I can hear the groans across the interwebs. For most authors, marketing is a grudge job, as bad, or worse, than having to mop the floor (my personal bugbear). And what is it about dishes and laundry that ensure the sink and the clothes basket are never empty? You finish one round and have to start on the next. It’s the same with Instagram, newsletters and other forms of everyday marketing.
Are you reaching for the wine yet?
Comparing everyday marketing to household chores might seem like a bad idea, dropping it into the hated I-don’t-have-time-for-this jobs’ jar. But it is realistic in that it is SOMETHING THAT HAS TO BE DONE, regularly if not every day. Even if you are lucky enough to have an assistant to pass it off to, it still has to be done.
The trick is to find a way to make it manageable. If you are an organized, plotter type of person, create a schedule and allocate specific times to creating content and posting. If you are a pantser, identify topics that you enjoy so that you want to travel down the rabbit hole and share your knowledge. The best is to combine these two approaches – and work smart.
Everyday marketing takes place online. The first thing to do is decide which platforms you want to work with. It would be wonderful to be a guru across all the platforms, but we all have our preferences. Choose a medium that favours your strengths.
Twitter is best for people who are snarky or passionate about public affairs or a particular cause. Instagram and Pinterest are great for visual people who like taking and sharing photos and video. Facebook becomes more visual with each passing year, but it’s also the most social of the online platforms, encouraging interaction and chat. Joining FB groups and participating is a good way to build a support network. Blogs are great for diarists and the detail-orientated. Newsletters are a must for everyone and the best platform for sales talk about new releases, weekend specials, etc. Bookbub and your Amazon author page are also excellent sales vehicles and require hardly any maintenance after set-up, only new book updates. GoodReads is great if you like to review what you read.
You can double up and use content from your social media feeds to flesh out your newsletter. Unless you have a stalker, your followers won’t see every post you write, especially with the constant changes Apps like Facebook make to their algorithms. It is okay to post the same content across different platforms. However, it is best to create an original post on each platform. If you share, people often see only the link and not your content on first sight.
Next, identify content pillars you can use to create your marketing material. A content pillar is nothing more than a topic you are comfortable with and knowledgeable about. Perhaps you are a research junkie who loves to share your discoveries. Perhaps you have adorable and photogenic pets you like to talk about. Perhaps you love to share what you read. Hobbies are an endless source of material, so if you are passionate about cooking, sewing, gardening, jewellery-making, painting, origami, travel, cliff diving, footy, motor racing, amateur theatre, or sword-fighting, share!
By sharing your passions, you create a connection and rapport with readers without always having to say, ‘Buy my book, buy my book, buy my book.’ People buy from people they know, trust and like. You don’t have to give up your privacy and share your whole life; you decide what to share to help readers can differentiate you from their next-door neighbour and your competition.
Then, decide how much time you can devote to marketing. Every day would be fabulous, but if you can only do it Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, that’s good too. Just be consistent and committed.
Finally, there are free tools you can use to schedule and make your life easier. You can set it up so that you spend one afternoon a week creating posts and scheduling them. After that, all you have to do is pop online occasionally to see if you need to respond to anything.
Good free scheduling tools include Hootesuite and Buffer. Both have paid options, but you don’t need them. Canva is great for producing images even if you have never created one before. VSCO is the millennials’ choice for video editing, and I see no reason to argue with them. To learn more about the best free social media online management tools, check out this article: https://www.bluleadz.com/blog/best-free-social-media-management-tools.
If you make marketing fun and easy, it won’t feel like a panic-inducing, intrusive time-thief. As a bonus, you’ll discover like-minded souls you enjoy spending time with.
Coming up in forthcoming posts: bad publicity, what you can learn from a rejection; identifying your sub-genre; publishing trends; paperback vs ebook sales; defining success, and more.
Laura Boon Russell
Laura is a bookaholic and tennis tragic. She became entangled in publishing after reading Georgette Heyer’s These Old Shades and ‘stealing’ The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss from her father’s bookshelves as a teenager. She has worked as a bookseller, sales rep, publicist and freelance editor. She is forever indebted to the RWA for giving her the courage and the tools to write the stories she wants to tell. She has three books out in the wild: The Millionaire Mountain Climber (Wild Rose Press), Lion Dancing for Love (Wild Rose Press) and The Ten-Step Publicity Plan for Authors (indie).
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