Not a Weekend Project: How to Build an Author Platform, Part 2
Recently, author, teacher, and psychologist Terri Lyon wrote a blog for Strike The Write Tone on her experiences creating an author platform for her book What's On Your Sign? How to focus your passion and change the world. Part 1 is here. As promised, Part 2 discusses her evaluation of the effectiveness of her efforts to create an audience and generate sales.
OK, I'm a numbers gal, so this part of building a platform was kind of fun for me. Seriously. But I love to help with numbers, too, so let me tell you what I did. You can copy it if you want.
Choose what you want to measure that will tell you whether your platform is growing. Here is what I chose and where I get the information:
Average website visitors per day (Google Analytics)
Website bounce rate (Google Analytics)
Referrals to my website (Google Analytics)
Page Speed (WordPress plugin)
Number of people on my mailing list (MailChimp)
Facebook friends (available from your Facebook profile)
Facebook engagement (Facebook Insights tool)
Twitter followers (Twitter profile)
Twitter impressions (Twitter analytics)
LinkedIn connections (LinkedIn Profile)
Number of public appearances per month (interviews, talks, workshops, etc.)
I teach basic statistics to graduate students, and Google Analytics overwhelms me. My tip: just use the basic dashboard information. You may get sophisticated enough to ask more detailed questions such as "why am I getting fewer clicks from South Americans reading with a screen resolution of 414 x 280?" Trust me, you can get that information, too.
Good grief, how much time is this going to take?
Spend 1 Hour on Social Media
I spend about an hour each morning on social media and networking. My social media include Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and LinkedIn. I follow people, answer questions, respond to comments, share articles, and praise excellent posts.
Keeping up with people I already know or want to meet is important, too, so I work on this every morning.
Finally, I check my websites to make sure they are working well. My blog is at Life at the Intersection and my book site is What's On Your Sign? Anyone who has a website knows that little things can send you down a rabbit hole of CSS, HTML, plug-ins, and metrics. This is just "Oh good, it is running and nothing is broken. People are still visiting. Yay!"
Spend 1 Hour Blogging
I spend an hour each day researching and writing blog posts. Since I know my schedule ahead of time, I save articles in a bookmark folder for that month's posts (this is a way not to lose those essential links when you have 4534 tabs open.)
Use Buffer to post automatically to all your social media platforms. Buffer has a free version, but I sprang (must contact my editor to see if sprang is a word) for the ability to schedule posts in the far future. [Editor’s note: Sprang is, in fact, the past tense of spring. Who knew?]
My blog posts automatically feed to my Amazon and Goodreads Author Pages. I post my blog as an article on LinkedIn.
Spend 2 Hours on Projects
In the afternoon, I focus for a few hours on something off this list. Some tasks need to be done. Otherwise, I just decide on based on my mood at that moment.
Website tweaking. This is where you go down those rabbit holes, solve a problem, then forget to write down how you did it. A year later you have to do the same thing. Sigh.
Financial stuff (once a month).
Analytics metrics update (once a month).
See, it's not that hard.
I'm at month 16 of my author platform. My evaluation shows excellent success in building some portions of my platform. It also shows some areas that need more attention.
It's been 7 months since I published. The evidence suggests that if I keep up my efforts, I will see more significant results 20 months from now.
But, darn it, I wish I'd started sooner. Perhaps it's not too late for you.
· A Definition of an Author Platform by Jane Friedman
· Google Alerts. Use this tool to set alerts on content you wish to follow.
· Feedly is a content manager for blogs and RSS feeds.
· Buffer. Manage your social media posts in one place.
Terri Lyon is the author of “What’s on Your Sign? How to focus your passion and change the world” and The What’s On Your Sign? Workbook.” Available where books are sold.
Teacher, Psychologist, Activist, Animal Lover.