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:
- Recognise that you’re running a business
- Choose a focus for your first content marketing series
- Choose a market to target
- Choose which problem to focus on solving
- Find a topic for your first piece of content
- Plot the rest of the content series
- Decide what types of content you’ll create
- Research SEO keywords
- Plan your content distribution and promotion
Part 4 (this post)
- Create your content
- Create your distribution and promotion assets
- Create your copy
So, read on for details of the last three steps in this process.
Step 10 — Create your content
If you’ve done all the above steps, now it’s time to actually create your content. Written content is likely going to be right up your alley because you’re a writer and presumably you have good writing skills. Having said that, writing a blog post is different to writing a book and there are lots of bits and pieces that can make or break a post. So you might like to check out this guide to writing a great blog post — it outlines 8 steps to follow for a great result and includes a guide to writing the SEO particulars of a post.
When it comes to the other types of content go ahead and create it if you’ve got the skills and tools you need. Free tools like Canva and Adobe Spark Post make it easier to create great pictures and infographics though you might still choose to hire someone to create those for you. Similarly, anyone with a smartphone can create videos for Facebook Live and YouTube but you may choose to hire someone to create videos of a higher quality than what you can create yourself. Emails can be a tricky beast. You might be able to create your own email newsletter to keep fans up to date on new book releases but if you’re creating a content marketing email campaign designed to get prospective readers to make their first book purchase from you, then you’ll probably benefit from hiring someone to craft an effective email marketing campaign unless you’ve had email marketing training.
Regardless of the kind of content you choose to produce, be sure to create something that has real value for your potential readers. Content marketing is most effective when businesses make a real effort to produce content that is truly useful or interesting for their target audience. If you do this for your ideal readers, it will create trust and show them that you’re worth their money. It’s also a great opportunity to show potential readers that you know what you’re talking about (or that you know how to write good fiction).
Step 11 — Create your distribution and promotion assets
Once you have your content, you can create your distribution and promotion assets. Some of it is easy to create while some of the most useful social media assets may require the help of an expert. Often creating social media content is time-consuming.
Crafting offline content is often a case of repurposing your digital content. Creating social media content can be as easy as selecting quotes from your blog post or a short clip from your video.
If you’re distributing your content on a forum, take the time to craft meaningful contributions to the discussions. If you just post a link to your content you’ll likely end up being blocked for spamming the community.
If you’re trying to get your content featured as a guest contribution on someone else’s blog, review website or podcast you’ll need to craft an awesome pitch (whether written or verbal) to give to the outlet’s owner or content manager.
When you’re sharing content on your own social media channels, you can schedule your content in advance using one of the free tools like Buffer, Hootsuite and RecurPost. For other distribution methods, you’ll probably want to set aside a certain amount of time each week to look for relevant opportunities to share your content.
Crafting effective distribution and promotion assets is a skill unto itself. Have a good go at it yourself before you consider hiring someone to help you. At the very least, this will give you a better idea of what you need help with. I’ll be creating some examples you might use for inspiration. If you want to be notified when they’re available, fill out the form at the bottom of this blog post.
Step 12 — Create your copy
The last piece of content in your content marketing series needs to link to information about your book. That might be a landing page that links to places where readers can buy your book or it might be the book’s sales page itself.
Generally, the best way to set this part of your sales funnel up is to create a landing page that’s specifically targeted at your ideal reader. This can then link to the places where prospective readers can buy your book (and those places can have the more generic, but still awesome, sales copy).
This landing page should focus on telling your prospective reader what they’ll get out of your book (the benefits rather than the features) and why they should choose your book over any other book on the market. This is easier to do if your book is non-fiction or an educational fiction book (such as an educational children’s picture book).
If your book doesn’t fall into either of those categories your landing page can instead focus on the experience your book gives. Use your landing page to tell prospective readers what your book will make them feel.
Your landing page gives you a chance to really market your book in the way that works best for your book and your target audience. You can add videos and images, style text and even add animations. Your text can be as long or as short as you want and your formatting options are limited only by your imagination. The platform/s on which you sell your book severely limit your marketing options so don’t rely on your sales page on any given platform to sell your book. Those sales pages are necessary so you can market to potential readers who find your book through the platform but you’ve got way better options when you’re funnelling potential readers to your sales page through your content.
Where to from here
Once you’ve set up for your first content marketing series make sure you monitor your campaign’s performance so you know how well it’s performing and can make changes to improve it over time. Once you know what works for your audience, you can create additional campaigns for other books, other target audiences or other problems that your books solve.
Check out the following articles to learn more about how to do this:
I’ll also be producing more blog posts, case studies and other content on this topic. To be the first to know when I publish something of interest subscribe to my mailing list.
If you find you need a bit more help with your content marketing, don’t hesitate to reach out to an expert for advice, training or to take advantage of the services they offer. To that end, if you have a question, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. If you’ve got a limited budget, I suggest you hire a strategist to produce an integrated content strategy for your author business. Provided you have the time and resources required to implement it yourself this is the most efficient and cost-effective way to get professional help with your content marketing. There are cheaper ways to get help but you won’t get the same results. Similarly, there are ways to get more comprehensive help that will produce an even better result but they cost more.
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