Content Marketing for Authors
Using blogs and social media to sell more books and grow your author business
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is basically a way of communicating and building a relationship with your ideal audience to get results.
Think of an author page on social media that you look forward to reading because the posts are funny/educational/informative/entertaining. That’s one element of content marketing.
If you learn the basics, content marketing can create a whole raft of opportunities for you. And if done properly, your content will boost your author reputation, online presence, and book sales.
As with everything on your author journey, though, it looks tricky until you try it.
Content marketing comes in all kinds of forms:
- email marketing
- guest articles
- social media posts
- lead magnets
- online courses
And the best part about it is you get to experiment and discover what you feel comfortable with. When you find out what works best for you (ie gets the most engagement from your readers/followers) and brings you the quickest and best results, you’ll be able to do more of that and forget the rest.
Why is Content Marketing so Important
Marketing is an essential cog in every business. And as an author, it’s vital you embrace the benefits it brings. Entertaining and engaging content represents your author brand, ethos and ideas. Do it properly, and it’s a win win.
If you’ve written a non-fiction book, content marketing will communicate your expertise with your audience and encourage them to take action.
If you’re a fiction writer, then the strategy behind your content marketing is ultimately to build a relationship with your audience, pique their interest, encourage them to buy, leave you a 5* review, and join the waiting list for your next book.
It does require work and patience.
Don’t just set up your blog or social media pages, slap on any old content and expect your book sales to go through the roof.
You need to learn how to use your content strategically; understand what to write about and where and when to use it. And please remember, it’s a cliché, but it’s true … content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s more about consistency than speed.
Whilst it can feel overwhelming if you’re new to this (and let’s face it, you probably didn’t envisage becoming a content marketer when you published your first book), you’ll soon discover what works for you and find your natural voice.
As a writer myself, I love creating content for my business. And I’m sure you will, too, once you get to grips with everything. It’s a fab opportunity to share your craft, boost your credibility as an author, and keep visible.
Blogging for authors
Blogging could be the best way to start your content marketing journey. After all, writing is your passion, and what better way to share your style and craft?
If you have little to no budget, don’t panic because you can set up a free website for your blog. Check out: wordpress.com, blogger, Weebly, Wix and Tumblr. That said, if the thought of running a website brings you out in hives, forget about it. You can still write blogs and share them on places like quora.com and linkedin.com. You can also add articles to Medium.com (and get paid for them too – conditions apply, but it’s worth looking into). These are great ways to blog without the responsibility of hosting and growing a blogging platform.
Top tip – draft out your author blog in Microsoft Word first, rather than writing directly into your website. It’s always a good idea to have a backup copy of your blog, and you can repurpose it into social media posts, ebooks, reports etc with ease.
What can authors blog about?
You don’t need to go in for the ‘hard sell’ with every blog you write. Focus instead on:
> building relationships so your followers will want to read your blog and subsequently, your books
> talking about your life as a writer – what sparked your love of writing, how you typically organise your writing time, why you enjoy writing, where you write, your daily routine, the writing process
> creating screenshots of your current WIP (work-in-progress) – the word counts, cover reveals, that kind of stuff
> sharing links to your favourite writing or reading resources/books/podcasts/influencers
Social media for authors
Social media gives us authors a fabulous and free opportunity to showcase our creativity, writing talents and books. BUT, oh my goodness, it’s noisy out there. Consistently posting on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and every other available platform can quickly become a full-time job. And that’s without replying to comments and engaging with your followers. Heck, when would you find time to write your next book?
My advice? Work out (through trial and error if needs be):
- which platform(s) you’re most comfortable with
- where your ideal readers tend to lurk
Choose one or two social media platforms to really focus on and forget about the rest.
If you’re stuck for content ideas, write your blogs first (using the above content ideas/prompts) and then break them down into smaller sections to use as posts.
Content marketing doesn’t have to be time-consuming or boring. If it’s completely new to you, check out these three resources to make things easier:
* The Sixers – my 6-month content marketing club (June to December 2022 only – one-off investment of £30)
Self-Publishing Services for UK Independent Authors