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Top 10 Blogging Tips to Teach Entrepreneurs to Drive Business

Top 10 Blogging Tips to Teach Entrepreneurs to Drive Business

Hello Lovelies, 

Let’s talk about blogging tips. One of the most commonly recommended tips when you are looking at branding/ grassroots marketing/ creating an inbound lead list or really any digital marketing. While many are moving away from blogs to focus on e-mail marketing (nothing wrong with that.) it is still the top of most inbound sales funnels and is certainly a great way to create content that establishes you as an expert, allows you to build trust with potential customers (leading them to welcome you into their email inbox), and allows search engines to feed your content to potential customers based on their searches and needs. In my humble opinion, while you may not need to create content every day or even every week, you still want some killer blog posts that can constantly be re-shared and used to drive traffic, engagement, awareness of your brand, and guide people into your sales funnel. Here are 10 tips on how to blog,  if you have a blog that isn’t really driving traffic or if you are considering adding it to your arsenal. 

 

 

1. Know Your Purpose/ Know Your Audience’s Purpose

 

This goes beyond “everyone says I need to blog.” That may be why you are picking up blogging, but blogging for the sake of blogging is a futile effort in madness. You need to take some time and really think about why you want to blog. The next obvious answer is to make sales. 

Making sales is a great reason to blog. The approach you take to blogging will depend on the type of sales you are looking for. If you are new in your industry, then you may want to focus on posts that let consumers know what sets you apart from your competitors, why your products are the best for your target audience, how your product solves their problems, and of course, any PR content that is relevant (such as when you get in with a new distributor, if you host events, any volunteer work you’re doing, etc.) 

If you’ve been in business for a bit and are getting into blogging now, while any of the content that applies to a new business will also apply to you, you also want to look at how you are currently drawing your leads and content that you could use for your top of the sales funnels to help close the gap. 

For example, I provide editing services. I wrote a post about the different levels of editing. I also wrote a post about the hottest tool in the book market for self-editing, ProwritingAid. As you can see, any time I do a post around editing, I include a call to action inviting them to contact me to get a free quote. 

I know my audience. Their first pain point is how to better self-edit so that they can save on the cost of an editor. Books are expensive to produce and if you just one and done your drafts to an editor it can get very expensive very fast. Especially for a quality final pass. I also refer to a great tool for those who aren’t completely broke but still get sticker shock at the thought of a 75K word document running $1,500.  Then I offer a free 5-page quote. Those who’ve made it that far are either aware enough of how extensive the process is that $1,500 is not a big deal or have already done several passes and the quality of the work won’t warrant such a high editing cost. 

When I send that quote, I will also invite them to sign up for my newsletter for other awesome free tips on writing. Once they are in my newsletter, that gives me tons of cross-promotional opportunities. 

What if you are wanting to start a blog, but you don’t currently sell anything?  Consider your target audience and your interest in your blog. Are you wanting to become an influencer? Target a specific niche. If you want to do a book and makeup blog, target book genres that tend to have a heavy female readership. That was one of the big mistakes I made early on was reviewing all the books and genres I read, instead of keeping my audience tight. I knew I planned to write across multiple genres so I figured building multi-genre readers was a good call. Learned quickly that there are not a ton of readers like me who straddle so many different genres. Be intentional about building your audience now, and it will make it easier to leverage them later and to build out a clear sales funnel like my example above. 

 

2. Create a Detailed List of Topic Ideas 

There is nothing worse than a looming blog deadline and no topics to write about. Trust me, you can go back and look at my earlier content and go “Yeah, she was just going off script!” Some of that was testing what would target the right audiences (like when I added film and TV reviews to my lineup.) and others, I was just writing about a random item because I had not kept up with my content ideas list and Newsjacking wasn’t the easy content source it is now.  If you are struggling with topic ideas, try using Google Trends. It is such a handy tool. (it’s also great for tweaking headlines, and planning SEO, which we will get into more detail within the next sections). You can also crowdsource your existing audience. I also love putting up polls on social media to get feedback on topics. Always have 1 option be “Other- please list in comments”. This is a goldmine for content ideas. 

Consider creating content clusters to help not only with your content ideas but also with linking internally. Looking back at the earlier example of my articles on editing, not only do I link to my services, but I also link to other articles I’ve written on tangential topics (The ProWritingAid article, for example.) I do this a lot to keep a nice balance of long and short-form content and to prevent reader fatigue. I store topic ideas in my editorial calendar and then plan out my topics as needed, sometimes bumping up topics that fit trends or that I see coming up in forums often. 

Forums are another great content idea resource. If there are places where you can eavesdrop on your customers, listen to what they are saying they need/ want/ are interested in. Your topics don’t have to be exclusively tied to what you sell, as long as they appeal to your audience. (Hence why I experimented with doing film and TV reviews. Alas, I found that while a lot of readers love talking about TV, it didn’t do anything to boost my subscriber rate, build my audience, and was the lowest viewed and engaged with content I had. It was not worth my time to try to get enough tv in to add that to my reviews and I would rather spend that time reading instead!) 

You can never run out of good ideas, especially if you always make sure to do content idea planning once a month, or before you get too low on your list. 

 

3. Have Killer Headlines

Headlines are the first thing that most people will see as you share across social media. If that headline doesn’t grab the reader then they will not click and read. Headlines should be tight, tell what your topic is using power words, and identify your audience.  One of my favorite tools for creating headlines is CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer

Your goal should be to achieve the highest score possible while also having the title make sense for your topic. I require a score of 70 or higher for myself to achieve the best rankings possible. 

This article started out titled Top 10 Blogging Tips for Entrepreneurs. That only had a score of 68.  I spent about 5 minutes playing with power words and came up with Top 10 Blogging Tips to Teach Entrepreneurs to Drive Business which has a score of 85. Much better. 

Usually, I won’t figure out my killer headline until I am writing up the article. It takes so little time. But if you are coordinating for a team of writers, it may be worth your time to spend a couple of hours a month managing this so that you don’t end up with too many articles sounding the same because they used the same power words or a million top 5 lists. People love them, but they get old real quick. 

 

4. Plan your SEO 

SEO is the lifeblood of the internet, to the point where people pay sometimes thousands of dollars to professionals each month to manage their SEO strategy for their site. If you could afford that, I’m not sure you’d be here reading my articles. 

I have some fantastic resources that I use when prepping for my own articles. I will warn you, SEO is not for the faint of heart. I often spend more time on the SEO and headline for an article than I do on writing the article itself. The first step is I scan through my article and pick out keywords around the content. The first tool I use is Google Keyword planner to select keywords that are similar to the ones I pulled from my content (If you don’t use google AdWords, then you can just plug your keywords into a google search and scroll to the section that has other recommended search terms, but this is very time-consuming). Then I will use Yoast SEO premium, plugin each of those keywords and see if any new suggestions pop up. From there, I will hit up The Hoth and use the same process. 

After adding those into my Yoast, I will put them aside for helping me find the best hashtags for social media sharing. 

 

5. Write for Your Audience

The more specific and niche you can be, the better your results. I had originally planned on writing this post specifically targeting authors and using examples that directly impact an author’s needs. But I also work with a lot of SMBs (small and medium businesses) and this content is relevant to all small business owners. While it is considerably more difficult trying to target examples for all SMBs, authors included, I felt that the value you would all get from the content was worth it. But my tips would be a bit different for a larger business that had the budget to hire an SEO company or a niche business that solved a problem people don’t even know they’re having. 

via GIPHY

6. Break the Content into Easy-to-Read Segments. 

People love top 5 and top 10 lists. I’ve even seen some top 100 lists (but those are typically reserved for cornerstone content or are built by companies who are just all about link building/ affiliate marketing.) Lists are a handy tool to help break content up into easy-to-read segments. What are some other options? Well, for my book reviews, I always break the review up into sections using heading one for Genre, Synopsis, and My Take. 

It is clean, consistent for my readers, and makes it easy for them to scan and decide if they are interested in learning more about the book. 

There are lots of other options: 

  • Using different heading sizes.
  • Creating bullet points- great for list resources, especially. 
  • Inserting infographics- a great way to distill the key elements.
  • Adding images – especially if that picture can capture your thousand words. 
  • Adding video- video content is king on every platform right now. 
  • Add pull-quotes- especially if they are in bold or a different colored font. 

Anything you can do to make it easy for someone to scan the article and see if you are providing the solution they need is essential. Following the tips in Elements of Style is also very beneficial. 

 

7. Include Links to Reputable Sources

This is commonly referred to as an outbound link campaign. You will notice that in all of my content I typically have at least 3 links. My goal is to have 1 internal link to other content that you might enjoy. The other 2 (minimum, often in my long content, like this piece, there are far more than 2) are aimed at top sites for that topic. For book reviews, that would be a link to Goodreads, Amazon, D2D or Smashwords for purchasing the book, but would also include a link to the author’s website, or one of their social media pages. 

How do you determine the quality of the source? Well, that can be tricky. It’s tempting to just include those who showed up on the first page of Google, right? That doesn’t necessarily mean they are quality sites.  There are still a lot of sites practicing black hat SEO who can show up at the top of the search this week, but could get flagged next week. And anyone linking to them also gets flagged. 

A good bet is to target content by industry leaders, but sometimes those individuals are your direct competition. You don’t want to be driving business to their sites, right? 

There are some handy tools that you can use to calculate. 10 Little-Known Ways to See How Much Traffic a Website Gets
By Nicholas Tart shares some of my favorites. This also comes in handy for your bonus tip below. 

8. Create a Mix of Long and Shortform Content

You want a mix of content on your site, ideally, that builds into one another. As mentioned earlier, content clusters are a great way to do this. One of the main focuses I’ve been working on is developing more cornerstone content that utilizes my short-form content better. For example, I am working on creating “best XYZ Books” and pulling all my reviews for that genre that scored 4 stars or higher. I’m also creating some long-form lists with links to content for the other topics on my blog, including the editing examples I provided above, developing a Martech (marketing tech tools) recommendation list linking all the reviews of my favorite Martech, and how to use it for an SMB. 

You will find that creating this mix of content that feeds into one another will lead to longer times people are spending on your site. 

9. Have a Strong Call To Action

A CTA (call to action) should be included on every piece of copy you write, whether it is a blog post, a social media post, an event sign, or a video. It tells the audience what they should do. Some generic examples: 

  • Buy now
  • Leave a comment
  • Learn more
  • Join us at …
  • Don’t miss ….
  • Add to your calendar….
  • Have you read…?
  • Share your thoughts
  • Share with a friend
  • RT (retweet)
  • Like, comment, share

Of course, whenever possible you want to make your CTA as personal as possible and take advantage of the power words in the headliner list. They are fantastic for creating feelings and feelings are what sell products. Even those of us *hi* who pride ourselves on being very analytical buyers, those data points make us feel more confident in our purchase. 

 

10. Share it Everywhere

The more you can customize your content shares to fit the platform, the better it will be recieved on that platform. Keep in mind that leading with video content is a big push as more platforms embrace video content. It is worth taking a small clip from your longer video and making it work for IG stories or to follow TikTok trends and use a call to action to drive traffic back to your post. Take time to size images for each platform appropriately. I love PromoRepublic and Canva because they both make it so easy to create the right content to easily share while remaining consistent. 

As I mentioned above, you want to make sure that you are using the best tools for searching hashtags. I pull the SEO words and plug them in and see if any other suggestions pop up on Instagram. Sproutsocial shares some great tips on Twitter Hashtag Research

You also do not have to limit yourself to sharing content only once. I typically share a new post across all my platforms a few times in the first month. If it is evergreen content, I will continue to share it every 90 days to 6 months, giving it an update as needed to make sure that the content is still relevant, the keywords are still strong, etc. 

I also love using social listening to share content. When I see a Twitter search asking about formatting a book, I love to direct the person asking for help to my blog post 5 Manuscript Formatting Secrets to Win a Reader’s Love

When I find a Reddit that is appropriate, I will share my posts. Keep in mind that this strategy only works if you are active in those communities and if you are careful to curate appropriately. If all you do is scan for social listening opportunities to drop your links that is spamming. Better spamming than just randomly dropping your links at the end of someone’s blog posts, but only barely. 

Do better. 

Bonus Tip- You Don’t Have to Blog Just on Your Own Site

Guest posting is a strong tool. Combining a strong inbound linking strategy (guest posting, which drives links to your site.) with a strong outbound linking strategy will help you show the search engines that your site is a key site for your type of content. How do you do this? Pick your top keywords that you are aiming to be seen as an expert on and then go find the sites that your audience is already using and pitch articles to them.  Provide a great informational article that fits that site’s needs and audience. Be sure to include at least one link in the body that goes back to your content on your own site, and then include a link to your home page in your bio.

For example, an author would find a book blogger in their genre that welcomes guest posts. If that blog also talks a lot about music, and you have a playlist that you used to write your book then you could pitch an article around that. A fantasy book blogger who also has music posts might find “Top 5 Songs on your Quest playlist” as an appealing guest post topic. Then you can list your top 5 songs with a brief explanation of the feels it gives, then say “To find more great fantasy songs, check out my playlist recs” and link to your own blog post on your site explaining why certain songs are key to your writing playlist for your series. 

You don’t have to limit your inbound linking strategy to blog posts. I love participating on podcasts and panels. Almost all of them will provide a “here’s how to find our guest” section in their content feed. Those are also great ways to build your inbound links. 

 

Heidi Angell Business Consult

On my site, author interviews and character spotlights are quite popular. I am always down to accept those. It’s surprising how many authors never include a link to their site or to their book even when they do these types of interviews. I used to spend hours hunting down appropriate content but now I refer them to this post and hope they follow best practices. If they don’t, I don’t plug it in. I just don’t have time to coddle others for a free service. 

I always recommend looking at the blog to get a sense of the format and try to copy their style while allowing your unique voice to flow through. This is common practice with native advertising. When in doubt, check their requirements page. Most have a requirements page and many even have a list of preferred topics. 

Want to pitch a guest post on my site? The rules are easy. 

Please email me  with the subject line “Guest post for An Angell’s Life” 

An Angell‘s Life has really branched out on our topic matters the last few years and we’re accepting guest posts on books, writing tips, marketing tips, recipes, keto, health and wellness, martech (Marketing tech tools), entertainment, video games, travel, DIY, business tips, tech, 3-D printing, affiliate marketing, job hunting, education, personal development and more.  As we are very varied in our interests, it is likely that we will accept a guest post, but we recommend sending us your topic idea anan outline before, just to be sure. 
 
Some topics we would not accept guest posts on would be political posts (we have our own opinions and we may choose to educate others on our opinions from time to time, but this is not a political platform.) gambling, violence, promoting hatred, questionable business practices,  Ponzi schemes or poorly cited/ referenced “education” pieces. 
 
What we request for your guest post is at least 500 words with 1 cited link from our site if possible, 2 quality outside sources if it is not an opinion piece, and no more than 2 of your own links. We need a bio for you and a picture of you for the header piece. We ask that if you provide your own images that you cite their source. 
 
Please keep in mind that we have the right to reject a guest post at any time. However, if your post is accepted it will be shared with our audience of over 22,000 across all our social media platforms multiple times. If the content is evergreen (meaning not having a special deal or deadline.) then it will be shared up to nine times in the first year and may continue to be added into the mix for years to come, depending on how well it performs. 
 
E-mail us today. 
 
Until next time, 
Keep Writing!
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How to Market Your Book In 2021- Guest Post by Rose Patterson

Marketing is the single most effective method of selling books. That was emphasized in our post ‘The Upset of the Book Marketing Landscape—and What You Can Do’, which also touched on how the pandemic has changed the book marketing landscape. For example, the pandemic has shut down release tours, leaving authors one less marketing strategy to employ.

Then again, release tours are just one component of book marketing, which ought to be multi-pronged if it is to be effective. A multi-pronged approach is even more crucial moving forward in light of the many marketing strategies that you can now employ. And here are some of the best:

Leverage Amazon

The obvious option here is to self-publish via Amazon—as Israeli author Mike Omer has been doing since 2016. In fact, Omer’s first book, Spider’s Web earned him enough money to quit his day job as a computer engineer and become a full-time author instead.

Alternatively, you can start your own store on Amazon, and it is easy to do yet extremely beneficial. Some of the benefits of starting an Amazon store include its low start-up fees and the site’s wide reach. When you become an Amazon seller, you gain access to the over 100 million Prime members of Amazon, whose collective spending in 2019 comprise 45% of all online spending that year. Having your own store lets you tap into that massive market, and potentially boost sales!

You can use Amazon Advertising, too, wherein you market your book on Amazon. All you have to do is sign up, choose the type of ad you want to buy, pay a minimal fee ($1–$5 a day), upload your book’s cover, and write a 30-word marketing hook for it.

Take Advantage of Free Publicity

Now, even while on Amazon already, it is critical that you still look for and maximize free publicity. And as outlined in ‘How to Get Free Publicity’, the key to this strategy is simply to ask around.

Ask your peers to feature you in their social media or blogging platforms—and reciprocate the favor when the time comes. Reach out to your local paper or library, or even your alma mater. Ask help from anyone and everyone. Then, expand your network and keep asking people to put a good word out about your book.

Be on Social Media

Lastly, use social media! For the most part, it is okay to be on multiple platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Just remember that there are pros and cons to joining each one, so choose wisely.

Facebook, for instance, is best leveraged if you have the budget to run paid ads. Instagram, on the other hand, will require a level of creativity in making visuals, while YouTube will necessitate speaking in front of a camera. The key is to choose the platform you are most comfortable with and then master it before moving to another one.

From there, engage with your audience as often as you can. Share your writing inspirations, give overviews of what your book is about, and provide insight into your creative process. Hold contests, offer discounts, and share fan-made content. In other words, give your audience compelling reasons to check back infrequently, and to buy your book eventually.

Pursue Those Reviews!

Rob Dircks is a self-published author, whose first book, ‘Where the Hell Is Tesla?’, sold 10,000 copies in its first 12 months. One of his secrets to success is relentlessly pursuing reviews, as the more thoughtful reviews you have, the more your book gains credibility. To do this, you need to get in touch with as many advanced reviewers as possible prior to your book launch so that the reviews will be available by then.

Actively look up reviewers on Amazon, Goodreads, and Audible, too, and offer a complimentary copy of the book (plus a small token) in exchange for a review. Lastly, include a clear call to action at the end of your book encouraging readers to share their thoughts on your book. Emphasize that dropping a review can help independent authors gain exposure and boost sales.

Now, if all of the above is too much work for you, feel free to get in touch with us for additional help. You can also check out the Marketing Tips section for more tips on how to best market your books. If you’re looking for a chance to do a virtual convention, check out LitCon2021

Happy writing!

BIO: Rose Patterson is a freelance journalist, creative writer, and part-time editor. She is also an aspiring author looking to publish her own novel in the future.

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What Direct Mail Marketing Can do for Your Book Promotion

Finishing your manuscript may seem like the biggest hurdle in your book journey, but the whole thing is a marathon, not a sprint. Sending it off to the printers doesn’t mean that everything is over and done with. On the contrary, you now have to contend with the latest challenge of modern authorship: marketing your book.

In our post The Upset of the Book Marketing Landscape — and What You Can Do, we talked about the struggle to find effective marketing techniques in the current climate. Things like traditional readings and tours may not be enough to cut it anymore, so it’s up to authors and publishers to think of new and innovative approaches to get the word out there.

That’s where direct mail marketing comes in. While not exactly “new”— it’s been around for almost as long as advertising itself, after all— it’s definitely an effective way to capture readers’ and distributors’ attention. Curious? Read on below for exactly how direct mail can boost your sales and readership.

Why Direct Mail?

First off, why direct mail? Sending out mail materials can seem like a huge drain on resources and energy that could be directed elsewhere. After all, you’re going to have to plan materials, rent a mailing list, send them out, and wait for responses. But direct mail marketing is actually worth all that work.

Direct mail marketing is high impact, low cost. Redemption and response rates on direct mail campaigns often soar high above equivalent digital campaigns. A study conducted by the UK Royal Mail found that 60% of people believe direct mail makes a more lasting impression.

In fact, as high as 95% of 18-to-29-year-olds look forward to receiving personal cards and letters in the mail, Gallup reports. Direct mail materials are effective because they tap into a part of our brain that elicits positive feelings and better memory. Where an email promotion might be forgotten as quickly as a click to another page, direct mail materials stay relevant for recipients for far longer.

How Can You Use Direct Mail?

But how can an author use direct mail? It’s pretty easy. Probably one of the greatest advantages of direct mail is that when it comes to design, your imagination is the limit. Paper postcards are a great approach as they’re lightweight and cost nearly nothing to produce, but they’re not the only option out there.

Plastic postcards, for example, are a great out-of-the-box approach to direct mail marketing. Marketing specialists Triadex Services report that plastic postcards can yield redemption rates as high as 71%—  a huge return on investment. You can also try sending out little trinkets or freebies related to your book, sparking opportunities for conversation and sharing among your recipients.

When it comes to marketing techniques that are high ROI but low cost per lead, direct mail marketing definitely tops the charts. If you want to bring your book into your readers’ homes even before it’s launched, then this might be the way to do it. Unique, impactful, and effective, it’s a marketing tool that every book author should be able to master.

contributed by Celine Soria Briones

Thank you, Celine, for an interesting new idea on old marketing techniques.

Do you have a tip on book marketing techniques that you’ve tried? Feel free to share in the comments below.

Are you looking for other book marketing techniques? Feel free to check out our Angell4Authors Author Support

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The DL on #Writerslift

The DL on writerslift

Happy Wednesday! 

Let’s talk about a phenomenon that has taken Twitter by storm: the #Writingcommunity #Writerlift #Wednesday posts. 

For those who’ve not had the privilege of discovering these mad events, let me break down what it is. Every Wednesday (and a lot of Saturdays, and Sundays, and apparently any time someone hits or almost hits a new arbitrary follower count) these lifts are purportedly designed for networking with fellow writers, boosting your follower count on twitter, and helping one another out. But after a few months of participating, I’ve found some concerning issues with these events. Let me break them down so you can protect yourself. 

Don’t go to Twitter Jail 

One of the dangers of #writerslift is that many authors put their content in and then go through this thread with hundreds of comments, following every single person who comments. In a day or two, they will unfollow all who don’t follow them back. That’s not networking. That’s follow for follow, which is specifically against Twitter policies. Twitter will lock your account when they see you following and unfollowing large numbers because that behavior is against twitter terms of service. 

Blue bird mug shot- Twitter Jail
This image 1st used in https://www.absolutebarrister.com/blog/10-ways-twitter-can-land-you-in-jail/

So if you decide to participate in these events, don’t just randomly follow. Be selective. Follow writers in the same genre. Follow 10 to 20 and then interact with them and give them a chance to follow you back. If, after a week or two they don’t follow you back, you can let them go. It’s hard to be patient and grow your following slowly and steadily. I totally understand. But as I mentioned in my Twitter Tips, you are better off with 5,000 true fans who you are actively engaged with than to have 30,000 followers who never interact with your content (or worse, never buy your books.) Unless, of course, you’re just in it for the big number. But why would anyone do that? 

Ask Yourself What is the Benefit to You?

There are many who’ve been in the #writingcommunity for some time and have asked a very valid question about #writerslifts: who is really benefiting from this? The person(s) who get the first three or four posts out and get RT’ed over and over and end up with hundreds of comments and RTs on their post most certainly. But does anyone else benefit from it? 

What is the purpose of having a lot of followers on twitter? To show you have a platform and an audience, right? But if those numbers of people never interact or engage with you, then does it do you any good? Or did you sell your follow for a follow and now you’ve muddied your analytics to the point that you won’t even be able to use the data to advertise effectively? 

But you can mitigate that, obviously. You can be selective about who you follow and work to build relationships with those people (hopefully) right? 

Yes, but…. I think there’s something else going on with a lot of these #writerlifts. There are people exploiting authors’ desperate desire to build a following and are using that to build up accounts and then sell them. I can’t prove that, but I’m generally pretty selective about who I follow. I have key qualifications that determine who I follow on Twitter, and I am very big on making a concerted effort to engage with and interact with those I’m following as well as with my followers. 

I have participated in a lot of #writerlifts in the last three months. In the last month or so I’ve noticed some oddities. I have a strict unfollow principle. If you are someone I’m interested in following but you don’t follow back, I put you in the appropriate list and then I unfollow you. In the last two months, I have had way more unfollows than I have previously. (I’ve also seen others complain about experiencing this after doing a lift. Some people are predatory. Whatever.) The weird part is that when I go to unfollow these accounts, they have a crazy imbalance (like 300 following, 28K followers.) and they have nothing to do with any of my buckets. 

I don’t follow random people. I don’t follow insurance companies (and yet I was unfollowed by three in the last month.) I don’t follow musicians unless I actually know and like their music. Yet I have a bunch of synth pop, dubstep, and rappers unfollowing me the last two months. 

Be Selective

So am I saying you shouldn’t participate in #writerslifts? No, actually. But re-evaluate why you’re doing it and be careful who you do it with. Don’t just jump on the bandwagon. But when someone you know does a lift and it fits your needs then by all means, participate. 

 I do #writerslifts every Wednesday on my own page. It is truly about networking. I mix it up every week and keep it narrowed to appropriate audiences. This inherently means that I don’t get a ton of shares or comments, but I’m not in it to get a ton of comments or likes to boost my numbers. My hope is to help people network and if we work together and remember what the purpose of #writerslifts are then my efforts will gain ground. 

Writerslift

I am looking to network with my #writerlift. I will ask for specific genres. I also ask you to list your favorite author, booktuber, book blogger, whatever in that genre. This isn’t about follow-for-follow. This is about introducing others to people you know who are amazing. 

This is putting the social back into social media. Which is great because it’s kind of like doing the #FF. You are recommending someone, which makes them feel special when you tag them. You are following fellow authors, bloggers, etc in your genre, which is really helpful. And if you play it right (build a list and add them to it.) you are providing yourself easily curated content to RT as needed to fill out your own content. And by RTing them (you guessed it) you build that relationship and make them feel special. They are then more likely to return the favor and RT your content. Suddenly you find yourself in a group that are lifting one another up. 

Win/Win/win because your fans win too by being introduced to other amazing content that they will hopefully love too.  

So, feel free to join me every Wednesday for my lift. If I’m featuring outside your genre but you know others who are in that genre, please tag them. If I am featuring your genre, please tag others first before letting us all know you’re part of that genre too. 

And if you’re doing a #writerslift, please feel free to invite me too. I love them when it’s done by authors I know!

Until next time,

Keep Writing!

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How to Create Effective Media Kits

How to create effective media kits

I talk about media kits all the time. They are essential for a book launch, for book promotion, for event promotion, for interviews, everything to do with public relations, publicity, and even for your own marketing convenience. They are essential to be able to maximize your virtual book tour, which is why I spend a whole lesson on how to create your own media kit for your tour and give you a template to build in the course. (If you are interested in being on the waiting list to know as soon as Maximize Your Virtual Book Tour Masterclass relaunches, please sign up for my newsletter and select that you’re interested in Angell’s 4 Authors. )

I talk about it briefly in 5 Inexpensive Ways to Skyrocket Book Event Success.

And I stressed the importance of having it when I talked about How to Get Free Publicity.

What is a Media Kit?

The generic answer is that a media kit is a grab bag with the most important information that you can share with journalists (or whoever) to create consistent content and branding. You can read a bit more about what publicists include in media kits in CP Communications publicity tips guide.

I have so many media kits for me and my books that I actually created templates of them under OWS to make it easier for the marketing managers for the books we were publishing were able to ensure that each author had everything needed for their annual marketing campaigns. (If you would like a copy of this template format to customize for your own work, I would be happy to provide it for $50. The template kit includes an author media kit, a book launch media kit, a book tour kit and an event media kit. Or you can piece it together from this post.)

What do I have in my Author Media Kit?

I have pictures. In my kit, I include my most recent headshot, my book covers, photos from my most recent events, awards I’ve earned. Each picture is the highest quality png I have available to reduce the risk of grainy images that don’t scale properly since most of my media work is online.  


Next, I have a one-sheet that includes: my bio, awards I’ve won, references to the images in the kit (For example, Heidi Angell speaks to a room of 10,000 at SLC ComicCon 2013 where she was part of the momentous largest 1st-time ComicCon in history), Lists of the awards and their significance, a few quotes about me as an author, links to my website, my book shop pages on my site, my e-newsletter sign up link, my social media links, and links to my most recent media appearances.

Lastly, I have a “commonly asked questions” page. This page consists of all the most commonly asked questions I get and the answers I have carefully prepared.

What do I have in my Book Media Kit?

Images- all the images that have been created for the book in the same quality as in my author kit. Book quote images, review quote images, book ads, everything. I rarely send the book media kit to anyone. But I can pull the items that are appropriate for each event quickly and easily as I have everything in one place on my drive.

I create a book one-sheet with a lot of the same information that is on my author one-sheet except specifically for my book. The Hook, the blurb, review quotes, pricing, links to all the sales pages (starting with my storefront page.) and links to all the recent publicity.

I include a “Most common questions” about the book sheet. With, you guessed it, my carefully prepared answers. When I do tours or events for the book, if a clever new piece comes to light, I will add it to this kit. I try to keep the common questions doc down to 2 pages and curate only the best questions and answers.

I also create series media kits for the same purpose.

What Goes into a Launch Tour Kit?

Images: I will add my most recent headshot, the book covers, the launch tour banners, and then 2-3 promo images (typically 1 quote, 1 review quote, and 1 ad image.)

The Tour Launch One Sheeter actually becomes quite long because it will have the tour dates, the hook, a sales copy description (NOT your blurb, how boring.) the pricing for e-book and paperback with links to my shop pages and Draft2Digital so the contact can choose the bookstore link that works best for them.

If I am doing any kind of giveaway, I will provide the link and the HTML and the rules of the giveaway.

I will then list each stop in the tour and the location information.

I also include a “commonly asked questions” page with the questions from my author, book, and if this is the next book in a series I will add the series questions as well.

What is in an event kit?

The event kit is the template I use for creating a signing kit, a sales tour kit, a festival kit or con kit, and an awards announcement kit.

The event kit is for any one-off event. It will pull heavily from the author, book, and series kit.

For images, I include the headshot, book cover if for a single signing, the series cover if for the series, or if I am doing an event where I am repping all my books, then the scalable version of my social media covers which has all my books in a row based on the order of publication. If it is a convention or festival, I will include their custom content. If it is a signing or an event I am running myself then I will create custom media for it including banners, ads, and flyers.

I have a one-sheet that provides key details about the event. Dates, times, locations, purpose. The one-sheet will also have my bio, my key links, and some pull quotes. If I am doing a giveaway then the details of the giveaway and how to enter will be included.

I will have a commonly asked questions sheet tied around whatever the event is about.

I will also include a marketing plan in this media kit, though it won’t be sent to my publicity lists. I may use it to curry favor with the event location or organizers though. See, I build these kits in advance. Showing I am prepared to promote the event may be the difference between my getting a signing or my needing to find four other authors to attend if I want the location to say yes. It could be the difference between me just having a booth at the convention, or being able to get on a panel or two or three. It could get me higher billing on the event venue’s promotional content.

So there you have it, my top tips on how to create effective media kits and how to reuse your templates to make it easier to recreate next time.

A note about Design


These media kits are going out to the public. Literally, some of the people you send it to may simply copy and paste what you provide them. It is essential that you take some time to make it clean and polished. Add in some branding. If you use a specific font on your cover, use the same as the headers in your kit pages. If you use a specific font in your book for chapters, use the same font for your section headers in your media kit.

If you have a special image header for your social media pages, use that in your author media kit header. You can even incorporate colors.

Take as much time with these kits as you do with everything else in your book publishing process. This is literally the icing on the cake that is your book. It needs to look and taste and feel as good as the cake itself.

If this sounds like a lot of work and you would rather have my templates, you can order them here:

Is that still more work than you care for?

I am available for hire. Email me at heidi.angell@outlook.com with “free 1/2 hr publicity consultation” and let me know what event you have planned, when it is, and I will reach out to schedule a half-hour appointment with you to discuss a proposed plan and cost.

Until next time,

Keep Writing!

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The Upset of the Book Marketing Landscape- and what You can Do

The Upset of the Book Marketing Landscape- and what You can Do

Hello Lovelies,

Over the last few months I have been sharing a lot of marketing tips, such as How to get Free Publicity, How to Create an Effective Media Kit, and Marketing in Minutes a Day because marketing is the single most effective method of selling books and it takes careful planning with a multi-pronged approach to be successful. However, thanks to Covid-19, I am seeing that some of the more intricate elements of the marketing landscape are shifting and changing. I want to talk a bit about what you can do if you are like so many I’ve seen who are struggling.

What has changed in Marketing?

I have been reading a lot of posts on social media, in author-focused forums, and in industry mags lamenting the damage Covid-19 has done to the book marketing landscape. Everything from release tours being canceled to indie authors (who have always championed online marketing while trad tends to snub their nose at it) have seen it harder to get stops for a virtual tour and everyone has seen their sales plummet, their keyword competition go up, and their overall advertising strategy not be as effective.

While some of the struggles of placements will be significantly reduced in the coming weeks and months as those who were laid off rejoin the workforce and have less time on their hands, they still have seen how many opportunities there are and will certainly continue to weave that into their marketing-while-working schedule. I know I did when I went back into the workforce.

I also suspect that we will continue to see trad authors taking advantage of more and more virtual tours. It is something that we’ve already seen YA and Fantasy trad authors taking advantage of more frequently and that shift will continue to grow.

So what is a small press or indie author to do as our free and low-cost options quickly outgrow our reach?

There are a lot of options still available to us. Do not despair.

Tap New Blog Markets

We all love book bloggers (I am one, so you’d better love us!) but more and more of the book bloggers are closing their review request doors for extended periods of time (I totally get it, I have 185 books in my TBR. at an average of 3 books a month, it is going to take forever for me to get to all those books.)

While I totally respect the “don’t pay for a review” philosophy, there are a lot of reviewers who are offering to bump your book up in the line for a fee. If that blog has enough reach, it is worth considering.

You can also look at blog-adjacent areas. Are your books geared to teens, what are some teen bloggers who talk about popular teen interests? Reach out to them and request a review.

Is your book about Fantasy? Reach out to video game or movie bloggers who focus on Fantasy. There are thousands. It is a unique take for them so they very well may give you a mention.

Think outside the box (or book, in this case) and target blogs that share an interest in your subject matter. Have a strong female character? Feminist bloggers LOVE showing strong female characters in culture. Your book qualifies. Break the mold.

Tap Other Resources

But you can also look at other outlets. Submitting to literary magazines and for editorial reviews is a tried and true method in the traditional publishing world.

There are a lot of sites popping up to allow you easier management of reviews, such as Netgalley, Reedsy, and online book club. Most of these sites will have a fee associated with them and there is a ton of competition, but if you have a compelling title, cover, and blurb you can get a lot of reviews.

Or you could consider a market that is being tapped pretty powerfully by a lot of brands from tech to cooking products and weightloss, but has barely been touched by the author industry.

Influencer Marketing

You have probably seen on Bookstagram the hundreds of influencers hoping to get repped by one of the top 5 publishers, or the trend that booktube is always talking about the same YA books? That is influencer marketing at work and while the top 5 have tapped it pretty hard for YA, they have not realized the benefit of it for other genres for some strange reason.

#Catherinehouse on IG, over 1,200 posts. Not an accident

But you can. Intellifluence is a great tool for you as an author to tap into the Influencer market and they give you access to over 36 million influencers.

I am one of those Influencers and man people are not taking enough advantage of that market. I’ve only seen a few nonfiction (mostly weight loss) books available so far. Which means that it is ripe for you to get in on.

Think Outside the Box

We always have new marketing strategies that gain ground and then get overwhelmed by everyone jumping on the band wagon (E-newsletters, Facebook launch parties, #writerslifts, you know what I’m talking about.)

Some are pulled from what other marketing is growing in other industries (like e-newsletters grew in the wake of e-mail becoming a hot marketing trend.) but others come from someone looking at a system and thinking up a new tool for that system.

So many book festivals are shifting to online and finding that online has been HUGELY successful (Which B2BCyCon already knew from 5 years of online events.)

So brainstorm from what you’re seeing and be brave and try something new. Whether it be seeding wildflowers with your name (or the name of your book.) like Robert Sheehan of Umbrella Academy admits doing.

let your brain run wild.

Want help with your marketing strategy? Schedule a free 30 minute consultation with me

Have an out of the box idea you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.

Until Next Time,

Keep Writing!

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How to get Free Publicity

How to get Free Publicity

The answer to how to get free publicity is shockingly simple. Ask.

What? I know, you need more than that. I get it. Asking is the simplest and hardest thing for anyone to do. There is so much that goes into asking. Let’s break it down into easily digestible chunks: Who, what, when, where to ask for free publicity. We already know why you are asking for free publicity, but we will have a bonus why addressed here.

Who to Ask

This is actually completely up to you, your network, your confidence, and your skill.

If you have little time and a lot of money, you would be best served hiring a publicist, however, they can be quite pricey. Even top authors typically only hire a publicist about 2-3 months before a release and then have them plan publicity for the next 12 weeks or so.

But they are not cheap and finding the quality of a publicist is often tricky. Your best bet is talking to someone you know and trust who uses a publicist and asking what they thought of their publicist.

Let’s say you don’t have $1,000 to $10,000 to invest in a publicist. You can be your own. It’s a lot harder, but can be very beneficial to getting free publicity in the long run.

The generic answer of “who to ask” that publicists consider is local, regional, national media (in that order.) because starting with local is easier for newbies with limited platforms. It is easier to find relevance, and there will be less competition. That is not necessarily true for someone writing in a major city. You also have tons of online opportunities for free publicity. They don’t fall into the same scope as real-world media but you have small, medium, large, and massive audiences you can tap for free publicity.

The best place to start when looking for who to ask is to look to your current network. Do you follow other authors on social media? Check their website out. Many of us blog and as part of our blog, we are open to sharing our platform in hopes that someone will share their platform with us when we are ready to promote. This is my number one recommendation for free publicity. You can take a look at how I share my platform in my Angell’s 4 Authors post.  

An Angell's Life

You may ask those in your same genre if they will let you share on their social media page or e-newsletter list.

Go beyond the authors you know. Otherwise, it quickly becomes a repetitive circle jerk, much like the end of Facebook parties.

Do you know someone who also knows you and works at your local paper, at a school that is the right target audience for your work, at a business that is always doing events for their team? Write their names down.

Do you know someone who also knows you and works at the local library? You could reach out to them to arrange an event.

Maybe you aren’t super connected. That’s ok. I’ve been there too. When we moved across country seven years ago, I knew five people where we moved. All from the same family, three of them were kids. Slowly but surely I have built up a local base. You can do the same. Go to the library, go to bookstores. Talk to people. Ask them about themselves. File bits of information away for later.

But you don’t have to wait, either. You can make lists of people you want and need to know. Who handles the entertainment and events sections of your local newspapers. Get their name and contact details. You can usually find it on the paper’s website. If you are able, make that publicity list on a regional level.

I have so many lists that it is ridiculous. All have been created at local and regional levels, and I have even created lists free publicity outlets for places where I am traveling and plan to do signings on my trip. Why not stay an extra night at Disney and do a book signing and get to write off half your vacation as a business trip? Win/win! But we’re talking about publicity packets.

Each publicity packet I create has the following:

Local and regional Newspapers

Local and regional Radio stations

Local and regional Libraries

Local and regional bookstores


And then I have my online resources. I have a variety of different lists depending on my genre and audience that I am targeting:

Press Release distributors

Book reviewers

Podcasters

Youtubers

Influencers

Bloggers

99% of what is on my free publicity lists, I found through google search and social media. You can do the same. It takes time and working on your lists regularly, but there are so many publicity opportunities out there that it is so easy to get free publicity. I strongly recommend that you spend at least a few hours every week creating these lists, and once your book is finished and getting ready for release, spend a few more hours each week crafting campaigns to target to each segment accordingly.

What to Ask

This is something that needs to be carefully crafted depending on the target, the purpose, the audience. But there is a formula that you can use to create your templated ask.

Who is their audience + Why would their audience benefit from + knowing about my X= a perfect pitch.

If you can also tie it to something timely, that is newsjacking.

If you can tie it to something local that adds draw.

When to Ask

I am all about templates and in my course “How to Maximize Your Virtual Book Tour” I actually share the templated email I create for every one of my book tours and send to book reviewers, book podcasters, and Booktubers. There are pieces that get customized on each template and those pieces are exactly what you see above.

I have templates for each of those free publicity lists I mentioned, and templates for each of the different types of events. A release tour, an awards event, a sales announcement, a book signing, attending a festival. Now obviously some of that news will be newsworthy on many of my publicity lists, and some of it will have a narrower scope. But the point is that if I have it all ready and easy to access, then planning my when to ask becomes a lot easier.

For new release tours, I start planning three-four months out so that I can reach out to bookstores to plan signings with 2-3 months notice, I can reach out to book reviewers with at 2 least months notice, I can reach out to virtual tour stops with 4-6 weeks notice. That gives me time to get all the stops I want for a 6-12 week tour.

Two weeks before the tour starts, I will start reaching out to local newspapers, news channels, radio channels, libraries, and event calendars to share the full tour masterlist in an effort to get free publicity.

For smaller events, you are looking at a much smaller lead time. For conventions, you want to reach out to local news about a month before because you are not the only one who will be trying to do so.

For a regular book signing, I plan with the venue about a month out, and reach out to local lists a week or two before to see about setting up some promotional spots or doing an interview. The day or two before, I will target local free promotional spots with flyers. Anywhere there might be a local message board such as grocery stores, libraries, gyms, community centers, schools, parks. Any free publicity to drive as much traffic to the event as possible.

Where to Ask

Whenever possible, ask in person.

As uncomfortable as it may be for you to ask, it is also the most uncomfortable way for them to say no.

Next best bet is to ask by phone. We have become a society that loathes using phones. As such, their phone probably isn’t ringing that much.

If you have a choice between your email or their contact me form, use their form.

Email is a last resort partially because it is so easy to ignore, and more importantly if your email address gets reported as spam or deleted without reading too frequently, it will get lumped into your non-contacts spam folders automatically. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t check our spam folders. That doesn’t do you any good at all.

Why to Ask

Because the worst thing that they can do is ignore you.

But the best-case scenario is that they make time for you and you build your reputation, your brand, your audience, your sales.

A couple of other benefits to asking:

The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

The more you practice, the easier it is to craft your message.  

Create a page on your website for media appearances and link to all those events. Add that page in your correspondence. It will give them more confidence in having you on.

This is how media darlings are born. Everyone wants to be in on the hottest news.

Not all of this will be free publicity because you may have to pay for flyers or travel costs, or promote a really good blogger’s book review on your tour, or put an ad in the paper to announce an event that they didn’t seem interested in giving you free space for.

But so much of it will be more valuable than running Amazon Ads, Bookbubs, or Google Ads.

Got any specific questions about how to get free publicity that I didn’t address here? Feel free to ask. I will do my best to answer your questions.

Want to learn how to prepare a media kit to have everything you need for any type of publicity or 5 Inexpensive Ways to Skyrocket Book Event Success

Until next time,

Keep Writing!

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Building an E-newsletter List Part 2 of 5

Building an E-newsletter List Part 2 of 5

Hello Lovely Authors,

Last time we talked about why you should be doing an e-newsletter. (If you missed out on the rest of the series, it is as follows: the importance of having an e-mail newsletter,  the broad planning of what you will offer, choosing a Service Provider, and What goes in the Welcome Email, Just Because You Build it, Doesn’t Mean they’ll Come. be sure to see the whole series.)

Now let’s talk about the broad scope of how to get started. Before you can do an e-newsletter list, you need to decide a few things: What you want to accomplish with your newsletter, what you should include in your newsletter, and how often you should send out your newsletter.

What Do You Want to Accomplish?

“SALES!!!” Yeah, I know you do, but put yourself in your readers’ spot for a moment. Would YOU want to get an e-newsletter that was nothing but “Buy my book, buy my book, buy my book?”

That’s a big nope, right?

customer_sale_funnel.png

What we need to determine is how we are going to approach connecting with our reader and moving them from preference into purchase, loyalty, and advocacy, right? 

This is where you need to decide what your Worldview as an author is, and pitch that to your readers.

There are several different approaches to take with this. I have a monthly e-newsletter that’s all about An Angell’s Life of bookish goodness. It shares my top blog posts of author interviews, book reviews, booktubing, bookstagramming and other bookish adventures. I am looking to appeal to readers as a reader. This works for me.

Another author, Andy Peloquin, has chosen a solid niche to write in (dark fantasy) and all his stories happen in the same world. He is targeting readers who will fall in love with that world. He sends out a monthly e-newsletter with short stories in his world, as well as notices on when the next book will release, if there are any promos, other dark fantasy authors he’s reading and a variety of other things. But he always has that short story to offer his readers. I LOVE it!

Author Alex J. Cavanaugh does the “Ninja Newsletter” and it is geared around his pop-culture obsessions. There are tons of pop-culture bits, and he spotlights bloggers from the Insecure Writers Group, providing a wide range of interesting articles about everything from movie critique to book releases, to writing about writing. Plus, it pulls at the heartstrings of anyone who’d “Rather be a Ninja” (ME!)

Make sure that your worldview is a true extension of both you, and your writing. You don’t want to be constantly changing expectations for your readers. You will lose a lot of them.

So figure out your worldview and that will determine your next step:

What Should You Include In Your Newsletter?

This should be all about building that worldview you’ve decided to cultivate. If you are cultivating the world view that erotica is awesome, then only focus on sharing erotica content.

If you are building the worldview that indies are awesome, then only share indie work.

If you are building the worldview that we need strong female characters, only share books about strong female characters.

If your worldview is that you are an accessible writer, then share personal stories, short samples, and what you’re doing besides writing.

How often should you send your newsletter?

It’s tempting to just leave this on a whim but don’t. There’s nothing worse than telling someone they will get something, and not following through. We feel cheated, or worse, annoyed when three months down the road we open our email to discover an email from some weird person we don’t remember subscribing to, telling us that their book is on sale. No. Thank. You. Unsubscribe.

The worldview you’ve chosen will determine, in part, how often you email. In my case, because I’m sharing lots of bookish goodness, not just my own, I can email weekly and it isn’t too annoying for my readers. But my personal schedule doesn’t permit it so I took it back to once a month. If Andy emailed me weekly, I might get annoyed. Andy emails once a month. But he’s publishing three or more books a year, so that’s not super overwhelming, and he always offers those cool little short stories, so it’s something I look forward to.

I have other authors who email me once a month and I don’t read it most of the time. Why? Because I don’t really care about their new crafting project, I’m not interested in knitting, I don’t want to hear about their book signing in Alberta. That’s me, I’m probably not their best audience, but they will find their niche audience and those people will like those things!

Alex emails quarterly. It’s a huge newsletter, and sometimes it takes me a week before I get to it, but it’s worth it and I know I will enjoy spending most of a day hopping through all the fun articles and getting my pop-culture geek on.

The key is to establish your frequency and follow through. You want your loyal fans to know that you will send an email on the 15th, or the first and second Thursdays of the month, or during the four seasons, and be looking forward to that newsletter.

Next time I will discuss the mechanics of How to Do your E-newsletter, some options of programs to use, and automation. Fun stuff! Do you have any questions, or want to bounce your ideas off me? Drop them in the comments below. I’m always happy to help!

Until next time,

Keep Writing!

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Building an E-newsletter list Part 1 of 5

Building an E-newsletter list Part 1 of 5

Hello Lovely Writers,

I am doing a segment on what I think is one of the most important parts of an author’s marketing strategy. E-newsletter lists.

Do you have an e-newsletter list yet? It surprises me how many authors don’t.  For many, I hear that they are just too busy. They depend on social media to reach their fans.  They don’t know where to start with an email list, or why they should try. We are going to delve into those issues today.

Why an E-newsletter List is Necessary for a Serious Author 

(no matter how busy you are)

I know, being an author is hard. It is time-consuming. Just writing a book is time-consuming, but this whole marketing thing? Talk about overwhelming! I get it, I do. We are all just doing the best that we can. Many authors are still on the Social Media Band Wagon, in regards to reaching new fans and keeping them engaged.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to get rid of social media, anyone who knows me knows I have a ridiculous number of social media accounts that I post to and interact with regularly!

However, I prefer to keep my fans as close to my personal control as possible. I don’t want to have to pay Facebook, Twitter, or any of the other social media platforms to find new fans AND to stay in front of them. That’s just crazy!

That’s why I have a newsletter. I own that list. Yes, I have to pay my newsletter emailer, but if I don’t like their prices, or if I develop a problem, I can take my list when I leave their service for another. As long as that reader wants to stay in touch with me, no one can keep us apart.

Can I say the same for Social Media? Nope.

 Where Social Media & E-newsletters fall on the Sales Funnel

Reader Sales Funnel

I have a much higher conversion of sales from my e-newsletter list than from social media. Most marketing professionals will tell you that social media is toward the top of the sales funnel. This is the point where you are getting them interested. It’s the digital candy shop display, so to speak. But once you get them to your e-newsletter list, they already prefer you as an author. Now you just have to offer them the products to purchase, a little love and attention to nurture their loyalty, and a nudge in the right direction on how they can advocate for you!  

So, are you sold on why you should do an e-newsletter? Great, next time we’ll talk about how to plan your newsletter. If you have any questions or opinions about e-newsletters, drop them in the comments below. We’re here to help!

(If you would like to view the rest of the series, it is as follows: the importance of having an e-mail newsletter,  the broad planning of what you will offer, choosing a Service Provider, and What goes in the Welcome Email, Just Because You Build it, Doesn’t Mean they’ll Come. be sure to see the whole series.)

Until next time,

Keep Writing!

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How to Plan a Marketing Schedule

How to Plan a Marketing Schedule

Hello Lovely authors! 

The key to success as an author: strong marketing! The first step to that is having an annual marketing plan. Every year, I spend from Thanksgiving until Christmas putting together my annual business plan, and one of the key elements of that business plan is the marketing.  If you didn’t do this yet, it is never too late. Here’s how to get started.

Plan Around Your Publishing Schedule

The first step in planning out my marketing schedule is knowing when I plan to publish each book in the year. Book launches are so important, and having that plan on your schedule is KEY to getting your marketing schedule set up. I like to have a physical calendar and use sticky notes of different colors to mark out what will be happening when. After I set my book launch date, I count back 12 weeks and add a sticky for each marketing task needed: creating the media kit, preparing ARCS, planning the book launch details. Then I plug that all into my gmail calendar which is my lifeblood. (If you want to learn more about planning a book tour, check out my course Maximize Your Virtual Book Tour Masterclass.)

Planning OffLine Events

(AKA I Know We’re Hermits, But We Gotta Get Out of The House!)

The next step to planning my marketing schedule is to plan three conventions that I know I want to go to that year. I stick the dates of the conventions, the date fees are due for the conventions, and a reminder about a month before the due date so I make sure to have the money ready in time.  One that always goes on my calendar is B2B CyCon because I can do it from the comfort of home, and the bang for your buck just cannot be beat! 

 I also pull up a local events calendar and plan book signings around those events. Nothing sucks more (And I know from personal experience) than to set up a book signing and do all the work that goes with promoting it, only to find out that there’s an arts festival across town that same weekend. The competition is too steep and really isn’t worth the fight. Pick a better weekend, trust me! The third thing I do is plan signings around trips. If I know that I’m going to Massachusetts for a family reunion, you’d better believe that I am planning book signings for before and after. This allows you to tap into a new audience, and as a bonus, you can write that vacation off on your taxes. Seriously!

  1. Holidays are Great Inspiration for Marketers!

 The third piece to planning my marketing is to tag all the relevant holidays I can use to market my books. I aim for one event a month, and I go out of my way to find obscure holidays relevant to my books. For example, The Hell School series is about a girl who is being stalked. Most stalking incidents end in rape if they are not stopped. April is sexual Assault Awareness month. It’s a natural fit. In the Clear Angel Chronicles, Clear is a psychic who prefers pets to people because it gives her social comfort without being overwhelmed. I use this awesome Pet Holidays Calendar to plan events around that.   Think about the important features of your books. Find holidays to use for promotions. Every business under the sun uses the big ones (Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Easter, Halloween) and you can too, but you will find yourself not having to compete in so much noise if you find those special holidays. Create your own Holidays. If you write Make sure that you are not neglectiHEA romance or fast-paced thrillers, or other books that are considered great “beach reads” start promoting that they are mid-spring when people are planning their vacations.

Beach Reads Image courtesy of pixabay https://pixabay.com/photos/books-reading-beach-vacation-918521/

Be sure to include the offline opportunities for these holidays. For National Adopt A Pet Day, go down and do a book signing at a local animal shelter, offering half of the royalties to go to donations. People LOVE that kind of stuff. And marketers love what people love because it gets people to buy. Truth.

  1. Save the Nitty Gritty for Your 90 Day Plan

Once I knock out those broad strokes, I work a 90 day plan. I pick three key marketing things over the next 90 days to focus on. That could be a book launch, that could be building my email list, that could be boosting my social media presence, or focusing on a holiday event. Whatever it is, only focus on those three key areas, because that keeps you from getting overwhelmed. We aren’t full time marketers. We are authors. Marketing can be a full-time job, or you can end up suffering from “Shiny New Marketing Idea” syndrome and then you never get anything finished. If you complete one of those tasks well before the 90 days is complete, you can add another task to fill its place. Two weeks before your 90 days end, do an evaluation and see how everything is going, and start planning your next 90 days. Maybe one of those things needs to carry over. (building my email list is always on my 90-day plan!) Maybe one of those things isn’t working the way you want. (I went through this with Facebook ads.) Can you switch things up? Is it time to let go of one marketing strategy to try a different strategy?

Get those plans in place so that when you start your next 90 days of marketing, you are ready to tackle it head-on. Trust me, if you work this plan, the plan will work and that’s what marketing is all about. 

Well, there are my general tips for planning your marketing schedule. Looking for more? Here is a great panel from Go Indie Now of some top book marketers (Yup, I’m there too!) discussing how we plan for marketing.

 What are your burning questions regarding planning your marketing? Let me know in the comments below. 

Until next time, 

Keep Writing!