Content Marketing for Indie Authors

Posted by: Kevin Tumlinson 2 months, 2 weeks ago

Special guest post from Callum Mundine of Warble Media

Digital technology is mainly responsible for the way consumer habits have evolved. Not only has it altered how people obtain information, but it has also reshaped how they comprehend communication.

In your quest for the best possible practice to effectively engage with today’s readers, you might have come across the term “content marketing.” Perhaps you know that all kinds of businesses have benefited from it, and you might be wondering if you, an indie author, can profit from it as well.

The answer is yes.

Instead of relying on friends and family to promote and purchase your books, you can potentially reach thousands or millions of readers by adopting a strategy that works for your brand (and as an indie author, you do have a brand!). In this post, we’re going to find out why and how self-published authors can use content marketing as part of a stellar content marketing plan.

What is Content Marketing?

It is one of the most effective approaches to marketing your work and reaching your readers. This technique focuses on the creation, publication, and distribution of valuable and consistent content. Applying such a strategy helps brands attract and retain a specific kind of audience, and should also help drive profits. 

Why Should Content Marketing Matter to an Indie Author?

While word of mouth can help you earn enough money to pay for publishing expenses, that alone is not the most effective strategy for those who want to make a living from writing books. Merely sharing promotional material on social media also won’t do. Consumers don't like the hard sell. If you’ve noticed, marketing these days is all about relating to the consumer in the right way at the right time. And you can do all that through content marketing.

Just remember that it isn’t the quickest solution to earn money. It won’t make you an overnight success. But as long as you remain consistent in creating relevant content, you can build a community of fans for your brand and your work.

As a self-published author, you most likely have little to no marketing help (thanks, lack of budget). That may seem overwhelming, but there’s no reason to fret. For content marketing, you can choose to do what you do best – write.

What can Indie Authors Achieve Through Content Marketing? 

Before talking about successes, you must first identify your goals. Without them, you will never be able to achieve your desired results. Here are a few common goals that brands pursue through their content marketing strategy:

  • Brand awareness: Getting discovered by your target market
  • Audience engagement: Encouraging casual readers/viewers to subscribe or follow
  • Lead generation: Pinpointing prospects who are more likely to become paying customers
  • Driving loyalty: Keeping existing customers interested and satisfied with the brand
  • Increasing sales: Closing deals and launching new revenue streams
All of these apply to indie authors as much as to online entrepreneurs. Replace "customers" with "readers" and you can start to see where content marketing could be part of your overall marketing strategy.

What Type of Content Should Indie Authors Create? 

Like any business, self-published authors can create and distribute all sorts of content to promote their books. Here are a few examples:

Blog posts

Creating blog posts shouldn’t be a problem for an author. As mentioned, you can take advantage of your writing skills to engage potential readers and to entice them into buying your book.

There are a plethora of topics waiting for you. But what you create must always be based on your goal. For example, if the goal is brand awareness, you can give writing pointers. Look up what aspiring writers want to know about and provide content they’ve yet to encounter. If the goal is to drive audience loyalty, you can share your journey to self-publishing, and maybe when you succeed, you can share an article detailing what you did to achieve your goals.

The latest themes or subject of your book can also inspire your blog posts. Let’s say you recently published a fictional piece that deals with mental health and mental illness. You can then write an article that focuses on the facts, such as its causes and its importance in one’s overall health. Or if you happen to have written a book set in Machu Picchu, you might blog about your research into that region, its people and their culture, or anyting that might tie back to your book.

Videos

John Green, author of many bestsellers including The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns, may not be a self-published author, but you can learn a lot from him. He is one-half of the vlogbrothers, a pair of YouTube creators who cover everything under the sun on their popular show. From politics to dad jokes, they make videos of anything that's interesting and relevant. Through the years they’ve amassed 3.1 million subscribers who are most likely fans of John’s writings as well.

The great thing about making videos these days is that it’s inexpensive and easy to do. Using just your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, you can film from your home or anywhere else you happen to be. Using free video editing software that may have come with your device, such as iMovie for Apple products or Windows Movie Maker for Microsoft Windows, you can edit the clips yourself and publish to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, or any number of other platforms online.

Podcasts

You might have heard that consumers these days have a penchant for visual content. While that is true, that doesn’t change the fact that people still love podcasts. This form of media isn’t a thing of the past. It’s also one of the formats you should consider for your content marketing strategy.

So, what makes podcasts great? Telling a story that your listeners (and potential readers) want to hear. Just like blog content, you can draw from your own work, telling stories about your research or field of expertise. Podcasts make the experience more personal for potential readers as they can hear your voice while you're sharing relevant content.

Creating an episode isn't quite as challenging as editing a single video. Again, many devices come with free audio editing software, such as Garage Band for Apple. A free program called Audacity has also been a favorite for podcasters.

Podcasts are also an excellent way of building a network of writer friends. You can, for instance, invite well-established indie authors on the show. As you gain more colleagues in the industry, you can potentially tap into their audiences. By supporting one another, you can expand your circles, and ideally, increase profits.

For a great example, check out Draft2Digital's on Kevin Tumlinson, and his Wordslinger Podcast. This is an interview-format show that Kevin produces each week, aimed at the indie author community (that's you!).

Do Authors Need to Promote on Social Media?

Absolutely. To make your blog posts and videos more discoverable, you should combine content marketing with your social media efforts.

Let’s say you’ve authored a cookbook, and you want to write blog posts about recipes. You shouldn’t pass up an opportunity to promote on Pinterest. People turn to the platform to discover new recipes and ideas that they might want to try. If, for example, you’re a photographer or a videographer who’s looking to promote a book to creative minds, you can experiment with highly-engaging platforms such as Instagram stories or Snapchat.

Always remember that content marketing works best when it functions in a cooperative capacity. That means you should use it to fuel the rest of your marketing efforts. As established, content marketing works well with social media. But it can also be paired with traditional and influencer marketing, SEO, and public relations.

It might seem complicated at first, and you probably don’t know where to begin. But as long as you’re willing to learn and unafraid to experiment, you should, in no time, figure out what works and what doesn’t in the world of content marketing.

  

Callum Mundine is the head of marketing at Warble Media. They are a boutique website design and digital marketing agency based in Dubbo, NSW, Australia.

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