Author Marketing: What to focus on FIRST?!

Time is our most precious commodity. When an author takes time to market online, I get asked, “What platform should I focus on first?”. Our answer is always the same: YOUR WEBSITE.  I will show you why:

With the explosion of social media, websites have lost their “sexy” for sure. We feel however, the website should be the heart of your author marketing strategy.  WHY? Because your website is the only content on the internet that you truly own. Someone once said that if you are posting content to a product, you ARE the product… which is true. Why rent when you can own? Why lease when you can pay cash?

Author's website should be what you focus on FIRST!

I hope to convince folks with the table below that focusing first on your website is a must. I have listed the top 4 places authors should focus their marketing efforts and why the Website should be #1 on any author’s list:

 

Author Marketing Rule

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Google Plus

Do you OWN the content you post?

YES

No

No

No

Can the rules used to post content (type, frequency) be changed at any time?

NO

Yes

Yes

Yes

Is your content visible to anyone on the internet?

YES

Limited

Limited

Limited

Is the type of content you post restricted?

NO

Yes

Yes

Yes

Is your content indexed, viewable and searchable via search engines?

YES

NO (limited)

 

 

Can you easily sell other content on this platform?

YES

NO (limited

 

 

Is your content findable via mobile devices?

YES

(Limited)

 

 

Can you the author, control what users post about you or your book on this platform?

YES

NO

No

No

Can you use the content created on this platform on other platforms?

YES

Limited

Limited

Limited

Do you have unrestricted access to analytics to this platform?

Yes

No

No

No

Can you advertise and promote freely on this platform?

Yes

No

No

No

Is your privacy protected on this platform?

Yes

No

No

No

 

We have our authors FIRST focus on the 2 areas of marketing that they truly own, their author website and their email marketing lists. After we have the two main marketing tools tuned up and working properly, we start using the content we create on these platforms within their social media streams. The overall goal when marketing authors and their books is to build their brand and to sell books and the best way to do that is to have a polished Website.

Time is a precious community, as authors we need to maximize the impact of our marketing efforts. This is another reason why I like leveraging the author website. Most websites out there today provide the ability to create a blog post or content directly on the website with a unique URL (ie: http://425media.com/author-why-becoming-genre-sme-important). Did you know that you could take that URL and paste it into almost every social media website and the image of the post as well as a teaser of the post will AUTOMATICLY be imported? It’s true. Type it once, share it multiple times! You know the kicker? When the user clicks on the post, they are directed right to your website where we are able connect with them further and sell them additional content! Win, win, WIN!

Let us know if you need help with your author website. There is a list of features that every author website should have. Download this list and give it to your website nerd and make sure you have each of these components!

 

As an Author, why is becoming a genre SME important?

First off, let’s talk about what IS a genre SME (subject matter expert). Being a genre SME means you are a person of “authority” within a genre. This idea of “authority” is not new to the internet. Google and Bing both place HUGE importance on authority. In fact, they both have mentioned that eventually, the author of the content will matter more than the content itself. That being said, to become relevant with the interwebs, you must establish yourself as an authority, or a SME. 
Why does being a SME help you sell books and market yourself? Great question! Here is an example. If you have a friend who has been a plumber for years and you have heard stories about he or she has tackled difficult issues, saved home owners money and got excited about new advances in plumbing technologies, wouldn’t you trust that person? Wouldn’t you go to that person for advice? Yes you would.

The same goes for us as authors. The more that we talk about, help out and create information that is within our genre, the more people (and search engines) will trust our work. The reason why I bring up search engines is that search, whether it be on our desktop, tablet or phone is the #1 way people find information about us and our writing genre. Our content needs to come up when someone searches for our genre, tall order, but it is a goal we need to work towards.

1.    Understand YOUR content the best. You MUST know everything about your work. The back stories, the research, the references, everything. You must know your work first.

2.    You understand your genre. You must understand the history and the future of the genre.

3.    Know the readers. Find and join all genre related reader and fan sites, groups, Facebook pages, sign up for newsletters, etc. You are a fan of the genre, there is no shame in letting others know you are a fan of the genre too. It helps get your name out there as well as keeping your finger on the pulse of the fans. Ask them what their favorite books are and why. Ask them what their top 5 authors in your genre are, and why. 

4.    Know, align and befriend the current SME’s in your genre. Most likely there are already SME in your genre. Find them, align with them. If these other authors are part of a group, or list, get on that list! If they speak at certain conferences, go to those conferences… if possible, SPEAK at those conferences. 
I think of the ThrillerFest Conference. If you are an author writing within the thriller genre, wouldn’t it be smart to be not only GOING to this conference to meet other thriller authors, but also, looking for ways to SPEAK at ThrillerFest

5.    Get out there and be seen. A New York Times best selling author told me once when I asked him how does he pick and choose what events he goes to, what book clubs he attends, he said “If I can do it, I do it.” Small book clubs, private genre parties, conferences, author podcasts, he does everything he can to get the word out… and it works. If you can’t find a genre based bookclub, START ONE!
 

Stephanie Meyer photo via Wikipedia and Gage Skidmore

Becoming a SME in your genre is easier than you think. Getting everyone else to know that is the hard part. It starts with you and your content. Start blogging, start posting, start creating content. Publish this content from your own website and start sharing it on social networks. Learn your genre and its history…. Just Google “The history of thriller genre” or “The history of romance novels” the information is out there waiting to be consumed. After doing your research, create a blog post about what you found and about where you fit into that history… share it with the people. 
Soon, authors, readers and search engines will take notice, then you are off to the races.

Write on!

 

 

Make Sure Your Facebook Author Page Posts are Seen: Get Notifications

Here is another reason why I do not put all my eggs in the Facebook basket. What posts that are considered “relevant” is completely up to Facebook! That means that whatever Facebook decides to put into your newsfeed, gets put in your newsfeed. So, how do you make sure your Author Page posts get seen by your fans?

There is an option your fans can select and it’s called “Get Notification”. By selecting the “Get Notifications” option, your fans will be alerted EVERY TIME you post onto your Author Facebook page. This is a good thing and I would suggest posting ever other month or so, letting your fans that there is a way they cannot miss a post. 

To ensure your Fans receive notifications when you post something, have them do the following steps:

1.    Login onto Facebook and go to your Author Page.
2.    Make sure they have LIKED your Author Page.
3.    Mouse over your author page and a menu should appear. One of those options should be “Get Notifications”. 
4.    Click “Get Notifications” (see below)
5.    THAT’S IT! Now, every time you post on your Author Page, they will get a notification. Look at the second screenshot below:

 

Make sure Fans see your posts with GET NOTIFICATIONS

Notice how when I posted something to my Author Page, it showed up on the user’s Facebook page:

Facebook users get notifications when they select GET NOTIFICATIONS

 Although we have not confirmed it, we have heard that Facebook looks at pages with HIGH “Get Notification” requests as higher requested content, thus making the content appear on more newsfeeds then standard content.

 

 

Author Marketing and Branding Assistance

Branding and Marketing is a process, not a product. Process is the key. Creating deliverables and achieving those deliverables. 425 Media can do as much as needed. Some clients we just advise. Others send us emails and have use do their marketing for them. Each author is different and each marketing plan is different as well.

At a high level, here is how we approach author internet marketing and branding:

  • We assess your current marketing state and the health of your author brand.
  • 425 Media then Creates an author’s “brand plan” by evaluating your specific author needs and desires.
  • We then create a plan to build the fundamentals for internet marketing
  • Coach the author on how to, with the least amount of effort, produce the highest valued content that produces results

 

Then, after the fun stuff is done, we work with the author to implement and execute our new internet marketing and branding plan by using providing detailed deliverables.

How do we measure our success? A number of ways, but from a technical standpoint, we place analytics (computer code from Google) on your website to determine where traffic (people) is coming from. This way we can see if the marketing that we are doing online is effective. These reports are yours and it is a way that you can see how we are performing.

Our strong suite is being able to make the technical aspects of internet marketing understandable to folks that are not “internet savvy”. I assume that everyone has the same amount of internet knowledge as my mother does… and that isn’t much. We build from there.