Do authors need to blog? Is it an effective marketing campaign? What is the best marketing campaign?
In this training, I will discuss my answers to the questions above and share with you some of the things that worked out for me.
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Do I Need to Blog?
One question you might have is, “Should I blog?”
I’m going to talk about that in today’s training. This has come up multiple times in my Author Audience Academy, private Facebook group. Several members that I work with on a regular basis have been kind of stumped saying, “Shelley, I don’t know whether I should blog or not.”
Now, there are two different scenarios. One of my members had been blogging for two years, and in her situation, I had a different set of questions and things for her to consider. If you’ve been blogging consistently for at least six months to a year, or even longer, this is something I want you to consider.
So the first thing I asked her was “What kind of traffic is she getting to her blog posts? Is it working?”
You want to look at your numbers, you want to look at what’s working and what’s not. She said she gets a little bit of traffic to her blog, not a lot. But she gets the most traffic when she sends an email to her list about a specific blog post.
So I said, “What does that tell you about what is working?” What is working is her email list – sending emails to her list. She really had a huge burden lifted from her when I told her, “You don’t have to blog, and you can have a different content marketing strategy.”
Blogging; One form of Content Marketing
So, blogging is just one form of content marketing. You could do a podcast, like what I’m doing here, and/or YouTube videos. This will become a YouTube video, a podcast, and it will also be on my blog.
You don’t have to do all of them. But you can do multiple things for your content marketing strategy, including, here’s a drum roll for you…a perma-free book. A perma-free book is a perfect content marketing strategy for most authors.
I go into depth on how to set this up and the best way to really get visibility on Amazon with a perma-free book. I also discuss the type of perma-free book to create, in my training called Author Automation System. That is also really important.
You’ll find this in the Platform Module inside Author Audience Academy. If you’re not yet a member, we’d love to have you join at AuthorAudienceAcademy.com. I’ve now opened up the monthly option, so you can get started for as little as $39 a month. I would love for you to join us and to serve you inside Author Audience Academy.
So continuing on my member’s question, it really made sense for her to put a hold on her blogging. Instead, I advised her to put her time and efforts on her email list. She also has been guest blogging on really big sites and she’s been able to get featured on some great sites in her niche.
So I told her, “Why not focus on the guest blogging and bring people back to your email list through your bio, and your byline? And you can also focus on your email list.” She will also be set up and publishing a perma-free book.
Does she need to blog consistently to have a content marketing strategy? Absolutely not! She’s guest blogging, and she’s going to have a perma-free book.
What she’s found out is, she’s been sending more emails to her list and they’ve been responding really well to them. So she’s now considering turning some of those emails into blogs since they’re already written. So, that’s one scenario.
If you’ve been blogging for a long time, look at your numbers.
What is working?
How many visitors are you getting to your blog?
Are you getting new customers, new readers? Is it working?
If it isn’t, is there something you can tweak?
Have you been working on SEO to really get people from Google searches? Anyway, SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, that’s a whole different topic.
What have you been doing to promote your blogs?
What kind of things could you do to increase the traffic to your blog?
Or, is it just time to not blog right now?
I say that every author needs a website, but not every author needs a blog. Let me repeat that again. Every author needs a website, not every author needs a blog. Why do I say that?
Every author needs to have at least, what I call, a business card website. That’s five to ten pages on your website, and that’s just simply having a business card. You just have to have a landing page, an about page, a book page, a contact page, and a page for them to sign up for your email list. So just a few simple pages.
In my training Website Workout Week, it’s a seven-day challenge that helps you set up your website and blog optimally. I kind of go through the pages that I recommend in that training. It’s available at Author Audience Academy.
Still, not every author needs to have a blog. I know it’s a pressure that a lot of authors feel because you’re a writer and you think, “OK, I’m a writer, I need to have a blog.” But if you’re just starting out, and you haven’t blogged at all, when considering the content strategy to use, I want you to think through a few things.
Knowing Your Target Audience
Who is your target audience?
This is key. If you are a member and you haven’t gone through my training in Author Audience Academy about target audiences, I want you to do that first. If you’re not a member, we’d love for you to join us at Author Audience Academy.
You need to know your target audience.
Once you know who your target audience is, you need to start doing some research on where they hang out online.
Where do they get their information online?
I had somebody come to me and want me to help them set up a podcast. But before I charged him for the coaching it would take to set up a podcast I first asked him, “Who is your target audience?”
Why would I ask him that?
I asked him that because if his target audience is not listening to podcasts, should he create a podcast for his content marketing strategy? NO!
So, you have to find out these things. Where is your audience? Where do they hang out? Where are they consuming content? Where is going to be the most bang for your buck, as far as your time goes, for content marketing?
I believe that a great content marketing strategy for almost any author is having a perma-free book. That’s a book that’s permanently free on Amazon. You set this up in a certain way for discoverability – for people to find you with Amazon searches.
This is a way for them to get to know, like, and trust you, to purchase your other books, to sign up to your email list, and to connect with you further.
That is a content marketing strategy. It’s free content you are putting out there to the world, and it’s just on a different platform. You’re putting that free content on Amazon instead of YouTube, your blog, or a podcast. It’s still content marketing. You don’t have to feel guilty if you choose not to blog.
Using Search Engine Optimization
Blogging is a really great opportunity for people to discover you through Google Searches. So, it’s really great to use Search Engine Optimization, SEO. I personally use the free YOAST SEO plugin for WordPress.
That plugin leads you step-by-step on how to optimize your title, your content, your images, and everything for keyword phrases that people are searching for on Google. I highly recommend downloading and adding that plugin, the YOST SEO plugin, and optimizing it.
I personally use the Google Keyword Planner to do my Google Keyword Research. Some authors get very confused when doing keyword phrase research, or I’ll just say Keyword Research. They think it’s just one word when it’s actually a phrase.
For this particular blog post, the keyword phrase could be, “Do I need a blog?” Or, “Do authors need to blog?” I can optimize my blog for that.
What this does is help you get found in Google when people search using those keyword phrases. And then this blog post could come up for that.
Now, you need to know that there is so many competition right now in blog posts. So it’s hard to rank for a lot of keyword phrases, especially if they’re very popular. You want to find keyword phrases that there is low competition, but there’s still a lot of searches.
There just isn’t as many of those keyword phrases available. It’s still possible that a lot of people still get a ton of free traffic from Google every day.
The other thing is, you need to make sure your website is optimized for mobile and other things as well. That goes beyond the scope of this training.
But what I want to tell you is, it can still be a very good strategy to have a blog. Through that people can find you.
What I like about YouTube is that it’s much easier to rank for keyword phrases than it is on my blog. So, that’s why I love having a video that goes onto YouTube, and I have my blog. I also have my podcast.
But it’s because I have a team. My team is behind the scenes editing, posting, and publishing. I’m doing all of that in order for it to go to all of the places.
If I was doing this by myself right now, I would probably just have my podcast, audio only. But because I have a team I can be in multiple places.
Where is your audience? Where are they hanging out? Where does it make the most sense for you to have your content marketing? What is going to give you the biggest bang for your buck, as far as your time goes?
We only have a certain amount of time, and like I’ve said, my personal recommendation is to consider a perma-free book – a permanently free book on Amazon. I have an entire training that explains this.
So many authors had “ah-ha” moments and light bulbs go off during this training when I recorded it live recently. It’s called the Author Automation System. In the core of that training is having a perma-free book, having a book that’s permanently free on Amazon.
So that training is available for you at Author Audience Academy. When you sign up as a member you will get instant access to it – it’s in the Platform Module.
I would love for you to join us. You can ask questions in the Facebook group. If you’re a member, that training is already there for you.
What do you think? Do you think that you need to blog or not?
I’d love to hear from you. I’d love to hear any additional questions that you have. This is a huge topic. I’ve only barely scratched the surface. But I wanted to at least try to address it because it has come up several times.
There’s no right or wrong answer. There’s not ONE right answer for every author. It really depends on what’s working for you, where your target audience is hanging out, where you can reach them most effectively, and what time and resources you have to do.
So, I hope you enjoyed this training. Again, my name is Shelley Hitz, I’m the owner of Author Audience Academy.
Until next time!
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