Content Marketing Ideas for Authors

Content marketing is all the rage. Content marketing is a long-term strategy for building relationships with customers and potential customers by giving them something valuable for free.

Authors who create content around their books and offer this content free in their email newsletters, on their websites and blogs, and on social media can gain trust with an audience. Trust leads to more sales. Remember, people do business with those they trust.

Creating content can be time consuming. Some authors complain that create content takes away from the time they have to write more books.

Enter content curation. Content curation is the act of collecting, assembling, and presenting content that relates to your books. With content curation, instead of creating all the content they share, authors can share content that others have created that relates to their topic.

There are a number of services online that will help you collect and curate content for free or a small fee. These include:

  • Pocket: Pocket is a great place to capture and store the content that comes your way. You can store images, videos, and articles in Pocket for later reference when creating a curation of content to share with your readers.
  • Scoop.it: Scoop.it allows you to research and publish content through its curation tool.
  • Feedly: Feedly allows you to aggregate content by storing the information from your favorite sources all in one place.

An interesting and different idea of content curation for fiction authors recently crossed my path. I found the idea intriguing and creative.

Content curation does not just have to just be articles, memes, or videos. Content curation can also apply to lists. You can share lists with your readers. These lists don’t just have to be a list that the author recommends, they can be a list one of the characters in your book might have.

list of ideas

For example, you can have your characters create some lists. These could include:

  • A list of song that your protagonist would have on his Spotify playlist.
  • A list of books that your protagonist would have on her bookshelf.
  • A list of favorite recipes from one of your main characters.
  • A list of relationship tips from one of your book’s characters.

You can then share these lists with your readers on your website, in your emails, as a Pinterest board, and on your social media sites. Get creative.

Content marketing does not just have to be the material you create. You can share material others create. When sharing curated content, be sure to give credit to the author and include a link to where the author originally posted the material.

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How to Gain More Readers for Your Books

All authors face the one same challenge: Finding readers for their books.

All sorts of gimmicks exist to lure customers to purchase products. Advertising experts even study which words and phrases work best for grabbing people’s attention. Tested Selling Institute and Word Laboratory Inc. looked at words and phrases salespeople could use to get customers to buy. They discovered a few magic words that tend to grab attention include:

  • New
  • Advice
  • At last
  • Truth
  • Love
  • Facts you should know

Advertising legend Robert Collier believed that writing advertising text was like a science. He used the studies done by Tested Selling Institute and Word Laboratory Inc. and applied their findings to printed advertising. Collier’s own research revealed that the word “how” in an advertising headline appeared to be the most useful word in improving the success of an advertising piece.

Each of these words reveals that people are searching for answers. People want practical solutions to their problems. They want to improve their lives.

I frequently say that marketing is simply letting people know that you have the answer to a need in their life. If you publish books, your book meets a need in someone’s life.

We all know that advertising is expensive and often does not have a very high return, especially for books. After all, people need to see and hear about a product multiple times before they decide to make a purchase (with the exception of impulse buys). So, what other marketing techniques can authors use to grab readers’ attention?

Enter content marketing. Content marketing is about sharing information that educates, inspires, and entertains readers. Content marketing allows an author to develop trust with an audience so that these people buy the author’s books.

If you are interested in learning more about content marketing and how you can use this powerful tool to grow the audience for your books, I encourage you to watch my new on-demand seminar Grow Your Audience with Content Marketing. This 40-minute seminar will walk you through six practical steps for sharing content on a regular basis to grow your audience.

As always, these on-demand seminars are free for Members of Christian Small Publishers Association. Other publishers and authors can access this seminar, Grow Your Audience with Content Marketing, for just $15 online at https://mcbuniversity.selz.com.

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What Your Readers Want

Every author wants to attract readers for their books. After all, readers equal sales.

But, what do readers want? How do you attract readers to your books?

Enter content marketing. Content marketing is about providing your potential readers with information that inspires, delights, entertains, or meets a need. Providing readers with regular content via your blog, social media accounts, and email newsletters helps you establish an ongoing relationship with readers. This relationship and useful, quality content nudges these readers toward your books.

what-do-readers-want

Content is everywhere on the Internet. So, how do you as an author get your content to stand out from the crowd to attract readers? Following are four tips to help you develop and curate content that is attractive.

1. Meets a Need
Your content must meet a need. Whether that need is to inspire people into a closer relationship with God, better financial or time management, or learning to understand their inherent self-worth, your information must resonate with your audience.

2. Is Niche Focused
Your content must be niche focused. In other words, instead of inspiring everyone to have a closer relationship with God, focus on inspiring a group of people such as students or mothers or teachers in this regard. The more you focus your content for a specific group of people, the more attractive your message will be.

3. Has a Unique Voice
You must develop your own voice. Don’t mimic others. Be yourself. Be unique. You have a special message for your audience. Use your voice and experience to present your information in a way that only you can.

4. Includes a Clear Point of View
Don’t muddy the waters by trying to be all things to all people. Your point of view should be clear and focused on your niche audience. Stay on topic. Don’t get sidetracked. If your message is about prayer, keep to prayer. If it is about relationships, don’t stray into financial issues.

You can attract more readers through top quality content. However, that content must also meet a need for a niche group and be presented with a unique voice and clear point of view.

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Photo courtesy of Freddie Marriage

Are You Grammatically Correct?

Knowing what keeps readers engaged and what turns them off is important when producing written materials.

Surprisingly, the most often cited complaint in book reviews by BookCrash reviewers (Christian Small Publishers Association’s Books for Bloggers program) is grammar and spelling errors. Reviewers will state things like:

  • “I would have given the book a higher rating if it had been edited better.”
  • “The grammar and spelling errors kept me from enjoying the book.”

Turning readers off through grammar and spelling errors is not just true for books. It is true for your marketing materials as well.

grammar

Boomerang, an email management tool, ran a study on this idea. The company used an automated grammar-checking software to spot errors in email subject lines. The company found that grammatical mistakes in email subject lines correlates with fewer responses to the email. Here are the particulars:

  • Mistake-free email subject lines received a 34% response rate, while those with errors only had a 29% response rate.
  • The more errors in the subject line, the less likely email recipients responded.
  • Response rates fell 14% when subject lines had two or more mistakes when compared with those that were mistake free.
  • The mistake most punished by non-response was not capitalizing the first letter in a subject line sentence.

In addition, a previous study by Boomerang found that email subject lines that were extremely short or long also had reduced response rates. Surprisingly, Boomerang’s study also found that emails sent on Monday were more likely to contain grammatical errors than those sent Tuesday through Friday.

So, if you use emails as part of your marketing efforts to promote your books, you can take a few lessons from this study.

  1. Don’t write your emails on Monday. If you are going to send out an email on Monday, write it the week before and save it for Monday.
  2. Don’t make your email subject lines too long or two short. The six-word rule for headlines is a good one to follow for email subject lines.
  3. Check your emails for grammatical errors before sending. You can use a free online tool like Grammark to do this quickly and efficiently.

Email is still one of the strongest marketing tools that independent authors and small publishers have at their disposal. When used correctly, email marketing can bring good results. Make sure that poor grammar does not get in the way of people responding to your messages.

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Photo courtesy of NordWood Themes