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THE SOCIETY OF MIDLAND AUTHORS

November-December 2010 Publicity Tip

Monthly Tips Index Ask Tom a Question

Itís time to fire up your blog and get it off the back burner
by
Tom Ciesielka from TC Public Relations

Blogs seem to have gone on the back burner thanks to other fastdeveloping social media applications. This doesn't mean that blogs are less important though. Letís revisit them this month and discuss ways to spruce them up with some fun programs.

Give your blog a face.
An icon or slogan that ties your blog together is a great way to add character to your blog and unify your online presence. Genfavicon is a program you can use to upload your own image to create a "favicon," or favorite icon, that will appear to the left of your blog's URL address. This icon could be anything from your latest book cover to an image or a photo of something you write about (e.g. a magnifying glass, if write mysteries). Using a favicon will give your blog personality and make it easier for people to remember you.

Twitter-fy your blog.
Linking your Twitter account to your blog not only spices it up, but it shows your readers that you are active on other social media levels. Perhaps you don't blog everyday, but if you tweet everyday, your readers will be able to see each updated tweet on your blog. A program called Twitter Tools allows you to completely integrate your blog and Twitter account by allowing such things as automatically sending a tweet when you write a new blog post or creating a blog post from one of your tweets. Bringing your blog and Twitter together will do great things. Like create the words Twog and Blitter.

Get your readers' opinions.
Allowing and encouraging interaction on your blog is a great way to connect with your readers. Everyone knows you should give others the opportunity to comment on your posts, but you can also do more. Programs such as Poll Daddy or Quibblo allow you to create your own polls or surveys about the topics you blog about. This can do a number of things: 1) get readers interested about a topic that's important to you. 2) encourage them to revisit to find out the results 3) give you material to blog about once you collect a number of responses.

A name-building event
If you want to go beyond your blog and stage an event, lots of planning and preparation are required. Big events are planned a year or more in advance, giving ample time to make sure the day is flawless. What you could do now is choose 1) a day 2) a venue 3) a theme and 4) a goal. Ask yourself: What time of year is best? What place would be big enough or unique? What do I want to gain from having this conference or event? What audience should we target? Answering these questions and planning out your basic roadmap will help keep you on track all the way to the big day. It's never too early to start the buzz on all levels of media. As soon as you have the basic details finalized, promotion can begin. First, add an announcement to your Web site homepage that directs visitors to a subpage devoted solely to the event. This will serve as your event's home base, where people can find all the information and updates they need. Make them search too much, and they will lose interest. Next, write a blog post about the creation of this event. Get people excited. Talk about how awesome it's going to be and tell your readers why they should attend. Then, use Facebook to create an event page and invite folks to attend. Tweet about the event. Include the info in your newsletter. Write a media alert announcement with the basic information. Create a postcard invitation. Ignite the promotional match, and watch the fire spread.


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