Tag Archives: Author

Build a Better Brand Platform: 30 Day Challenge (Day 24)

24 Sep

I haven’t really diverged too many times from the MNINB Platform Building Challenge. This is one of those times that I feel like discussing something  completely different (for the record,  MNINB Day 24 was a #hashtag party so you really aren’t missing anything radical by playing my game instead).

Let’s talk Klout . It is a site that claims to be “The Standard for Influence” and is a measure of a person’s worth in the social media arena. It calculates a score for each user in a range from 0-100 and can vary according to your activity and engagement in social media. As of this writing (9/23/12) my Klout Score is a 60. In comparison Barrack Obama has a 99 and Justin Beiber a 92 (previously the only user to have a perfect 100).

Does Klout matter?

Does Klout Matter?

My answer is “Maybe”.

I’ll be honest that I have no idea if your Klout score has any value beyond its use in online marketing. Is there any real-world relation from your Klout score to your influence beyond the bounds of the internet (or really Twitter where it seems most prevalent).

If the events in this Wired post “What Your Klout Score Really Means” are accurate then it would really seem to mean something in some arenas such as within some public relations companies (and maybe that goes for publishing companies). Las Vegas casinos and customer service agents for major companies are using your Klout score to determine the perks you are eligible for and upgrades to service that you qualify for.

With that stated, when I mention Klout score in my real world interactions all but the most social media savvy give me dumb looks and even once I explain they seem skeptical. That does leave the possibility that those in the know about Klout are ahead of the curve. As a measurement of your platform’s overall health there doesn’t seem to be an alternative yet. It is absolutely possible that Klout will be seen as the real standard measure of a writer’s internet platform at some time in the near future. Today’s challenge…

Calculate your Klout score.

Once you have your Klout score then share it here in comments. Where did you fall? Is it what you expected? Higher or lower? What do you think you could do to improve the score? Are you utilizing all of the social media measures that Klout uses to determine your score?  How do you feel about your score and the possibility that in the near future job recruiters, interviewers, and all kinds of companies may use this score to measure your power of influence (and as a writer possibly your “marketability”)?

The possibility that something as nebulous as “influence” is beginning to be measured and scored is something that leaves some firmly skeptical and others scrambling to improve their value in the online community.

Where do I fall on Klout?

I am firmly in the middle. I am very aware that from a marketing stand-point being able to grade an individual’s influence would seem very beneficial. Breaking your trendsetters out from the followers and knowing who to focus your marketing dollars on would be something that lots of companies (yes, even publishers) would see as immediately valuable.

However, can an algorithm of any sort capture that elusive quality of influence ? I am not 100% convinced. There are still those who hold incredible influence in the world without an online presence. Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha has a measly 48 as his Klout score. So maybe  clout (of which Mr. Buffett has much) is not what is being measured by Klout.

We wouldn’t have dedicated a month to building an online platform if we saw no value in the idea that our online interaction has some effect on our ability to influence an audience to respect us as an authority and to seek more of our thoughts and opinions. So if you are in the skeptical camp then know that you are not alone but also know that there are literal buttloads ( a precise scientific measurement) of money being spent to determine how to measure online influence and how that measurement equals an ROI in real world money.

It is not too hard to imagine a world in which our Klout score could have as much value as a credit score in the real world. They are just numbers but our world is measured in all sorts of numbers, grades and scores. Playing the devil’s advocate, I say that it wouldn’t hurt to pay at least some attention to this score.

Klout Hater?

I feel this stick figures pain. I would also like to opt out of a lot of other unfair measurements of my worth as an individual. Until credit scores and all of those mysterious algorithms that insurance agents use to determine your premiums allow you to merely opt out then it might not hurt to have some idea what your Klout score is. You can disregard you high school GPA, or your FICO score, or your Klout score, but important decision-makers in your life might not be ignoring it.

Klout Scores of the Rich and Famous

Barrack Obama  (POTUS) 99

Mitt Romney (Republican Nominee) 91

Neil Gaiman ( Neverwhere Author) 89

Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher on Star Trek) 89

Anne Rice ( Interview with The Vampire Author) 83

Wayne Coyne (The Flaming Lips) 82

Writer’s Digest (Writer’s Digest) 69

Robert Lee Brewer (My Name Is Not Bob blogger) 52

Play with the search bar on Klout and determine the score of your favorite celebrities (or even fellow bloggers, Le Clown).

I am not sure how much weight this score carries yet (but if only for the novelty of it), I prescribe that you keep some idea of what Klout score is attached to your platform.  It might not turn up in a real world situation but then again…it isn’t an impossibility that it might someday. It might never be anything but a way to stroke our own ego but then again the number is beginning to matter to advertisers, marketers, and maybe one day it will to publishers as well. I’m skeptical but judicious enough that I decided that keeping my score reasonable couldn’t hurt either.

So What’s Yours?

Please leave your score in the comments. It would have been interesting to know where you started and where you are now. If you know that information share it in the comments. I have a hunch that your score steadily increased if not radically jumped. Mine went from a 39 to a 60 where it seems comfortable at the moment (with a slow gradual growth) and I admit to fiddling with things in an attempt to effect my score and see how the algorithm is weighted. The most I could determine is the more engaged you are with others and they are with you the higher your score.  So with that said..

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Excelsior. Peace Out.

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Build a Better Brand Platform: 30 Day Challenge (Day 1)

1 Sep
Cell (novel)

Cell (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is based on Robert Brewer’s April Platform Challenge. He ran this challenge originally in April of 2012 and I did not discover it until the middle point of August when I was researching a post I wanted to do on building a brand/platform for an author. I read his challenge and thought. “I could do this!” and then my competitive spirit kicked in and I thought, “I could do this better!!!

I am going to follow along with Mr. Brewer’s Challenge and add in my own tips, tricks and twists as we go. I will also always link back to his challenge so you can compare and follow along with both challenges simultaneously.

I decided to create my own 30 day challenge to be taken by my readers in September (if you are playing along this month) or at anytime that you discover it. Before we get to the specifics of the challenge let’s unpack a few concepts that will help us understand what our goal is this month.

What is an author’s brand? 

“Brand” is such a packed word. It is a marketing word. It is an ad executive or public relations specialist word. It’s a salesman’s word. A brand is literally any “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers” as defined by American Marketing Association‘s Dictionary. What does it have to do with writers?

Writer’s have a brand. Would you agree? Let me toss a few names out there: Louis L’Amour, Danielle Steele,  and Stephen King. I am sure that you  knew these authors’ names, what genres the authors’ usually write in, maybe a book cover popped into your head, and I can never see the names written without thinking of the fonts usually used on the covers of their books to print their names. A brand is everything we just mentioned. It is all of the things that you know about an author and their books just from their name alone that helps sell them to readers.

So do writers’ have brands? Successful ones do.

Daddy (novel)

Daddy (novel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What is an author’s platform?

This post by Jane Friedman  is one of the best definitions of this difficult concept that I have found. A platform is everything you do online and offline to build visibility and authority. I like to think of it as who is listening to you and the things you do to make sure that you are someone worth listening to.  We build our platform in a lot of ways; social media like Facebook and Twitter, blogs, e-mail newsletters and every way we touch and interact with our reading audience.

Building a platform is not something we do in just 30 days (or 60 or 90 days even). Platforms are built over a career with focus and effort at making and connecting with a wide network and building a loyal following and readership. It is not something that can be done for a month and then never thought about again.

However, you can start with a month. We are going to build our platforms together. We are going to start off in the right direction and put up some signposts for those readers who take up these challenges later. The comments need to be full this month with tips and testimonies. Tell what worked for you and what didn’t work yet. Ask questions. Give answers. Let’s build our platforms as a community and share this experience as we all take on this challenge together.

DAY ONE CHALLENGE: 

Our day one is a commitment to the challenge. How do we commit? We commit by thinking about and defining ourselves. How can we broadcast who we are to the world if we are not sure who we are ourselves. This is the same first day challenge that Robert Brewer presented and it is the right place to start.  Who are you?

WHO AM I?

Name (as used in byline): Sean O. Murphy

Position(s): Entertainment Writer- Moore Monthly; Frequent Contributor- OKC.NET ; Freelance Writer; Blogger

Skill(s): Creative writing, film criticism,music journalism, hyper-local news, community news, blogging, social media and SEO basics

Social media platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress.

Accomplishments: Member of the Oklahoma Film Critic’s Circle, Judge of the Moore Reel Film Festival,Certified English/ESL Tutor by the College Reading and Learning Association, Member Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society

Interests: Writing. Reading. Watching movies. Listening to live music. Science Fiction and Fantasy Fandom, Walking for pleasure and exercise. Being a father to my children

In one sentence, who am I? Sean O. Murphy is the father of two incredible children who enjoys reading and writing,watching movies, and listening to music for both work and play.

This is our starting point for defining our brand and thinking of ways we need to build our platform. Feel free to share your  “Who Am I?” in the comments. I am interested in knowing who you are. Taking this first step is your act of confirmation that you are ready to devote a month to the challenge of beginning to think of your own brand and platform.

Ready? Let’s go!

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