Lessons Learned from Advisers’ Launch

“Academic Author Advisers provides experienced, strategic coaching and creative support for academic authors who want to improve the financial, professional, and personal rewards that come from their writing activities.” academicauthoradvisers.com

Vignetted Cake

by Sean Wakely, Founder and Principal Adviser, Academic Author Advisers

I discovered that the first day of a new business can be like planning a big party:  There’s always a heart-stopping moment when you wonder if anyone is going to show up!

So a huge thanks to all of you who did show up last week to read this blog’s first posting, peruse Advisers’ company website, like the Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and join our LinkedIn company page. If you haven’t done so already, you can click on the hotlinks in the previous sentence to join the fun.

The number of blog visitors, website hits, and likes on Facebook blew through Advisers’ projected user and engagement goals on launch day. I’m especially grateful for suggestions many of you shared for improving the sites, and I’ve already incorporated a number of changes in response. Thanks for the input.

Overall, I learned a few big picture lessons. For example, the party planning epiphany taught me the best way to put aside temporary jitters is simply to focus on executing a well-researched plan. I can name another four lessons that immediately spring to mind:

  1. There is a need for Academic Author Advisers. Even after all the market research I conducted during the past few weeks, I was (pleasantly) surprised by the strong confirmation of a tremendous need for Advisers’ services. Higher education authors are not consistently being informed, educated, or supported by their publishing partners. This situation makes it harder for authors to strategically make necessary transitions to new publishing and business models.  Advisers can help bridge these gaps in support and communication.
  2. Google Analytics is addictive. In fact, all kinds of reports that track site activity are seductive and, I realized, potentially distracting. I spent a lot of time last week monitoring the website’s new and returning users, average page views, average time per session, etc.  My favorite data point reflects the cities and countries in which visitors are located. It was exciting to see users from Ireland, England, France, Venezuela, the Netherlands, and Qatar joining the many US and Canadian visitors who came to the sites on the first day. Going forward, I’ve sworn to myself that I’ll only check activity reports two or three times a day. We’ll see if I can keep that vow!
  3. LinkedIn is powerful, but it’s not the only game in town. As a networking and communication tool for higher education publishing professionals, LinkedIn can’t be beat. However, while higher education faculty, authors, and content experts are present on LinkedIn, they’re not nearly as well represented as publishers or university administrators. Facebook appears to be a better social media strategy for connecting with college faculty and potential clients.  I also noticed that higher education authors seem underrepresented on Twitter, and this could be a strategic oversight.  Twitter can be a good way to solicit real-time student user input and build a professional brand with colleagues and potential adopters.
  4. Feeding the content beast is a challenge. This one isn’t really a surprise.  Now that Advisers has launched a social media strategy, all its sites need to be consistently updated with useful and interesting content. I planned for this requirement, but the reality is still a little daunting. It’s easy to write about what interests me, but it’s more important to post information that’s useful to you. So, don’t hesitate to send me ideas for topics you’d like addressed in future blog posts or on Advisers’ other sites. Please leave a comment or email me with your ideas at sean.wakely@academicauthoradvisers.com?

I’m sure I’ll learn a number of additional lessons in the weeks and months ahead, and I trust they’ll improve this blog and readers’ experiences with it. Check back regularly for updates and new information. I’m already working on the next post, so watch for it to go live soon!

©Academic Author Advisers
All photos are ©Sean Wakely
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