Monday, February 1, 2010

Using the Internet to Market Yourself


Using the Internet to Market Yourself



[This is a guest post by Stacey Cavanagh, who works in Online Marketing for Tecmark: SEO Liverpool and Manchester]







The Internet Revolution has completely changed the way we do, well, almost everything! It’s changed how we shop, socialise, conduct business and collaborate amongst a host of other things too. But how can you use the web to promote yourself and your work?


Social Networking Sites


Facebook, Twitter, Plurk, MySpace, Bebo... and that’s just scratching the surface. I’m not suggesting by any means that you need to set up an account and become a complete addict to them all! However, having a presence on one or two (my personal recommendations are Facebook and Twitter) is a great way to network. It makes you easy to find by people looking for the type of thing you do and it enables you to share parts of your work or an insight into it with potentially millions! These websites have burst into popularity at a phenomenal rate. Create a presence for yourself there. In terms of marketing your writing, release excerpts and teasers through these sites to generate interest.


Blogging


If there’s one thing a writer will have little trouble doing, it’s blogging! Blogs are available completely free of charge through wordpress.com and blogger.com, if you do not want to register and host a domain yourself. Set up a blog and keep it up to date. You needn’t post every single day, but post at least weekly if you can. How you approach a blog will depend on exactly what you want to market through it. But the most successful blogs have a personal touch. By all means, market your work through excepts, insight and up to the minute news, but don’t forget to let a bit of your personality shine through. It often helps to post a photo on your blog and a brief bio to add a little bit more of a human touch.


Guest Blogging and Commenting


As if you weren’t busy enough with your own blog, I’m now suggesting posting for other people! Yes, guest posting is a great way for you to gain exposure to someone else’s audience, many of whom might not otherwise have come across you. Contact bloggers in a similar niche and ask if they’d take a post from you. Many of them will be happy to and will often offer a link to your site or blog in exchange. This is also a great means of networking.


As for blog commenting, well again, that’s about networking. The blogosphere is incredibly powerful. Millions of bloggers, millions more readers! It enables you to find someone or something of interest in your niche quickly and easily. And the most successful blogs are established within their niche, network with other bloggers in a similar area and are known for doing so. Blogs are fundamentally discussion platforms. So respond to blog posts by other people with a comment and get actively involved in the blogosphere in this way. It will eventually drive traffic to your site, increase your followers and make you more known within the niche.


SEO


This is often more fundamentally important from a commercial viewpoint, for businesses. But SEO can work for individuals marketing their own work or freelancers too. SEO, for anyone not aware, is search engine optimisation and is the process of making your own blog or website visible within the search engines for the search terms relating to you. 73% of people in the UK start any internet related research or shopping with a search engine. If you are a freelance writer and someone types in ‘Freelance writing services,’ into Google, for example, you would hope they would find you. But the vast majority of people will never venture beyond the first page of the Google results after a search. So unless you rank highly for the related search terms, those people are unlikely to find you through search engines. SEO is the process of optimising a website for its related keywords in order to achieve higher search engine rankings for those words.


Forums


Forums are, like blogs, a discussion platform. Only there is much more of a level playing field for an open discussion since it isn’t only the one blogger who can set the topic. Anyone can decide on a topic! Participating in conversations in forums relating to your area is a great way to network and gain contacts. It has a lot of traffic driving potential for your website too.


These are just a few ways in which you can market yourself and your material online. The key thing to remember when networking online, however, is the human touch. Be personable. Photos and bios make a huge difference. It lets people get to know you. A big downside to the internet is the element of facelessness. Letting people see and read a bit about you for themselves goes a long way to rectifying that as best as possible in a digital environment.