What to Include in a Writer’s Marketing Plan
A quick overview of promoting your writing on social media
Since I was a child, I knew that I wanted to go into business for myself
I used to play “office” instead of “house”. Looking back, I believe that I would’ve benefited more from attending college for small business than going through four years of university that groomed me to work as a manager for a larger organization like Johnson & Johnson, P&G or PepsiCo.
However, graduating from university with a degree in Business gave me a solid education in marketing. I’ve continued to take courses over the years and more recently I’ve relied on expert blogs for my marketing training.
Marketing used to be the 4 P’s — product, price, place, and promotion
Promotion was further divided into all the ways to get the word out, including advertising, word-of-mouth, and press releases. Now-a-days we have social media networks including:
There are many, many others but these are the main ones (today). A marketing plan for any writing business should include at least one of these social networks.
For example, on Facebook you can create a personal profile along with a business Page. A personal profile can be dedicated to friends, family and people that you would go out to dinner with. You can post family photos and information that you know your friends would be interested in — including your adventures in writing.
Your Business Page should be dedicated to growing your writing business through actively inviting readers to “like” your Page. Here you can post updates about your books, links to blog posts, and information that you think readers would be interested in.
You can also create Pages for each of your books. However, I personally found this too much to manage and so have focused on my author Page alone.
You can make the work a little bit easier by joining forces with other writers. For example, I’d joined with another author to create a FB Page where we shared posts from our blog.
Recently, I’ve learned that “Groups” are a better vehicle to reach readers than “Pages”, so have created a few groups on Facebook — each one tailored to my specific writing.
With Twitter, you can create as many handles as you like. I have two handles — a personal one for my writing business and a group one that I share with other authors.
Posting regularly is important. You can post quotes, links to blogs, and invitations to buy books. Do not use it solely as advertising though; this gets tiring. Include interesting stuff related to your writing and promote other people’s works too.
You can pre-schedule posts using a service like Hootsuite, Twuffer or Buffer to make it easier to be consistent in your tweets.
You can join LinkedIn to connect with business professionals and ideally be endorsed by others for things like Public Speaking, Blogging and the topic of your writing. You can share your writing here. And you can receive job leads through this network too.
Have fun with this one! You can create a number of boards; each specific to the types of writing you do.
For example, I have created “Books of Value”, “Inspirational Photos”, and “Health is the first Wealth”. To promote one of my children’s book, I created a board called “Adam’s Animals”. I posted photos of the animals that are included in this book. Many people are visual and Pinterest serves this sector quite well.
You can create a YouTube channel where you can post short how-to videos, interviews, and clips of you reading from your writing. The sky is the limit especially given the quality of videos using your own smart phone.
A marketing plan for fiction is different than one for non-fiction
Even though the plan may be different, the social media vehicles are the same.
For example, a fiction author could use a blog tour to generate interest where a non-fiction author could guest post on popular blogs.
Know your audience
I admit that I personally could be doing more to be active on Twitter and LinkedIn and Pinterest, however, I resolved to focus my energies on what I enjoyed most.
I liked being on Facebook (where most of my readers are) and so found it easiest to remain active there. Knowing my audience and where they spend their time was tantamount to a successful marketing plan.
A marketing plan must also break through the clutter of information that is out there.
There is a common adage that one must be exposed to your message seven times before it registers. Seven times!
This is why we see the same commercial repeated over and over during the course of one half-hour television show. A target audience must be reached in as many ways as possible.
For example, for a past campaign of my children’s book, I posted a photo of an animal with a fascinating fact on Facebook every day.
- Then I posted those photos to my blog.
- Then I uploaded those photos to my Pinterest board.
- I sent out different tweets to appeal to different readers.
- I set up Twuffer to schedule those tweets every 3 hours.
- I sent a newsletter to my opt-in email list.
- I wrote a press release and sent it to a variety of newspapers.
- I created videos including an interview with the illustrator for YouTube.
My goal was to perform at least one marketing task each day for a month to get the message out about my campaign.
If I could offer one other tip that would work in any market, it would be
the principle of sowing and reaping.
If your goal is to make money through writing this year, I would recommend that you help other people make money.
For example, on Facebook I share blog posts that would be helpful to others through a FB Group called “Writer Helps”. I’ve financially supported other creative projects through Kickstarter. I clap and tweet other writers on Medium. I feature them in interviews and create a monthly showcase of my favourite writers.
If your goal is to sell books then, I would recommend that you help other authors sell their books.
For example, I’ve created a blog called, “Books for Book Lovers”, and feature other authors. On Twitter, I’ve tweeted about author campaigns. On Pinterest, I’ve posted their book photos on my “Books of Value” board.
You get the idea.
It might take longer to establish networks and build relationships, but really it’s worth it in the end.