Category : Web/Tech

  • January 24, 2013

    Thursdays with Amanda: What is a Twitter Party

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    Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.

    Some readers of this blog have mentioned that they don’t really know what Twitter Parties are, let alone how to run one. So let’s unpack this very useful promo strategy and then next week we can go over what makes Twitter Parties successful.

    A Twitter party is exactly what it sounds. It is an online party that takes place on Twitter.

    Here’s how it works…

    An author or a company or someone who wants to promote awareness or buzz for their product, sends out party invitations through blogs, forums, Facebook, etc. They give the party a specific time, as well as a hashtag, and they advertise prizes.

    Those who want to participate (usually to win free stuff), merely need to log on to Twitter during the hours of the party and begin watching for that particular hashtag (they can do a hashtag search on Twitter, which will pull show them the Tweets that include that hashtag in real time, or they can set it up through whatever Twitter program they use to filter Tweets). But anyway, the idea is that people join the party using the provided hashtag.

    The host(s) of the party will keep things moving along, chatting with participants and running giveaways and interviews with featured guests. The key, though, is that every Tweet must have the party’s hashtag within it. Otherwise, the Tweets won’t make it to the party-goers’ feeds.

    Still with me?

    Eventually, after an hour or so of fun and chatting and giveaways and interviews, the party ends and the hosts sign off.

    Why does this work?

    It gets people talking about whatever you want them to talk about! Let’s say the focus

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  • January 17, 2013

    Thursdays with Amanda: Dispelling the Top 5 Facebook Myths

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    Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.

     

    Note: this is a professional Facebook page. This is a personal profile.

    Every once in awhile I receive some questions regarding professional Facebook pages. You see, there are a lot of rumors surrounding the professional page, and many will claim that it’s self-sabotage to switch over (from personal to professional pages). But I entirely disagree.

    So let’s take some time to dispel the top 5 Facebook myths when it comes to using the site for marketing and promotions.

    Myth #1: The Professional Facebook Page is bad because it only shows your updates to 1/3 of your fanbase.

    This isn’t necessarily true. Your fans have the power to choose how often they see your posts. If they want to view every post, they can select that option. If they only want to view the most popular posts, they can opt for that one.

    But let’s get to the bottom of this myth. This statement is making the assumption that all of your posts in your personal profile are seen by ALL of your friends. This is not true. Go to your personal Facebook profile and think of a friend that you haven’t heard or seen much of lately. You know, one of those people that you wonder if maybe they’ve unfriended you. Now go look them up. Chances are, they’ve been posting quite frequently! But you haven’t seen their posts. Why? Because not only do you have the power to filter your feeds, Facebook sometimes selects which posts you view on your news feed and also which posts appear on the little scrolly thing in the upper righthand corner of your account. And sometimes, you

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  • December 13, 2012

    Thursdays with Amanda: How To Grow Your Author Platform…2012 blog posts

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    Amanda Luedeke Literary AgentAmanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.

    Assuming that the world will NOT end and that 2013 is YOUR YEAR to get things together and develop (or further develop) that coveted author platform everyone keeps talking about, I figured I’d put together an index of all my posts this past year.

    The catch? You aren’t allowed to casually skim it. I want you reading the ones that jump out at you while you come up with a goal list of

    10 Things I WILL Do in 2013 to Grow My Author Platform

    2013 is your year! Make the most of it. Your career will thank you.

    How it all started

    Growing Platform Through Articles

    Growing Platform Through Blogging

    Growing Platform Through Conferences

    Growing Platform Through Ebooks

    Growing Platform Through Facebook

    Growing Platform Through Goodreads

    Growing Platform Through Pinterest

    Growing Platform Through Public Speaking

    Growing Platform

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  • December 6, 2012

    Thursdays with Amanda: Social Media Critiques, Part 9

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    Amanda Luedeke Literary AgentAmanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.

    A few weeks ago, I offered free social media critiques to those who replied before the 14th. You see, social media is a specialty of mine. Before becoming an agent, I worked for some years as a social media marketer at a marketing agency outside of Chicago. I worked with clients such as Vera Bradley, Peg Perego, Benjamin Moore and more. A somewhat longer description of what I did can be found in the first critique post.

    1. Saved Sister is a blog by Wendy.

    • Your “Sponsor” and “Contact Me” pages aren’t clickable…just something to look into!
    • This is a cute blog, but I feel as though you should be getting more interactions on your blog posts, considering the amount of Facebook and Google followers you have. Think about what posts work and what ones seem to fall flat. What ones get your readers talking and what ones keep them silent? Then, weed accordingly.
    • Consider interacting with those who leave comments. You want to acknowledge their participation…it will encourage them to do it again.
    • You might be covering too much here…you blog about motherhood, ministry, nonprofits, books, etc. Maybe you’re spreading yourself and your readership too thing?

    RECOMMENDATIONS: It seems your Five-Minute Fridays get the most interaction. Think of ways that you can engage readers of those posts on each day or most days of the week. You’ll see your reader and interaction numbers grow.

    2. First Comes Love is a blog by Meghan Carver

    • Your blog appears active and organized. Great job!
    • It’s a bit cluttered, so really think about whether you need so many do-dads at the end of every post and also
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  • November 29, 2012

    Thursdays with Amanda: Social Media Critiques, Part 8

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    Amanda Luedeke Literary AgentAmanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.

    A few weeks ago, I offered free social media critiques to those who replied before the 14th. You see, social media is a specialty of mine. Before becoming an agent, I worked for some years as a social media marketer at a marketing agency outside of Chicago. I worked with clients such as Vera Bradley, Peg Perego, Benjamin Moore and more. A somewhat longer description of what I did can be found in the first critique post.

    1. Alicia Bruxvoort submitted her blog.

    • Overall, the design is nice, but it doesn’t seem to fit the space correctly. Your tagline is way at the bottom of your masthead, your post titles are scrunched to the left and you have some funky lines going through your email address submission box. I wonder if you’ve tested the site in multiple browsers?
    • Your font size is fairly small in your posts, and your post length is quite long. It may seem silly to point this out, but things like these encourage people to skim. The more they skim, the easier it is for them to stop visiting your site altogether.
    • There seems to be a lot of clutter at the end of your posts. You have prayers, praises, links to other bloggers, stock images, verses and a conversation-starter question. That’s a lot of takeaway, and it’s probably overwhelming readers.
    • I don’t see where I can share posts on Facebook or Twitter.

    RECOMMENDATIONS

    View your site in multiple browsers and on multiple screen sizes. Tweak accordingly. You should also think about reorganizing your content so that you are flooding everything into your daily posts. I suggest leaving the praises

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  • November 15, 2012

    Thursdays with Amanda: Social Media Critiques, Part 7

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    Amanda Luedeke Literary AgentAmanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.

    A few weeks ago, I offered free social media critiques to those who replied before the 14th. You see, social media is a specialty of mine. Before becoming an agent, I worked for some years as a social media marketer at a marketing agency outside of Chicago. I worked with clients such as Vera Bradley, Peg Perego, Benjamin Moore and more. A somewhat longer description of what I did can be found in the first critique post.

    1. dabneyland is a blog by Dabney Hedegard

    • Super cute design!
    • I feel as though the goal of this blog is to help people navigate sickness/loved ones that are sick/etc? If so, I think a stronger, more obvious tagline would help set the right expectations
    • Your “About dabneyland” and “About the Blogger” page are very much focused on you, which is fine, but there isn’t anywhere I can go to get a clear picture of what you want this blog to do for ME as a reader. I suggest tweaking the “about the blogger” copy to make it more about reader takeaway value
    • Great blog posts titles; very searchable

    RECOMMENDATIONS: You’re doing so much right, that my suggestions are pretty nit-picky. I’d write a new tagline that is makes it clear that dabneyland is a place people can come when they’re in the midst of an illness. I’d also reiterate that in either your “About” or “About the Blogger” sections.

    2. The Word Butcher is a blog by Jerry Eckert

    I’m just going to give you a list of things I think you could do to make this site fit with your book:

    • First, I must note that
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  • November 1, 2012

    Thursdays with Amanda: Social Media Critiques, Part 6

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    Amanda Luedeke is a zombie literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform and eating brains. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her life as both an agent and a zombie.

    A few weeks ago, I offered free social media critiques to those who replied before the 14th. You see, social media is a specialty of mine. Before becoming an agent, I worked for some years as a social media marketer at a marketing agency outside of Chicago. I worked with clients such as Vera Bradley, Peg Perego, Benjamin Moore and more. A somewhat longer description of what I did can be found in the first critique post.

    1) Memoir of a Mermaid is a site by Adrianna Stepiano

    • Very visually appealing. I’m wondering, though, about how it appears you have two banners/mastheads. I’d get rid of the stuff at the top and just add “A Young Adult Fiction Series by…” to the main one.
    • It doesn’t seem your blog content is connecting with readers. This may be because it’s focused on your writing journey rather than reader interests. Brainstorm ways that you could provide content that interests readers but also keeps the focus on the YA genre, storytelling, myths, folklore, etc.
    • I don’t see a picture of you anywhere or anything that ties this to a real person. If you want that strong connection with readers, you’re going to have to put yourself out there a bit more.

    RECOMMENDATIONS: You do a lot of things right, but I think the main thing lacking is a clear goal. This doesn’t strike me as strictly a sales-oriented site, and yet at the same time, there’s not much of a reason for readers to come  back once they’ve purchased the book. Answer these questions: Why did I build this site? What do I

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  • October 25, 2012

    Thursdays with Amanda: Social Media Critiques, Part 5

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    Amanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.

    A few weeks ago, I offered free social media critiques to those who replied before the 14th. You see, social media is a specialty of mine. Before becoming an agent, I worked for some years as a social media marketer at a marketing agency outside of Chicago. I worked with clients such as Vera Bradley, Peg Perego, Benjamin Moore and more. A somewhat longer description of what I did can be found in the first critique post.

    (Picture tweaks provided by Paula at www.yourvervemagazineonline.info )

    1) The Glitter Globe is a blog by Stephanie Pazicni Karfelt

    • The bit of text under your blog’s title is much too long. It should be one sentence at most–a tagline. If you feel this description of your blog is important, move it to a separate ABOUT page, complete with a close up picture of you.
    • For the best SEO (search engine optimization), you should tag your links to actual words instead of dropping the link into the text. See how I did this in my byline at the top of this post?
    • Consider the order of your right nav. Place the things that you most want readers to interact with at the top. So, the Followers and Network Blogs widgets should be at or close to the top.
    • It’s great that you use pictures, but rarely do I see a picture of you. Try to include yourself more in your photos. It will help readers feel a stronger connection.

    RECOMMENDATIONS: Think about how your blog comes across visually. Where does the eye go? What is the call to action? With that big block of text at the top and

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  • October 18, 2012

    Thursdays with Amanda: 10% OFF BLOG DESIGN!

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    Amanda Luedeke Literary AgentAmanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.

    This week, for readers of Thursdays with Amanda, we have a SUPER SPECIAL OFFER FROM ELEGANT CUSTOM BLOGS!

    Melanie from ElegantCustomBLogs.com has offered a 10% discount on her blog design services to readers of this blog. Just head over to ElegantCustomerBlogs.com and mention Thursdays with Amanda.(Melanie works on the Blogger platform only).

    Melanie does a great job, and she even designed the website for an author I represent, Melissa Tagg. When Bethany House offered a 2-book deal to Melissa, they specifically mentioned how impressed they were by her web presences. And Melanie can certainly take some of the credit for that! So go check her out.

    Sorry to cut things short today, but I have a conference in DC this weekend and a million deadlines. So I’ll leave you with this thought…

    We talk a lot about putting the right content in our blogs…about catering to the reader, and knowing your audience, and flooding it with links and keywords and yada yada yada. But at the end of the day, a great blog VOICE trumps content every single time.

    In doing your social media critiques, I’ve found this to be truer than ever. When I come across a great blog voice that draws me in and keeps me reading, I don’t think much about whether they’re connecting with the right audience or whether their topics are appropriate. I forget all that and get lost in the beauty of words.

    So while you’re tweaking your content to hit the right reader with the right information that’s searchable and all that stuff, keep voice at the top of your blog’s to-do list. It really is the best way to

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  • October 11, 2012

    Thursdays with Amanda: Social Media Critiques Part 4

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    Amanda Luedeke Literary AgentAmanda Luedeke is a literary agent with MacGregor Literary. Every Thursday, she posts about growing your author platform. You can follow her on Twitter @amandaluedeke or join her Facebook group to stay current with her wheelings and dealings as an agent.

    A few weeks ago, I offered free social media critiques to those who replied before the 14th. You see, social media is a specialty of mine. Before becoming an agent, I worked for some years as a social media marketer at a marketing agency outside of Chicago. I worked with clients such as Vera Bradley, Peg Perego, Benjamin Moore and more. A somewhat longer description of what I did can be found in the first critique post.

    1. Back Porch Reflections is a blog by Jackie

    • I don’t really know what this blog is trying to achieve. It seems like a sports or news blog with a mommy twist, but the title of the blog indicates it’s a personal journey type of thing. :/
    • I also struggle with the goal behind each post. Clearly, you’re into sports. But jumping from a very journalistic post on 10/05 to what starts as a journalistic post but ends more like a food-for-thought post on 09/30 to another journalistic-type/info-sharing post on 09/19 to further down the page where you have very personal posts. Clearly, you need to identify both your writing style and your theme for the blog.
    • Content aside, the design is a bit cluttered on the right nav, and the masthead is pretty lacking. Really be intentional about where you place things and how it looks (for example, in my browser there’s an Amazon ad that is kind of hanging in no-man’s land).
    • Get rid of ads.

    RECOMMENDATIONS: Choose a theme and a writing style to go along with that theme. Remember, if you go with a journalistic approach, you aren’t going to be followed for your

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