My Top Three Tips for Online Marketing that’s Not Obnoxious

Marketing is communicating what's available; the place may have changed, but the purpose is the same.Many writers and entrepreneurs feel awkward about marketing. But what if you have something good to offer? How will people find it if you don’t let them know about it?  If you think of marketing as communication– sharing something special with people who will enjoy it, it becomes much easier.

However, it’s important to understand the difference between marketing a book, product, or service, and blatant self-promotion. Anything you write or do for marketing should always focus on the ways your product or service can bring delight, assistance, encouragement, or other benefits to readers or potential customers. Marketing that is courteous and respectful of others and their needs will be much more successful than promotions that are “all about me.”

Here are my top three tips for online marketing:

1- Spend more time creating a blog than you do on social networks.

When you blog regularly (weekly, at least), you are creating a growing body of content that markets for you daily. Anything you create on social media is “one touch and done,” meaning that it lasts about a day, then is lost in the stream. Social media is good for sharing short quotes and tips to drive traffic to each new blog post (very rarely is “go buy my book/widget” an effective marketing strategy;-)). provides simple, professional sites for writers, editors, and freelancers if you don’t already have a blog or website.

2- Instead of thinking “marketing” when you reach out online, think “networking.”

It makes all the difference in marketing if you connect meaningfully with others in your genre and make relevant comments on their blog posts, rather than just stopping by to promote your own work. I know that most entrepreneurs understand this when networking in person, but it’s worth mentioning for online interactions as it’s easy to get so focused on your own goals that you overlook basic courtesy, and that never pays in the long run. Think of what others are trying to accomplish and try to be helpful. Remember the golden rule!

3- Be strategically generous with your book or product.

Offer free copies of your book, product, or catalog (for more expensive items) to influential bloggers in your field for review, to local non-profits or conference planners for door prizes or silent auctions, or as prizes in a contest you create from your blog.

I’m always surprised when I meet an author or entrepreneur who is anxious for success and will pay for advertising or for marketing help, but can’t see the much greater value in getting organic public relations from these tactics. Most of the time, the cost of a book or product is much less than the cost of an ad or other marketing help (and you can send a catalog or small sample if what you offer is extremely expensive), and a review or mention in a magazine or non-profit’s newsletter or website has a lot more value than something you pay for. I’m not sure why this seems to be such a difficult hurdle for many.

I’ve been online for several years, and while the online landscape continues to evolve, these three common sense strategies have remained effective. I hope you find them helpful!

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