What will your online publishing company do differently in 2009? Will you learn any lessons, or will you repeat the same mistakes?
1. I will consider SEO just as important as PPC.
Imagine if you didn’t need to buy Pay-Per-Click ads because your SEO was just that good. Well it can be, we’ve seen it ourselves. PPC is a great way to rack up your numbers quickly, but SEO is for the long haul. When you’re tired of spending 10-50k a month on ads, it’s good to have a backup plan. SEO everything. Freemium titles, landing pages, blog articles, author pages, topic pages…. everything. Discover niche keyword phrases with the Google Keyword Tool and optimize, optimize, optimize. It’s like a retirement plan for your webpages.
2. I will take advantage of un-costly events.
Just because the economy isn’t looking fabulous doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get the opportunity to connect with others in your industry the old fashioned way – in person. There are several nationwide (and global) events like PodCamp that are free and have hundreds in like-minded people attendance. It’s one of the best ways I’ve found to stay in touch with the latest tools of the trade. nextNY has a great calendar of these types of events for those in the Big Apple. Get out there and network.
3. I will begin to really interact with my customers.
Conversations with customers shouldn’t end with an “I hope that solved your problem” or “Here’s your refund” from firstname.lastname@example.org. This year, start engaging with your users. Respond to blog comments, start a Twitter account, join social networks in your niche; really start to add personality to your faceless brand. Don’t be a robot, join the conversation — customer service is the new marketing.
4. I will consider an email address the holy grail.
It’s simple: the bigger your list, the more products you will sell. If you have ten subscribers and you sell one $20 product every time you send a promotion, you’re making $20 a mailing. Imagine if you had 200,000 subscribers—that’s $40,000 a mailing. Say it with me: the money is in the list.
5. I will create more free products for my customers.
Everyone loves free stuff, and we as publishers have TONS of content we can use to create free special reports or other freemiums in exchange for an email address that will build our list. The key is to recycle; freemiums don’t require new content. Steal a chapter from one of your books, compile a few related blog posts; this is possibly one of the easiest things you can do. Then you just create an email-capture page (properly SEO’d) and voila, a new place to direct traffic. Create dozens of them, it’s worth it.
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6. I will broaden my PR horizons and submit to new sources.
Newswire isn’t your best bet for getting noticed anymore. You have bloggers, community calendars, event sites, social networks and other avenues of getting the word out. So, you came out with a new special report you’re totally psyched about? Send it to all the bloggers in that niche to review, post (valuable) comments on blogs and link back to the email capture page, Twitter the link, list it on community sites and blog about it. If you’re limiting your exposure to PR sites, you’re going to get lost among the crowd.
7. I will stop acting like a marketer when I engage in social media.
So many marketers will tell you “social media didn’t work for me”. What they won’t tell you is that every post in their Twitter account says “Buy this book!” or “Subscribe to my awesome magazine!” In order to be successful in social media, you need to shed the marketing layers and interact on a personal level. When people trust you, they will trust your brand and be more likely to buy your products or recommend them to others. Remember, bloggers are your best allies when it comes to PR and social media is the water cooler of the web.
8. I will start repurposing my content on new platforms.
A book is not just a book. On the web, a book can turn into a freemium, a webinar, an audio conference, a podcast, you name it. The same goes for anything else you publish. For 2009, start with a concept instead of a story. Think about how you can turn a concept into a series of multi-media products. All of your users learn and discover things differently – try to reach them on every level you can.
9. I will brace myself and listen to what users are saying.
The only way to stay a step ahead of your audience is to keep tabs on what’s being said about you. For huge global brands like Coca Cola this is easy, Google “Coca Cola Sucks” and you’ll get 10 Reasons Coca Cola Sucks as your #1 result (and an array of other user concoctions). If your brand isn’t say, on every grocery shelf in America, you might need to dig a little deeper. You can create an “ego feed” with Yahoo Pipes, which collects results from Google Blog Search, Technorati and IceRocket; or you can manually do some scouring of the web with Joongel (more advanced) or SamePoint (easier to use). There are literally dozens of online reputation management tools, and even brand reputation tracking tools worth paying for, but those are my favorites. Take some time to listen, then respond.
10. I will learn from the mistakes (and successes) of others.
All to often we pride ourselves on knowing “what’s best” and spend far too much money and effort testing things that have all ready been tested. This year, take time to do your research before deploying campaigns. We hope the Mequoda Daily will help guide you through 2009 while we show you case studies, interviews and research we continue to gather from publishers like you in the industry. If you’re not all ready subscribed to our email newsletter, please take the time to subscribe today and get a free copy of our Seven Online Publishing Secrets white paper. If you’re already a subscriber, just log-in to download the report.
Best of luck in 2009!