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Home » Blog » Writing for Business » Case study: A practical guide for authors who want to use content marketing to build their audience and sell their book — Part 2/4

Case study: A practical guide for authors who want to use content marketing to build their audience and sell their book — Part 2/4

  • K. M. Wade 
  • 5 min read

Welcome back to this series of posts designed to teach you how to use content marketing to grow your author business. In this series of posts I outline 12 steps that will help you use content marketing to build your audience and sell more books.

Note — If you haven’t yet read the previous blog post(s) in the series, I recommend you read those first then come back to this post to continue your learning. Here’s where you can find the overview post: A practical guide to using content marketing in your business, the others are below.

The 12 steps I outline are:

Part 1

  1. Recognise that you’re running a business
  2. Choose a focus for your first content marketing series
  3. Choose a market to target

Part 2 (this post)

  1. Choose which problem to focus on solving
  2. Find a topic for your first piece of content
  3. Plot the rest of the content series

Part 3

  1. Decide what types of content you’ll create
  2. Research SEO keywords
  3. Plan your content distribution and promotion

Part 4

  1. Create your content
  2. Create your distribution and promotion assets
  3. Create your copy

So, read on for details of the next three steps in this process.

Step 4 — Choose which problem to focus on solving

This is fairly easy for authors as each book is likely to solve one problem. If you’re writing a non-fiction book, typically it is designed to solve one problem so that’s the problem you focus on. For instance, if you’re writing a book about pest insects in the home garden, the problem you’re solving for your reader is that the reader has pest insects in their garden that are causing havoc. If you’re writing a book about building furniture, the problem you’re solving for your reader might be that they want quality furniture but can’t afford to buy it or it might be that they want custom furniture that perfectly matches their personality and style.

If you’re writing a fiction book, you might not think that you’re solving a problem for your reader but you absolutely are. Your reader needs a good book on x theme or from y genre. You might even go so far as to say your reader needs that kind of book to help them understand how that theme is playing out in their life or to help them escape from the horrible circumstance they find themselves in.

As an example, Terry Goodkind’s book Faith of the Fallen focuses on the concept that ‘your life is yours, rise up and live it’ and so the problem that his readers might be facing could be that they feel they don’t have any control over their lives or that they lack the courage to make a positive change in their lives.

Step 5 — Find a topic for your first piece of content

Once you know who you’re targeting and what problem you’re solving, you can then start planning your content series. The first step in that process is to pick a topic for the first piece of content.

The idea is to produce an initial piece of content that attracts your ideal reader. It could be directly related to your book or it might be seemingly unrelated. Ideally, it should be about a topic that your ideal reader would google but if you’ve got a strong social media following or engaged email list, you could also pick something that is just really interesting and relevant. Here are some examples of topics that could be used for the first piece of content in a content marketing series:

  • how to get rid of aphids for a book about dealing with garden pests
  • how to change a nappy for a book designed to distract cranky babies
  • a review of a good recent sci-fi novel for a sci-fi novel

Step 6 — Plot the rest of the content series

Once you’ve picked your first topic, then you need to come up with a sequence of topics that will lead your reader to your book. The number of pieces of content will vary depending on the type of book you’re selling and the initial topic you chose but typically you’ll have 3-6 pieces of content in a series.

If you’re still writing your book and want to keep potential readers engaged, you might produce an extended series of content. This is especially effective if you’re writing a non-fiction book.

Here are some examples of topics that could work for published works.

A book about dealing with garden pests

  1. How to get rid of aphids
  2. Other pests that typically infect gardens that have aphid infestations and how to deal with those pests
  3. How to prevent future pest infestations
  4. Gardening practices that deter pests (this could be one piece of content or a whole series)

A book designed to distract cranky babies

  1. How to change a nappy
  2. Baby change time challenges and what to do about them
  3. How to use books to distract cranky babies during nappy change time

A sci-fi novel

  1. Review of a good recent sci-fi novel
  2. If you loved that book here are 10 other sci-fi novels you will like
  3. A discount for a new sci-fi novel (your novel)

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Dr Kelly Wade

Dr Kelly Wade is a marketing strategist and author at K. M. Wade. She performs research and crafts content, copy and strategy to help businesses win more sales and generate sustainable growth. She’s also a scientist, gardening enthusiast and mother of two young children.

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