposure.

Move with the times

Non-arguable Truth #134: People are mobile. Because people are mobile, they like their electronics to be mobile or mobile-friendly. The new thing is checking your e-mail while in the bathroom. That's why iPhone 3G's slogan is "On the go? Got to go? No problem." OK, that's not true. But the point is that the more easily accessible you are to people on the move, the more you will be top-of-mind. Some examples of mobile-friendly developments:

Amazon Kindle. This is an amazing device for all you authors and publishers that allows your work to be downloaded and read on a hand-held electronic device. Having your title available on Amazon Kindle is another avenue to further exposure.

Podcast. A podcast is like a little radio program that people can listen to through the Internet and also download and listen to on their mp3 players or iPods. Being interviewed on a podcast means you have the capability of going anywhere your listener goes! A livecast is similar to a podcast except that it is a like a little mobile television program.

After all is said and digitized, it is important to remember that no matter what type of technology is developed to enhance communication, we should remember that technology is developed to do ONLY that: enhance. New paths are created to reach the public but good communication skills are still necessary to effectively "speak" through those paths and cultivate relationships.


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