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Author Topic: Maximizing Forums to Market Yourself  (Read 13005 times)

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superpsycho

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Maximizing Forums to Market Yourself
« on: 08/11-18:13 »

Maximizing your forum usage to market yourself.

Forums are one of the best ways to promote yourself, your work and your websites on the internet. First, there are a lot of them with many dedicated to writing, literature and authors. A blog requires constant attention and fresh content to gain a good following by the search engines. A forum doesn’t require near the amount attention. When used properly, a forum can be an invaluable method of getting attention and traffic. The thing to remember is, don’t abuse them, learn the rules and maintain a presence.

Most forums will delete any members who don’t post periodically, especially if they only posted when they joined and haven’t been back since. Maintaining a presence maintains your membership at a minimum, but you should do more than just maintain a presence. Your goal is to get noticed, creating and maintaining interesting threads can do that. A few good subjects that would interest writers and/or readers of your genre will go a long way to getting noticed, especially if they can provide some unique insight into a subject.

Forums, along with all other web sites, can tell where every visitor is from by their IP. If your IP says you're from France and you list your location as Canada, you will likely to be banned. If you provide false data like e-mail, or social media information you'll be rejected. If you're seen as a spammer, you will not only get rejected but be put an a central spammers list that forums use. That means the IP, user name and email address will automatically not be accepted by sites using the service.

Not all forums have the same rules. If a forum doesn’t allow posting of other site addresses or names, then you’re not going to get the best return on the time you spend there. At a minimum most forums will allow you to include a web address as part of your profile. It will be shown as a small icon under your avatar or as your home page in your profile, depending on the forum. A good number of them don’t allow web addresses in your signature. Any forum you find that allows it is worth your attention and are good sites to maintain a presence on.

Learn the rules of any forum you join than maintain a presence on as many of them as you can handle without short changing your writing time. Budget your time and resources. You have to treat writing as a real job and a real business. Allocate time for marketing, and then work within that budget. If it becomes clear it is not enough or it’s short changing your writing time, make an adjustment.

Don’t wait until you’re published to start marketing yourself. If you’ve developed a good following you'll have potential customers in the friends you developed in the forums when you do publish. When joining a forum scan the sight and see what you can bring to the discussions, especially the current and popular topics. If you can, point them to other sights you’re on and share information. When you point someone to another site, do more the just give the address, try and provide at least a fifty word description. You can duplicate topics across forums but don’t copy posts. Make each post unique so search engines never see them as duplicate content.

Besides developing friends and a following, you also want to cross link between your sites and forum threads, so you build importance in the eye of the search engines. You also want to get as many social network referrals as you can. Where you can recommend articles or threads you find or create. The goal is to broaden the number of people you come in contact with on a regular basis, so the more things of interest you turn people on to, the more likely they’ll tell someone else and bring them in. If you’re lucky they’ll take an interest and become a regular.

You want to come across as a dedicated regular member. Select an avatar; fill in the profile info and social media links, if you have them. This doesn’t mean you have to open your life to people; you can participate without giving up your privacy. Often, a good avatar, a good signature and some basic information are all you really need. Just remember you’re trying to market yourself so you’ll want to include a few things people might think interesting. Most of what you need to do is develop a sense of the board and what people are interested in. You want people you can attract and who might be interested in your work. Documenting and sharing what you’ve learned in the process of becoming a writer, is a good way to attract people. Understanding why people are on a particular forum will help to guide your posting.

Search engines are looking at page rank. You want to maintain one or two good threads that you keep running as long as you can. This doesn’t mean you don’t have to participate in other threads. When you add good posts to other member’s threads, they’re much more likely to participate in yours. The more people posting in your thread the longer you can keep it open. If you maintain a presence with fresh content and can drop a link once in a while that’s pertinent to the subject, then you’ve got a forum that will pay dividends for the time you spend on it.

The one rule common to most forums is no spamming. This is where you join, just so you can post links to commercial sites selling things, usually as an affiliate. This will get you banned and often listed as spammer on sites that maintain such data bases. Another thing not to do is post work product in open areas of a website.

Getting the most from this forum.

There are three levels of access on this forum. To maximize your presence to search engines make sure the board you’re using for that purpose is open to guests. Any board not marked ‘members only’ or ‘hidden’ is open to guests and search engines. Keep this in mind when referring people to a thread within the forum. The areas not accessible to guests and search engines are generally used to post work product for critique.

A good board to highlight yourself and your work is the “Member Spotlights” board. Each member can maintain a running diary or monologue as to the status of their work or publications. You can also start threads on specific subjects in other areas.

You are free to link to any site in your profile website selection. You can link to non commercial sites in your signature. A link to a book at Amazon in your signature is okay as is any site selling or listing your direct literary work product. Linking to your work product, when relevant to the topic, or requested by a member is perfectly acceptable any where on the site. One of the main purposes behind this forum is to promote members and their work so we encourage you to do so.

The threads in this forum are setup to be search engine optimized. You can customize the keywords by filling in the ‘TAGS’ field under the title when starting a thread. The first 20 words of a thread will be used for the page description. This allows members to search engine optimize each of the threads. Each page also has social network referral buttons for the most popular social network sites. Referring to pages that reference one of your sites is always a good thing to do.

The goal is to gain followers of you and your work so the more things you find or create that interest other people, the more potential customers you have. 

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superpsycho

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Re: Maximizing Forums to Market Yourself
« Reply #1 on: 03/15-09:56 »

On some writing sites there maybe a thread dedicated to announcing your progress on a novel or project. These are useful marketing tools for a number of reasons.
1) They are usually posted in often which keeps the content fresh, which is one thing search engines look for.
2) If keeps your posts recent, along with any links you have in your signature and member profile.
3) If used properly it can build anticipation for your book release.

If you just say XXX number of words done, it's likely to just be of interest to a few fans who are waiting for the next book but if you add tip-bits of information, like; "Finally finished battle scene in chapter 24. Turned out better then expected." - My villain is getting out of hand. No one can be that evil" - "I hate this character, she's become such a slut."

By adding some of your thought processes, or noting aspects of what your working on, it can gain the interest of people and provide a few keywords search engines might pickup on. With a blog diary and a few forums, it can add up if you keep all the entries unique.
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CanadianCutie

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Re: Maximizing Forums to Market Yourself
« Reply #2 on: 03/17-10:32 »

On some writing sites there maybe a thread dedicated to announcing your progress on a novel or project. These are useful marketing tools for a number of reasons.
1) They are usually posted in often which keeps the content fresh, which is one thing search engines look for.
2) If keeps your posts recent, along with any links you have in your signature and member profile.
3) If used properly it can build anticipation for your book release.

If you just say XXX number of words done, it's likely to just be of interest to a few fans who are waiting for the next book but if you add tip-bits of information, like; "Finally finished battle scene in chapter 24. Turned out better then expected." - My villain is getting out of hand. No one can be that evil" - "I hate this character, she's become such a slut."

By adding some of your thought processes, or noting aspects of what your working on, it can gain the interest of people and provide a few keywords search engines might pickup on. With a blog diary and a few forums, it can add up if you keep all the entries unique.
Good points. But being a single mom with a couple little ones leaves little time for writing. I'd feel silly announcing progress of a few hundred words that I might end up rewriting tomorrow.
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superpsycho

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Re: Maximizing Forums to Market Yourself
« Reply #3 on: 03/18-22:49 »

Good points. But being a single mom with a couple little ones leaves little time for writing. I'd feel silly announcing progress of a few hundred words that I might end up rewriting tomorrow.
You do what you can do. Putting yourself in a stressful situation doesn't add to a creative mindset. When you get within two or three months of finishing, you might think about spreading the word about your project.

For authors who've got a book out it's worthwhile to let your readers know you're working on something. Of course, if it's more then seven or eight months between books, it can be  a bit difficult to maintain interest unless you've got a dedicated fan base.

And again if you can, get someone to do the social media stuff for you since your time is better spent writing.
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