Despite not being a fan of clickbait, I’ll happily admit my hypocrisy given that this post has the clickbaitiest title in history – so before you break out your pitchforks, I’ll do you a deal: here’s a quick TL;DR summary so you can determine if you wanna read on or be on your merry way…
TL;DR: If you’re doing a content audit on a site that’s had guest content published on it, and you decide to remove some of that content, let the original author know if they want to re-publish it on their own site (along with a link to the ‘original’ source).
A few years ago, I wrote a guest post for Point Blank SEO, a site/blog run by veteran link builder Jon Cooper (@joncooperseo). The post was titled “Communitybait – Taking Egobait One Step Further” in which I coined the term communitybait and shared examples of what that was. The post is no longer live (I’ll get to that), but thanks to the Wayback Machine, it can still be read here: https://web.archive.org/web/20161005194750/http://pointblankseo.com/communitybait
Sometime between then and now, Jon must’ve sold the site/domain to Brian Dean (@backlinko), who’s also a veteran link builder. So I was surprised to see Brian miss a link building-oriented trick…
I’ve faced a few challenges when promoting the book post-launch. Firstly, despite being an online marketer in my day job, I’ve never promoted a book before, so it’s a brand new territory for me. I also self-published it, so I don’t have a fancy-pants publishing company to back me up and do the marketing for me.
The biggest challenge however? Well, it’s… a book about not selling. Or at least not hard-selling. So I’ve tried to be really careful about how I go about promoting it. After all, it’s going to go against the ethos and core message of the book if I ‘over’-sell it and end up ramming it down people’s throats (so to speak).
A few months on, here’s what I’ve done to try and promote it.
First: the numbers
Ok, so first of all: am I even qualified to give this advice? Like I say, I’ve never promoted a book before, so why should you even listen to me and read what I say? Well, I’ll be open with you with its performance to date…
So far I’ve sold a few hundred copies – bearing in mind that’s across all formats: paperback (which can be bought via Amazon or bought from me in person), Kindle eBook, PDF eBook and self-narrated audiobook. But it doesn’t include the free copies I’ve given away, especially in PDF format (more on that below).
A few hundred copies feels like a lot and barely any – all at the same time. I’m amazed that a few hundred people actually want to read something I’ve written (and have paid actual money to do so!), and yet it might be a laughably pitiful amount compared to other more well-known authors. I’m happy with it though – I told myself going into this that I didn’t know if I’d sell 50 or 50,000 copies, and while I’m light years away from the latter, I’ve jumped way past the former. So there’s that at least. I haven’t yet broken-even on my initial costs, but I’m getting there…
It’s also starting to feel like everyone I know who said they’d buy a copy has now bought a copy. While sales haven’t exactly slowed down just yet (August 2019 – five months after the book’s release – has been the 2nd best month to date), it does feel like it’s more (and harder) work to try and shift copies now.
How I’ve been promoting the book so far
So here’s what I’ve done so far to try and promote Anti-Sell – some of which might be quite obvious and traditional, while some tactics might be a bit alternative and out-of-the-ordinary.
Let’s start with one straight from the latter category…
At the end of Anti-Sell, there’s a ‘Further Reading’ section, recommending a bunch of books that the reader can check out beyond mine. And even though it might seem like a really lazy rather ingenious copy/paste job from the book (😉), I thought it made a lot of sense to share it on here, too.
Throughout the book I’ve mentioned numerous books and resources that can help you on your Anti-Selling journey. Here’s a list, with a bit more info about each of them, plus a few more for good measure.
A quick note: None of these authors paid me a fee to be included, nor do I get a commission if you buy any of them. I recommend these books 100% wholeheartedly – because I actually really like them.*
ReWork by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
ReWork is probably my favourite business self-help book of all time, and a big influence on Anti-Sell. Why? Because ReWork is also quite rebellious in nature: it goes against the grain of traditional business advice but makes excellent recommendations in spite of that. It was recommended to me by a client (thank you Scott of TestLodge!) and on the first listen (I bought the audiobook), I fell in love with it. While listening to it in the car, I used to scream “YES!!!” after sentences I agreed with – which happened a lot. And probably sounded weird if I had my car window open. But there we go.
Some of its takeaways include:
Other people’s failures are other people’s failures, not yours. So when people talk about the survival rate of freelancers, small businesses and startups, just remember: if other people fail, that doesn’t mean you will too.
Plans should be called “guesses.” I remember freaking out when I had to put together a business ‘plan’ for some funding that I was seeking in the early days of freelancing (if I remember correctly, it was funding to cover my first year’s membership at my coworking space). How do I know how my business is going to do next year or the year after that? And that’s precisely the point. Call them guesses. To quote the book: “Start referring to your business plans as business guesses, your financial plans as financial guesses, and your strategic plans as strategic guesses. Now you can stop worrying about them as much.”
Everything you do is marketing. This ties in very closely to the message of the book you are currently reading. Marketing isn’t defined by adverts and promotional materials – it’s literally everything you do. Every. Single. Thing. You. Do. Every email you send is marketing. Every invoice you send is marketing. Just because you’ve won a client, it doesn’t mean that the marketing stops there for them. Every action you take can leave an impression on someone – good or bad.
I could go on and on, but I’ll stop there (not-in-the-book note: I actually wrote about my biggest takeaways from ReWork – including the above points plus more – on this very blog a few years ago: here’s the link). If Anti-Sell has resonated with you, and you haven’t yet read ReWork, pick up a copy. I’m sure it will resonate with you as well.
While writing this book, Fried and DHH released a new book: It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work, which – as you can probably guess from its title – addresses the sensitive subject of work-life balance. It’s worth checking out as well.
The Pumpkin Plan is a special book to me. Whether you’re just starting out, or you’ve been running a small business for a while and you’ve hit a rut, there are some great tips in it. As mentioned in earlier chapters of the book, it has advice on:
How to go niche when it comes to targeting clients.
Tactics for cutting bad-fit clients in a way that won’t cause any animosity, fallout or professional embarrassment.
Mike also has another good book called Profit First, where he recommends paying yourself first before paying bills, whereas typically we do the opposite (we pay our bills and then keep what’s left over as profit, however big or small that amount may be), so it’s worth checking out what he has to say on that as well.
My talk was in conjunction with my new book, Anti-Sell – essentially a condensed talk version of the book, giving sales and networking tips to freelancers and small business owners who struggle with (or simply downright hate) sales.
Shout out to @steviephil for a fantastic talk yesterday covering the perils of self-promotion. Some great advice for those with sales phobia – like myself… Eeek. Did I mention that he's written a book? 😉 pic.twitter.com/xHyNbIPjyv
Intro from Steve: I don’t often publish guest posts on SEOno, and in fact I’ve only ever published two (way back in 2013), but my buddy Gus approached me about using this post as a guest post and – given that it’s related to his recent Cardiff SEO Meet talk – I thought it made a lot of sense. Over to you, Gus…
If you work in one specific digital marketing area such as SEO, PPC, content, social or even in related jobs such as designer or brand manager, chances are that you had a conflict with someone from other departments. Each department tends to have such specific views on how things should look and what’s best for the business and clients that it’s hard to not be protective sometimes.
Taking a step away from your role, we know everyone contributes to a good digital marketing strategy. SEO brings traffic at no cost, PPC allows you to convert quickly, brand managers protect and improve how people perceive your brand, a designer makes a website you can navigate well and trust… You get the picture.
Here at Wolfgang Digital, we’re big on integration – in fact, it’s one of our company pillars. As per my talk during Cardiff SEO Meet in March, here are a few ways to integrate SEO and PPC, whereby instead of viewing them as two separate department, you can learn from each other to ultimately improve your KPIs.
How much would your SEO traffic cost… if you had to pay for it
SEO is a difficult channel to prove ROI. A lot of our work gives a return in the long run, so clients tend to be more sceptical investing, only to have to wait several months before you can demonstrate results.
Once you start getting results, you can show how much traffic and conversions have improved – but it’s also possible to show how much money you saved in the process. How so? Just calculate how much they’d have to pay for this traffic with PPC.