Content marketing is essential across all industries today. What is content marketing? Let’s start with what it’s not: It is NOT simply marketing your content. Instead, it is broadening your perspective, using multiple content forms and channels, to market not just your books but also your authors and your platform of expertise.
The idea is to create content to capture new customers, engage and retain existing customers, delight everyone, and ultimately foster community, recognition, and thought leadership for your brand.
Although this sounds like a big order, it’s not only achievable but will make marketing easier in the long run. How?
Publishers and authors tend to focus on each title as a new project that requires a unique marketing strategy. Rather than reinvent the wheel with each title, many content producers are realizing great success through an evolved focus that shifts from the channel to honing in on the content. By focusing on individual books simply because that’s how it’s always been done, publishers are missing out on opportunities to reach their audience via other channels.
Many paths that lead to a story
Consider the idea of books as simply one avenue of content dissemination — one that you can combine with blog posts, social media communities, webinars, live events, and more — enabling you to achieve a platform to engage customers on an ongoing basis.
Big publishers are using this idea to create brand identity as well as customer communities. For example, MacMillan.com highlights books as well as genre-based communities that have a growing following. The website promotes reading group suggestions, offers a speakers page, and links to a variety of blogs and newsletters that deliver insights about literature and the publishing world. Videos and podcasts provide a multimedia take, and the site offers ways for audiences to connect through tours and events.
But content marketing isn’t just for the big guys. Small and independent publishers, as well as self-published authors, can just as easily use content marketing to create their own platforms. It’s as easy as offering free content online, engaging through live events, sending out enewsletter updates, posting regularly to a blog, offering advice and consultancy services — and yes, even by publishing books.
With content marketing, you’re reaching out to your current and potential readers with more than just the wonderful books you publish. You’re inviting those readers to be a part of your world. For readers — who are often devoted fans and passionate about what they read — that invitation may be just what they are looking for.