Do you want to be known as the expert on your topic? Then you need a content marketing strategy.
Content marketing involves creating online content (like videos, blogs, and social media posts) that doesn’t explicitly promote your book but that still stimulates interest in your Author brand. Put more simply, it’s editorial content that gets your audience excited.
Content marketing helps you create a reputation as the go-to person for solving a particular problem for a particular audience.
This kind of marketing can help you achieve your goals of building authority, visibility, and credibility within your field.
If those are some of the reasons why you published your book, content strategy is an indispensable tool. This guide will explain what content strategy is, why Authors should have one, and how to create an ongoing Author content strategy that helps you meet your goals.
What Is Content Strategy (And Why Do You Need It)?
Content strategy is, basically, a strategic plan for creating and sharing content that generates excitement for you and your ideas.
If you want your ideas to spread, you need to be sharing those ideas consistently. And you must do it in the right way. Writing random blog posts and updating your social media platforms once every few months isn’t likely going to give you much traction—even if it’s great content.
Content creation must be strategic in order to be effective. You need to share the right content with the right people at regular intervals if you want to earn a reputation as a leader in your field.
To make that happen, your content strategy needs to be aligned with the main takeaways you’re trying to share with the world.
For example, if your book is about how CEOs can set good business goals, it wouldn’t advance your goals to write an article about personal finance. It would make much more sense to write content about understanding KPIs, how to use metrics to evaluate your progress, and how to create realistic goals.
It would also make the most sense to aim those articles at your target audience—CEOs—and pitch those articles to online outlets that you know they read.
Many Authors aim for coverage from the largest media outlets instead of focusing on the ones that will actually serve their purposes best. The New York Times may be prestigious, but it’s not as effective at helping you land business consulting clients as a much smaller, niche trade publication.
A good content strategy also revolves around delivering pieces of content regularly. Around the time of your book launch, you’ll be very active with book promotion…but you don’t want that energy to fizzle.
To stay top of mind with your target audience and continue building your reputation, you should develop an editorial calendar for creating a regular flow of content. A consistent stream of great content is far better than a flood of mediocre pieces.
Finally, if there are terms, concepts, or ideas that you want to be known for, your strategy should focus on that too. Include those key terms in your articles. Put them on your website. Add them to your bio. From an SEO perspective, the more you can hype those terms, the easier it will be for people to find you.
Want to see how powerful a great content strategy can be? Scribe Author Will Leach is a great example of a content strategy success story.
Will is the Author of Marketing to Mindstates, a book that explains why marketers need to understand and harness the power of behavior psychology and economics to drive purchase behavior. He called this type of marketing “Mindstate Marketing.”
Will had read that out of 3 million books published each year, 85% reach less than 100 people. He didn’t want that to happen to his book. So, he turned to Scribe to create a content marketing strategy.
We posted articles on his behalf and landed him podcast interviews on shows like On Brand with Nick Westergaard. We helped Will promote his thought leadership through monthly LinkedIn posts and bylines for Forbes. And on every piece, “mindstate marketing” was present.
The goal was to establish Will’s reputation with high-quality content and creating brand awareness through repetition, repetition, repetition. Will Leach wanted to “own” the term “mindstates,” and now he does (just Google it).
That steady stream of good content marketing helped Will generate more than 6 figures of new business in only 6 months.
Many Authors think their writing obligations are over once they publish their book. But if you want to keep expanding your outreach, you need a solid ongoing content marketing strategy. You must consistently get your ideas out there.
What Content Should You Include for a Great Content Strategy?
1. Written Articles for Top-Tier Media
Want your ideas to be featured by Entrepreneur, Forbes, or Harvard Business Review? Create a content idea, and pitch it to them. Journalists and editors are always looking for great content.
A pitch explains why their outlet should publish your idea. Great pitches do 3 things:
- They explain why your idea is of interest to the publication’s target audience.
- They explain why your idea is socially relevant and timely.
- They explain how your idea is different. Journalists and editors read pitches all day long, so your idea needs to stand out.
How do you create a great pitch? Start with a great angle. It should tie into your book and say something unique within your area of expertise.
Do your research and plug into what the magazine or website needs. Your goal is to provide value to the audience. Be clear about what your readers will take away from the article.
Your article must also follow the outlet’s guidelines. That’s a good reason to pitch the article before you write it. That way, you can be sure the article fits the outlet’s length requirements, voice, format template, etc.
You can write an article before you pitch, but it’s much more efficient to pitch first. Then, once you get the thumbs up from an editor at the publication, you can write the article.
If you do write an article before pitching, do not publish it on your blog or elsewhere. If you do, they will not take it.
Most outlets demand content exclusivity. So, your article must be original content or wisely repurposed content from your book that hasn’t been published elsewhere online.
Once you’ve published with a particular outlet, you can put their logo on your website. Now, you’re trusted. Their publication is a digital stamp of approval.
There are also paid memberships for content marketing, such as Forbes Council. You can look into these memberships if you want to boost your credibility by association.
2. Blog Posts for Your Ecosystem
Not all Authors need a blog. But when they’re done right, they can help you boost your brand’s signal.
Blogs are a great way to produce content that helps your target audience. And they don’t have to take a ton of time.
There are many types of content you could produce for a blog. You could spend 10 minutes answering one quick question a week. You could write longer content every few weeks. You could create a regular podcast or video series. You could design infographics. Or, you could go live and give an impromptu Q&A session or webinar.
Whatever you do, make sure it’s consistent with your Author brand and provides knowledge to the people that you want to serve. At the end of the day, your blog should help you and your audience.
Blogs are great for raising your visibility in the following ways:
- driving inbound traffic to your website
- showing the depth of your expertise
- increasing the network of sites that link to yours
- improving your search engine optimization (SEO)
- helping you gather new subscribers for your email marketing mailing list
Above all, blogs help you engage with your audience on a regular basis, so you can stay top of mind, deepen your relationship, and expand your reputation.
You can repurpose any existing content on your blog by also sending it to your Author newsletter, posting it to social media, or linking it in your email signature.
3. LinkedIn Posts
LinkedIn posts and LinkedIn articles are 2 different formats.
LinkedIn posts are shorter. They should point people toward your other, longer content. Think of them as the hook that brings people in.
These posts should drive people to your profile, and in turn, to your ecosystem—your website, blog, eCommerce site, YouTube channel, or whatever platforms you find most valuable.
If you want to include a link to an outside source, do it as a comment on the post. LinkedIn wants to keep its members in the LinkedIn ecosystem, so the algorithm prioritizes posts with internal links.
Keep your audience in mind when you post. Don’t just write the first thing that comes to your mind.
Think of every post as an ad. Your goal should be to convince people to take a second look.
Who is your optimal audience on LinkedIn? For example, if you reach both students and professionals, you probably will want to speak primarily to your professional audience with your posts.
You only get 3 lines “above the fold” on LinkedIn posts. That means you have to grab readers in a small amount of space. Use thought-provoking questions, counter-intuitive statements, or a colon with a reveal on line 4 (so they click through).
4. Other Social Media Content
An important part of every content marketing strategy is using your other social media content to keep people engaged.
The average lifecycle of any given social media post is short, so you must post consistently. You don’t want people to stop hearing about your ideas.
As a rule, social media algorithms reward consistent content and engagement. So, if you aren’t posting regularly, your voice may be getting drowned out.
If you’re struggling to come up with social media ideas, take ideas from your blog posts, newsletters, or books. Condense them. Find juicy quotations or small nuggets of wisdom.
Use those smaller bits as posts and include language or links that point people to your ecosystem (or, if you don’t have an ecosystem, to your book’s landing page).
5. Email Copy
If you have an email list, your email copy is a great place to add value for your audience.
To get people to pay attention to your emails, you must include distinctive or thought-provoking content in your email copy. People receive so many emails every day, they’ll tune out generic or repetitive copy.
Treat these emails as a valuable opportunity to connect with people and share your knowledge. Be authentic. Be willing to get more personal in your emails than you may on other, more public platforms.
Emails are also a great place for more enriched content because they’re so versatile. Add links and imagery that you aren’t able to add on LinkedIn or other social media posts.
Be sure to also include links that keep pointing people back into your ecosystem. For example, did you do an interview lately that they may want to watch? Did you write an article they may want to read? Did you post a new video on your website? Link them.
When you get new subscribers to your email list, it’s a great idea to set up an automated welcome series. This will help you build a faster and deeper connection with your subscribers. It will also immediately incentivize them to stay subscribed and keep reading.
To learn more about how to create a welcome series, read this article.
6. Audio and Video Content
When should you use audio or video?
Your decision will always come down to your goals, audience, specific content, and what you can commit to being consistent with.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding whether you want to commit to audio or video:
- Does your audience want videos? Do they listen to podcasts?
- What do you want to achieve with these recordings?
- Where will the video or audio ultimately go? Are you building a YouTube channel, creating a weekly podcast, building media for your website, or creating short promotional materials for social media platforms?
- What kinds of audio or videos are you creating? Are you trying to repurpose your videos into a video course? A weekly video podcast? A weekly 1-minute update?
- Are you showing people how to do something? Does your audience want to learn a skill or craft where DIY videos will help?
Audio and video are especially powerful media if you’re planning to add guests. Conversations are far more engaging on audio or video than in written transcripts.
Audio and video are also great if your audience is on-the-go and looking for versatile content. People can plug their phones in during their commute, listen on the treadmill, or tune in while washing dishes.
If you’re going to opt for audio or video content, be sure it sounds and looks good. Don’t skimp on equipment.
There’s a lot of competition out there, especially since the pandemic began—everyone and their brother started a podcast from home. If you don’t have great quality, people won’t engage with your media.
A Final Note on Your Content Calendar
Finding the right cadence for your content marketing efforts is important. You need to produce content consistently, but you also don’t want it to be a drain on your time and energy.
If you’re positioning yourself as a thought leader, you need to produce enough content to stay top of mind. But if your goals are more modest, you can determine how much content suits your specific objectives.
Whatever you decide, create a steady workflow that you can commit to. It’s better to have a reasonable editorial calendar than to be overly ambitious and burn out.
Finally, think about your editorial calendar as an actual calendar. Tie your content into the events going on in the world. For example, have a blog post queued up to release when people start searching for Super Bowl ads. Or, create holiday-oriented content for the holiday season.
When you’re developing concepts, articles, and pitches, ask yourself, What current events can I tie into while still providing something unique to my audience?