Self Publishing Success Needs Content Marketing

Content marketing attracts new readers.

If you are a self-publisher of ebooks and print on demand paperbacks and want to sell more books, you should consider using content marketing as a means to succeed.

The mindset of content or online marketing is something that can be difficult to grasp at first, but with a little research and planning, devising a digital or online marketing strategy is not very difficult.

The days of succeeding at selling ebooks with only Facebook, Twitter and a free blog are well and truly over. Why? Because once you have told all your Facebook friends, Twitter followers and blog subscribers about your books, over and over again, that is the end of your book marketing reach, and perhaps even of a few friendships.

What you need to succeed in selling more books, is to regularly find new people, who can then discover your books. The way to do this is with content marketing.

Selling ebooks starts with thinking about digital or content marketing.

In simple terms, you can attract a lot of people (traffic) to well written and informative posts by having your content indexed by Search Engines. This is always in the form of articles posted on a self-hosted blog. Search Engine indexing of free blogs such as Blogger and Tumblr is minimal, so they are an ineffective means of attracting search traffic.

The key to successful content marketing is to decide on your blog’s subject. Narrowly focused blogs work best, as they establish you as an authority on your topic. A blog with posts covering a multitude of topics, or worse, rants, will fail miserably as readers want consistency of advice, information and most importantly, solutions to their problems.

If you think about this for a second, a large percentage of people use search engines to find a solution to a problem. “How do I open a coconut?” “How do convert Word to epub?” “How can I sell more ebooks?” You probably do the exact same thing yourself, so with this knowledge, you have the first clue to successful content marketing. Answer questions, inform, and you will find that search (organic) traffic will soon be heading to your blog.

The other reason to use a self-hosted blog is that there are so many tools, functions, plugins and most importantly, money making opportunities, which can offset the small investment you will need to make in launching your own blog. Free blog sites use advertising to fund their platforms, so why not do the same yourself and have complete control and freedom?

Even a relatively new blog with modest traffic can usually earn enough from Google Adsense alone to cover the annual hosting costs of a self-hosted blog. In my case, this monthly revenue now sometimes exceeds my book royalty payments.

So what do you need to get started with WordPress?

Without a doubt, WordPress is the number one blogging and website creation software, so it’s a no-brainer to use this free open source platform. However, for those totally new to WordPress, it can be a learning curve, especially when it comes to undertaking the initial installation.

The easiest way to get up and running with WordPress is to use a host that does all the hard work for you, and can automate your installation. Bluehost is the number one recommended provider by WordPress, as it offers fast and very affordable hosting that is ideal for a WordPress site, and for those new to web hosting, they offer great support.

When your installation is complete, your have your WordPress site!

Wordpress Dashboard content marketing

The next step is to choose your blog’s theme. While WordPress supply a free theme, and there are thousands of other free themes available, most have limitations, or worse, are a bit buggy. It is always best to go for a top quality professional, responsive theme, which will work and look great on all devices. Remember that what might look great on a laptop, could look awful on a smartphone, and considering that nearly 50% of people access the Internet on smartphones now, having a great mobile site is vitally important.

There are a number of quality themes available, but Elegant Themes are very highly regarded and have a great reputation for producing high-quality themes. The small price you pay for quality will be returned in higher traffic, and a great user experience when they visit, and can easily navigate your site.

Elegant Themes

Now that your new site is installed and looks beautiful, it’s time to start blogging, and learning how to leverage your content to acquire traffic.

The best place to learn about using WordPress is WP-Beginner, a site totally dedicated to learning how to use, problem solve and making the most out of WordPress.

There are hundreds of other sites that offer WordPress help and advice, and a quick Google search will almost always find the answers to your questions.

As far as functionality goes with WordPress, there are a few plugins that I regard as absolutely essential tools. Here is my little top 5 list.

All In One SEO Pack.  This plugin simplifies and optimises your WordPress blog for SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and creates an XML sitemap for Google and Bing.

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP. This Google Analytics for WordPress plugin enables you to track your site using the latest Google Analytics tracking code and allows you to view key Google Analytics reports in your WordPress install.

Revive Old Post. A must have plugin to share your old posts on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin to get more hits for them and keep them alive. There is a pro version of this plugin, but the free version is great for recycling your content on social media.

WordPress Related Posts. Quickly increase your readers’ engagement with your posts by adding Related Posts in the footer of your content.

There are WordPress plugins for almost any idea you have

There are many more plugins that can add almost limitless functionality to your WordPress website, so it’s up to your imagination as how best to use your site to leverage your content marketing and attract new potential readers, and buyers, of your books.

Apart from all the things I have listed above, the most important element in successful blogging and content marketing is well-written quality content. Look at a few blogs in your subject area and see what they are doing. Content marketing is about providing 95% valuable content, and 5% about marketing your books, or any other products. However, you will be surprised how effective this method is, when it comes to finding new readers, and selling more books.

I made the change to my own self-hosted WordPress websites four years ago and have never looked back. Sure, the first few months were a learning curve, but once I grasped the basics and learned that great content wins anytime over any SEO tricks in getting indexed in search engines, having my own blogs has become an extension of my writing, which I enjoy just as much as writing a new book.

One Last Love by Derek Haines

As you can see from the content of this post, which is an example of content marketing, I have a couple of affiliate links, but more links to useful resources. There is also no mention of my books. But if you scroll up to the header, there is a link to my main website. Not the most noticeable placement, but it is seen often enough to generate sales. On occasions, I occasionally add a small image link to one of my books, such as the one here on the right.

This article runs to around 1,300 words, which is about the right length for an informative article on any subject. It also obeys the 95% rule, which means that even though I have added two affiliate links, and one little book ad, 95% of this article is of informative value. Well, at least I hope it is.

So good luck with your move to a self-hosted website, and in using content marketing to boost not only your book sales but also in discovering other side income streams that are possible from blogging.

This page was last updated on March 10th, 2017

2 thoughts on “Self Publishing Success Needs Content Marketing

  • September 28, 2015 at 4:03 pm
    Permalink

    This is a wonderful article. Content marketing is by far one of the most effective ways of finding, gathering, and engaging your audience. It’s all about giving them as much value, while keeping them engaged enough to buy your book. I write about marketing in the publishing industry and cover this topic extensively. My new book is focused primarily on content marketing, so naturally, this article caught my eye. .

    Many authors struggle with getting their name out their, but they fail to give readers a reason to listen to them. Why should you as a reader listen to a guy who is throwing a book in your face and screaming “buy me?”

    By creating engaging content that puts our brand in focus, we establish authority, credibility, and authenticity that allows us to create a relationship with the reader.

    This is a wonderful post. I’m loving what you’re doing with your website!

    Reply
    • September 28, 2015 at 11:39 pm
      Permalink

      Thank you, Andrew. I am happy to hear that you enjoy my blog, and for the compliment! And you are so right about giving readers a reason to listen.

      Reply

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