Instructor Q&A: Wes Fang

Wes Fang is the sales and marketing coordinator at Shelton Interactive. Shelton interactive is a full-service digital marketing and public relations firm founded by digital marketing strategist and book industry veteran Rusty Shelton. Wes assists his clients by growing their platforms through public relations, social media and web design.

Prior to joining the team at Shelton Interactive, Wes worked at a venture capital firm helping startups raise funding. His previous work also includes building pricing models for Fortune 100 companies, serving as a senior editor to a leading tech blog, and helping brands and individuals bootstrap their way to success.

Wes is teaching a class for the Writers’ League on December 5 called “Building a Dynamic Author Brand: A 10-Step Plan for Growing Your Platform” at St. Edward’s University. This class is currently sold out but we plan to offer classes similar to this in the future as well as invite Wes back to teach for us again. Keep an eye on our website for announcements about our spring class lineup.

Wes FangScribe: How is marketing a good fit for you?

Wes Fang: At its core, marketing is a blend of business and human psychology. What I love about it is that it serves to cultivate organization, experiences, and stories. It allows me to be creative while also focused on reaching for specific goals.

Scribe: What marketing techniques are unique to writers?

With social media, writers now have the power to connect directly with their audience and generate exposure of their story on their own. This wasn’t the case a decade ago. Before, one had to rely on “the gatekeepers” to determine if their book was going to be a success. For example, a “gatekeeper” could be Oprah’s book club. Gatekeepers would control what information flowed to their audience. Without permission from a gatekeeper, you wouldn’t have the capability of building a large captivated audience. This is no longer the case in today’s media environment.

Scribe: Would you say that publishers and literary agents are still in the process of transitioning to social media? Or is the transition complete?

WF: The transition is never complete. 🙂 Personally, as soon as I feel like I’ve mastered a social media platform, a new one emerges. Each platform serves a different demographic. This can be overwhelming if you’re trying to keep up with all of them. However, what we constantly tell our clients is that you don’t need to be on every social media channel. I repeat: you don’t need to be on every social media channel. Not every platform makes sense for your message and your target audience.

I remember hearing a marketing director of an apparel company saying, “I don’t want everyone wearing my clothing, I want the right people wearing my clothing.” The same applies for authors. You don’t want everyone reading your book, you want the right people reading your book. They are the ones who are going to write reviews, share it with their friends, and follow you on your literary journey.

Scribe: Can writing skills give writers an edge in building their social media platforms? If so, how?

WF: Absolutely. The key to any successful social media marketing is creating content that adds value to its readers; content is king. Writers have an edge over others because they’re constantly creating content. A book in itself is pages and pages of content!

Scribe: Can building your platform reveal to writers a certain audience they never knew they had? If so, could you give an example?

Yes! That’s the beauty of social media. One of the great things about growing a platform is the data that comes along with it. For example, let’s say you are a marketing expert and you write a piece for Huffington Post on how to leverage mobile marketing for the holidays. Fantastic – that’s great visibility. Most people stop there.

What smart authors do is then watch the analytics on their website to watch for traffic sources to their website and chatter across social media. This author may notice a certain category has responded in large numbers. The third leading traffic source might be the Dentist Association Website, where the article may have been shared on a message board. We now know our next piece can be tailored towards dentistry if we want to grow that following.

–Thanks, Wes!

Click here for a full list of fall classes.

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