You might be doing content marketing as an author already. You might be a superstar marketing whizz and not need to read this at all.
However, I was doing marketing as an author and thought I was doing fairly well – I was writing blog posts, sharing stuff on social media…what else could I do, right?
Well, after starting work as a content writer this year, and learning so much more about marketing and SEO, I realised many authors are not doing as much as they could be, because they don’t know the small details that could make a difference.
With content marketing and SEO for authors, your goal is to reach people who are looking for what you’re about, and getting search engines to rank you highly. This means more people finding you, and discovering your books!
Content marketing doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll sell more books (immediately) but it’s about staking out your little corner of the internet and making it easier for those books to capture attention – it’s not to be ignored!
So, here’s a few content marketing and SEO tips to bear in mind:
Work out what you have to offer, and what people want from you. This is about finding your angle, knowing why your readers like your books, and offering them what they want. Maybe they want character’s backstories, or snippets from your new books, but maybe they want to know how you did it, or what you’re reading? Explore what you have to offer and write that for blog posts (both for your blog and others).
Consistency is the key to good marketing – get yourself a way of scheduling posts, tweets and facebook posts (I use Hootsuite) and make sure to keep offering something relevant and interesting to your readers. Every blog post you put out there is a link back to your book. Think of it as a bunch of islands out on the internet all leading back to your homeland. Just remember to offer good value – you have a voice, use it!
Link it up! It’s not enough to just link to your book on Amazon, put links in your blog posts – link to other blogs, to previous articles, to the things that inspired you. Make sure you get links back from other blogs when you get a mention – and (pro tip!) make sure the linking phrase (the highlighted words) are the words you want google to associate with you. So I might want A L Michael’s books to be my link text. Or bestelling books by A L Michael. What you don’t want? ‘Click this link here’. You know why? You’re basically telling Google to associate you with the word ‘here’ – what a waste!
Metadata matters! You’re a writer – you know the difference a word can make. So make sure all of your words are focused on what you need to say! That means URLs need to be clear!
For example, if I’ve written an article on how to create an author website, it’s better for it to be http://www.almichael/blog/author-website than it is http://www.almichael.com/blog/post-10989098 – make your words work for you! Similarly, metadata is the information search engines use to assess what your site and your content is about. If you have access to your metadata, make it clear, concise and informative! This info will be the descriptions that pop up on Google, the titles and is basically definitive of your brand (when publishers talk about the metadata for books on Amazon, it’s similar, but not the same thing).
Find what works for you – you do not have to do ALL social media. Some authors don’t like having a website. What content marketing and social media will do is build a presence, it’s you staking a claim on a piece of land. You’re planting your flag – but the thing is, there are so many other flags out there, waving about, you’ve got to make yours special. Find the people you want – that means knowing who your readers are. If you write historical novels and you know the age group is older, maybe they won’t be on Twitter. So if you hate Twitter, and your audience isn’t on there, why bother? Social media is a standard part of our lives now, but only pick the one that works for both you and your audience. If you’re writing YA, and you’re comfortable using something like Snapchat or Instagram, why wouldn’t you? Spend the time figuring out who your readers are, and use that knowledge to pick the right forms of social media for you.
I know most writers only want to be writing books and leave the rest of all the marketing crap behind, but I’m afraid even traditionally published authors have to take up the mantle and get themselves out there. Books won’t sell themselves, and the more you have to offer around your books, the better positioned you’ll be.
If you have any tips for marketing, put them in the comments!