This post is part of a weekly series on YWP, aptly titled “The Writer’s Weekly Wrap-Up”.
Each Sunday, I will endeavour to provide you with a curated list of the best articles I have seen throughout the week that relate to building your platform.
The featured articles cover topics on book marketing and promotion, blogging, social media and self-publishing. (I may even throw in a few inspirational and fun posts, just so that it’s not all work and no play!)
SEO and Social Media: Making it Work For You
Changing things up a little this week in the Writer’s Weekly Wrap-Up, I’m sharing a portion of an email that I received from Brad–a new subscriber–regarding his struggles with SEO and social media.
Although a writer and marketer for almost 40 years, Brad says there are still aspects he finds “unfathomable” about applying the principles of SEO, and wonders whether social media (Facebook in particular), has any real ‘social’ or book marketing value:
“…what I struggle with most: how to use SEO principles to draw people to my site (and buy my books and such) AND how to understand, value, and control most social media, especially Facebook.”
Hopefully my response to Brad’s email will help clarify some of your own questions about tackling SEO and social media in your book marketing strategy.
You are not alone in your struggle to decipher the *true* path to higher search engine rankings for your site. There are countless people, businesses and communities (forums) that work everyday, trying to understand the nuances of the ever changing world of SEO.
Luckily for people like you and me–who have better things to do *wink*–there is only one major thing we need to worry about getting right with SEO, to get 80% or more of the benefit:
Write exceptional content.
Jackpot, right! How easy is that for a writer! Except, you would be surprised at how few writers take advantage of the opportunity to grow their readership, their platform and their business by providing the most epic content they can produce.
Instead many authors post articles on their blog just for the sake of posting, because they were told they have to.
Don’t make that mistake. Your content should stop people in their tracks. It should be so compelling that they shove their to-do list under the seat cushion of their sofa, let the food boil over on the stove or let their cell go to voicemail regardless of who’s calling.
THAT is exceptional content.
When you do this, SEO is mostly sorted out for you, because the search engines want to provide the best results for people’s search queries. If your work is epic, you ARE the best result because organically other sites will be linking to your content, people will be talking about it and sharing it on social media, and excited fans will be commenting and interacting on your site.
The key to making this great content work for you, is to ensure that it is highly relevant to the people you want to engage with, and it speaks directly to them. It solves the problem that keeps them up at night.
Of course there are many ways to make sure you are answering your reader’s needs. Here are some:
- Do keyword research to find out what people are searching for and the words they are using to find it.
- Do your research and find out what other authors in your genre are doing (or not doing that they should). What’s being offered in your industry/niche/topic? Fill in the gaps, or answer the same questions, but better.
- Ask your readers. What?! Yes. Ask your readers what they want and give it to them. Simple, right?
Sure there are other on site SEO tweaks you can do, but none of them will make the impact that writing smoke’n content will, so nail that down first.
As for your question on social media, I found that I was asking the same thing when I first started with it: who needs it? And is anybody really listening or is it just a way of telling people (who don’t care) even more useless facts about your day-to-day activities?
That may be accurate to a degree, but the important thing to grab onto is that social media is just a tool. It facilitates interaction, but it’s not what makes that interaction interesting, rewarding or engaging. That’s up to us.
Treat social media like an opportunity, not a chore. Mindset matters. If you find it painful to use, people will disengage. Focus on providing great, interesting and useful content that helps your followers or fans, NOT just updates on what you’re interested in, blasts about your book or what you ate for breakfast.
An important thing to remember, too, is that you need to be where your target readers hang out (online and off). Facebook may not be your best bet if your audience is younger; maybe Twitter or YouTube would be better social media platforms to master first. If your audience is older, then Facebook may be very important to your marketing efforts, so you’ll want to find ways to enjoy your interactions there.
Again, do your research, find out as much about your ideal reader as you can, and give them what they want, where they already are. (That’s the extreme nutshell version of book marketing!)
Now, on to our weekly wrap-up!
How Writers Can Stop Being Crushed by Fear of Rejection by Carol Tice at Make a Living Writing
In this post, Carol shares a bit of Jia Jiang’s story–whom she encountered at the World Domination Summit–and his project: 100 Days of Rejection Therapy. The video is inspiring.
Powerful Pictures Perform: How to Create Images That Grab Attention by Kimberley Grabas at Your Writer Platform
In case you missed it, I walk you through the steps to finding, editing and incorporating compelling images into your book marketing strategy.
The Book Marketing Maze: 22 Wrong Turns and How to Avoid Them by Jonathan Gunson at Bestseller Labs
Book marketing is a bit of a puzzle, and getting all the pieces to fit takes time and laser focus. In this article, Jonathan points out some of the pitfalls that authors mistakenly fall into, and how to avoid them.
Drive More Readers to Your Website: 8 Steps to Becoming a Guest Post Rockstar by Toni @Duolit Self-Publishing
Great tips on how to plan, research and craft excellent guest posts that bloggers want to share with their readers. A good tip about formatting in the comments, too!
Two Words Writers Should Avoid by Keith Cronin at Writer Unboxed
How many of us writers are guilty of this one? In his article Keith reminds us (using a few ‘buts’) that our response to criticism should be less defensive and more about learning from our readers and critics.
All Killer, No Filler: 6 Simple Tips to Concise Writing by Sophie Lizard at Be a Freelance Blogger
A great article by Sophie outlining the importance of being concise, eliminating the fluff and creating value in your writing, regardless of the length of your post.
Top 10 Mistakes in Starting an Online Business by Corbett Barr at Think Traffic
In his post, Corbett discusses the top 10 mistakes that new entrepreneurs want to avoid–and veterans wish they had–when starting a new venture online.
How to Format Your Book for Kindle Using Microsoft Word in 6 Easy Steps by Kristen Eckstein at Write Non Fiction Now
Simple steps to get your book formatted and up on Amazon. Kristen also gives some advice to those who would rather outsource the process.
The Naked Writer by Mary Jaksch at Write To Done
How much are you willing to reveal as a writer? Mary explores the question of how personal should you get with your writing.
Just for Fun
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Original top photo by rsharts