Creating great content is essential. In the same way that you want your books to be the best they can be, so too should your marketing content be the best.
Great, compelling content earns attention for your and for your books.
Attention is the Currency of the Internet!
Just like in a book, compelling content is the most important thing you can create. In this case you’re telling a story about you and your work that makes people like and trust you.
When people like and trust you, the selling takes care of itself!
To do that, this content should:
- Establish shared Identity (Audience Map)
- Build trust
- Establish your credibility and authority — the root word here is “author” so you should have this one in the bag 😉
- Pull your Expanded Audience into your Core Audience (I.E. People who might find you on social media will sign up for your newsletter.)
- Keep your Audience Engaged – its really important to keep your audience engaged between book launches. You want them to always be wondering what you’re doing
- Consistency is Key!
Your most important content (your long form writing/blogging) should be on your website.
Your website messaging should align with your identity, which is a writer for a particular niche audience. When someone from this audience finds your website, they should immediately recognize it as a place for people like them.
Besides your long form blogs, you should also be featuring other things like:
- A peek at upcoming work with samples and compelling synopsis.
- Your blog, of course, but with a twist. Consider re-purposing parts of your books to tell stories about your stories. There are always back stories behind what and why you write. There are also things that “didn’t make the cut,” so include them if you can do it in a way that’s compelling and creates interest in your books.
- A signup for your Mailing List (visit this page for more about what this should look like)
- Links to your social media channels
Fortunately, writing is what most of you are known for and, for the most part, the internet is built around the written word, so focus on writing the best articles and posts (of various lengths) that are relevant to your audience.
These things might include:
- Articles about or of interest to the niche.
- About writing (more on this in a minute).
- Samples of your writing.
You might also consider giving a “behind the scenes” look at the writing process. (Remember to use the #amwriting hashtag when posting this in social media.)
This has the benefit of educating the audience about what it takes to write a book. Readers never seem to be able to get enough of this kind of information, so be prepared for that. If you serve this desire, it will make the audience value what you do, and that increased value will serve you well in the world of readers looking for free ebooks.
You should always be focusing on telling stories and reinforcing their/your shared Identity.
Other kinds of content – besides written
A surprising number of readers follow books and authors on Instagram. (No one was more surprised than me!) Instagram is all about images, and there are only so many times you can post your book cover (but keep doing it – people do judge books by their covers).
So you might consider creating memes or images with:
- Quotes from your books
- Good reviews you’ve received
- Other creative ways to tell stories. Maybe consider creating a series of images designed to tell a story about you, your books, or your niche.
There are a variety of ways to create video and ways to share them. They might promote your books. You might post interviews where (1) you’re interviewed by someone else or (2) where you interview someone relevant to your audience.
You might create video essays about your or your audience’s interests.
Something that’s become very popular is Facebook Live, which lends itself to:
- Behind the scenes of your life and writing process or the creation of your book.
- Q&A – FB live is designed to be interactive. Take full advantage of this.
- If you’re able, do interviews
- Consider reading an excerpt of your book. Make a production of it so that its special to your audience.
- Talk about themes relevant to your audience.
Podcasts are all the rage, and, again this is a place where it’s very easy to re-purpose content you’ve already created.
You can take the audio from videos you’ve already created. You can create a short audio book sample. Readers love to hear a book in an author’s own voice.
If you happen to be musically talented – share it. This kind of personal interaction (where they learn something about you besides your identity as a writer) creates bonds between your audience and you.
The purpose of this content is to establish mutual identity and should raise questions and create conversations. Don’t be afraid to ask questions directly–this helps you understand your audience better and gives them “ownership” in whatever content you create based on their answers.
Consider posting quizzes and surveys
to get more information from your audience.
Remember, these are all just ideas. You don’t have to create every type of content. Focus on a few and see what gets engagement with your audience and double down on that.
Here are some general subjects for content you could create. Use your Audience Map to fill in some of the details.
- Tell stories relevant to your audience
- About what life looks like for people in your audience
- where those people encounter challenges and obstacles common in the niche
- and they overcome them to realize their dreams
- Talk about popular topics in the Niche. This can spark engagement with the audience. Consider sharing something you’re working on (a book, perhaps?) that relates to these topics. This kind of thing is prime for using open loops to get them to subscribe to your mailing list!
- Similarly, write about controversial topics and take the chance to get the audience’s opinion. This can create engagement but it can also split the audience. Sometimes this is good – there are times you want to draw a line in the sand to say, “I’m the writer for this and not for that.” But don’t split the audience pointlessly.
- You might also consider creating How-To Content around the craft of writing, but only do this if:
- You have skills your audience would want to learn. Are you a writer to writers? Do readers interested in 19th century historical fiction care about the craft of writing? If they don’t, don’t do it.
- There may be skills you have your audience would want to learn so,
- Only do it if you’re qualified
- If you get it wrong, some will notice, and you risk your reputation needlessly.
Here are some rules for creating effective content:
- Focus on things you would want to read, watch, see or listen to
- Focus on quality over quantity
- Always tell stories
- Be vulnerable and real – this will help you be relatable as a real person to the audience.
- Focus on delivering on the Core Promise of the USP (unique selling proposition)
Effective Content Should:
- Reinforce Shared identity
- Create likability
- Make people want more
- Reinforce storytelling and you as a writer
- Show how your books serve the audience identity
- Build a relationship with the expanded audience and pull them into the core audience.
Bonus – the Serial Strategy (special thanks to Rob Hardy for the idea)
- Create an interconnected series of short stories
- 1-5 pages
- With the same characters across the series
- Use the Audience Map to show
- Characters in the Niche Audience who:
- Get what they want
- by overcoming obstacles
- End on a cliffhanger
- People have to join your mailing list to get the payoff (the remaining stories)
- Use testimonials of people who loved it.
- Make it compelling!
- Consistently promote it
- Share and post the first one
- Share the first one on the website
- Automate the promo (share a new story each week)
- The people who read all these are your TRUE FANS!
- Characters in the Niche Audience who: