Publishing Archive

Here Are Some Content Marketing Tips You Can Use

Good content packs a solid punch and does wonders for a successful internet marketing strategy. Its value cannot be underrated. No matter what kind of business you are involved in or what kind of concept you are trying to promote, quality content that is informative, useful and articulate is absolutely essential. So how do you create content that packs the right kind of punch? Implement these four tips when you are doing your writing.

No compromise on quality

One of the primary objectives of content marketing is to help your brand or your product, list among the top search engine results. To achieve it, you need to incorporate keywords and key phrases into the content. The problem arises when keywords take precedence over the actual content, i.e.: you focus on inserting as many keywords are possible and ignore the quality of the written material.

What you should know is that with Google’s Penguin and Hummingbird updates, the search engine can now differentiate between content that has quality information to offer and content that is simply spammy or that overuses keywords. The former is more likely to rank better than keyword-intensive text.

Give adequate attention to headlines

The first thing that your reader sees is your headline. If it fails to grab their attention, it does not matter how well your article is written or how useful it is to them. Invest enough attention in writing headlines that convey a message, pique the curiosity and draw in the reader to invest more time on the page. A good tip is to convey how the reader will benefit from reading the blog or article or web page. For example, ‘Want to take YouTube by storm? Here is what to do?’

Add visual breaks for easy reading

You may have great content to share, you may even have an attention grabbing headline ready, but unless your content is easy to read, none of them really matter. Visual breaks make it easy to read text and it is simple to add them to any content. Break up the content into logical paragraphs and use subtitles to convey what the reader can learn from each of them. Make use of bullet points when you have a number of arguments to present or many points to list out. They make it easy to communicate the maximum amount of information with the minimum number of words.

Use direct language

Using simple, direct language to get your point across to your reader is another often forgotten aspect. Active voice is the best choice for you because it keeps the content uncomplicated and easy to comprehend after a quick glance. Make sure you add call to actions at appropriate intervals and also at the end of the content to inspire your reader to act, at once.

No present day business can survive without investing enough attention to digital marketing. The success of digital marketing hinges on quality content and effective content marketing. Although most business owners understand this universal truth, not all manage to set in place a truly efficient content marketing strategy. The challenges that arise are key reasons for the failure.

Challenge 1: Creating shareable content that is also entertaining and engaging

Content marketing works best when you get your audience involved in ‘distributing’ the message by sharing your content with their circle. To ensure that your content is shared, it is important that it is interesting, informative and entertaining to your readers. Creating content that satisfies these aspects is a challenge that may seem difficult to overcome. What you need to do is identify what your target audience is interested in, at present, by keeping track of their purchase behavior, their social media conversations and their feedback to you. Identify the topics that seem to be ‘in trend’ and create content around them to garner maximum attention and maximum shares.

Challenge 2: Making content visible

Millions of new articles and blogs arrive on the internet every week and yours is just one of them. Making your content visible in the crowd is a challenge indeed, but one that you can easily address with efficient search engine optimization. Research the keywords that your audience appears to be using most of the time and utilize them in your content to the right degree. Make sure that keyword usage is not taking priority over content quality and you are on track to get your page ranked high in Google search results.

Challenge 3: Writing effective content that results in conversions

The objective of content marketing is to enhance your overall sales efforts. It means your content should directly influence your readers to take another step into your sales funnel. In the best case scenario, your readers should immediately head to your site and make a purchase as soon as they read your content. To achieve it, your content has to fulfill two criteria: one, it needs to highlight a need that your reader has, two, it should convey why your product is the right answer to the need. The content has to give a clear message that prompts your readers to view your product favorably or make up their mind about buying your product immediately.

Content marketing success hinges on how well you can overcome these challenges and consistently deliver content that entertains and informs your audience.

When you have succeeded in overcoming a big challenge in life or you have dealt with a difficult situation or event that crushes most people, it is natural that you would want to share your experience so that others can benefit from it. Writing a self- help book is a great idea in such situations. However, it is not easy to write one that is commercially successful as well as truly beneficial to your audience. These are some points you should keep in mind to make your self- help book useful and informative to others who find themselves in your situation.

Is the topic relevant, current and really useful?

The first thing to do is to review your topic and take a call on whether or not it is useful for others. Some situations that you have experienced and overcome may be common to many people across the world, but others arise only because of a unique combination of circumstances that may not be duplicated in anyone else’s life. A self-help book is a success when it talks about a problem that affects many people, and there is no evident, tried and tested way to deal with it. Another thing to keep in mind is to research if the subject has already been extensively covered by many other authors. If so, your audience may be highly restricted.

Retain focus on your core topic

Finding your focus and then staying focused as you progress through the book is a huge challenge when it comes to writing self-help books. These are typically based on your personal experiences and it often becomes a drawback because you tend to meander into experiences that do not have direct bearing on the topic of the book. A good way to overcome the problem is to start the project by making a clear, well-defined outline for your book with chapter headings and a short summary of each chapter’s contents. Get someone to give you an objective assessment of the outline before you finalize it.

Build trust

Credibility and trust are keystones to success when you are authoring self-help books. Your audience should feel confident about placing trust on you and there are several ways in which you can do it. One, you can highlight your credentials that show why you are an expert on the topic. Two, you can share your life story to show how you have experienced the same problem and worked your own way out of it. Sharing anecdotes, stories from your life as examples works well to enhance your credibility as an author who knows what he/she is talking about.

Yes, there is; it’s something even traditional book publishers follow to get their books out at the most opportune times, if you will. October to December is anathema, as this happens to be the peak period for the Christmas market when the focus is mostly on gift titles. The start of December marks a flurry of sales as opposed to support, when everyone is under pressure to meet delivery deadlines and react to purchase orders in a timely fashion.

So, while the holiday season and one or two months preceding it are excellent times for sales, they’re not the best times to start publishing your book. It’s an even worse time to begin the finishing touches on your book. The editor, formatting professional, or cover designer you engaged at the end of November or beginning of December is quite likely to be unresponsive to your queries during mid-December.

Post-Christmas is a strategically good time to publish your book. You can get on January’s pre-order timeline and have some days leading up to Valentine’s Day in February. In February, people are also done settling their credit card bills and more open to downloading books to their e-readers. With the new year upon them, book lovers become eager to sample new writers.

The type of book also determines the best times to publish. The market tends to be more receptive to romance, business, cookery and self-help books in the January to April time period (new year resolutions, career changes, attracting new romances). May and June are ideal months for light summer reads, both fiction and non-fiction. September is a good time for crime, paranormal, horror and historical sagas.

Another strategy you can explore is timing your book launch with a particular commemorative day of the year – Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, International Street Children’s Day, Hug Day, World Autism Awareness Day and the like. It can assist with publicity, especially if you’re after a niche audience.

Finally, you can see what books are due for launch on self-publishing platforms during the week you plan to publish yours. If another writer or writers will be launching books not different from yours or back catalog books of a well-known author in your genre are being re-released, you may want to time your release such that it’s not overshadowed or under severe competitive threat.

Your writing can suffer due to many reasons. However, one of the biggest factors that contribute to your determination is your self-esteem. Your self-esteem is the general feeling you have about yourself – your belief in your abilities, the kind of person you are and your exceptions from yourself in the future. Apart from how it can affect everyone around you, your self-esteem has a huge influence on the way you approach writing. Given below are some ways in which you can improve your self-esteem and write better as a result:

Know yourself: The path to improving your writing starts with getting to know yourself on a deeper level. Most of the well-adjusted people have a good sense of what they are. Knowing yourself is more than identifying your strengths and weaknesses. You will need to open yourself up to new opportunities, meet new people and try new things to find out what you are passionate about. You may even start a new hobby or a career path!

Exercise: Apart from getting to know yourself on a mental level, you will also need to find out your physical limits. People who exercise regularly are not only healthier, but they also have a much better idea of their physical capabilities. Your improved physical health means that you will have more energy to invest in writing.

Build relationships with different types of people: The people you meet regularly can influence your daily thoughts and moods. Being around people who constantly criticize you can damage what you think about yourself over time. Take the time and effort to associate yourself with people who stimulate your intellect and make you think about new ideas. It does not mean that you should cut everyone else out. Having good relationships with people from different career paths, religious beliefs, age groups and nationalities can help you come up with more creative ideas.

Reduce the effect of criticism: As you meet people and talk about what you do, you will come across some who never seem to be impressed with anything you do. You will have to find a way to reduce the effect of their criticisms on your mental health or become more assertive with them. Trying to make everyone happy with your writing will simply reduce the quality of your work and discourage you from penning your original ideas. Instead, take honest reviews from only a select group of people, who will point out flaws without harping on your mistakes.

Your self-esteem is a strong personality trait and it is not easy to make dramatic changes in a short amount of time. Regardless of what methods to use to improve your beliefs about yourself, bringing about a positive change takes time, patience and a lot of trial and error on your part. However, if you make an effort to be fair to yourself, you may be able to slowly improve not only the quality of your writing, but also the quality of your life.

Self-help books are the craze today and the number of new authors trying their hand at the genre is a proof of the fact. However, only a handful of them succeed in writing a book that people want to read. If you want your self-help book to be a commercial success, there are a few critical points that you should keep in mind.

Be yourself, be real

When someone picks up your self-help book, they want to get the feeling that you know what you are talking about. When you over-dramatize the situation/event or exaggerate the impact that it had on you, the book starts sounding more like fiction. That is exactly what you do NOT want. Be real, be realistic and be yourself to convince your reader that you have actually experienced the situation yourself. Your writing should convince them that you do have the personal experience to write a self-help book that can give some really useful inputs to them.

Be practical

Self-help books may address an issue that is not well defined or structured. They may even discuss a problem and offer a solution for an issue that is not widely accepted or even acknowledged. However, the book and its message cannot be vague or confused and most importantly, it cannot offer impractical solutions to the problem. The expectation of your readers is that they will find an answer to their problem from your book. If you fail to fulfill it, you will get some negative reviews that can cause immense damage to your book sales. Clear cut, unambiguous, completely practical solutions are a must for a best-selling self-help book.

Add value

When you compare two products that are similar, but only one of them offers a freebie, there is a huge chance that you will pick the value added one that gives you more for the same cost. The same goes for your self-help book, especially if the topic you are covering has already been written about extensively. Not only should you try to bring in an entirely new perspective to attract the audience, you can also ensure that your buyers get more value by adding a freebie that they will find useful. For example, a book about the benefits of yoga can come with a free CD showing your readers how to do various yoga poses and exercises. They will get to know why yoga is great for them and they can also progress to doing it, thanks to your CD.

So, you have your very first self-published book all ready to unveil to the world? You even have a list of friends, acquaintances and relatives lined up to buy your first copies? That’s great, but what comes next when you have already sold your book to the first group of buyers? To canvass the marketplace in the most effective way and to ensure that your book sells, you need to invest attention in promotions too. Here are a few points you can use.

Everyone is not your audience

It’s true, not everyone is going to want to read your book and that’s not bad. In fact, there is probably no book in existence that has universal appeal. However, assuming that your book will appeal to everyone can be a big marketing mistake.

The first step in effectively promoting your book is to understand who your audience is. You have already worked on it when you started to write the book, i.e.: defining your audience. Now, you take this a step further and assess where the audience is likely to congregate so that you can focus your promotions in these areas. For example, if you have a book titled ‘Caring for your newborn’, you may want to promote it in forums where new parents tend to interact, or on communities managed by brands that sell products for newborns.

Offer your book free in exchange for reviews

Offering your book for free may seem to be rather counterproductive, but if you get some really good reviews in, the move can pay off in spades. Typically, you should limit the freebie offer to a few days right after launch and encourage the buyers to give reviews. Do not expect all of them to comply with your request, but some of them will surely oblige. If you know the top reviewers or subject matter experts in the niche that your book belongs to, offer them a free copy before launch and get their views on the book. Publish these along with your book listing to give it credibility in the marketplace.

Use social media to the fullest

Thanks to social media, sharing news with the world is easy and you can leverage the advantage to promote your self- published book to the world at large. Include blurbs from the book, pictures, reviews, excerpts to tantalize your social media followers to read the book. If there is any recent news that can be related to your book, refer to it and link it with your book and its contents. It is a great way to make the best of trending news in your promotional strategies.

The journey to self-publishing can be an arduous one. You need more than just amazing writing skills and a burning passion to go the full mile without giving up. Self-discipline and self-monitoring are key to staying focused and meeting your authorship goals. These four tips will help you keep the momentum going less painfully.

Be patient

It’s not for nothing that patience is regarded as a virtue. There are quite a few logistics involved in both print and e-publication, and many first-time self-publishers tend to miss key steps when navigating the process. Look at it this way : in a publishing house, different individuals and departments handle different aspects of publication. When you’re on your own, you have to wear more than one hat, and go about the process patiently. Expect your patience to be tested even more when you’re balancing your personal and work (if you’re employed) commitments.

Be objective

If you’re a non-fiction writer, the ability to see your work through the lens of literary agents can come in handy. It can help you make objective decisions on content creation and marketing, by answering questions like ‘what kind of value does my book offer the target market?’ and ‘how unique and necessary is my book in its category?’.

Don’t skimp on the research

It is critical that, prior to publishing, you do your research and clearly understand all your options. Some of the not-so-glamorous aspects of self-publishing include obtaining an ISBN and barcode, figuring out the payment mechanisms and tax obligations, creating your copyright statement, and developing your website. As you’re readying to publish, you need to implement your web marketing plan. Even after you’ve published your book and started work on your next project, you must keep marketing your previous project.

Stay committed

Some writers can draft an 80,000 page book within a month while other may take up to a year to write the same number of words. If you can write only 400-500 words a day, and not write at all on some days, it’s fine. What’s more important is that you’re committed to the endeavor, because ultimately, writing a novel or creating a picture book is both time and effort intensive. Serious writers regard their work as a labor of love. Anyone who doesn’t want to take the pain to tell a story probably isn’t a serious writer. This quote by the great American writer Flannery O’Connor can help put things in perspective : ‘Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay.’

One of the biggest challenges self-published authors face is effectively marketing their work. The problem isn’t so much with the marketing methods or channels; it is more about how well you can leverage them and promote the hell out of your book. Self-publishing has created a level-playing field no doubt, but the playground is fiercely competitive. If you want a fair chance at healthy sales, these marketing strategies can give you a good head-start.

1. Price your book competitively

The trend of initially selling their books for free for a few days has served indie authors well, garnering them visibility and helping them build a fan base. Low prices on long books also attract readers, which is another tactic employed by many writers. But the flipside is that readers may equate very low priced books with questionable quality and hesitate to buy them. Also, pricing your book too low can be a drag on your revenue, especially if you aren’t exactly selling many copies a year.

A not-too-high and not-too-low price is a good compromise for newbie authors. This price could be between $2.99 to $4.99 for a full-length book and $1.99 for a novella.

2. Get an author website

Your author website will be the one-stop destination for readers and the media to get more information and the latest news about you. Add a brief biography, high resolution photographs, links to your social media profiles, positive reviews and press quotes. Also consider a blog section where you can interact more intimately with your readers.

3. Get social

Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+ are some of the popular social networks where authors can engage with fans/followers. Guy Kawasaki recommends getting on social media before you start writing a book, as it will take you anywhere from nine months to a year to build a social following.

Create a great profile that elicits interest, and makes you appear likeable and trustworthy. Add your high resolution photo, but make sure it’s just you and not you with your spouse, pets or car. Write a few sentences about yourself and tell your personal story, staying honest to whatever image you want to portray and without going over-the-top about it.

Don’t just self-promote, focus on initiating engaging, lively and useful conversations with your readers. You can talk about your interests, opine on a news story or topical subject, and even post interesting photographs from time to time. Answer fans’/followers’ questions, give advice, and follow people whose content you find valuable and share-worthy.

People like sharing posts and tweets about contests. You can launch contests on social media and give away free copies of your book as gifts/prizes.

4. Create Google Alerts

When you create a Google Alert on your name, the search engine will notify you every time someone writes about you and your book(s) online. You can reach out to these entities to explore more promotional opportunities or thank them for the mentions.