Editor’s Note: As I go through the process of moving, a couple of my expert (re: smarty pants) friends — experts in writing, marketing, publishing, and social media — are pitching in until I get back. Enjoy their wisdom and visit their sites, which are listed at the bottom of their post.
So you have conceptualized, developed, and written your inspired and engaging piece of prose, uploaded it onto your website or blog, and are now patiently waiting for the money and exposure to just start rolling in.
If only it were that easy!
Writers of the world are living in an age of self-publishing and that means they are living in an age of self-promotion as well. No longer do they have to rely on sending in their painstakingly crafted creations to the anonymous recipient in a publishing house, hoping and praying they will “get” and want to showcase their talents to the rest of the world.
No, writers can now take this onus onto themselves and their trusty laptop and publish their works on their own terms.
So how does one undertake this enormous task of marketing and promotion that was once left to an entire public relations department? Here’s how.
Start by researching and knowing who your target audience is and what their interests and/or concerns are. According to Susannah Breslin at Forbes Magazine, “You need to know your demo intimately. What is their gender, age, race, class, location? Are they educated, funny, stupid, smart, conservative, liberal, easily entertained, or hipster cool? Are they loners or pack hunters, seeking to be inspired or bored housewives, data junkies or tech noobs?”
Essentially what Breslin is saying is you MUST know and understand your target audience as much as you possibly can so you can use the appropriate channels, topics, issues and media outlets to effectively get your specific message out to the audience that would be most receptive and interactive with it.
Ok, ok, I’ve figured out who my target audience is, what they like, don’t like, but how do I get my message and or blog, article, book etc. out to them? One of the easiest and most effective tools we have is right at our finger tips, content marketing via social media.
Essentially, content marketing is a tool used to communicate with your customers and prospective readers without deliberately trying to “sell” to them. This new way of looking at marketing in direct contrast to old school methods of advertising and publicity. Target audiences can be picky and savvy with who they give their hard earned money to. They will more likely be inclined to give to those individuals who are actively “giving” them useful and engaging content rather than merely just trying to actively “sell” to them.
One of the easiest ways to engage in content marketing is through the platform of social media. For sake of brevity I will discuss what I like to call the Big 3.
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all similar but very different platforms used to present and disseminate your message and/or content to your target audience. The tone, language, and content you choose must be tailored to engage and inform your audience according to the platform you use.
Facebook is more of an informative, engaging platform as there is a much more liberal word allotment and you will find that engagers will openly share their thoughts and opinions on this platform.
Twitter is much more casual and direct as you only have 140 characters to get your information out. This is where your creativity and word craftsmanship must come into play.
LinkedIn is much more business oriented. However, with all of the newly added posting and sharing functions that LinkedIn has acquired to be competitive, the formal business style can now be tempered with a more social side.
To be truly successful in managing your social media platforms, you must be open to learning and listening to your audience. After all, they are the ones you are targeting and engaging with. Be alert as to what they are discussing and engaging in. Find out what topics and current events they are passionate about. What are you doing to enrich and engage in THEIR social community?
Bottom line, content marketing through social media needs to be just that social and engaging. If you are constantly using your platform ONLY to market and advance your own agenda, you will lose your target audience; they will tune you out and go elsewhere to get their engaging content and helpful information. Give back, post interesting articles, videos, even other writers work.
Ultimately, if you aim to consistently deliver information and or content that makes your reader more intelligent and informed, they will eventually reward you with their business and loyalty, which inevitably is every self-published writer’s dream.
So, I encourage you to start scouring the internet and find that content that will inform, engage and or enrich your reader’s lives. You just may find that in order to be a successful self-published writer, you must be a successful marketed one as well.
Dina Arsenault is a public relations professional and a freelance consultant with A Cue Creative Consulting, a boutique agency specializing in the art of branding artists and small business owners. She’s also a creative person writing, producing and directing her film short Redemption in 2007, which screened at the Reel Women International Film Festival in Los Angeles. Aresnault graduated with honors from Brock University in Communications Studies, earned a Broadcasting Diploma in Radio, TV and Film from Niagara College and most recently a public relations certificate from Simon Fraser University.