If I had to identify the one thing that was getting my clients executing effective self-promotion, it would be time. I know how it goes—you probably put your own needs last, amidst the various competing deadlines and requirements. And the thought of committing a couple hours to do self-promotion—like updating your site, considering how to use Twitter, or writing a blog entry—might just be enough to send you over the edge.
Baby steps. Like many things, I’ve found that finding time for self-promotion means also finding the self-discipline to set aside other needs and focus on your own work. Everything I’m suggesting below should take you no more than 15 minutes per day—not even two hours over the course of the work week. In just 15 minutes per day, you can check one thing off your self-promotion checklist, and know you are doing the hard (and necessary) work of promoting yourself while building good habits.
This article assumes that you have already set up your a site and social media properties. If you aren’t there yet, visit our archives for advice on what elements are necessary for a successful author site, and how to set up your social media pages. You can also consider this Part 2 to my Finding Time for Social Media post, where I break down the types of things necessary to successfully use social media.
Spend some time on Twitter, seeing what information is being put out there by the people you follow. Instead of feeling the need to create content, just spend some time digesting the content that other people have provided. Then connect with other users who are resonating with you through Twitter. Favorite the brilliant Tweets, RT ones that might be useful to your followers. Find new people to follow who complement your message.
If you aren’t collecting email addresses of fans and followers, you need to be. I suggest signing up with a service like Campaign Monitor. It’s free to sign up (although you are charged per email that goes out). It’s relatively easy to embed a form that captures emails into your site.
If you already have an email newsletter signup form on your site, consider ways to increase subscribers. For instance, give visitors an incentive for signing up (perhaps a sample chapter from your book as a PDF). Make sure your signup form is in a visible place. And include a line in your email signature asking people to sign up.
Revisit Twitter and remind your followers to subscribe to your newsletter, if they already haven’t.
Use hump day to create some new content. It can be for your blog or for your Facebook fan page. But use your writing skills to do write about (say) what you’re reading, what is inspiring you—or anything else that will connect you with your users. I work with a variety of clients in a wide range of industries, and believe me, the hard part for most people is writing. Use your existing writing skills to your advantage as a way to connect with your readers. And then Tweet about what you wrote.
If you haven’t already done so, set Google Alerts to automatically email you when an article featuring your name, your book’s title, or anything else relevant is posted online. If you have done this, incorporate (positive) reviews and information on your own site when you uncover them. Tweet about the good news.
Revisit your site, and pick a few pages to refresh the content. Often, after I build a site for a client, the copy and images remain stagnant years after they are relevant. A quick refresh of content, swapping of images and update of information can not only bring your site up to date, but can help rev up your search engine ranking. Think of it as a brisk edit. Then head back to Twitter to connect with other users.
Try to establish the tips above as a weekly pattern—start by blocking off just 15 minutes a day. I guarantee that your effort will pay off with higher visitation, improved search engine indexing, and the satisfaction of knowing that knowing that you are doing what you should to promote your business.
Lisa Hazen is a Chicago-based Web Designer specializing in author sites who is off to do some self-promotional maintenance of her own. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook, or the WWW. mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org