Monday, July 30, 2012

Our Latest Workshop: Making the Most of Your Online Profile

For our latest brown bag writer lunch last week, we were treated to a tip-tastic presentation on how to make the most of your online presence by two digital marketing gurus from Sonnet Media and Your Expert Nation: Sean Concannon and Rich Kelley.
Rich Kelley (left) and Sean Concannon (right)
We videotaped* the session for those of you who want to take a deep dive—watch below.

But if you’re pressed for time and just want to browse the highlights, here’s a quick summary of Sean and Rich’s top tips.

Have all your information lead to one place
  • The best way for potential clients to find you is to have one central online hub. That primary site, whether it’s a personal web page or your LinkedIn profile, should include:
  • Your brief biography
  • A photo of yourself
  • Your areas of expertise
  • All the places you’ve worked
  • All the places you’ve been published
  • Links to pieces you’ve written
  • A link to your blog (not essential, but very beneficial)
  • No pictures of cats (That one is from Dan, but we think it’s a very good rule.)
  • A way to contact you
All your other online profiles should link back to that hub. Use a tool like Sitemeter or Google Analytics to analyze and track the incoming traffic.

A personal website is the gold standard for your hub
If you make your own website, you’ll have full control over the content, the layout, the links, and the aesthetics. Plus, technically all the content you post on sites like Facebook and Twitter belongs to them; having your own site means you retain all rights to the things you post.

Getting your own site is simple—even for those who aren’t particularly tech-savvy. Buy a URL (something like, and then choose from the wide range of templates offered by WordPress, Tumblr, and similar sites to build yours. Of course, if you want something fancier, you can always hire a web developer. No matter what, make sure that all your information is clear and easy to find.

What other online profiles should you have?
Twitter: Twitter is great for conversations, promotions, and building your brand. Get followers by following people with similar interests, and interact with them by replying, retweeting, and thanking them if they do the same for you. See which users influential people follow and do the same, especially the first few people on their follow list. Tweet as much or as little as you want, but the gurus recommend at least 2–3 times per day. If you only have five minutes for social media, find two tweets to “favorite,” two to retweet, and two to respond to.

Sean and Rich also highlighted a handful of tools to help you manage your account:
  • HootSuite—A popular application that can integrate your Facebook and Twitter posts
  • Twellow—Lets you search for people to follow by category, complete with rankings.
  • Twit Cleaner—Identifies which of the people you follow you should consider unfollowing because they are inactive, uninteresting, or engage in dodgy behavior
  • Tweriod—Analyzes the behavior of your followers and recommends what time would be best for you to tweet
  • Friend or Follow—Shows which of the people you follow are following you (friends), and who is following you that you aren’t following back (fans)
LinkedIn: LinkedIn is terrific for connecting with people and expanding your professional network. Join groups in your areas of expertise to further broaden your reach and increase your credibility, or start your own group and moderate the conversations. New apps allow you to link to your blog and creative portfolio.

Facebook: Everyone and their dog is now on Facebook, but business pages are more discoverable than personal ones, so make yourself an author page. Facebook can also be used as your blogging platform.

Google+: Studies are beginning to show that Google+ users are much happier than Facebook users. Of course, far fewer people can be found on Google+, but having a presence there can improve your search results and your Google Knowledge Graph.

Amazon and Goodreads: These are for authors with published books. If that’s you, both sites offer great ways to be found by clients and to engage with readers. Published authors can set up a content-rich profile. These sites also allow you to syndicate your blog directly to your profile.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial
One of the most important things to remember is to optimize your profiles for search engines. Make sure to put keywords on your site that prospective clients would use to search for writers in your areas of expertise—for instance, if you specialize in writing cookbooks, optimal keywords would be “food writing,” “cookbook writer,” “writing about cooking,” etc. Remember: search engines read the title of pages and articles first, so jam-pack them full of keywords!

Keep content fresh and update your profiles often
Search engines “reward” you when your pages have frequently updated content, so blast away. Share your thoughts, engage your audience, and if you’ve written something new, don’t be afraid to tweet or post about it more than once—just make sure you post about other things between mentions. And don’t forget to interact with others as much as you can, so your profile doesn’t just read “me me me.”

Want more from Sean and Rich? Hop on over to Your Expert Nation or Sonnet Media, or check them out on Twitter at @seanconcannon and @rpmkel.

*Our apologies, we had some technical difficulties so there are a couple places where the video skips.

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