Tuesday, 22 January 2013

KOP: Understanding How It All Works.

So, last week I introduced my new series with an Overview of How To Build A Killer Online Platform (known as KOP from now on.) I outlined 22 steps to make yourself super famous online and because of that have agents and publishers lining up around the corner, or failing that allowing you to self-publish to your millions of adoring fans. 

And then I left you hanging for a week while I finished my draft and tried to work on my own online platform. Sorry about that.

But now I'm back, and ready to give you the first piece of the puzzle.

Now, the first step on the list was actually 'Identify Your Niche Area', and so last night I dutifully started writing a post, that turned into about three posts. Not quite sure why it wasn't working, I took a break and thought about it today. Just after dinner, I realisd my problem. Before jumping straight into building the KOP, I really need to start with the basics and show you all the different elements that are going to make up your KOP, and how they all work together. 

Now, I'm sending out a big thanks to Pat Flynn over at the Smart Passive Income for explaining the process so well in his series on his 'Niche Site Duel'. 

Basically a friend challenged Pat to a duel to find a brand new area that he knew little about, start a website in that field and make it to number 1 in Google for a particular keyword. Both of them blogged about the challenge as they went.

Instead of just building one website and trying to write lots and lots of posts for it, Pat developed two separate levels of sites all linking and directing traffic from a wide range of areas towards his central website. 

Basically, that's what you want to do for your platform. You want to have lots of different landing points to catch traffic and guide them through to your central page which is all about you.

I hope Pat doesn't mind (and in repayment, go check him out, he has awesome free content, and a great free e-book on how to create your own ebook), but I'm going to let him describe the strategy in his own words, and then I'll discuss how it applies to writing (and some of the necessary changes). 

The clip goes for 11 minutes, but is totally worth it:

Remember that his major aim is to get his Niche Site to No. 1 in Google, and therefore he is only interested in 'back links' (links in other pages that point to your website and therefore give it more authority and love from Google). We are interested in back links, but also flow through traffic, and therefore care a lot more what is presented in all these other layers because it is going to be YOU presented on these blogs, and in the article directories, etc.

So, how does it work for writing? Well, Pat's Method looks like this:

Pat Flynn's Backlinking Strategy

So, your niche site: this is your branded page where you are selling YOU. This is not a blog about what you did today, it is a professional webpage that is basically an interactive resume and pitch for your work. It is the way people can hire you for speaking engagements, contact you for publishing deals, or buy your books that are already published. This is the core of your platform, everything should point and direct people here.

In the anchor level Pat talks about four aspects:

1. article directories such as ezine.com, where you can post articles with a link that basically says "like this and want to know more about my writing, then check me out at.... (core webpage)". These are direct links to your core page and should get traffic already interested in your work to come through (Targeted Traffic).

2. your blog. I highly recommend separating out your blog and your core webpage because it will widen the net you throw. Also, as I'm going to discuss in a later topic, your blog really needs to be keyword relevant in a specific area and be focused not on promoting your work, but helping people and giving them information that is of such high value they can't wait to go to your website and buy your other books, get you as a speaker. 

You might end up having a number of blogs, for example one on how to be a great romance writer, another on simple details to make historical fiction more realistic, and another on how to keep the romance alive in your everyday life. A reader from any of these blogs could then be interested in going to your core site and buying your steamy, accurate and well written historical romances.

3. Web 2.0: he mentions HubPages, which I've talked about before (and found out about through this video) and Squidoo which is similar. These allow you to build a mini platform within their platform. They do all the traffic getting and point it towards you, you just have to publish top articles which will rank higher in Google because of the authority of the site. You get to set up a profile, collect followers, and in your 'about' page you can list your core site so people who like your HubPages articles will follow through. But you aren't allowed to directly push people from your article to your site as you can with article submissions. (You can also earn money just off these, which is nifty for the starving writer).

4. He mentions BlogBlueprint which in an update he mentions has changed and he doesn't recommend, so we'll not be looking at it.

So we are first going to be focusing on: building your core, setting up your blog/s, direct article submissions and Web 2.0 profiles.

After that his second layer is where you use mass-article submissions to drive traffic and back links to your anchor level (such as your blogs, or HubPages). Using Unique Article Wizard (the software that I started using after Pat recommended it, note that this is an affiliate link) it is possible to get hundreds of backlinks per article that you write. 

The software is actually reasonably expensive, it's about $67 per month on-going subscription. However, I have bought it and am trialing it, and even though I've only sent out about 5 articles, I can already see increased traffic directly from some of these to my fitness blog. If you are organised enough to publish an article every few days, then with the program you would see increased traffic.

Now, it is possible to do this all by hand, but it means re-writing your article just a bit each time, signing up for the article directories, and individually submitting. Doing some is definitely better than doing none, but you won't get the hundreds of back-links you can with the program, which sends out your article to 25 article directories a day, continuously, until it has sent it out to all the directories related to your keywords. My articles have all been sent to around 130 directories each, though not all of these will accept the article. However, even if only half are picked up, for one article, that's 50 new back links pointing to your anchor layer. And with the article directories, people are allowed to copy your articles onto their own blogs, as long as they keep your resource box (which is where your link is) so it can spread out even further. Most of my traffic has come from just one or two websites that have published my article (under my name, cool, huh) as an expert on that topic!

So, if you have money to invest in building your platform, and you can be strict with yourself and actually get articles out there, then I highly recommend Unique Article Wizard. Out of all the bits of software that I've bought and used, it and another one I'll talk about soon, Market Samurai, have actually shown almost instant results when used. 

When I do the post on creating backlinks, I'll show you more about how to use it, though they have pretty good tutorials on the actual site, if you can't wait that long. But I recommend having a few articles written and ready to go, so you make the most of every month. 

In this outer layer we also have all our social media, and important aspects like your Twitter account, Facebook Fan Page, YouTube account (why not?) etc. 

Then all you have to do is find the keywords your audience is looking for, get articles out which feature your keyword, send people to your blog or HubPages, and then on through to your core site, liking and sharing as they go along, so that you soon have thousands of followers on your core webpage's email subscription. Next time a new book comes out, you send out a simple email to all these followers saying you are having a launch party, and bam, you're done. 

How hard can that be? 
(There is laughter there, as this is going to take months, and along with writing your novel you need to be writing posts for the blogs, articles for HubPages (which can't be duplicates), turning your blog posts into articles for E-zine etc and then creating the variations on articles for automatic article submissions every few days. But hey, it all adds towards your 10,000 hours of writing practice to become an expert!)

So, sorry if that was either too basic and you know all that stuff already, or a bit too full on. Let me know if you want more details, or want me to explain anything better.

Next week I'll start looking at setting up your core webpage. 

(and remember, the Goal Journal competition is still open! Just comment on the Giveaway Post why you want it.)

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