As a writer/marketer, my devious mind is always looking for new ways to market my brand. However, readers are more than aware of the invasive nature of banners, pop ups and "in your face" marketing tactics and HAIL, the new "buzz word" — content marketing — to truly engage an audience.
I have tried to to be as honest as I can in relation to my own experience of writing my first novel and marketing the Marshall Hughes brand through my series — Book Marketing for New Authors on Scriggler. In the previous three articles, I discussed book marketing and my own social media strategy to include agents/publishers, Amazon/KDP Select, designing your own website, You Tube videos, social media strategy (Amazon, Facebook and Twitter) as well as building a consistent brand identity, personality and image. If you have not already done so, and want to read these articles, here are the links.
So, to my new venture — content marketing. Not to bore you with academic nonsense, here is a simple definiton. It includes the use of websites, newsletters, digital magazines, blogs, storytelling, Facebook, Twitter, videos, podcasts and webinars to engage your audience with interesting content related to your brand. It is a way to increase awareness, enhance your brand reputation and ultimately, drive readership and increase sales. Marketers are clever, but extremely devious — whatever way you choose to view this species!! As mentioned previously, the invasive nature of banner advertisements, pop ups and trickster online strategies are now being replaced by interesting content. I have — consciously and subconsciously — used some of the above content such as creating my own website (including my blog), You Tube book trailers, Amazon, Twitter and Facebook. I have yet to explore the use of Newsletters (such a trek), podcasts and webinars (this I find more interesting).
Anyway, to cut a long story short, the mad marketer in me conjures up the idea to set up a Facebook Group, linked to my book brand to "engage" potential new readers with new "content" with the ultimate goal to build the Marshall Hughes brand, drive readership and sales. Initially, I set up the group (WriteStuff) for authors, readers, reviewers and bloggers and then I changed it to writing, poetry, art, music and photography. At the outset, I really did not have a clear focus/identity for the group. As more members joined the community, I let the artists/posts/attitudes decide the identity. Our slogan is now established, Creativity Takes Courage and our strapline, EveryDay Art For EveryDay People. And, we have three clear categories including writing, art and photography.
This creative space has taken me by surprise. I found myself connecting to these members, not to fulfill my own marketing needs, but in a humane, respectful way. To use WriteStuff as a piece of content marketing for my own gain is appealing. The marketer in me says, "YES, YES, YES!" The person in me says, "NO, NO, NO!" (I even gave away my first novel to our members for FREE!!) WriteStuff is also an ad-free zone. As a result, what we have created is something that marketers cannot touch (unless the members choose to market their own work themselves). We have built a small community with a set of strong values — a place to share our creative endeavours, untouched by marketing nonsense and not driven by a ME ME ME attitude. Personally, WriteStuff is a breath of fresh air (sorry, that is a cliche and not accepted practice within writing circles, but who cares — NOT ME!!).
As the group developed and the three main areas emerged — writing, art and photography — I was unsure how complementary each category would be to one another. On viewing the timeline, there is an eclectic mix of posts which breaks up the monotony of just writing or just art or just photography. Moreover, several members of the group have worked together, and will continue to work together, and produced an amazing poem — DISGRACE. You have the choice to view this "content" if you want. Co-creation is an interesting concept and I think this type of collaboration will flourish within our community. It is inspiring, indeed.
Yes, allow yourself to build content, but when it becomes personal, STOP the predatory marketing nonsense!