Tracy C. Gold


LinkedIn for Writers & Illustrators: 4 Tips

My LinkedIn ProfileFacebook and Twitter get most of the attention as the social networks of choice for writers and illustrators—and they’re great tools! But poor little LinkedIn, sitting quietly in the corner, can also be extremely useful. So, when my local chapter of SCBWI announced that they were doing a blog linkup on the topic of social media, I thought I would chime in on behalf of LinkedIn.

Here are a few ways that I’ve used LinkedIn in my career as a writer. I’ve written many posts and taught whole classes on using LinkedIn, so this is just scraping the surface—but hopefully it will be good motivation for getting started!

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Seeking Marketer and Writer for Paid Internship

Welp, when I last posted on this blog, I said I’d be writing here more often. Now’s when you can slap my virtual wrist, because it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted.

Luckily, there’s a great reason for the crickets: I’ve been super busy with new clients (ok, and sailing around the British Virgin Islands and hiking up Mt. Adams).

I’m writing now because I’d love to find a bright, independent intern to learn the new media marketing ropes and help me do more in a day. Please spread this post along to anyone you know who would be interested in the below job description.

The overview:

If you work with me, you’ll be helping to grow businesses and organizations with awesome social media and content marketing. Disclaimer: this will not be a traditional internship. The hours I can give you will vary week to week, and you can work from anywhere (I’m writing this from Seattle, but home base for me is Baltimore). While this kind of internship probably won’t count for course credit, I will pay you, you’ll have lots of freedom and independence, and you’ll learn a ton.

What you’ll be doing:

  • Performing research, lots of which will feel like cheating because it has to be done on Facebook and Twitter
  • Executing SEO tactics
  • Helping to keep track of client social media presences
  • Drafting content for social media and blogs (heads up, I’m a tough editor)
  • Coming up with bright ideas that I never could have thought of on my own
  • Catching typos
  • Loading and publishing blog posts and web content
  • Finding snarky images for blog posts
  • Assisting with email marketing campaigns
  • Diving into web analytics to help keep track of client progress

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How to Use LinkedIn Powerfully: 10 Tips to Know

This post originally appeared on Marketing Trenches.

LinkedIn is a powerful tool for making business connections—but it is just that, a tool. Even the most active users miss on some simple ways to optimize the way they use LinkedIn.  This was true for me—I recently attended a seminar on LinkedIn by Colleen McKenna, and learned a few ways to kick my LinkedIn presence up a notch.

Now, I’m not going to give away Colleen’s secret sauce (you’ll have to head to one of her seminars for that) but below are a few tips from both my experience and Colleen’s talk on how to make the most of your LinkedIn presence.

1. Think about your goals. Why are you on LinkedIn? To find new employees, partners, and contractors? To be found? A mix? Your goals should drive your entire presence.

2. Post a picture. Please. Of your face. You should have a professional looking headshot as your LinkedIn photo so people can put a name to a face.  If you’re uncomfortable with recruiters or prospective clients seeing your picture next to your professional credentials (a valid concern), you can change your privacy settings so only your connections can see your photo.

3. Use LinkedIn to remember names. LinkedIn can help you with offline networking too—simply checking out someone’s profile after meeting them at a networking event, even if you don’t connect, can help you remember their name and what they do. This is another reason why having a picture is important—it will help people remember you.

4. Make the most of your headline. Colleen really stressed this one—your headline does not have to be your job title alone. Job seekers, use “Talented [Your Profession] Seeking New Opportunity” not “Unemployed.” Students, use “Aspiring [Your Profession] Seeking Internship,” not “Student at [Your University].” Keep it concise, but make sure it communicates what you do and what your skills are. Here’s mine:

My LinkedIn headline.

5. Post statuses. Updating your status gives you visibility on your connections’ LinkedIn home page. If you have found something online your business connections would like, or have good news to share about your work, spread the word by posting it on LinkedIn.

6. Write a rich but concise summary. Your summary should be about you, not your company—don’t just copy and paste the “about” page of your employer’s website. Your profile should be about what you do at your company, not what the company does as a whole. Tip: use concrete details like results you have generated and tasks you do on a daily basis to show people how awesome you are, not tell them.

7. Explore LinkedIn applications. Colleen encouraged us all to add Amazon’s Reading List application to our LinkedIn profiles. I was skeptical—I wasn’t sure how the fiction I love would be relevant to my professional connections. However, Colleen got more comments on this list, she said, than anything else in her profile. Sure enough, a few hours after I added Reading List to my profile, in came a message from a connection. She had written her senior thesis on Steinbeck and wanted to know what I thought of East of Eden. If you’re not a big book person, you can still enrich your profile with apps like Slideshare for presentations, WordPress for blog posts, and any number of others (the directory is here).

8. Add sections to your profile. LinkedIn offers several sections beyond the standards so users can showcase volunteer experience, projects, foreign languages, even test scores. This is especially helpful for young networkers who may not have extensive work experience, but adding more sections can add weight to any profile.

9. Connect with care. Your LinkedIn network is only as valuable as the strength of your connections.  For some professionals—like recruiters or salespeople—it is advantageous to connect generously, but personally, I favor being a tad picky. I’d like to think I could recommend—or at least answer questions about—anyone I am connected to on LinkedIn. If you  want to connect with someone and think it might be a stretch, be sure to personalize the message you send with the invite to explain why you want to connect—and why this person should want to connect with you.

10. Join and participate in groups. Some groups are full of spam, but others are generally valuable. For example, in the marketing industry, the Marketing Director Support Group is a great place to get and give advice. Do a little research, think back to your goals, and you’ll likely find a group that will help you reach them. If you can’t find a group, just start one!

Did you find anything new in this LinkedIn advice? Have anything to add? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

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What Marketers Should Know About Pinterest

This post originally appeared on Marketing Trenches

Pinterest delights DIYers, bakers, wedding planners, and anyone who likes looking at cute puppies. This year’s social media darling, Pinterest has become one of the top traffic referral sources for retail and magazine sites. For websites in general, in January 2012, Pinterest drove more traffic than Google Plus, LinkedIn, and YouTube combined.

Holy cow.

Marketers, have no doubt: consumers love Pinterest.

But what the heck is Pinterest, and what should your brand do about it?

Have no fear—this post is here to help!

What is Pinterest?

Have you ever had a bulletin board in your bedroom or above your desk, with little reminders, ideas for later, and pictures of your cat? Or think of the bulletin board full of posters and notices at the gym or the local coffee shop.

Now take that bulletin board, imagine it online, and you’ve got Pinterest.

Basically, Pinterest is a socially connected public bulletin board.  Users create “boards” based around a theme or topic, and then grab images from around the web and “pin” them to that board. Of course, Pinterest is connected to Facebook and Twitter, so users can share their pins with all of their friends.

You don’t need to sign up to browse Pinterest, so it’s easy to take a peek to familiarize yourself. For an example of a very cool personal Pinterest presence, check out Steve McGauhey (who is male, unlike about 70% of Pinterest users on this female dominated platform), and for a brand presence, check out Whole Foods’ profile.

How do I know if my brand should be on Pinterest?

While Pinterest is already a big deal for some brands, it’s new, might be a passing trend, and might not have the right audience for your brand. Before you spend too much time investigating Pinterest, make sure it could be right for your business.

One note: whether or not you decide to get involved, Pinterest’s popularity should spur your brand to use more images. Even if you’re not on Pinterest, adding an image can double your page views.

To figure out whether or not Pinterest is worth your marketing resources, ask yourself the below questions. If you can answer “yes” to most of these questions, dig deeper into Pinterest.

  1. Has anything from your website already been pinned? Enter in http://pinterest.com/source/yoururlhere/ to see if Pinterest users have already pinned anything from your website. (Thanks Social Media Examiner for the heads up on this one).
  2. Does your brand create a lot of photography or images? Pinterest is all about images—and if coming up with images is like pulling teeth for you, Pinterest will be like a root canal and cavity filling all in one. On the other hand, if your brand is all about images, you probably don’t even need to read the next two questions—Pinterest is for you.
  3. Do you target 25-34 year old women? While people of all ages and genders hang out on Pinterest, 25-34 year olds are the largest age demographic, making up almost 30% of the user base, and almost 70% of users are female (source). If that’s your brand’s sweet spot, Pinterest has a lot of potential.
  4. Do you market a product or service related to fitness, food, art, clothing, crafts, travel, sports, gadgets, or weddings? These are some of the many consumer focused categories on Pinterest. However, there’s not even a general “Business” category for users to select when they create a board, so professional services companies, you might be out of luck.

How to get started on Pinterest

If Pinterest is right for your brand, here’s how you can get started:

  1. Create a profile through connecting with Twitter. Many Pinterest users have connected their profiles with Facebook—giving them access to their friends’ pins and vice versa. However, there’s no way for brands to use this feature, so we recommend connecting with Twitter to tap into your network there, or, if you’re not on Twitter, starting from scratch.
  2. Integrate Pinterest into your other marketing efforts. “Ugh,” you’re probably thinking, “I’ve already got buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, and StumbleUpon!” Too bad—if you’ve got lots of product pictures and answered “Yes” to the questions above, make some room. Pinterest simply drives too much traffic to ignore—set traffic rolling to your site with a “pin it” button.
  3. Create boards, and pin a mix of original and curated content. If your Pinterest boards sell too much, your brand won’t fit in with the fun, useful nature of the site. While including prices on product images can be a good idea, make sure the focus of your Pinterest presence is entertaining or helping your customers, not selling. Your website is where you should do your selling.
  4. Repin, comment, and engage. Unlike on Facebook, on Pinterest, brands can act just like humans. Engaging (tactfully) with other users can help grow your brand’s presence—and your customers’ awareness and loyalty.

Have you used Pinterest yet? Let me know what you think in the comments. And of course, feel free to check out my personal Pinterest page—fair warning, it’s mostly cute puppies.

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5 Surprising Ways to Create Shareable Content

This post originally appeared on Marketing Trenches

Many content marketers don’t think beyond the corporate blog, or perhaps the occasional webinar or eBook. Yet if you look hard enough, you’ll find surprising ways to create effective, shareable content hiding right under your nose.

Here’s my quick list:

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5 Social Marketing Lessons from Social Fresh Baltimore

This post originally appeared on Marketing Trenches and SocialFresh.com.

Yesterday and today, I joined social media marketers from around the Baltimore area and the country at Social Fresh Baltimore. I’m posting this blog post halfway through the second day, so if the afternoon talks are left out, my apologies–please help me out and comment with your afternoon takeaways.

Here’s the top five things that stood out for me from this event:

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How to be a Frighteningly Brilliant Content Marketer

This post originally appeared on Marketing Trenches.

Content marketers should shiver with jealousy for Nightmares Fear Factory’s recent marketing success. If you missed this, basically, Nightmares Fear Factory is a haunted house in Niagara Falls Canada, and recently, their brilliant marketing strategy paid off big time when their Flickr feed was picked up by new and traditional media and sent around the web—I found out about it thanks to a friend who posted it on Google Buzz.

What’s the trick?

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Three Key Content Marketing World Takeaways

This post originally appeared on Marketing Trenches.

Joining hundreds of content marketers from around the country and the world, Will DavisMike Sweeney and I headed up to Cleveland this week for Content Marketing World.

As I wrote last week in my post about expected highlights, the conference is packed with sessions and speakers, and my biggest regret is that I could not procure a clone for the week.

I’m writing this before the close of the conference, so I may miss some late breaking highlights, but below are some big takeaways from the conference.

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