Hi, I'm Margie Newman. I blog about public relations, social media, careers, productivity and geek stuff.

Joe Flood: Adventures in Book Marketing

{I can always depend on Joe Flood for informative, succinct guest posts. In his most recent FlackRabbit submission, Joe shares some marketing tips for all you creative, self-promoters out there.}

Last year, I published a book. Murder in Ocean Hall is a mystery set in DC about the death of the world’s most famous oceanographer.

Amazon Kindle eBook Reader
Image by goXunuReviews via Flickr

Since then, I’ve experimented with social media to get the word out about my first novel. It’s been an interesting experience, one that has taught me a lot about product marketing in this consumer-driven age. Doing it yourself, without a staff or budget, helps you learn marketing tools in a very hands-on fashion.

Here’s what has worked for me:

Facebook – The most important audience for a new book is the author’s friends and family. Facebook is the ideal tool for reaching them. I promoted the book when it came out and at other key points spurring sales. My FB marketing has been simple – I’ve used my status update to tell people about my book.

Kindle – One surprise is that I’ve sold as many Kindle copies as print ones. The Kindle copy of my book is $2.99 (versus $9.99 for print) and people can buy it instantly. Also, Kindle owners seem to read more books than most people. Read More…


Mary Beth Ikard: 5 Ways to Successfully Manage a Business, Government Facebook Page

{Nashvillian, accredited PR pro and all-around rock star Mary Beth Ikard has received well-earned national props for her thoughtful and relevant management of the Nashville MPO Facebook page. In today’s guest post, she offers businesses, governments and non-profits five tips for managing–and engaging the public through–Facebook.}

I recently received some gratifying feedback from a national partner on the Facebook page I maintain as Flack for the Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO).  Transparent stakeholder involvement is critical to our success, and social media is proving to be a straightforward way to connect with interested publics, near and far.  A few thoughts on my approach:

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

1.  Think broad.  Our in-house experts collaborate, and are affiliated with, entities with a national footprint.  Several speak at nationally-organized conferences and Webinars. Say a Floridian learns about our efforts at a conference, and seeks us out on Facebook.  Posting local is key, but I’ll be darned if that Floridian ever felt like Nashville’s page was a bunch of “inside baseball.”  In a global economy, why would we only seek to be relevant to our backyard when we’re Kind of a Big Deal?  It’s the Flack’s job to relate our good work to multiple audiences. I seek out and share content that’s germane to our major policy initiatives – still informing locals, but there’s some universality there as other U.S. metros move in a similar direction.

2.  Don’t bore me.  It’s social media: show some personality! Use conversational, unfussy, even humorous language. Brevity = eyeballs.  If I’m looking at your post from my smart phone, how likely am I to read a four-sentence intro to your link?  If your brief intro is compelling (PR pros should cultivate intuition on what is compelling), I’ll linger on your update in my News Feed, and perhaps click on the supporting link to learn more. Facebook is also NOT the forum to put bureaucracy on display.  If your posts are about upcoming public hearings, with nothing additional that’s quirky, newsy, or useful: “Unlike.” Read More…


New Year, New Media | Her Nashville January Issue

You know how sometimes you want to do something, but then decide you’re not going to just to spite someone? I see this happening a good bit with technology hold-outs. One main reason: they are sick of being nagged about how “out of touch” they are, so they decide (if even subconsciously) to prove the Social Media Disciples wrong. They’ll get along without the Internet or Facebook just fine, thank you very much!

In my January Her Nashville column, I offer up a few tips on the best ways to share your geekish enthusiasm and convert the tech-less masses without starting a technology revolt. Here’s a teaser:

Don’t be pushy
When you lead the horse to water, don‘t try to shove him in the pool. It’s poor form and ineffective: the horse is only going to get angry and certainly won’t ever trust you around anything resembling a lake. The same is true for the Internet. You’ll be much more successful in your effort to convert your non-techie peers, relatives or clients by showing them that it’s safe to jump in. You, and a host of well-respected others, are already surfing around, and the water is fine.

Applaud their approach
If someone was afraid to swim and finally dove in, you certainly would not criticize their form and choice of swimwear. Think about this the next time a friend finally ditches their flip phone for a Droid or creates a Facebook account with a status they rarely update. It’s not when they “joined,” what technology they use, or how they compare to others that counts. The fact that they are giving technology a chance is the real achievement. So, avoid the temptation to dictate a preferred, one-size-fits-all social media strategy. You may be an newly converted iPhone fan, Facebook poker and hashtag addict, but not everyone else has to be. Read More…


Viva Nashvegas

Last week, I sat 800 miles away and watched as my hometown drowned. I’ve lived in D.C. for one full year now, but Nashville is home. I’m a communicator–a good one–but I don’t know how to express how much my heart hurts for my city. I can’t find a way to verbalize it. My fingers refuse to put pressure on the keys when I try to type it out.

The good news: I don’t have to worry about my inability to explain how I feel, folks like Patten FuquaA.C. Kleinheider and countless others have said it all for me–for all of us. Powerfully, honestly, beautifully.

My one contribution to the discussion is over at Her Nashville magazine. As the post says, I’m completely in awe over the way Nashvillians are using social media platforms to communicate, connect and share information in such a meaningful way. Facebook, Twitter, text messages, YouTube, Flickr, blog posts, websites.  Nashvillians have taken to the Web and it’s working. Read More…


Location, location, location.

…it’s not merely a business mantra, it’s the latest social media trend.

In the May issue of Her Nashville magazine, you’ll find a brief tutorial on location-based social networks Gowalla and Foursquare, which utilize GPS and those fancy smartphones to allow you to “check in” to places you visit, tell folks where you are, and post your thoughts along the way. Here’s a teaser and–of course–a little “surf with caution” reminder:

Both Gowalla and Foursquare give you the option to share your check ins and travels via Facebook and Twitter. I don’t do this, but you may want to. How much info you share and who your “friends” are is all yours to control. For these location-based networks — unlike Twitter, which is designed for stranger-to-stranger info sharing — I only friend my actual friends, but I’m sort of protective like that … with who knows my whereabouts at any given time.

Like most technological wonders, what the Gowalla and Foursquare creators conceived now makes up only a fraction of what they actually do. Just think about Twitter as geeks knew it in 2007 compared to Twitter as the world knows it today. What started out as an odd text messaging service known to a few thousand people is now a global, real-time, information-sharing phenomenon. READ THE FULL COLUMN!

I usually base my Chic Geek columns on reader questions, ideas from co-workers and/or brainstorming sessions with my husband, but no one has really asked me to write about location. In fact, no one outside of my geek friends ever mentions location-based apps, which makes me think it’s time I wrote about them. Read More…


Fans, Facebook and foam fingers

Overheard in D.C.:

“If YOU ask me to be a fan of YOU on Facebook, I’m not going to do it. That’s like handing out foam fingers with your own name on them.” Read More…


Stacey Viera: be transparent when promoting client work on and offline

{Our next guest post is courtesy of D.C. flack and photographer Stacey Viera, who ponders how much disclosure to provide when promoting your clients on social networks and/or entering into partnerships with other vendors.}

“In the interest of full disclosure.” How often do you use those six little words? I would argue, probably not often enough.

I acknowledge that full disclosure can be overused. “In the interest of full disclosure, I’m married.” Hey, I didn’t ask if you wanted to go on a date. I just wanted to know if you were done with the Metro section of the paper so that I could read it!

But how often do we see a Tweet from a PR person promoting their “friend,” only to find that it originated from a paid client relationship? Or a Facebook link for a “beautifully designed new blog” that we only later learn was designed by the same person who posted the link? Read More…