Tim Ferriss – Social Media and The Social Proof – Part 1

As a follow up to Darren Rowse’s three-part interview with Tim Ferriss, I sat down with the author (through the magic of instant messaging) of The 4-Hour Workweek, to discuss efficiency when blogging, media training for bloggers, different content promotion methods, social media, and much much more. Here is the first part of a two-part interview. Tim has a lot of interesting insight to share so please read and enjoy.
Although we are all aware of the phenomenon based on our own experiences, I wasn’t formally aware of the concept of ‘circadian rhythm’. Could you expound on that?
Circadian rhythm refers to a natural biological cycle, usually associated with sleep and the reticular activating system (RAS). It’s approximately 25 hours long. There are then 90-minute “ultradian” cycles within that 25 hours. It’s possible to time both so you get more restful sleep, more work done, etc.
Bloggers are in sort of a limbo when it comes to deciding whether they are journalists/reporters or not. Most of us are self-taught in our own niches and write to our audiences based on our own experiences. Given that, it was interesting to see you recommend that people wanting to transform their content into print should spend $500-$1500 on ‘media training’. Why do you feel this is necessary and how would you recommend one to go about doing this?
To be a good writer, you don’t need to be technical; you need to have an honest and clear voice. To be a good author, in the commercial sense, you need to be able to articulate your thinking in sound bites. This is where media training comes in. Media trainers like www.kimfromla.com will focus your message into bullet points and teach you how to redirect questions and get your message across in a 2-5-minute TV or radio segment. Before that, however, I simply recommend they become well-versed in rhetoric and crafting logical arguments and spotting faulty logic and sloppy thinking in others. My favorite book for writing and thinking clearly is On Writing Well by Zinsser.
You talk quite a bit about promotion. You specifically rule out going the e-book route or or self-publishing, and you recommend focusing on promoting ‘internally at the publisher as much as promoting outside to readers’. What specific methods for this did you use and how successful were you with each?
I don’t totally rule out self-publishing and e-books, but it depends on your goal. To make money in the short-term, it’s probably a good option. To develop a national platform and open the door for TV, syndication, and all other sorts of opportunities, traditional publishing gives you the edge at this point.
To your second question, I would point out that the strengths of large publishers — PR/marketing teams, national distribution, etc. — can only be harnessed if the publisher believes in you and your book and allocates resources to both. An imprint (division) of a large publisher might have 40-50 books coming out in a season. Why should they pay attention to you, a first-time author with a low advance, instead of a 7-figure author?
Give them reasons: be fun to work with when possible, recognize their efforts, don’t overwhelm them with too many emails (batch, batch, batch), and really kick ass with your own promotions. If you develop good relationships within the publishing team, you can multiply the effects of your own efforts.
**Note: The interview ran a bit long so I cut it into two parts to make it easier for all of you to absorb.