Debbie Elicksen is the author of our new book Business Cyberbullies and How to Fight Back. Her inspiration to write the book came from a personal experience she had with a former client turned cyberbully which she talks about below. Our hope is that through telling her story, she gives those of you dealing with online harassment the courage to fight back. For everyone else, let hers be a lesson to be proactive and learn about the simple steps you can take to protect your reputation online. Continue reading
1. What ignited the spark in you to start your own business?
I say in the book that at a young age I knew I had a problem with authority! It might be the wrong answer, but it is the honest one. I always felt that my opinions and ideas were never taken seriously because of my age, sex and physical appearance. Being an event planner has been a dream since I was 17 and I always knew I would open my own business. Sometimes tragedy, risk and dreams all come together at the same time to create something beautiful – my beautiful was my business, PEAR.
2. What three pieces of advice would you give to someone who wants to start a business in the event planning industry?
- Have the right answer to… “why do you want to be an event planner”
- Get experience in any way you can
- Don’t be a gossip – become a leader, not a follower
3. What are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful event planner?
- Problem solving skills
4. How do you generate new ideas?
I just wake up. I take inspiration from all points of life. I am not a researcher like many business owners. I pride myself on knowing the caliber of experience and excellence I would expect from an event planner and execute it with my clients. I learn each and every event I do – throughout the entire process. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. A lot of it is trial and error, but most ideas work. I find that if I look at what other people are doing, I do just that…what they are doing. My clients hire me to host an event unlike any other. I may pull ideas from social media or Pinterest 1% of the time, but a collaborative meeting with my team and the client is really what drives my ideas. It is all about editing. Never do the same thing twice and you will survive in this industry!
5. What are the top trends for 2014 holiday events?
Dinner Parties. Hiring a private chef to come to your house to prepare a 5 course meal for your loved ones and friends. Then you get to host and enjoy at the same time!
6. What precautions do you take at events around the holidays to prevent the spread of germs?
The largest concern for germs is with the food – making sure you hire a capable and respectable caterer to handle and prep the food. I also make sure that all dishes for sharing have proper serving utensils and most often suggest a single serving portion to the client. Our staff is always washing their hands when in contact with various items, including food and cards, or any item possibly carried frequently by other hands. If everyone practices proper etiquette it should not be an issue.
Feeling inspired? For a step-by-step guide on how to build an event planning company that thrives, see Lach’s new book on the subject here published this fall by Self-Counsel Press.
1. How does brand building for authors compare to developing a brand for a business?
It depends. Is the brand a product, person, or entity (a persona like the Coca Cola polar bear)? The principles of marketing/publishing in the digital platforms would be similar in that they all follow the same rules of engagement if they want to build a community. All potential readers/clients/viewers… want the same thing: a connection, to be wowed/wined and dined, to be inspired/entertained/appreciated and have their time respected (i.e. don’t send viewers on a wild goose chase clicking a bunch of links to get to the point). The difference is in who is creating the content. For a business, it may be the marketing/PR department, therefore there should be some discussions on editorial guidelines to make sure the message is clear, concise, and consistent.
2. What 3 social media platforms should authors use and why?
I would say the big three are Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, but there isn’t a one size fits all in social media. It comes down to audience and message. But if you are catering to an adolescent crowd, then Tumblr is a must. If your book/message is a visual experience, then Pinterest, Instagram, Google +, and Flickr. LinkedIn is where you want to be to find the business crowd — especially those who have not yet embraced other media. Facebook is good if you promote your humanness. Twitter is a news feed for meaty tips and interesting stories. Each platform works with a different purpose, so choose the one that fits and work it well.
3. What is the key to shareable content?
Shareable means making it easy for others to share your content and not putting up walls and obstacles. Users like to be entertained, wowed, educated, inspired — you can see in your own feeds (and test it out) as to what gets shared more than others. BUT to focus on shares is not how you get shared. Focus on really good content. Make people want to keep visiting your profile. People like to laugh, which is why memes are popular. You can make your own memes using your own photos. Post something inspirational or educational. Continually test the waters.
4. If an author has 30 minutes a day to devote to online marketing, where should they concentrate their effort?
If you could write a blog post once a week and share it with a unique blurb introducing it to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google +, you are doing exceptional. Post your own content (such as a photo you took with an inspirational post), links to other great content, share someone else’s, reply and respond to someone else who has shared your content. Pick a post in general that you like to comment on. Get to know your followers on a human level a little at a time.
5. How does an author build credibility online?
1) Be everywhere. If your specialty is wills, be in as many free online directories you can find.
2) Post something every day — meat, inspiration, or entertainment. Lift up the community and give them something to look forward to rather than ranting about this and that.
3) Talk to your community. If you see a post you like, acknowledge that person — “your post made my day” or “thanks, Brian, I really needed this.”
To learn more about building an online profile and marketing your expertise in the digital age, take a look at Elicksen’s recent title on the subject Publishing & Marketing in the Digital Age published this fall by Self-Counsel Press.
The digital revolution has drastically changed where readers buy books, what books they read and in what format they read them. While these changes initially made engaging with and building loyalty among readers a challenge for authors and publishers, the shift online has come to be seen as an enormous marketing opportunity. Digital platforms offer valuable insight into how characters, plot lines and topics are perceived while presenting an opportunity for publishers and authors to directly engage with readers.
The internet offers authors many ways to market and promote a book. Engaging with readers through dedicated websites, blogs, social media outlets and other content media platforms extends a reader’s experience with a book. It allows them to share their opinion and information about it, thus empowering them to advocate for and promote the book through his or her own online channels. Why does a reader share their thoughts on a book? The simple answer: they enjoyed the book and want to encourage others to read it. A more analyzed answer: an author has helped, informed, delighted and inspired a reader and offered easy to share content.
The key to engaging with readers online is to provide easy-to-find content that people want to comment on and share. According to Debbie Elicksen, author of Publishing & Marketing in the Digital Age, “Creating great content is about answering a question people have.” Is your content educational? Is it providing insight? Is it inspiring change? Making your content discoverable is vital so initially you’ll want to identify and then listen closely to your niche market. Who are they? What do they like to share? What are they talking about? Who are they following and who follows them? The internet is a sticky web and you will find like minded people clumped together. Find your niche, set up camp and then find engaging ways to deliver content.
The takeaway here is that it doesn’t matter if you are a lawyer writing on personal bankruptcy or a sci-fi author with 2 million unit print runs. Your readers are online therefore you should be too.
For more on how to create an online profile, market your book and build your own digital empire see Debbie Elicksen’s new book Publishing & Marketing in the Digital Age. You can also check out her website here or chat her up on twitter @bookpublish101.