Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Marketing for Christian Writers

TodyI'm hosting a guest blogger today, Linda Fulkerson! Not only does Linda write, she is a marketing maven too. If you are an author who shies away from the marketing side of writing, Linda is agreat contact for you.
 
 
Thanks so much, Rose, for allowing me to guest post on your blog today! And for those of you I haven’t met yet, please find me on Facebook (LindaNixonFulkerson) and Twitter (@lindafulkerson). I’d love to get acquainted!
 
Do you struggle with marketing? That’s a topic I hear writers discuss often, but usually the discussion includes phrases such as “I have no idea what to do,” or “I know what to do, but I have no idea how to do it,” or “Who has time for all of that? Is it even worth it?”
 
To answer the last question first, yes, it’s worth it!
 
The answers to the other questions take a little more explaining. That’s why I launched a new resource, “Marketing for Christian Writers.” Here’s an overview of what you can find on the site:
 
·         FREE Report – “102 Ways to Market Your Stuff”
·         Today’s Tips – Posts that share the “How To” for many of the marketing tips shared in the free report.
·         Weekly Poll – Yes, just for fun, but you can examine the results and get insights into your own marketing by seeing what others are doing (or not doing)
·         Devotional Posts
·         Fun image quotes about writing & marketing for you to share on social media
·         Free email training – How to develop an effective web presence (automatic enrollment when you download the free report)
·         Podcast – Launching THIS WEEK (unless some technical catastrophe occurs)
·         Exclusive Members Area – Launching later this month – will include video training that “shows” how to do various marketing tactics (Note: There will be both a free and paid section of the Members Area to help offset the costs of maintaining everything)
·         Done-for-you services
·         Guest posts – Again, coming soon (Contact me if you want to write a marketing-related post)
·         Plus, you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, LinkedIn (group), Google+, YouTube – whew!
 
Hopefully we have something useful for everyone who stops by the site!
 
And speaking of useful things, I want to something with you that I get asked about a LOT, so you’ll hopefully find helpful. 
 
How to market your stuff quickly and efficiently
 
Sometimes my writer friends will say something like, “Well sure, you have time to do all that marketing – you’re a full-time professional marketer!” That is true today, but I didn’t always own my own marketing business. In fact, what I’m going to share with you is how I “got it all done” during a time when I had two teenagers at home (Read: basketball & football games, drama, band, etc.); operated a hobby farm (we raised heritage breed poultry and were a registered breeder for the National Pygmy Goat Association); worked full-time as a church office manager (one of those jobs that doesn’t stop at 5 p.m.); taught a Sunday School class; spent time with my husband; and blogged 7 days a week. I did that for nearly 3 years.
 
How did I do all that? I had a system. And that system is what I’m going to share with you as one of the Today’s Tips.
 
1.      Set up your website on a platform designed for marketing. I use and recommend a self-hosted WordPress website (not WordPress.com). You can learn how to do this by enrolling in the email training, which explains how to set up an effective web presence.
2.      Plan your posts. I had on that blog (http://onbloggingwell.com) a routine for categories – one specific category for each day. I did then and still use an editorial calendar (free WordPress plugin), which lets me see what’s coming up the pike, plus I brainstorm post ideas ahead of time and write them in batches. When I blogged 7 days a week, I really only wrote on Tuesdays and Saturdays and scheduled the posts to appear throughout the week. (I’m also a pretty big fan of spreadsheets for planning posts, etc.)
3.      I use blog templates to create content quickly. I’ll be posting soon about those as one of Today’s Tips, so be sure to subscribe to the Marketing for Christian Writers blog via email (the signup form is in the blog’s sidebar) so you won’t miss any tips!
4.      Optimize your content for search. I am a huge SEO evangelist, and I get a LOT of traffic to my sites via search. Which is great when we consider that we’re trying to spread His word. Most non-Christians aren’t going to follow me on Twitter and won’t “like” my Facebook page, but perhaps they will visit the site to read a tutorial on something they really want to learn about, even if it’s on a Christian site. On-site SEO doesn’t take long using a few easy-to-use WordPress plugins, but the benefits are LONG lasting.
5.      Social Media management can be a nightmare if you get bogged down with it. My philosophy is get in, get done, get out. I go to Twitter & Facebook both a couple of times a day, but I have to really watch or they will suck me in and I’ll never get out! Here’s where I find content: I use a (again, FREE!) service called Feedly, and I search for relevant content for researching industry trends and for content to send directly to my audience. Then, I have another (you got it, FREE) service (although I recently upgraded to the pro version) called BufferApp, which allows me to schedule links to the content I found on Feedly to publish to various social media profiles. You can post to four profiles with the free account. I’d recommend Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Don’t try to do it all on social media – pick a few platforms, the ones where your audience hangs out, and focus on them. Otherwise, you’ll get swamped.
6.      I work in batches when creating content types. For instance, when I’m creating branded image quotes, I’ll do a bunch at once for my own sites and my social media management clients.
7.      Finally, I engage with my audience. I check and respond to all comments on social media and the website as well as emails.
 
How long does all this take? It’s hard to say exactly because I work do this every day for myself and several clients, and it usually takes me just over 2 hours, so you can probably get it all done for your website within an hour or less. The more often you do this, the faster you will become.
 
Do you have a marketing system you’d like to share about? Is there a particular part of marketing you’re struggling with? Perhaps I can help. Please respond in the comments section.
 
Again, thanks to Rose for hosting me, and thanks to YOU for taking the time to stop by!

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