Up Close & Personal: Interview with Kristi Hines.
Hello Kristi. Congratulations on your book and thank you for agreeing to the interview. I want to do an interview from a different angle and focus more on the publishing process starting from the beginning.
You’ve just released your book ‘The Ultimate Blog Post Promotion Guide’, when did you start blogging and how was the concept for Kikolani born?
I actually started dabbling in blogging around ten years ago when it was more of a personal journal kind of thing. But even then, I played around with a few affiliate programs and found out how powerful blog commenting was to getting new traffic to your site.
What are some of the challenges you faced in your first year blogging and how did you overcome them?
When I first started out, I didn’t really have a direction. Kikolani started out as more of a photography / creative writing blog. It took about a year before I found my “true calling” for writing about blogging and really transforming the site to what it is today.
You have a post that needs lots of promotion, what do you do (in a nutshell)?
First I do the social networking promotion, posting to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and StumbleUpon. Then I contact the people I consider my “promotional army” via email and direct messages. From there, if I want it to go further, I do some blog commenting on recent articles on a similar topic. Then, if I want it to go supernova, I start creating some related content on other sites that I can link back to that post.
What are your top 5 traffic sources?
For February 1 – March 1: Google organic search, Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, and Social Media Examiner.
Tell us a secret about blogging, what don’t people usually share, what is a ‘secret’ you know others won’t teach?
It’s not a secret, per say, but I think it’s something some people choose to not hear. To be successful at blogging, it takes time. It takes time to write great content for your site and for others, time to network with people in your niche, time to build your authority, and time to promote your content.
Tell us, in short, what is your book about (besides the obvious title) and what angle did you take when writing the book (textual, conversational etc)?
My book is not about simply about promoting your own blog. It’s about blog post promotion. The art of taking one blog post, whether it is one on your own site, a guest post on another site, or even an article on HubPages, and making sure it gets some major exposure on all fronts possible.
I wrote the eBook just like I write my posts, so people who are used to my writing style would feel the same flow in the book. I only wrote about strategies that have specifically helped me. For example, Digg does wonders for the people who can manipulate it, but I haven’t had any luck with it, so I didn’t write about something that I don’t have experience with.
While some of the content in the eBook came from various blog posts I have written on my own site and on others, I didn’t exactly take several posts and paste them as-is into the eBook. I think there were a few areas where I copied steps from a post into the eBook, but most of it I just wrote as I went. There are also several strategies in the eBook that I haven’t written about elsewhere.
How long did it take you to become known as an expert in blogging and how did you do it?
I have been blogging for three years now, two years dedicated to writing about blogging and social media. I didn’t really have a plan – I just wrote posts, commented on a LOT of sites in my niche, built a strong following on social media, and started guest blogging. The more I wrote, the higher quality and reputation of site I was able to write for which has led to becoming more well known.
Explain your writing style; calm and focused, erratic, take months or write quickly when an idea pops into your head?
I would say, on average, it takes me 2 – 3 hours to write one post. Sometimes longer depending on the content and what site it is going to be posted upon. I generally write down post ideas whenever they come to me, which means sometimes I am texting myself an email, and other times I’m scribbling notes on the back of a receipt. I write as the inspiration comes to me essentially. Some topics I’ll write about immediately and others will sit in my idea box for months.
Tell us, in short, the steps you took to get your book from nothing to published (writing to finished copy – i.e. Writing, editing, proofreading, format etc).
It was not a very organized process. I got the idea for the eBook in June 2010, and started writing bits and pieces for the next six months. Then I took some time off for vacation, came back, and put the finishing touches on it. I did a lot of proofreading, but I say that lightly because there is a point when you’ve stared at your own content too long to where everything starts to blur, so I missed a few things here and there. The final formatting happened less than a week before the launch.
Your book is available online as an eBook, have you also made it available in paperback?
I actually have no plans to make it a hardcopy book. Publishing is pretty pricey, especially if you consider all the colored images and screenshots I added in. Plus, I like the fact that people can be reading the content and click on a link to either hop to a different section of the book or to an outside resource.
Who did you publish with or is your book self published? If self published, how (method)?
It’s self-published. It was nothing fancy at all – just a Word document that I saved as a PDF. I spent more time focused on the content, and less on the actual packaging because I’ve gotten some eBooks with fabulous design and little content. I chose to do the opposite.
What are some of the ways you will be promoting your book?
I did what I consider a mini-launch. I sent an email to my mailing the day before as well as posted a “hype” post on my site 24 hours before it went on sale. I setup an affiliate program. I sent out a few copies for testimonials. I published a post on the day of the launch which I promoted across social media, then did a follow up post a few days later with a collection of reviews and Twitter testimonials. I changed the layout of my blog a bit to include a promotional area at the end of each post for the eBook. And from here, everything else will be casual mentions of it in guest posts on related topics.
Give us your social media addresses.
Where are all your sites and how can we contact you.
I have a lot of websites out there. My main ones are my blog Kikolani which covers blog marketing, Rockin Affiliate which covers affiliate marketing, my personal domain which is my writing portfolio across the web, and Photo Ninjas which is a photography blog that I share with my husband.
What services do you offer?
I currently offer freelance writing services.
Finally, care to tell people why they should get your book?
If you are not seeing the kind of engagement with comments and social sharing on your posts, not getting the traffic you want, and not earning the income you would like through writing, then you should get my eBook to learn how to increase the popularity of your blog posts and articles to achieve better results.
Thank you for agreeing to the interview and we wish you all the best.
Thanks for taking the time to compile these great questions for the interview! They were a pleasure to answer!
- Ultimate Blog Post Promotion
- Kikolani Blog Post Promotion Ultimate Guide Ebook (growmap.com)