by Tara Cloud Clark, Marketing for Outland Entertainment
Regardless of how you’ve published--self, with an indie publisher, or with a large publishing house--you need to use your online network of influence to promote your publication, your name, and your brand. But sometimes promoting your own creation.. and yourself… can be daunting, especially for artists who specialize in being artists and not in marketing and sales.
There are endless ways you can directly and indirectly promote. Understanding algorithms, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and the ins-and-outs of the various platforms can be overwhelming. And who has the time to post every day?!?!
But take heart. Take it slow. And take these tips to mind.
Find a place you feel most comfortable.
If you're a writer, write. An illustrator, draw. Someone who likes to design cross-stitch, then, by all means, cross-stitch. Bring your own flavor to the online community!
Don’t be intimidated by what other people are doing. Do what works for you. Developing online content doesn't have to be completely polished or perfect. Besides, there’s a draw to “amatuer” content, it makes it more personal and less corporate-y.
And if at some point you want to branch out into areas where you’re less comfortable/skilled, collaborate with someone who is more comfortable/skilled in those areas. Somewhat related but still different.
Yes, there is an expectation of what specific type of content should do, BUT don’t let that hamper your own personal style. You can do an unboxing video and dance around in your pajamas with your new purchases if you want.
People respond to people. So even though you’re “selling” a book or game or whatever, your audience probably would really like to get to know the person behind the product. It increases their investment in the product to an interpersonal level that can reap reviews, referrals, etc.
Explore topics around the publication.
The content you create doesn't have to be completely focused on the publication you’re promoting. It can be about a related topic or person. (But make sure you give at least a nod to your publication.)
So for instance, maybe your book was loosely inspired by a true event. You could write about the event, share original images from the event, or reference a TV series focused on the event.
Posting about topics around the publication provides interest and creates opportunities to bring in new audiences.
Bring in other people.
The more you can tag other handles ( in a blog post you’ll want to link to other relevant websites), the greater the reach of your content. There are lots of algorithmic avenues media passes through, but if the link/handle is relevant, it typically works well for your social media reach and SEO.
Consider shout outs, mentions, references, and even collaborations. And don’t assume those with millions of followers are the best ones to use. Much of the time it’s those with fewer but loyal followers who will have the most impact on your reach.
Borrow and steal... but always give credit.
Original content is a beautiful thing, but there’s a lot to be said for using what's already out there. Share posts, memes, and blogs other people have already created, but always value creators and give credit where credit is due.
This can be difficult, especially with some viral material, but do a search to try to find the original creator. And if the meme already has a tag on it, go ahead and tag them in the post. It’s courteous, honoring, and to be honest, it increases the reach of your post.
Having content for the sake of content is...just ok. It works. Do it. But...
Content is most successful when it is focused. Every piece of content you create should focus on these three things:
- Target audience- Who is most likely to enjoy my content?
Get specific! Think about their age, gender, race, things they follow, expectations, personal preferences, etc. DON’T stereotype… but do consider there are groups who have things in common. Also consider the platform they are likely to be on and how they interact on that platform.
- Topic/Purpose:- What does this content do for the audience? What would my target audience want to read/see/hear/know about?
Again, get specific. It adds interest and helps hone in on the target audience.
- Call to action:- What do I want my target audience to do?
Think about the actual action. Do you want them to follow you? Buy your product? Note: “Feel” and “think about” aren’t really actions for this purpose. “Know” and “believe” are better, but still, try to focus on an actual action.
Here are some examples to help better understand how you might focus your content:
“How to Draw Wheels on Post-apocalyptic Vehicles”—video, images with step-by-step directions, blog, etc.
- Target audience: sci-fi pen and ink illustrators on IG looking to hone their craft
- Topic/Purpose: to foster sense of building one another up rather than competing
- Call to action: “Follow hashtag/handle for more tips”
Sharing a news story about discovery of dinosaur bones in the region of your target audience from National Dinosaur Discovery Society (totally made up organization)—shared link
- Target audience: dinosaur lovers on FB who like new discoveries
- Purpose of content: get people excited about regional dinosaurs near them they can maybe actually visit, feeding the fantastical element while giving real life practical possibilities
- Call to action: “You can visit these real life dinosaur bones but until then, you can visit dinosaurs through the short stories in our Apex: World of Dinosaurs Anthology.”
Pun about zombies—written post, image, gif, video
- Target audience: middle aged, mostly men, on Twitter who love “dad jokes”
- Purpose of content: to tickle a funny bone and give them a sense that they are “the first” to see this joke
- Call to action: audience will likely share without an explicit direction, but “share post” is the call
Just do it… then experiment.
Too many people waste valuable time waiting to put content out there. They’re shy, they want it perfect, whatever. But the first most important thing is to just simply post.
Play with it. Do the same basic thing in many different formats on different platforms.
As you go along, you’ll get better, more comfortable, and learn new tricks. You’ll also get to know your audience better, what they like, and even how they respond to different types of content.
Done well, online marketing can have a big effect on your sales. These tips will certainly get you started, but if you’d like more personalized guidance on how to promote your name, brand, and publications, you may want to go a step further. Start learning the tricks of the trade. Reach out to someone whose content resonates with you. Or consider investing in someone who specializes in marketing for your type of business. Outland Entertainment doesn’t officially offer any of these services, but we may be able to connect you to someone who does.
Oh, and as you’re going along, tag us when it’s relevant and we’ll try to boost your engagement how we can!
Good luck, and have fun with it!