My goal with every video and post I make is to give you guys helpful advice and recommendations. Each one is created with you in mind. I’m making this post because I genuinely believe Skillshare can help you with author marketing.
Yes, this is a sponsored video, but I wouldn’t have agreed to do it if I didn't whole-heartedly believe in it.
I’ve been using Skillshare for over a year now (which, holy crap time flies), so I know how great this website is. Seriously.
Sign up for the free trial and read my video recommendations. Trust me, watching these videos will introduce you to an instructional rabbit hole.
I find I have to actually save videos I’m interested in because I fly through them and just keep clicking on more (YAS to increasing video speed…which makes me feel like normal speed is snail paced!).
A lot of writers are introverts and the thought of putting yourself out there so far on any platform is horrifying.
But it’s easier than you think. The fear of getting started will hold you back—if you’re a writer in today’s world, you need to be online. Your audience needs to see you and your book. These course recommendations will dissipate some of that social media anxiety you might be experiencing. Understanding something is a large part of that!
First up really quickly, the first 100 people to use my promo link with code VIVIEN will get their first 2 months free, then it’s as low as $10 a month after that to continue learning if you like it. Or cancel if you don’t, there’s no risk. That link is down below, and seriously, get the 2 free months! Edit: this promo has been exceeded. Use https://skilshare.com to sign up!
Without further ado, let’s jump in with my recommendations!
SOCIAL MEDIA INTRO
Introduction to Social Media Strategy by Brian Peters
NUMBERS. I’m so happy this video has statistics and Brian is so eloquent! This is a great place to start to understand why using social media is so important and how setting goals can help you focus your content across all of your social media platforms. Also, he has worksheets! YAS! Make sure you check out the “Your project” tab to get those worksheets!
He also talks about some tools he uses that I had never even heard of before, in addition to Buffer, which is where he works (I use Hootsuite, but they’re the same thing!)
It’s important to establish your goals and “pillars” as Chris says, to have a game plan and a focus. The most successful businesses have one main purpose or vision, so that customers always know what to expect from that business.
As writers, many of us have the same ultimate goal with our author brand: to sell our books and connect with our readers, so future launches are more successful.
But a writer launching an author brand with a focus on self-improvement will have a different mission than an epic fantasy writer. It may seem silly to set a “vision” or “values” as a writer, but you want to connect with your readers. To do that, you need to be clear on what you content you’re providing.
Brand Management: What sets you apart by Chris Bolman
This one seems to apply to large businesses that already have a foundation; this course is great because it gives you a foundation and a focus before you start your author brand.
This video applies a lot to those who want to use a website platform, or social media to gain followers while not marketing your actual books, like me for example. Self-publishers have to know a lot, have to do a lot and be constantly learning. Since there’s so many topics that self-publishers have to master, it’s easy to pick one and make that sort of your specialty.
For example, if you’re artistically inclined, perhaps you’d find a market for giving tips on graphic or website design. While you’re not marketing your books, you’re putting your face and your name out there as a professional source that readers can recognize.
Defining your brand – understanding what it means and that great brands build and reinforce memories
He points out that you’re not just broadcasting your brand, it’s more of a conversation, so a back in forth rather than a one way street.
Another great point he makes is to think to the future – important as self-publishers, where the market and social media is changing so much. For that reason your definitions of your brand should also change.
If you’re interested in marketing something other than just your books (and I recommend everyone try to at some point) to get your name out there, then definitely check out Chris Bolman!
Honorable mention for this category:
Building Your Online Presence: Personal Branding Through Social Media by Kate Arends
Some great tips she has: your brand replaces your resume, which I thought was a cool way to think about a brand.
She also has some really nice worksheets to help you if you’re still stuck with defining your own personal brand.
Kate also gives great tips on how to communicate with your viewers or audience and the importance of being authentic, so she gives tips on that.
And a huge part of building your online presence is by giving to others and contributing to the community.
I seriously feel like I’m underutilizing Pinterest in a horribly bad way. None of my videos are on Pinterest, and half of my website posts aren’t either.
Signing up for courses about Pinterest made me realize how much work I have in store for my Pinterest boards!
Pinterest is a search engine, it’s not just a social media platform. How many times have you found yourself using Pinterest over Google? Searching for recipes or home décor or clothing looks?
My top recommendation is:
Pinterest Perfect by Amber Kane
While some of these tips obviously won’t apply to writers or authorpreneurs, there are some GREAT takeaways from this course.
She talks about how pinterest allows you to tell a story through your boards while secretly focusing on your product: in this case usually something related to your author brand or blog.Meaning you can have a really beautiful aesthetic board with other pins that people love, but your product or book is almost subliminally included among those pins.
Amber has some great tips that I need to actually implement. HALP
Talks about using Pinterest to gain subscribers to your mailing list! WHAT!
She also gives reasons why Pinterest is better than Facebook or Twitter since your content is searchable, and not restricted to a newsfeed.
There are so many videos related to Instagram on Skillshare, so it was really hard to narrow down which videos I thought were most helpful. Seriously, I think Instagram had the most videos of any other platform on Skillshare.
If you’ve properly defined your brand, then most likely you’ll fall into a niche, which Instagram caters well to. You’re a writer, share your writing and your writing process. My best Instagram photos come from posts directly related to my book, or showing the behind-the-scenes moments. Book photos don’t do well.
Now that Insta stories have taken off, it’s easier to connect on a personal level with your audience, writers and readers alike.
So my first recommendation is:
Instagram Best Practices: Grow Your Community, Work With Brands by Tyson Wheatley
This course blew my mind! I know so little about social media it’s ridiculous. I thought I was doing okay…but apparently not.
I’m seriously going to go rewatch this one soon. He recommends some great “sister apps” and how you can use them alongside Instagram, not instead of! I’d recommend any one of his courses, by the way – his tips for actually taking photos are on my watch list right now!
I LOVE that Tyson is not interested in “HOW TO GAIN 100 FOLLOWERS IN TWO SECONDS” and he openly says this course isn’t about that. It’s about authenticity and that’s where the quality Instagram profiles are at.
Tyson recommends keeping everything positive or meaningful, which is so simple but such a great tip!
And then for actually taking pictures:
iPhone Food Photography: Capturing Coffee, Dessert, and more by Adam Goldberg
This course is great because we’re following Adam through cafes as he creates these photographs, and he talks you through each modification he makes as he makes it. This is a great teaching style since it’s more visual than him just telling us how to take great photographs.
Even if you don’t think you’ll want to photograph food, I’d seriously watch this one! One day you might be at an amazing restaurant and want to photograph your crème brulee and ta da! You’ll know exactly how to do that. Now I really want some crème brulee!
You’ve probably heard how important it is to have a website and a blog. I have a video on basic tips for your website, but I have two videos to recommend that are great for beginners, specifically to those using Wordpress, which I highly recommend!
First up is:
How To Build A Website: A Step-by Step Tutorial Using The #1 Best-Selling Wordpress Theme, Avada by Ben Hill
If you’ve checked out any of these courses so far, you’ll notice that most start with an introduction. This guys doesn’t, which I kind of like. He jumps right in on the content!
This course is PERFECT for the beginner. I wish I had found this ages ago when I first started VivienReis.com! I sat through dozens of YouTube videos and ended up reading a lot of online content just to get up to speed on basic website design.
While Ben uses a specific theme for this, it’s great because he walks you through the entire process. Yes, it’s a lengthy course, but if you’re new to Wordpress, you definitely want to check this one out!
And my last recommendation for this video:
Content Marketing: Blogging for Growth by Eric Siu
I love that Eric breaks down the different types of blog posts in this course. I hate the spammy “get 1,000 clicks in a month” because those aren’t usually authentic and they don’t produce quality followers, just like on Instagram. Understanding blog posts, what they are, and how to structure them is so valuable. I’ve been creating website content for over two years now and I had plenty to learn during this course!
He also goes over how to brainstorm ideas for website content that I thought was unique and refreshing, and could easily be applied to so many topics (hello morning routine!)
Alright, now that I have all my recommendations out of the way, Why is Skillshare so great?
Because it’s people who know what they’re doing telling you how to do it. It’s a shortcut.
I don’t have to waste time searching for all of this information when I can watch (or listen…let’s be honest) to a video with SO MANY TIPS. Yes, a lot of this information is available somewhere online or on YouTube. But what I love is the experience and professionalism of the Skillshare gurus. The knowledge base on most of these teachers is also something that creates a creatively contagious environment. Each one of these teachers is passionate about their topic and it actually motivated me to improve my own social media and branding.
In other words, I have a lot of work to do.
This is my first truly sponsored post, and I was honestly worried about introducing my channel to sponsored content. I wanted it to be authentic, and I didn’t want you guys to feel like I’m a sell out. I hope this video didn’t come across like that at all.
I hope you guys are excited about Skillshare! If you already use Skillshare go ahead and drop your own suggestions down below!