Athbhliain faoi mhaise dhaoibh!
(“Happy New Years to you all” in Irish)
Today, I’m going to give a little information on marketing for the writer. Yes, this does fall under Social Media, because, really, it’s all part of your marketing scheme, isn’t it?
There are really two separate strategies for marketing, where the writer is concerned. The first is for
The Real World
Or what Internet users refer to as “In Real Life”. This is the physical aspect of marketing. This category includes things like
- Going to conventions
- Going to book signings
- Visiting bookstores just because and saying “howdy readers!”
- Handing out swag or verbally advertising your book
Then, you have the evil monster
Internet Marketing is a huge concept with tons and tons of trappings. In light of that, I’ve put together a few basic things a writer should know about marketing.
Let’s start with a scenario:
You have a book published. You are self pubbed or traditionally pubbed.
Your book is available on Nook, B&N stores, Amazon.com, and Smashwords (Just throwing out options)
That’s great, but there are literally millions of other books to be seen.
You need yours to stand out.
In order to do that, you need to bring the audience to you.
In the world of the internet, that means moving web traffic.
How do people find one little old website among the billions and billions of websites out there??
They look for you. By title, by author, they look for you. In a search engine (or from an ad, banner, etc). Ha! Your name just became a search term!!
What if they don’t know anything about you OR your books? They love reading the exact same kind of books that you write. But they don’t have ESP. You have to tell them about you. All million of them. How do you do that?
You need to know what they’re searching for to find the books they want to read.
That’s where Google Adwords and Keyword Tool, organic hits, and marketing come in to play.
Let’s have a quick definition break, here:
“Organic” search results refer to search results that come from a free source. Nobody had to pay money for the result to pop up.
“Inorganic” search results refer to search results that come from a paid source. You paid Google and created an add. You made your own ad and bought space on someone’s website. Those are targeted search results from a paid source.
Well that helped. Now that you’re likely narrowing your eyes, scrunching your forehead, and nodding slowly, I’ll put those two topics into use.
The first thing you should do, is play around with the organic side of things. Why? Because it’s free, my friends. There is no need to worry about mistakes if the cost is nothing, am I right? Of course I am. So let’s do a little play with free stuff.
Whoa. Overwhelmed? Probably. So let’s back up a bit.
Friends, family members, and inquisitive strangers, allow me to introduce to you the number one most important tool in internet marketing (excepting your brain and good content, of course!)
Yes, this simple little tool has amazing powers.
We’re going to refer to that picture a few times, so just be aware.
First thing’s first.
We’ve already established that somehow the entire world is not aware of your existence. Maybe half the world, maybe a quarter, maybe just your mom, dad, and siblings who think you are Le Chic! That’s totally cool, whatever the case may be for you. See, Google rolled out this fantastic tool and it gives you the ability (with a little bit of elbow grease) to show your face to the world.
It does this by analyzing traffic for you.
“Google” (noun. “Gew-guhl”) is a company that practically owns the Internet at this point. Sorry, Mr. Gore. Their primary purpose is scanning the internet for information. Sound spooky? That’s a search engine for you! That’s right, Google is simply a search engine. This means that it trawls the near infinite amount of data sifting through the internet for keywords, giving poor users like us a means of traversing the great expanse. And they’re really quite good at it. Don’t believe me?
“Google” (verb) is a modern colloquialism synonymous with “to look something up on the Internet”. Quite a fete, eh?
So that’s great, that’s wonderful, how does that help me or you?
Well, Google took an existing capability and expanded. Now whenever you google something (see what I did there?), Google takes that and puts a tick by it. “This word has now been searched 230498239084203984 times”.
Using the Keyword Tool, you can see that number!
So how do you create organic search results? By finding what words your readers are using to find awesome authors like you.
Let’s go back to the image. As you can see, I looked up “romantic comedy”. This spawned a great long list of seemingly identical phrases. But computers don’t speak vernacular. They speak YES or NO. Well, 0 or 1, really, but, meh. They’re very specific. You say “Romantic Comedy” and they will find every single website that has the phrase “romantic comedy” on it.
Whoa. Hey. I want a search engine to do that for me! Oh, but wait, it already does. So why am I not showing up?
Ah, that would be because you aren’t using the common key words that your readers are using. Google Keyword Tool has that covered. So the first thing I do is look at the number of searches. That is the number of times that keyword was searched.
“Romantic Comedy 2011″ was searched for 60,500 times in a month by global users and 14,800 times by local users. Whoa. At a quick glance, we find out that a lot of people want Romantic Comedies from 2011. Imagine if each of them bought a copy of your book! *dreamy sigh*
Let’s move on.
“Best Romantic Comedy” is easily the highest number. I like that. Right off the bat, one thinks “pretty egotistical!” but consider this. If you wrote “I want this to be the best romantic comedy of 2011“, do you realize you would be counted as a search result for both queries above? Yep. All hundreds of thousands of people.
This is a great segue for a quick topic: Specificity.
The smaller the phrase, the more results someone is going to find.
Think about it, if you opened Google and searched for “John”, the results would be millions of pages.
Now try “John Adams”.
Still going to be a lot!
Now try “John Adams President”
Ahhhh, now we’re getting somewhere!
Here’s how you, the maybe-as-yet famless writer, need to consider this. Too much specificity implies the user knows exactly what they want. “John Adams President”. But they don’t know you. That’s what we’re trying to fix. A search of “John” won’t help. But notice how “John Adams” got some good relevant hits? That’s what we want. That’s why it’s important to consider the phrase you look for in Google Keyword Tool (mine was “Romantic Comedy”).
Let’s move on.
Now that I’ve picked some high hitters, I need to consider the competition. Who else is using this word??? The example isn’t very helpful because they all say “low”. In reality, you’ll get a wide spread between “Low”, “Med” (medium), and “High”.
High is bad. Low is good. Med is meh.
High means that a lot of people are also using that word. That’s why more than just the President came up when you typed “John Adams”. The fewer John Adams hits there are, the more accurate the results will be. So you want the lower competition possible.
Most important of the two is number of times that phrase or word was queried by users. But make sure you give good credence to the competition! It’s a balancing act with a bit more concern given to one side.
Easy part done. Hard part started.
Until now, everything has been rather black and white. Not so, anymore, my darlings. At this point, we move into the world of subjectivity. I’m not a fan of subjectivity. Too many opinions.
So here’s what you have to consider at this point: Are the results of your Google Keyword search relevant?
Nope. Not really. Some of them I can definitely use (remember “Best Romantic Comedy of 2011″?). Most of them seem to want to stray more into the film industry than the writing industry. This tells me I may not be on the right track. The low competition means I may yield high searches, but people generally don’t like ending up on a website that doesn’t help them solve whatever issue they wanted. So if they’re looking for a movie, only a small percentage is actually going to be interested when their search leads them to an author’s website, instead.
So I have to
Go with the flow of traffic…
I need to perhaps narrow down my criteria. A great way to find a starting point is to find similar (and successful) authors. For example, Molly Harper is one of my all-time favorites (btw, by saying her name, this post shall show up in search results for her, cool huh?). So I look at her website and see if I notice any patterns. Any words that are used a lot? Phrases?
If so, perhaps I use that phrase as my search criteria, instead of “Romantic Comedy”.
Again, I may be just fine with my current results. I may not.
That’s why it’s soooooooooo important that you review your Website Traffic analysis. Google has what I consider to be the best (and it’s free!) but many sites have their own version. WordPress has a hit counter and word search analysis tool, as well. You’ll get the most with Google’s (free) Keyword Tool if you use Google’s (free) Analytics, too. Just throwing that out there!
Once you’ve picked a few terms, use those words in everything you can on the website. Rearrange sentences. Repeat, repeat, repeat. The more often it’s repeated, the more the search engines think you really matter to that topic.
So there you go.
Organic SEO in a nutshell without all the trappings.
Is that all there is to it?
Ooooo doggy, no! There’s a lot more. But at this point, give it a shot. Play around. After all…. it’s free so if you go wrong, you don’t lose anything. You change it up.
Give it a shot! Try it out!
Go do it.
Come back and comment on how it’s working for you. What are your thoughts? Was it complicated? What did you come up with for keywords? Did you notice an increase of traffic over time?
Have fun marketing.
For Part 1: Starting Out
For Part 2: Twitter For the Writer.