We’ve got our frame and our two wheels – which are non-negotiable – but now it’s about choosing what mechanical parts or gears work best for you. In practical terms, this equates to ‘content’ – what you talk to your audience about. Examples of this are the content of your newsletter, blog posts, videos, podcasts, and even your books. It can be as broad or as simple as you choose depending on your time, skill set, and audience. Some bicycles have one gear and very few bells and whistles, while some have several gears and many other options.
Whatever kind of content you create, it should be targeted and strategic – ‘geared’ toward your audience. Choose the right type of content for YOUR needs. You don’t need to do everything (and shouldn’t because you will burn yourself out!) I’ve made a list of common types of content below. Keep in mind it is not in order of what is better or more effective. That is up to you to decide.
- Write more books!
This is pretty self explanatory, but it needed to be said. Some authors don’t bother with blogging or any of the other ideas I’m going to list. They just write more books and tell their email list about them. Prolific authors will find they have plenty to share with their audience just with new releases, excerpts, and things like that.
Blogging can seem like a daunting task and I do not believe everyone needs to blog. In fact, some experts say that blogging is dead; that it isn’t reaching as many people as it used to. Whether that’s true or not is not my purpose.
Blogging is an excellent tool for creating content that is sharable and can be quickly published. It is also useful in that it boosts your search engine optimization. However, it is not the place to establish what Tim Grahl calls ‘permission’. (Grahl, Your First 1000 Copies, p. 57) That is the job of your email subscription list. Getting people to sign up for your blog is not the same thing.
When it comes to blogging, quality and consistency are more important than quantity. There is nothing wrong with posting less often as long as you are consistent. It is also a myth that you must only post new content. Trying to post new content everyday may lead to burn out. There is nothing wrong with recycling your content because truthfully, most people probably haven’t seen it yet.
Targeted content is more important than random fluff. If you are using your blog as an online journal or if it is primarily for your own family, then go ahead and write whatever you want. But if you’re using your blog as part of your platform, make sure your content is geared toward your target audience.
Podcasting is a lot like blogging but in audio format. Often people who podcast either don’t bother blogging or they recycle their podcasts into blog posts later.
Using video to reach your audience is apparently ‘hot’ right now. I enjoy several weekly videos from authors and marketers that I admire, probably more than reading their blog. Videos are also excellent for offering ‘how to’ information. ‘Youtube’ is a gold mine for ‘how to’ on almost any topic. If you can offer something of value via a video, this might be a great option for creating good content that your audience will want.
- Booklets, pdfs, cheat sheets, and more!
Create stuff that you can use as incentives for signing up for your email list, to give away as prizes during contests, or as rewards for your loyal fans. PDFs can be created from deleted scenes, excerpts, interviews or whatever. Think outside the box! Graphs, charts, cheat sheets… the sky is the limit when it comes to creating ‘one-off’ content.
PDFs can be attached directly in an email, can also be put on a special hidden page on your website, or can be stored on ‘google drive’ or some other ‘cloud’ for sharing. (I use Amazon S3. It’s a fantastic way to store and share this type of content. It costs a small fee but I like the ease of use.)
Do you need to do everything? NO! Do what fits YOUR audience, your level of commitment, your interests, and your budget. As long as you have some valuable content to share with your audience, that is all you need.
Tracy Krauss, current ICWF President, has more than 20 books and plays in print and has successfully launched several titles onto Amazon’s