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Seven Best Practices of Editing Your Own Work

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Create Great HeadlinesNothing kills credibility faster than mistakes in your book.

Before you submit your work to an editor, there are a number of strategies you can use to save time and money.

1. Walk Away From Your Work

Try and give yourself at least a week between writing and editing your manuscript. Something magical happens during this break; it allows you to detach from the work, giving you more clarity and greater perspective. Build this extra time in from the beginning if possible so that you can let it sit before you edit. You’ll be amazed at the objectivity you gain when you stop focusing so intently on the content.

2. Print Out Your Manuscript

Often it’s useful to take a look at your work in a published form (or as close to it as you can get). You may notice problems that didn’t stand out before.

Sign up for Karen’s free live webinar with Social Buzz U – Thurs Dec 18, 2014 – and learn the absolute “musts” for editing your own book.

3. Read Your Manuscript Out Loud

Reading out loud is one of the best things you can do to smooth out the rough edges, especially if you have dialogue in your book. If you trip on the words, or it sounds weird, it isn’t right and you need to fix it.

Ask quality questions while you read:

  • Is it true?
  • Does it forward the conversation?
  • Does it sound believable?’
  • Would a person say this in real life?
  • If I was talking to someone, would I say it in this manner?
  • Does it make sense?

4. Do Your Big Picture Editing First

Edit for structure and content first. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT do a line-by-line edit. Not only is this extraordinarily time-consuming, it will practically guarantee that you will NEVER finish. It’s much more efficient to do your big picture editing first, especially since you may end up cutting out large portions of your content later. Look for:

Chapters or sections that need to be cut –Are they too advanced, confusing or off-topic.
Missing information that you need to add in, like a whole new section or chapter
Scenes or sections that need to be radically revised
Major cuts, additions and rewrites need to happen before you start digging down into the individual sentences and words.

5. Trust your instincts

 “The most essential gift for a good writer is a built-in shock-proof B.S. detector. This is the writer’s radar and all good writers have it.”

-Ernest Hemingway

You know that little voice that say, ‘Hm, that’s not quite right.’ You need to listen to that voice. Put yourself in the reader’s place. If you were reading this book, article or blog for the first time, would it make sense? If not, no matter how well-crafted it is, or how much time it took you to write it, it has got to go. Take no prisoners.

6. Create a Sense of Urgency

Nothing has been more effective in getting my work written and published than an external non-negotiable deadline. I write and edit my work as if there’s a gun to my head. If you don’t give yourself a time limit on editing, it could go on forever.

I create deadlines right before vacations, major Holiday or birthdays. If I want to enjoy my time, I need to get it done. If deadlines don’t work for you, try an external reward for completing on time or financial incentive or penalty.

7. Done is Better than Perfect

No one is going to be able to read the book or blog post you never published. To edit well, you need to eventually stop. I am guilty of this; I’ve found myself putting commas back in that I’ve already taken out, rewriting the same section or paragraph over and over again. Once you’re here, it’s time to save the file and back slowly away from the computer. You are done, whether you’re ready and willing to admit it or not.

For you perfectionists out there, you will find this part especially challenging. Your work is never going to feel perfect. Embrace your imperfection and move on. Once you have pressed send, let it go. It’s time to put your work out into the world.

Obviously nothing is going to replace hiring a professional editor, but you want to present the best version of your manuscript possible. Do as much as you can so that they can focus on more important areas and your work will be stronger for it.

What self-editing tips have you found work for you? Leave a comment below.

***

Karen Rowe is a professional ghostwriter and runs a full-service writing firm. Check out her blog at www.KarenRowe.com

 

Posted in Business & Personal Skills, Copywriting, Self Promotion | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

 

Which one should I choose: WordPress.org or WordPress.com?

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wordpress-logo-stacked-rgbI have been running my Website Creation Workshop program for 7 years now,
but every single time I run an introductory webinar or teleseminar, this question comes up:

What’s the difference between wordpress.com and wordpress.org?

I see how people get confused. Both services were created by the same company called Automattic and offer tools to create websites using the “WordPress” platform.

Their basic functions look the same. However, there are some critical differences that you
should know so that you can make the right choice for you when building a website.

Catch Christina’s free live webinar – Easily Create a Beautiful Website in WordPress – Even if You Hate Technology…. – on Thursday Dec 4, 2014. Register here.
WordPress.com (https://wordpress.com/)
  • Software is free, and it also comes with hosting. (ie. You don’t need to get your own hosting. They will host your website for you.) Note: it does NOT include emails, so you need to get a separate email service.
  • You will get your website URL with “wordpress.com” at the end. (ex. yoursitename/wordpress.com) (They offer a premium plan that allows you to use your own domain name while being hosted on WordPress.com server at extra cost.)
  • From time to time, your site might display ads to logged-out users who aren’t regular visitors  unless you purchase a special feature to turn it off.
  • While it offers many free and paid themes, they cannot be customized to the extent you can with wordpress.org themes.
  • They do not allow you to add plugins, which means the functionalities are limited compared to wordpress.org.
  • To sell products/programs from your site, you need to sign up for “WordPress.com Business” (http://store.wordpress.com/plans/business/) and pay the fee.
  • They allow you to embed certain forms, not all. For example, you can’t embed the opt-in form for many of the popular email services.
WordPress.org (https://wordpress.org/)
  • Software is free. But you need to get your own hosting service. (This is why WordPress.org is also called, “self-hosted WordPress.” )
  • You can get your own domain name from any domain registrar and use it for your website.
  • You have a great control over what appears on your site, including ads.
  • There are countless themes available, both free and premium. You can also customize these themes to a much greater degree than WordPress.com themes.
  • And even more free and paid plugins are available, which helps you to make your site function the way you really want.
  • It makes a great eCommerce platform among many other purposes.
  • It integrates with most of the Internet tools/services out there.
  • You get the software from WordPress.org, and you are then on your own. You have a lot of freedom re. how you use the website.

If you are building a website for your business, I strongly recommend that you go through the WordPress.org route.  You can do so much more with WordPress.org, and more importantly, the site can keep growing with you and your business with a self-hosted site.

Posted in Creating Content, New Tools | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

 

5 Best Practices of Thought Leadership

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mitchell-levyThought leadership is a hot buzzword, however, there are many definitions and misconceptions about what a thought leader is.

I’d like to offer a definition that may be slightly broader than what you’re used to. Once you’re comfortable with the definition, I’ll share five best practices.

Who is a Thought Leader?

A thought leader is an individual who is recognized as an expert in their own space, and is referred to for help on various matters. In other words, the key-to-go person who can give an appropriate path to attain best results in the field and geography they specialize in. For a more robust definition, check out this 2×2 showing a definition of thought leadership as audience by content .

The Top Five Best Practices for Thought Leadership are:

1.      Visibility to the Employees and the Management Team:

Due to the accessibility and abundance of numerous product reviews on the Internet, traditional salespeople have become obsolete and ineffective. The new salesperson is Google and is playing a big part in providing a perfect way to review products and services with utmost ease.

Potential customers search on your organization, they want to see “real” people sharing authentic, transparent and trustworthy information. Every employee represents the brand, and they must look good. Particularly, the management team.

On the “About us” page of many organizations today, you not only see a small photo or bio of the executive team, but also links to their individual social accounts (primarily LinkedIn and Twitter). This way, the customers and future advocates get an opportunity to see how the management team represents themselves and engage with them, if appropriate.

Make sure and participate in Mitchell’s FREE live webinar at Social Buzz University on Thursday, November 20, 2014! CLICK HERE to register now!

2.      Yelp as a Verb:

The effect of yelpification has been present for a long time. It has brought numerous changes in consumption of products and services. Factors of cost, quality, and efficiency are discussed through online reviews and ratings. Consumer reviews and ratings play a big part in defining popularity and efficiency of a business. They act as a key to attain business success.

In the B2B space, I look at the “Yelp” score of an individual as the skills their peers have given them on their LinkedIn profile. If someone presents themselves one way, but their peers see them as something else, that’s a yellow flag.

We’re not quite there yet, but I can see a world where we will see an aggregated “Yelp” score for individuals and organizations that is the aggregation of how they have interacted with people like yourself. Does the LinkedIn skills you’re endorsed for represent your brand? Does your employees?

3.      Consistently Publish Content on Platforms with Reach:

For over a decade, we’ve talked about the importance of publishing consistently.

WordPress has made it really easy to create your own blog. Your job is to consistently share content and build the audience.

Another vehicle that’s being used with good results today is the publishing platform from LinkedIn. Content that exists on your blog and other areas, can be updated and reposted to your LinkedIn blog.

What’s relevant is the ability for your peers, and their peers, to view and share your post. The amplification of your message can be high with this platform, particularly with a little nudge from yourself. Additionally, many old school, well-known publications have adopted a contributor model. Huffington Post, Forbes, Fortune, Entrepreneur Magazine are just a few places you can approach and share good quality content. I’m sharing content regularly on the LinkedIn publishing platform and Entrepreneur Magazine.

4.      Industry Leader’s List:

Creating a “best of” and “most influential” lists is also a great way to increase your organization’s influence. Thought leaders continually strive to be recognized on the basis of their work and make a “list”.

The best way for thought leaders to achieve success is to continue what they are doing and to have fun while doing it. Creating a list which is relevant to your industry is a great way to attain impressive results. Not only does your firm get recognized for creating the list, but you are attracting the attention, and if done right, making friends with the influencers in your industry.

When creating these types of lists, make sure you add the appropriate details of name, company, photo, website, and links to one or more of their social platforms.

5.      Formulate Your Own Thought Leadership Channel:

With the platforms that are available today, it is extremely easy to create your own thought leadership channel. In the past, this was a blog site which you were hoping you can drive enough visitors to. Today, you can create a channel on someone else’s platform taking advantage of the infrastructure and traffic available.

An example I’d like to share is Thought Leader Life. This show interviews a thought leader via Google Hangouts every week. The content streams live on YouTube, is also shared on SlideShare, the audio is stripped and placed on iTunes and the FIR podcast network run by Shel Holtz and Neville Hobson, a blog post is created from the show and shared on 2 different locations and ~40 quotes are pulled from the show and when combined with 3 other thought leaders, a new social media enabled Aha Amplifier book is created.

Check out the view to the past interviews and content created. Creating a show that’s featured on all of these channels would have cost $3m+ during the dot.com days and can be accomplished today for a fraction of that cost.

 

These practices are some of best and most reliable thought leadership ideas to achieve success today. By following these practices, you and your organization will increase your digital footprint and strive towards growth, efficiency and prosperity.


Get a free copy of the social media enabled eBooks “Mitchell Levy on Creating Thought Leaders” and “Meridith Elliott Powell and Mitchell Levy on Instilling Leadership at Every Level” at http://bit.ly/MitchellLevy-AhaAmp01 and http://bit.ly/EngagedLdr-AhaAmp01 respectively, read about thought leadership best practices on the LinkedIn group http://bit.ly/t-l-b-p, or watch a new thought leader each week on http://ThoughtLeaderLife.com.

 

Posted in Business & Personal Skills, Entrepreneurship, LinkedIn, Self Promotion, Tribe Marketing | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

 

Build a Strong Online Presence with Wikipedia

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I’m old enough to remember using the Britannica Encyclopedia, considered the defacto reference, when doing my school research work.  My how times have changed.  In today’s information age online journalists and high level influencers turn to the Internet to gather information on individuals and companies.  Where libraries, dictionaries, and encyclopedias once dominated the top spot for research, Wikipedia has quickly become a main source. But unlike these old-fashioned methods this is a place of community driven content.

How does Wikipedia Build your Online Presence?

  1. Having a Wikipedia Page will give you Page One exposure in the search engines.
  2. It establishes you as the expert for journalists with what I think of as the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.
  3. It will increase your Klout score.

Did you know that anyone can edit a Wikipedia article?  Before you get too excited about how great that is, it’s actually what makes having a Wikipedia page difficult.

It’s very important to understand how Wikipedia works and what is required in order to have a successful page that sticks there. You must have what is called ‘noteworthiness’.  Writing some articles or publishing a book isn’t enough.  What awards have you won?  What big media has written about you?

It’s different based on your professions.  For authors, there is a general guideline that has been established by Wikipedia and can be found here under “creative professionals” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:AUTHOR#Creative_professionals). While the guideline seems very specific, the majority of authors can have Wikipedia pages created if they have had significant coverage in reliable sources that are independent of them. For instance, if there is an article about them that has appeared in the New York Times or a well-known magazine, that could qualify them.

For books, the same would apply. The books would need to receive significant coverage. Generally, book reviews in well-known publications would qualify.

Want to get first-hand help with this topic? Attend Susan’s FREE, LIVE webinar with us on October 23! Click here for details & registration.

Do not attempt creating a Wikipedia page without first having noteworthiness.

Once a solid media presence has been established, remember it’s important to follow this process, step-by-step.  Since anyone can publish on Wikipedia since there is no central management, anyone with a Wikipedia account can state a reason for deletion and when a second person agrees, it’s bye-bye Wikipedia page.

Ready to get started? Wikipedia makes that easy right from their homepage by creating a new account. Once your name or business is registered the process of creating content can begin.

The second step, as mentioned above, is to know the requirements for content submitted to Wikipedia for your individual notability or your brand’s. There are some guidelines to follow, including their own Manual of Style, similar to AP, which can be found here. Because this platform is open to anyone to edit and correct, it is important to follow the rules for pages, and to make sure your sources can be verified by a credible third party. Wikipedia even recommends perusing an actual encyclopedia before getting started to become familiar with the style and tone of this type of content.

The third step is to establish a strong reference of articles for you or business. You may already have guest articles or even a blog that you post to on a regular basis, but this is not enough to establish credibility. Consider publishing a press release through a PR firm or with a reputable company like PRWeb. This type of content will add to the references for Wikipedia.  Anything you can do to reduce the risk of your page being deleted is worthwhile.

Once you have created your Wiki page make sure your language is not marketing oriented – just the facts; and, make sure your statements are not puffed up as this will be a sign to Wikipedia that your business is not authentic. Become your own prosecuting attorney and go through your page line by line to weed out any unsubstantiated claims or information before the public has a chance to.

As your brand or business expands it will be important to update your Wikipedia page with news, events, changes, etc. Keeping your content fresh will ensure that it will not be removed, and also helps build a stronger presence online.

Posted in General Buzz | 1 Comment

 

Top Ways Google Alerts Help You Get Into the Media

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Carol-Margolis-250x250Recently presenting to SocialBuzzU on How To Get Your Blog All Over The Media , I shared numerous no-cost ways to get publicity for your blog and business.

Here is one additional tool I use to identify publicity opportunities and it, also, is FREE!

I’m talking about Google Alerts. Setting up alerts that not only let you know (via email) when you and your business are being talked about, but all these other alerts:

Alerts on:

  • The topic of your business (business travel, in my case)
  • Conferences and trade shows in your topic area  (“conference social media” and “tradeshow social media” for example)
  • Experts in your topic area (“Mari Smith social media” for example)
  • Speaking opportunities (“call for speakers social media” for example)
  • Statistics in your topic area (“statistics social media” for example)
  • The magazines/media in your topic area (“Inc. magazine” “social media” for example)
  • Your name
  • Your business name
  • And other areas that you want to keep apprised of in your niche.

Can you see how being alerted with this information could help you apply for speaking opportunities, write an article that can be submitted to a magazine, be a guest blogger on another site and come up with topic ideas for your business? All at no monetary cost, just a bit of your time.

How do you get started? Go to https://www.google.com/alerts, sign into your Google account and start creating alerts. You can have as many as will be valuable to you. Have too many and it may be overwhelming to keep up with!

Emails will begin to flow into your mailbox. I recommend forwarding them automatically to a subfolder so you can review several at a time and have them all in one place.

Google Alerts have been invaluable for me. So set some up today (or add to your existing Google Alert list) and your business will be expanding all over the place!

Posted in Blogging, Getting Publicity & Press, Marketing Ideas, Self Promotion | Tagged , , | Leave a comment