Can content marketing help authors with discoverability? Yes. Yes it can. That’s what Kevin believes, at least, and in this Solo Slinger episode he talks about some of the ways an author can leverage content beyond their books to bring more readers to their books.
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Kevin Tumlinson: 00:01 Hey slingers, welcome back to another solo slinger episode. I'm going to be talking about content marketing for authors. You're not going to want to miss this, so stick around. Hey, you looking for a jump on your own India author career, but kind of confused about where to start. I got the place for you. Check out draft two digital. That's where you're going to be able to convert your manuscript, distributed worldwide, online, and get help the whole way from the best author support there is. Trust me on this one. So go check out drafted firstname.lastname@example.org slash word slinger.
Announcer: 00:37 It's the Wordslinger Podcast, where story matters. Build your brand. Write your book. Redefine who you are. It's all about the story here. What's yours? Now here's the guy who invented pants optional ... Kevin Tumlinson, the Wordslinger!
Kevin Tumlinson: 01:03 Well, I am Kevin Tumlinson, the Wordslinger and I am a, I'm thrilled to be here. Last night I actually went and talked with the good folks at right space Houston. Um, which is a, a, it's an organization put together to help people get into this business. Basically get it, figure out how to uh, build, uh, a writing career, connecting people with professionals of all levels, uh, in traditional publishing, self publishing, etc. So it was a, it was a great event and I was glad to be there and, um, it got to, got to talk about sort of the basics of self publishing. It's, it's amazing how much we forget, we know or, or I guess it's amazing how far we can get along without realizing that other people don't have that same knowledge. So, uh, it was fantastic. If you are a, one of the folks who was there, welcome to the show.
Kevin Tumlinson: 01:56 I don't think anybody, there was a listener before I showed up. So if you're listening now, I had a great time chatting with you and I hope you get a lot out of this, uh, podcast. This is what we call the solo slinger episodes that's newly named, freshly minted, uh, because this is where it's just me now normally. Um, for years I've had a guest on just about every show and now I do these solo episodes to kind of drill down and talk, talk about certain news with these, used to be the afterward for each episode with the episodes we're getting a little too long. So I decided to break it out into its own episode. And, um, maybe, uh, you know, spend 30 minutes or so drilling down into a concept that might be helpful to authors of all stripes, whether you're a will be authored, just waiting, you know, struggling to write your first book or you've written your book and you're just struggling to get started or you've been around for awhile and, uh, maybe you need a refresher or maybe you, uh, just there was something you missed.
Kevin Tumlinson: 02:58 Hopefully this is helpful to all of you. So what I'm talking about today is content marketing. And, um, as always, whenever I talk about a topic like this, I want to make sure that I am giving you the, uh, uh, definition to work from. And for this topic, we're going to define content marketing as additional content content beyond your books that helps to funnel readers, uh, qualified readers will throw in there to your work, to your books. So I'm thinking about this in terms of, you know, there are a lot of old standards and you're going to hear about these a lot. So like blogs, uh, that is a great form of content marketing. Probably one of the best honestly for writers. Um, because for one, it utilize this skill you already have. Um, and it's something you can control. You can put a blog on your website, there are a million free blogging platforms out there.
Kevin Tumlinson: 03:51 If you don't have a website, for example, um, I do recommend having a website. We're just going to put that right out there. Uh, and that does help with the content marketing side, by the way. But, okay, so blog posts are useful because you can drill down into your topic or, or general subject a little more and that will attract people who are interested in that type of story, uh, that you can then nudge over to pick up your books. So a good example of this, let's say you're a fiction writer and let's just say you write about sparkly vampires, okay. Now you might do a blog that is focused on things like, um, you know, vampire lore are a, the supernatural or you know, a variety of topics in that area. Um, now what happens is when you write a blog and he posted on your site, uh, it helps with a little bit of a bump to what we call search engine optimization, right?
Kevin Tumlinson: 04:47 So if you're writing about topic regularly, uh, Google and other search engines will scan those articles. And when people go searching for certain things, they might stumble upon a set of keywords that leads them right to your door, um, or at least puts you up kind of in the know. The better you are, the more robust your content, the higher up you can generally rank in Google. I'm dramatically over simplifying things like Seo for this. So, uh, for those of you who are experts in Seo, just bear with me. Um, but the general gist here is that content can help make you more discoverable and, uh, particularly content that, that resides on your website. So a blog allows you to have a great deal of content that's focused on a specific topic. If you're a nonfiction author, for example, let's say that you write about medical technology, um, and on your blog, you know, your books are about medical technology or about something in the medical field.
Kevin Tumlinson: 05:46 So on your blog, you're writing about the things that you're discovering as you go out and do your research. As you read articles, you found youtube videos, you find photos of, of equipment or, uh, and you're sharing all this in one, like centralized hub. So you're creating content that will help other people find your site. Once they're on your site, they're, they're kind of just at the edge of what we call your marketing funnel. You want to capture that traffic now, uh, by uh, making an offer, a free offers, something to get on your mailing list. That's a whole other topic. We've kind of talked about it before. Um, but you want to get people there in the first place and if they're just on your website, you can have little spot ads here and there are some, you know, little nudges, uh, that get people to go check out your books.
Kevin Tumlinson: 06:36 Maybe you have a little thumbnail of your book that you include at the bottom of an article or somewhere embedded in an article that says, you know, buying my book, it is, it is acceptable for you to tell to a, have something that pushes and sells you a little bit, uh, buried into your content. As long as the content itself is an all focused on buying my book, you're probably going to be okay. So blogs are great content am when I like to do, and I've talked about this before a thousand times, what I don't like to do is repurpose content as much as possible. Uh, so a great way to get some blog content is to use your, your newsletter and a, I've talked about this, but I, I like to write these little essays and if you go by the way right now to written world.us hypothetically, I've had some glitches, but it should point you directly to my new podcast written world podcast.
Kevin Tumlinson: 07:29 If not, it'll take you at least to the, to my website. And there is a written world link in the menu bar. Uh, so that's a good example of what I'm doing to create content that's reader facing that's meant to help readers discover me and my work. And the way it breaks down as this. I write these essays for my emails. Um, and then I take that essay and I read it and record it and that is the podcast. And then of course I have the SAA written out. So I drop it in as a blog post to the blog post, becomes the show notes of sorts for that podcast. The podcast goes out on all the various platforms. Now I'm also going to be adding youtube videos to this. Um, and other forms of content. And so this becomes part of a larger content marketing strategy.
Kevin Tumlinson: 08:15 I'm a big believer in creating as much content as you can to help promote and market and sell your books. Uh, and this is just one of the, one of the ways to do it. Now, content marketing of course encompasses those other bits. Um, your email newsletter can be a part of your content marketing strategy as I've mentioned, right? So, you know, write content for your newsletter that you can repurpose elsewhere, even if it's just a tank, a small bit of it, and use it for social media pushes. You know, maybe you got a clever turn of phrase in an email and I know a photograph or something that you posted or know, uh, an image that you're using. Uh, now you can combine those in social media posts and with the express idea of pointing people back to your books. So, you know, if you're using a, if you've got a book page on your website or if you're using like the draft to digital reader, reading lists are something similar.
Kevin Tumlinson: 09:15 Um, you can take content from your newsletter and a repurpose it as social media posts or repurpose it as blog posts or you know, reading record it and use it for podcasting in and vlogs a podcasting is another great tool for content marketing. And that kind of comes down to, um, you know, you, I'm just going to give you some advice on podcasts real quick. When I started the words on your podcast, I really did have the intention of trying to draw people to my fiction. That was a mistake because I was great at creating content that was aimed at the nonfiction market at the author market. Now that's fantastic because it's allowed me to grow and in immeasurable ways, but the idea that I was going to get readers off of this, uh, was a pipe dream. That doesn't mean that podcast can't work for that.
Kevin Tumlinson: 10:09 What it means is you have to create content that's aimed at your specific audience. So my mistake in the one that you can learn from is, uh, I created content that was not aimed at my target market. It was not aimed at my ideal reader. And so therefore it was not drawing in new readers for my work. Um, so to remedy that, I'm creating, I've created a new podcast that is reader facing, which is the written world podcast. Now that show has content that is not my fiction itself but is related to my fiction. So my tagline is that is the story behind the stories. Um, the idea there is to share the research that I'm doing and the stories that I find during that research and attract people who, who like that kind of of a information, who liked these little tidbits of history, weird history, lost history, that sort of thing, and attract them to, um, my mailing list that way.
Kevin Tumlinson: 11:09 Now that's a, I think that's going to work and it's early days yet. Uh, but it doesn't cost me much more energy to create that than it does to create anything else. But what I like about it is it's specific towards that audience. It's aimed at that audience for the nonfiction side. Um, you know, I've got this, this show, uh, and my blog blogging and other work with draft two digital and elsewhere. And the panels, I'm on, conferences, et cetera. And so I've got content out there that's aimed at the indie author market. So I'm able to interact with that market and communicate with them. And when I want to sell something to that market, I've got a platform to sell from. Um, so podcasts, it can be a powerful, would you want to make it specific to the audience that you're trying to attract? Think of Aaron Minky and Lore, if you haven't heard of Laura, go go check it out.
Kevin Tumlinson: 12:02 L, o. R. E e Aaron Mankey was a thriller author. Um, he wrote supernatural thrillers, I believe. Uh, and he started a podcast called Laura and it was, um, Kinda s. It was essentially, I'm, I'm kind of copying as format, a little form for written world, but he did these highly produced episodes that were essays about a specific topic that he uncovered during his research. And at the end of each episode, he says, um, if you like this story, you might like my fiction. I write thriller novels and you can find them here. And so that was a way to funnel people from as a discovery tool, some content that was helping readers discover him or potential readers to discover him and get them over to his website where they might buy a book. So that's, that's the goal. Youtube and blogging, uh, are similar. You can create content that is aimed at this specific audience you're trying to attract.
Kevin Tumlinson: 13:01 And a youtube to a fantastic tool for this. Uh, even though, uh, of late, they've been a little harsh on their creators and I'm starting to get it a little bit disillusioned with, uh, with youtube in that, in that regard. But they, uh, they do have an open platform that can help you find a following. Um, I would advise just not trying to make a living off of youtube and instead of using it as a marketing tool, but that's just me. So I'm on Youtube. You can create video content that is aimed at finding those readers. And again, getting them back to your books. And you can do this by, you know, there are several ways to do this. Um, but again, you want it to be focused, right? You want to focus on your ideal reader, your, your target market. Uh, so for example, you might do, and I'm, I'm still working out my youtube strategy.
Kevin Tumlinson: 13:53 I've gone back and forth on some things, but, uh, maybe, uh, you do something where you are talking about thriller novels that you enjoy. You know, maybe you're just doing a review channel. Uh, you read this book by Clive Cussler. I asked a thriller novels cause that's what I do. But whatever your topic is, let's say you're a Scifi writer. Uh, the latest book by, um, court was his name, Cory something. Uh, I should, I should know this. But anyway, uh, John Scalzi, you know the latest books by Orson Scott Card, whoever, um, people who are movers and shakers in that industry that readers might be interested in. If you're talking about those folks, you might, you stand a better chance of being discovered because people may go looking for videos about those folks in those books. They, they are interested in. So they go looking. So if you also tie in your content and say, you know, a little commercial break at the end of it, hey, if you're interested in books by Orson Scott, I have to write science fiction, right?
Kevin Tumlinson: 14:54 And you can find email@example.com. Um, so then is a way to attract qualified leads, qualified readers, people who are already interested in the sort of thing that you're producing and a, and get them, hopefully funnel them over to get on a mailing list, which is your best marketing tool. Uh, other forms of content marketing. Uh, you can write content for other people's websites and blogs. Um, medium is a great tool for this. A Huffington post will often let people write on specific topics, usually not fiction. Uh, but you can, you know, once you kind of get a, an account or account access for Huffington Post, you can pretty much do what you want. Um, but medium is that essentially, to me it's about the same with, uh, essentially the same reach without the gatekeepers. Very appealing to me. Um, so you can actually pop onto medium and, and do that.
Kevin Tumlinson: 15:55 Now, one of the things the medium will let you do is if you have a blog on your website, you can copy and paste the URL and you can import that, the content from that blog, uh, with a paste and medium, excuse me, um, a paste that link into medium and it'll automatically import all the copy and all of the images and everything links in all, uh, and then you can go through and do a quick edit and make sure everything's looking right, looking the way you want before you hit publish. Um, and then at the bottom of that article, it says originally posted on Kevin tumlinson.com/blog or whatever, wherever it was found. So that's a great way to not only get a few more eyes on your content, but, but to lead them back to your website. And a, you can include a little, you know, author bio at the bottom of that little, something about you, a photo and a link to your website link to where your books are sold, et Cetera.
Kevin Tumlinson: 16:57 Um, so that is a way to use content and get more reach. And again, we're repurposing content there. So for those who are keeping track, by the way, so here's, this is how it's worked out for me with medium, I write the, the uh, email, I read the email as a, as a, uh, podcast. Uh, I post both that email and the podcast into a, onto my website. Um, I will be creating a video based on that. And then I link to that blog post from medium to give it even more range so you can see how they start to stack up. So your content marketing strategy should stack like that and she'd be like a bunch of Legos, you know, the more that you create, the better it's going to be for you. Um, the easier it's going to be to, uh, to get, bring in new readers who discover your work.
Kevin Tumlinson: 17:50 Uh, and the more you can repurpose that content, the, the, the better. So, um, so another aspect of this, by the way, his short stories. Now, some of you may know that like guys like Andy, we're in a Hugh Howey and that sort of thing. They actually blogged their entire books on their blogs. So that's one thing you could do. You could, you could blog a book, get feedback, change the book, you know, and then at the end you can create that book and put it on sale for 99 cents or something and let everybody who was part of the process get first crack at it and then raise the price after so long. And uh, they'll that basically will help, you know, they may be willing to support you with 99 cents help you out. And because you make a bunch of sales, you know, the various algorithms kick in to raise, raise your rank here, sales rank and raising your price will, um, may bring you more money so you're more discoverable on things like Amazon, etc.
Kevin Tumlinson: 18:52 And then you raise your price after x number of days and um, you're still highly ranked. And so people buy the book because I think you're, you're, it's a popular book and they ended up giving you more money. So just a little something to think about. But let's talk about short stories because you could use your blog to post short stories and there was a couple of ways to benefit from that content. One, um, before you publish it on your blog, you might consider sending that short story to Vr, the various fiction magazines in your genre to see if they'll buy the story. Um, and if they do, great, you still own that content by the way. So when they do it, they usually give you terms they want. First. North American rights are civil rights and, uh, they, you know, they want it to not appear elsewhere for say 90 days.
Kevin Tumlinson: 19:44 Sometimes it's just 30 days. So you publish, um, with say analog, one of my favorite Scifi magazines, uh, you post short story with analog and then say 90 days later you put that, that short story on your blog. So now you've made some money from it and gotten some sales from it. And by the way, when you publish a magazine or anywhere, you should have a little blurb about yourself with a link back to your website and particularly a link back to getting on your mailing list. So readers can get on my mailing firstname.lastname@example.org slash join me, which gives them the little form to fill out and they get a free book free ebook. Um, you should always have that as part of your bio. And, uh, and then you've got this short story you publish on your blog, which can help bring people into the blog.
Kevin Tumlinson: 20:37 And then after you've done this a while, you should collect all those short stories into a bundled Ebook, a short story collection, and a print book if you want. And so now you've repurposed content, fixing content from, you know, a sale, which was money to, um, something that can help draw readers to your website, help you interact with readers and a, and then bundled into something that will, uh, make you more money. Then you could stick another step in there and share that short story with your mailing list as a sort of bonus for being on your list. That's always a good idea. Share the short story with your mailing list and say, this was just published in analog. You can actually overlap those two a little, but you might want to wait and tell everybody, hey, I got a story published, an analog inherent, you can find the magazine here, right? Some people will buy it and then after x amount of time goes by, maybe 60 days or whatever, uh, you could share that short story in the mailing list so that they get it exclusively first and then, um, 60 days after that, publish it on your blog. And then you know, at the end of the year of doing that, regularly publish those short stories as a collection or published a short story by itself. It doesn't have to be in a collection. You in fact, you can publish it by itself and then publish it in a collection.
Kevin Tumlinson: 22:04 So there's lots of ways to do this. So that's the general idea. That's the idea of content marketing that I wanted to hit on. And uh, there's a lot more you can do with this, but, uh, I'm noticing now that I've got an event coming up in just five minutes. So I'm going to go and wrap us up here. This is so he's a short episode. Uh, but I want you to, to carry away with you this idea of start thinking about how you can leverage content you're already creating is widely as possible. Start thinking about the kind of content you can create that will be useful and helpful to your readers, are interesting to your readers and then might help attract more readers. And of course, you should always encourage everyone on your mailing list. Everyone who subscribes to you on your blog or on your social media, whatever.
Kevin Tumlinson: 22:50 He'd always encourage them to share this stuff as far and wide as possible. If you post anything, anywhere you posted a blog post or a short story or whatever, ask everybody again, know to share it with as many people as possible. Uh, because doing that, um, you know, even if only 10% of the people you talk to share that stuff, it can help grow your mailing list and can help grow your reach and help make you more discoverable. So that is it. I'm going to go ahead and wrap us up. Um, little short, a little shorter than usual as a 23 minutes versus 30 minutes, but I think we're going to be okay. Uh, if you got any questions, comments, whenever, make sure you pop over towards your podcast.com and, uh, leave a comment on this episode. It's going to be episode one 91 90 content marketing for authors.
Kevin Tumlinson: 23:40 And, um, make sure you stick around for a few minutes. I, a little commercial spot you're going to be interested in if you like money, cause there's a way to get some free money. We both get free money when you join up with acorns. So check that out. And, uh, if you haven't already, make sure you subscribe to this show everywhere. Podcasts are distributed and I'm gonna work on getting it in more places actually. So iTunes, stitcher, Google play. Uh, all of those. So check that out. And uh, other than that, I hope you have a wonderful day and a, make sure you look for us. We've got an interview coming up at the, uh, in just a couple of days, so stick around for that episode one 91. But other than that, God bless you. I'll see you all next time. Hey, how are you doing on money? I know it's a touchy subject, but, uh, I got some that may help you out. See, I'm using an APP called acorns and it helps me manage some investing. Uh, put some money back, get a little interest. It's kind of Nice to watch my money grow. So I want to share that with you. Go to Kevin Tumlinson Dotcom, slash acorns, and you'll get some free money. See you there.