Kelly Williams asked me: “How do I know what to blog about? Sometimes I get stuck. Maybe I need a daily prompt generator!” I half-jokingly applied for the job. There’s an easier way though, and that’s what I want to share with Kelly and you all here today.
Honestly, I’m never at a loss for topics to write about and here’s my secret: keywords.
If you know what your marketing plan is, you’ll easily be able to identify your branding. Most writers (bloggers, authors, any kind of writer) have an idea of their branding, but many joke around about it (“it’s something ranchers do to cows”) or laugh it off as some fancy New York buzzword that’s oh, only been around for more than a century *cough cough.*
I start with keywords and branding as the foundation with my clients for a reason:
What are keywords/key phrases?
Keywords/key phrases are how you want people to identify you. It’s a way to manage their expectations. What this means is that you are consistent, but not stuck. Humans love to identify and categorize. We do this automatically, often subconsciously, based on cover art, colors, and yes, words.
Most authors have no idea how to answer these questions:
If you don’t know, your message will be all over the place. So your first assignment is to pick five or six keywords/key phrases that explain who you are. Notice I said who you are — not your book, blog/site or post. Why is that?
Because we brand the author, not the book (or blog post, or article). What do I mean?
Tip: Choose a name that represents you, the writer, not the title of your book or blog (unless it’s a business).
Why is that? Because you’ll likely write more than one book, one article, one post. I see so many writers create blogs, or Facebook pages, or websites that highlight only one aspect, and you are clearly more than one-dimensional, right?
Real- life example: For my author blog, I focus on five keywords: sex abuse, loss, real life, relationships, social media. These are true interests of mine, what I write about and am naturally drawn to, and what I ask guest writers to share as well. My site is named after me, not a book title (I have five books out at this point).
In fact, I use these keywords across my entire platform, so if you visit my author Twitter stream, Facebook page, Google+ page, Pinterest account, or read my books, you will see consistency. However, I also throw in humor, Nutella, cooking (er, lack thereof), family, and poetry, (what I refer to as back-up keywords) because these are also other interests that add to my overall branding, and show I’m authentically real.
It’s all cool to identify your keywords — seriously, it’s a fun exercise — but now what?
You must apply these keywords to your platform! But, how? It’s nothing complicated (if you’re really techie, you can create spreadsheets, analyze data, research which keywords get the most clicks — okay, actually, I do that — I admit to some tech stuff — but here’s my complicated solution: write them on a few sticky notes and post them all over your office. Stick one on your forehead if you have to.
You should know your keywords as well as you know your social security number.
Tip: I use Hootsuite (the paid version which come on, it’s not that expensive ($8.99/mo) — invest in yourself already!) to curate content and they have a great little feature that allows you to enter up to three keywords, which then pulls up relevant articles. You decide whether or not they fit within your branding, and click to schedule. Buffer also has a ‘suggested content’ feature, but it doesn’t allow you to enter specific keywords.
Reminder: While it’s your author platform, your content isn’t all about you. Don’t be that annoying “Buy my book!” “Read my blog!” person we all avoid. With keywords, you share lots of different topics that discuss your interests, which creates what? Interest and manages expectations. Utilize this to build your reader base and relationships.
Real-life example: Besides, I created #MondayBlogs specifically for people to share their blog posts (absolutely NO book promo). Share your blog posts any Monday, get a whole bunch of followers and site traffic, if you do it right. Read more here.
Why keywords matter
Usually, we look at your overall author platform from two perspectives: relationship building or SEO. Most authors focus on hanging out on Facebook to discuss/argue politics or religion, trying to prove their point about something or other, not really thinking about much more than an occasional ‘Buy my book!’ promotion and sharing something about cats.
I’m telling you now because I’m a bossy little thing, you need to focus on both relationships and SEO, and the selling will come. Tip: Chill. Stop using your damn personal account for pitching, because Facebook is shutting people down for that (it’s against their guidelines). Create a Facebook page — it’s easy, free, and you can connect it to your Hootsuite or Buffer account in a snap.
Real-life example: I love using Woo Box (the free version) to add tabs, and activate the Notes application to add blog posts or articles to your Facebook page. Some readers are only ever on Facebook and never leave. Capture their attention by having everything there, as well as on your blog/website.
Looking for more tips? Download a free editorial calendar from CoSchedule (and read their FAB blog), go on over to Buffer’s blog, and I also enjoy tips from Social Media Examiner, and of course, take a look through my past blog posts, or share your tips here with me!
Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month - created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs, #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with Melissa Flickinger) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with certified therapist/survivor, Bobbi Parish all live Twitter chats. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.