Over the past few years, content marketing has gained popularity as a marketing strategy. And rightfully so—businesses all over the world are successfully using blog posts and social media to gain customers, clients, and brand fans. In fact, content marketing converts people to paying customers at a rate SIX TIMES higher than other/traditional methods. While it’s becoming a no-brainer for businesses, content marketing and having a content strategy is just as important for solopreneurs, writers, and authors.
You might not realize it yet, but if you’re writing full-time or trying to become a published author, you’re running a business and it will greatly benefit you to think of it from that perspective. And that’s why a content strategy is integral to your success as a writer.
Here are three reasons why:
A website is a key piece of your content strategy. Think of it as the one place where all of your information and work lives: your bio, your published clips, links to your books, and a place where you can share who you are and what you do. A website will help you stay up-to-date and relevant with your audience, not to mention that potential agents and publishers want to see that you have a following or readership (aka people who are already interested in what you have to say). It’s the best way to establish yourself as an expert on your topic.
A website also allows you to develop a mailing list. If someone signs up for your emails, they are already interested in what you have to say and offer, so it’s one of the easier ways to convert fans to customers by putting your content and offers directly in their inbox.
Maybe you have a product and your goal is to sell books or a course. Maybe you’re building your author platform and are looking to gain followers. Whatever your goals might be, a content strategy will help you get there by creating blog posts and content that take your readers through the marketing funnel. (Don’t worry—it’s not as complicated as you think!)
Basically, a marketing funnel is how people go from readers or just being aware of your product to paying customers. If you sell anything at all, you should be mindful of the funnel. Some have more steps than others, but in short, the top of the funnel is all about building awareness, getting your name out there, and getting readers. Once they are interested in what you have to say, you put out content that is a little more in-depth and educates them on a particular topic. After you’ve established a relationship with them as an expert or someone they can trust, you can start adding in content that offers them the opportunity to work with you or buy from you. It’s all about relationship-building.
What does this look like for an author selling a book?
First, build awareness of your name as an author and bring in more readers with top-of-the-funnel content that gets attention, provides helpful information, etc. without trying to sell them anything. Once you build up readership (or if you already have a solid readership), you will continue to publish content at the top of the funnel to draw in new readers, but start mixing in content designed to get engagement (how-tos, expertise articles, etc.). Finally, once you have a decent readership and solid engagement (you can check those things with a tool like Google Analytics), you’re ready to add in a few pieces of content promoting your work and offering your book. A healthy mix of content will keep these readers and customers interested and coming back.
The best thing you can do for your blog or website is to publish content consistently. Whether that’s once a week or twice a month, your readers will start to look forward to your blog posts when they know when to expect it.
Having a plan for that content will keep you focused so that you don’t have to stare at your computer wondering what to write about because it’s Tuesday and a post needs to go up. One way to create a content plan is to sit down and plan out the whole month at the beginning of each month. Another way is to plan 3-6 months out at a time, focusing on a different theme each month.
(Tip: When you’re planning out your content, consider how to incorporate keywords into each post to incorporate SEO, or search engine optimization, which is how people will find you from a Google search.)
When you’re planning out your content, consider how to incorporate keywords into each post to incorporate SEO, or search engine optimization, which is how people will find you from a Google search.
If you’re ready to try content marketing, there’s more involved than just sitting down and scheduling out content. If you are completely new to this, you may want to hire someone to help you create a content strategy, but either way, you’ll want to consider the following questions:
There are plenty of resources out there to help you get started. Two of the most helpful include:
If this is all new to you, it may feel a little overwhelming, but it’s worth putting in the work to set up a focused plan and get those readers rolling in!
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Abbie lives in Colorado with her fiancé, three dogs, and one guinea pig. She likes to write about a variety of topics, including social/environmental issues, adventure travel, sports, and health/wellness.
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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 and two live Twitter chats: #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with TheRuralVA, Emilie Rabitoy) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with C. Streetlights and Judith Staff. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.
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