Content marketing has become a bit of a buzzword in author circles this year. With advertising becoming tougher and more expensive, and Amazon making it harder to get organic sales, authors are looking for other ways to reach new readers, develop a fanbase and ultimately sell books. Author member Rachel McCollin is here to show you how you content marketing for fiction and nonfiction can help.
Content Marketing for Fiction and Nonfiction
Content marketing is most beneficial to nonfiction authors, although it can work for fiction authors too. In this post I’ll look at some of the ways you can use content marketing to attract new readers, build an army of fans, and sell books. But first…
What is Content Marketing?
Content Marketing is any form of marketing that uses content, rather than ads or giveaways, to publicize you and your work and to reach readers. For many authors, it’s focused on their newsletter, but there are plenty of other media you can use for content marketing: websites, social media, podcasting, video, interviews… the list goes on.
Content marketing is organic. Unless you pay for SEO (which I wouldn’t recommend), it’s about attracting readers without ads and demonstrating to them that your writing is something they should be interested in.
Don’t expect content marketing to bring quick results. It’s a long game. Many websites won’t start getting real traction with the search engines until they’ve been around for a year, with fresh content being added for all that time. But once you’ve got the hang of it, the beauty of content marketing is that it’s evergreen. Anyone who’s googled something about self-publishing and found an old post on the ALLi blog will have benefited from that.
Content Marketing for Nonfiction
If you write nonfiction, I would say that content marketing is essential.
This could be a blog, newsletter, podcast and/or YouTube channel. But if your book is designed to help people learn something or solve a problem, then you need to prove your expertise. Content marketing is the way you do that.
Share advice, experiences, anecdotes and case studies. Work hard on your SEO. Then people will find your content and it will give them confidence in your knowledge and your writing… making it more likely they will sign up for your mailing list and buy your books.
Content Marketing for Fiction
It’s tempting to think that content marketing isn’t appropriate for fiction, but that isn’t true. If you run an author newsletter (and you really should), that’s content marketing. You can add to this with other channels such as a blog, podcast or social media accounts.
But if you’re a fiction author, what do you share in your content? After all, people aren’t coming to you for advice.
Here are just a few things you might share in your fiction content marketing:
- Short stories.
- Anecdotes about your writing process.
- Stories about how you get your inspiration.
- Information from your research.
- News about your writing and your books.
- Reviews and recommendations for books in your genre.
You may be thinking that readers don’t want to hear about you, but you’re wrong. Readers are fascinated by authors. The posts on my blog that get the most interest are the ones about how I write. Many readers are in awe of people who can finish a book, and have a secret desire to do it themselves. Don’t underestimate that.
How to Use Content Marketing to Grow an Audience
So you’ve spent some time identifying the kind of content you’re going to share: how do you use it strategically to grow an audience?
Accept that this will take time. Content marketing, unlike advertising, trends to attract the kind of people who are going to follow you for a long time, but it does so at a slower rate. It may be frustrating at first, but a fan picked up now could be a fan for your next ten books. If one blog post attracted that person to your site, that blog post has got you ten sales. Probably more.
So pace yourself. Don’t publish dozens of blog posts or videos at once. Set yourself a content marketing schedule you know you can stick to and that won’t eat into your writing time. Even if you can only post once a month, over time that content will build up. One piece of content each month for five years is sixty posts, videos or podcasts that will still be doing their job, attracting new readers and cementing your relationship with your existing ones.
(Although if you write nonfiction, I’d advise adding new content to your website every week, to keep your search engine rankings healthy.)
Get Started With Your Content Marketing Now
Content marketing isn’t as quick a fix for book sales as running ads, but it could reap greater rewards in the long run. The content you create is part of your body of work; it will be there for many years after you produce it.
If you haven’t started content marketing for fiction or your nonfiction yet, the best time to start his right now. Try creating a blog to start with and see how things develop from there. Good luck!
Find out more about Rachel on her website. Rachel also runs a newsletter with weekly writing, publishing and marketing tips, including info on online marketing, and a free book. You can find out more right here.
OVER TO YOU
How have you used content marketing to sell your books? What content marketing tips and tricks do you have?
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