How to quickly add some serious credibility to your business or your brand

How to quickly add some serious credibility to your business or your brand - www.alliepottwrites.comI love quotes. I love reading them. I love using them in my posts as a way to flavor my thoughts with another voice. The trouble is it sometimes takes me ages to find the perfect complement to whatever topic I happen to be writing on at the time.

Then there are the follow-up problems.

How to determine whether a quote is legitimate or not and who really said it? Take for instance the story about the valedictorian in Kentucky who attributed a quote in his commencement speech to one US president only to change its source moments later as a joke that wasn’t viewed as funny by some members of the crowd.

Stories like that prove that no matter how meaningful, empowering, or thought-provoking a quote’s message is, the quote’s mouthpiece also matters. So I try to be careful how I use them.

“With great power, comes great responsibility” – Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben (or was it?)

Up until now, my go-to source has been sites like www.brainyquotes.com and www.tinybuddha.com for when I am need of some additional zen. Both sites have nice keyword searching functions and I’ve created more than one post based entirely on a quote of the day, but there is no way of knowing for sure that the person cited is the first person (on record) to have ever said it. Hence the follow-up homework problem.

I have since found a new way to incorporate direct quotes straight from the source into the world of my other writing jobHARO. HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out (www.helpareporter.com) and it is a free tool for journalists (bloggers, podcasters, and authors too) that helps you find potential sources for upcoming articles.

The rules for journalists, bloggers, and podcasters are pretty stringent as they require your website or media outlet have an Alexa (yes, Amazon’s Alexa – because she’s EVERYWHERE) rating of 1 million or less. This score based on your site’s traffic. However, authors can use the tool to find sources for their books without a media outlet, but it can only be a request for less than 300 words and you must have an estimated publication date as well as a publisher (though I didn’t see anything that said it couldn’t be self) to be considered.

Sadly though, there is no “student” reporter program.

However, if you do meet their guidelines all you do is submit a query outlining your question, what you are looking for in a source, and when you need a response back. You need to be as specific as possible when describing your preferred expert to ensure you get the best sort of response for your platform or outlet. Once your query is approved by HARO, it is then sent out as part of several email blasts that go out throughout the day.

Help Wanted

image courtesy of http://www.flickr.com

But guess what, you don’t have to be a rockstar journalist or multimedia darling.  To use HARO to earn some extra cred for your book, business or brand, all you have to do is sign up as a source.

“And so it became that the quote lover became that which she loved: the quoted.” – so say I, from the book of me

The downside of signing up for the service as either a journalist or a source is the number of emails. There are so many emails. Three per day, and opting out is a frowned upon. But all those emails are filled with reporters just begging for potential interviewees, which are then broken out into various categories. HARO also offers paid plans to help filter by keyword if the emails start to get to you.

While you, as a source, can’t pitch your book, blog, or business outright, you can position yourself as an expert in your field based on how you answer the reporter’s questions. Then if your answer, or pitch, is accepted, you can get featured giving you access to a much larger media outlet, and access to your potential target audience without having to know a guy who knows a guy who knows a gal who used to babysit for the local section’s current editor.

Oh, and at a maximum of 300 words, it is a lot easier (and faster) to do than guest posting.

Though, seriously if you want to write a guest post sometime, that’s cool too.

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5 Basic Things You Learn After Starting To Write Full-Time

5 Basic Things You Learn After Starting to Write Full-Time - www.alliepottswrites.comI haven’t been in my new position as a full-time writer long, but I am already learning a number of things about the process, especially as to how it pertains to online media – like how bad I am at it on this site (in terms of monetization, rapid audience building, or anything else you can think of when you try to come up with ways to actually making a living off writing outside of selling books, which is a whole story for another day), even when the writing itself was good.

For one, I don’t use nearly enough H2 tags in my blog posts, or headers for those not as versed in HTML lingo. Apparently, readers like to see big bold text so they know which words I spent hours upon hours tirelessly crafting are okay for their eyes to totally skip over.

That being said:

Be bold

Readers bypassing lengthy intros will jump directly to the text immediately under the header, so feel free to repeat yourself. Chances are they didn’t read it the first time you alluded to something in the opening.

Explain the benefit in clear and simple terms

You might think you are offering your readers a great value in sharing your story. After all, you are giving the very generous gift of your writing time when you probably should be spending that time on the last book in your science fiction trilogy or … I don’t know … relaxing (I hear that’s a good thing) and asking only that they give you minutes of their time or a comment or two in return. As a result, you might think the benefit to the reader is clear but is it? Is it really?

Don’t forget about SEO

Google and all its AI helpers scurrying about in the background like long, long web pages (as in hundreds if not thousands of words), filled with short, short paragraphs (5 lines and under will do) prominently featuring your primary keyword. They can be difficult to please like that. There are all sorts of other rules to follow for true SEO, but I’m still learning those.

End with a call to action …

Want to connect? Leave your contact information. Want them to sign up for your newsletter mailing list which had never been sold to third parties, and never will be, but also now is forcing you to create this whole privacy policy thingy in order to be GDPR compliant instead of writing a longer post? Tell them. People like instructions. Except for anarchists. But then again, you should never expect to please everyone.

Seriously – comment – sign up – or connect. I love to hear from you.

… but also leave them a reason to come back for more

Until next time.

 

Time flies when you are having fun – an end of quarter review

It is hard to believe that Spring is here, especially when there are parts of the US still getting dustings of snow. It seems as if I was just ringing in the new year and setting goals for what I wanted to accomplish over the course of the next several months.

This week, in the spirit of looking back, while continuing to plan forward, I decided to revisit a few posts from the first quarter.


Original: “You have to stay in shape. My grandmother, she started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven today and we don’t know where she is.” – Ellen …

Source: The great grain-free reboot: a thirty-one-day challenge

Update: Well folks, I am happy to say that not only was I successful in achieving this goal, I managed to figure out the recipe for making grain-free taco shells that actually hold together. I would have included a picture, but they seem to disappear off my plate before I can get the camera out.

In fact, I have found limiting my grain intake to be so easy, especially with ready-made alternatives like Against the Grain frozen pizza, I’ve decided to keep the challenge going.

In case you are curious about the zucchini shells/wraps – all you need is:

  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheese

That’s it.

Set the oven to 350F. Grate the zucchini and squeeze the results a couple of times to drain excess water, then shape and flatten on a stick proof baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Let cool for a couple of minutes and enjoy. Creates 2-4 soft tortilla substitutes.


Original: This is the launch week for a young adult science fiction book called Joan the Made written by Kristen Pham. While I always enjoy celebrating my fellow indie author’s bookbirthdays, this one …

Source: How to support an indie author for free – a first experience with the Kindle Scout Program

Update: This post had not yet lived in the blogosphere for a week when I received a note from the people at the Kindle Scout Program informing me that they were no longer taking any new submissions from authors and that I had until May 31st to claim any free books gained through the nomination process. No reason for this announcement was given. I will continue to look for other ways to support indie authors and encourage you to leave reviews as much as possible. It makes a huge difference.


Original: May include spoilers. My office door opens and a woman with curly brown hair peeks in. “Um, are you ready for me?” she asks with a smile. Not waiting for a reply, she crosses the thresh…

Source: One super serious, yet totally fictitious performance review – featuring Uncertain Faith’s Charlotte Row

Update: Unfortunately, Charlotte’s story is not quite ready for publication and I am now in the process of rewrites based on feedback received from early readers. While I still am optimistic I’ll be able to publish this book this year, it most likely won’t be until late summer / early Fall. This also has delayed some of my other book projects such as the third and final installment of my Project Gene Assist series, which is also currently in progress.

I would encourage those who are interested in being part of the next round of early reads (I DO appreciate feedback) or simply want to be the first to know when these books are launching to sign up for my mailing list.


Most Liked/Viewed Post – What happens when your New Years Resolution calls your bluff (hint – the universe laughs)

 

 

Pardon the interruption but check out these blogs

biohazard

image courtesy of pixabay.com

In addition to this blog, I have a number of other jobs. I’m a manager, novelist, and a designer. I’m a daughter, sister, and a wife as well as friend, aunt and dog owner, but I’m also a mom which means that at any given time I’m a volunteer janitor, baker/short-order cook, event planner, mediator, cheerleader, chauffeur, counselor, and occasional nurse/doctor.

Unfortunately, that last role has decided to disrupt my regular schedule by taking priority over all others.

I’m writing this update in between medical rounds, reassuring my patient that he’ll feel better soon, and disinfecting everything that he has remotely come in contact with (up to and including our dog). In the meantime, I would invite you to take the time you normally might have spent here by reading some other posts I’ve recently enjoyed:

Over at I came for the soup, there is an inspirational piece for the spiritually inclined entitled “The Art of Being Happy: The Expression of Faith in Creativity” which examines the happy creativity of children.

The Pain Pals Blog shared a list of things they don’t tell you about in the what to expect when you are expecting books in a post entitled “Things I’ve Learnt Since Being a Mum” in honor of Mother’s Day on the other side of the pond. Many of these things I had to learn the hard way too.

Susie Lindau’s Wild Ride invited readers to face the possibility of fear and abject humiliation in a piece entitled “10 Reasons Why a Challenge is Worth the Whiplash.” You don’t have to be a skier or a snowboarder either to appreciate the message.

Nicholas C. Rossis provided an infograph of “7 of the Most Successful Rejects,” proving that there may be still hope for us all, courtesy of guest writer Roxanne Bracknell.

Tara Sparling amused me with another installment of what literary characters might be in real life with her mash-up of “Why A Crime Novel Cop Should Never Live With A Chick-Lit Heroine.” This entire series cracks me up so you might want to read more than one or two.

Or feel free to go over to Journey To Ambeth and nominate another blog of your choice for the annual bloggers bash blogging awards, the official ceremony will be here soon.

 

 

Over There – An American’s experience at the London Blogger’s Bash

OVER THERE - An American's experience at the #BloggersBash - www.alliepottswrites.com

Earlier this year, my hubby surprised me with tickets to attend the Annual Bloggers Bash in London. For those of you not familiar with the event, it’s an international get together and conference for writers of all interests, sizes, and platforms wishing to network as well as learn about how to take their writing and/or blogging to the next level. I’d seen the videos from prior events. I’d read the testimonials about connections made and the impact the event had made on others’ lives. I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to get to go. I felt like Cinderella finding out she would be able to attend the ball. I was so excited – nervous about traveling to another country all on my own – but excited all the same.

Then . . .

Well, then there was an event in Westminster and the news broke with stories about women and children exiting a pop concert being targeted in Manchester followed by others about shoppers and pub-goers on London Bridge, and my nervousness took on a slightly different flavor. I wasn’t the only one to wonder what might happen next. I saw a message from another attendee suggesting the event might not still go on in light of recent events.

The response from one of the event’s organizers was simple – as long as London is open, the Bash will go on. I should have expected nothing less from the land of “Keep Calm and Carry On”. And so, on I would go as well, coincidentally packing my bag while a bit celebrating the 100th anniversary of the song, ‘Over There’  played on the radio. Yes, I thought as the music played, the Yanks were coming. I would show my grit, do my bit – over there.

I might say a prayer, but I was prepared for over there. While the idea of traveling solo still made me nervous, it wasn’t my first visit to the British Isles. I’d taken a bus tour with my husband a few years before. It was a trip that started in London, took us up through Scotland, across to Northern Ireland, down to Dublin, and across the water once again to Wales, where we visited Cardiff Castle.

WWII poster in Cardiff

I found this cautionary sign rather amusing at the time. Where’s the trust?

Tunnels beneath the castle grounds had been converted into a museum dedicated to the Welsh soldier and featured exhibits from over three hundred years of conflicts. As we walked into an area detailing World War II, speakers hidden in the walls played radio broadcasts of the times broken up with the sounds of air sirens and bombs falling. As I looked at posters and read placards I could only imagine what it must have been like to live through times like those while being told to keep calm and carry on while chaos and fear played so loudly in the background.

And yet carry on they did, with a stiff upper lip, going on to produce many of the smiling faces and open arms which eventually greeted this relative stranger from across the ocean without fear or hesitation. As I was welcomed out to meals and into homes as if we’d known each other for years, I reflected on just how appropriate the conference’s theme word of the year – connection – really was. I might have met them first as allies, as it were, in the field of writing, but we departed as friends. (You can ‘meet’ many of them or learn more about the event itself here courtesy of Hugh’s Views and News.)

While we got to better know each other over books, blogs, cocktails and chocolate cake, I found it interesting to hear the most recent attacks referred by the locals as “that business on the bridge,” when our American headlines read terrifying things like ‘Britons Reeling’ and ‘London on Lockdown.’ Neither US headline was true as evidenced by the thousands of people who filled the London streets as I walked around town or by the banners proclaiming “London is Open” as part of a campaign following the EU referendum (also known as the Brexit vote). This is not to say the people I met weren’t concerned about safety nor viewed the loss of life as any less tragic, they just weren’t beaten by the news or willing to hide away in their homes.

The contrast in our headlines was also a reminder about the power our words can bestow or take away from events as well as people. Which is why it is all the more important we use our words wisely and never, never give in to fear.

While I may not be able to attend the Bash every year, I hope my reasons in the future will be limited to economic or scheduling ones rather than the alternative. We live in a world made smaller thanks to constant connection which is good and bad. It may at times feel less safe, but that is because news travels faster now. The fact of the matter is there have always been those who wish to strike fear into the hearts of others, which is all the more reason to go out there – explore, connect, to expand your worldview and find strength in numbers. To keep calm and carry on. For while it may be difficult to overcome fear, it is harder still to live a lifetime of regret.


While I loved meeting so many, I’d like to extend my thanks to Sacha, Geoff, Ali, and Hugh in particular for their incredible generosity as well as their hospitality. Truly, while I may have suggested in this post that it was my duty to attend the Bash, know it was my pleasure and privilege to do so as well.

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