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Blogging Doesn’t Sell Shit: How To Make Your Blog Convert Like Magic

Since refocusing and rebranding my business as The Write Copy Girl last August, life has been a bit like an episode of Star TrekThe ship blows up two minutes in. You’re sat there thinking, “What the damn hell?”, then time jumps back and it all happens again. And again. And again.

The same series of events playing out repeatedly, always ending the same way:

Death.

I love the Groundhog Day trope in Sci-Fi, but I’m a little less enthralled by it in real life. And yet for over a year now I’ve been stuck in a time loop.

You see, I keep having the same conversation. It goes something like this:

“What do you do for a living?”

“I’m a Content Marketer.”

“Oh, cooooool….wait, WTF is that?”

“I help entrepreneurs sell their stuff by blogging and creating other fab content for them.”

Blogging? Is that a scam? Come on, blogging doesn’t sell shit!

This seems to be a commonly held belief.

Blogging is fun and all, but it doesn’t actually sell stuff. It’s not, like, a viable business model…

I understand it coming from people who aren’t involved in online marketing. I find it worrying coming from digital marketers and entrepreneurs, yet many genuinely believe blogging isn’t capable of actually selling anything.

It’s useful for, like, SEO and stuff, but it’s not really marketing is it? You need ads and stuff for that…

Today I’m addressing the issue head on and telling you exactly how to make your blog convert like magic, turn readers into paying clients, and sell your shit.

How I Know Blogging Sells Shit

Before we go any further, I want to reassure you that I’m not full of shit myself.

I know blogging is a viable marketing model, fully capable of not only selling your stuff, but selling enough of your stuff to build a successful business.

That’s exactly how I built mine.

Since I started as an entrepreneur I’ve never had enough money on hand to pay for advertising. The few times I tried Facebook ads in the early days I didn’t have enough of an understanding about how marketing works to make them effective.

It took me a long time to figure out exactly where my Zone of Genius lay.

I finally realised my focus should be on writing and nothing else when I noticed the most successful offering I had was writing blog posts for other entrepreneurs. My clients used the posts I wrote to sell stuff, and the more people I worked with the more I learned about writing blog posts that convert.

Trial, error, and a lot of experimentation led to the development of my signature service, The Divine Blogging Design.

In August 2016 I shut down my old business and started The Write Copy Girl, offering the same blogging services I’d had such success with, and my newly developed content marketing service as my core offerings.

So I know blogging sells. It sells for my clients every day.

It’s also the only form of marketing I currently use.

With the exception of a four week long AdWords campaign with a very low budget, run in February this year, which resulted in a couple of small pieces of work, the only marketing I’ve used in The Write Copy Girl to date is blogging.

No adverts. No PR. No paid marketing methods of any kind.

Just content.

How Blogging Tripled My Income

It’s currently the beginning of November and I’ve already TRIPLED my income on last year.

See for yourself…

Blogging Doesn't Sell Shit How To Make Your Blog Convert Like Magic

I may end up more than tripling my income, given that there are almost two months left in the year. I also turned down a lot of work between April and July as I was managing some health issues and limited myself to work that was already on the books during those months.

So for four months of the year I was actively turning away work, and still, I’ve tripled my income.

And I had zero marketing budget.

Zip, nil, nada.

That’s an incredible amount of growth, entirely achieved by blogging.

Blogging sells.

There is, however, a caveat to that, and it’s a big one: blogging sells when structured effectively.

Too many people dismiss content marketing as an unviable strategy for generating sales because they try it, and it doesn’t work.

But converting readers into paying clients isn’t easily done.

Just because blogging works, doesn’t mean it works without effort.

There are a litany of mistakes people make that prevent their content marketing strategies from ever earning them a penny.

The kicker is, any one of these mistakes can put a serious dent in the profitability of your content marketing efforts. And making more than one or two of them at once will keep you from making any money at all.

Rather than writing a post explaining how to blog for profit, I thought I’d collect the various reasons I’ve observed over the years that cause blogging efforts to fail.

Avoid the pitfalls, and you have a recipe for success. So, if you want your blog to convert like magic, make damn sure you’re not making any of these common mistakes…

#1 You’re Not Writing For Your Ideal Client

When your goal is to earn money it can colour the way you write. You start coming up with topic ideas and posts that you think will effectively promote your stuff.

The problem with this is that it results in writing for yourself, to promote your objectives, rather than writing for your ideal client, and provide them with valuable content.


And they’re not stupid.

If you write something from the perspective of a seller, rather than a provider, they will see through you.

They won’t respond well to your writing, and may be turned off completely.

Think about what their wants and needs are. Write stuff that will genuinely help, entertain, inspire, comfort, or inform them.

If you do that, they will naturally want more, and happily pay for it.

Blogging Doesn't Sell Shit How To Make Your Blog Convert Like Magic

#2 You Have Fuzzy Objectives

Just because you’re writing with your ideal clients’ needs in mind doesn’t mean you should abandon your own needs.

You need a crystal clear objective for every post you write.

Your overall objective is ‘to make money’, but that’s a big picture goal. It’s extremely rare for a blog post to achieve it, and even rarer for it to achieve it for any length of time.

Instead, each of your blog posts will achieve a small victory that builds into a greater whole.

Here are some key objectives your content needs to achieve on a regular basis:

  • Raising awareness of your brand
  • Informing readers about the value of what you’re selling
  • Providing social and statistical proof that you’re the best person for the job
  • Building the know, like, and trust factor with your audience
  • Driving signups to your email list
  • Encouraging people to follow you on a social media platform

While your posts may help you achieve more than one of these things, you should only have one goal for each post. A core objective that the whole post is designed to further.

#3 You’re Using The Wrong Blogging Model

This is by far the biggest mistake I see people make.

There are different ways of blogging, and some are more suited to selling than others.

Hobby bloggers, for example, rarely try to actively sell through their blog. When they do, they’re not selling products or services in a business, but have byproducts of their hobby on sale.

Book versions of blogs are really common.

A knitter might sell their own knitting patterns, or finished products.

An artist might sell their paintings or pottery.

At some stage the amount being sold dictates that the blog is a business, not just a hobby. Yet the method of blogging used only shifts to a business model if the core goal of the blogger ceases to be ‘writing about something I love doing’, and becomes ‘earn money from doing what I love’.

If you started off as a hobby blogger, the odds are you’re still blogging with a hobbyist’s mindset. And there’s nothing wrong with that if you’re happy for your business to tootle along.

But if you’re looking to maximise your profits and grow your business, you need to stop blogging like it’s a hobby, and start blogging like it’s a business.

And even then, different blogging models exist depending on what you want your blog to achieve for your business.

SEO Blogging

Some people use blogging as a means of improving search engine rankings and driving traffic to their site. Blogging is only part of their marketing strategy, it’s by no means the whole, and its core function is SEO, not content marketing.

In this model, blogging helps with sales, but there is no direct correlation between the blog posts written and the money earned.

Because of that, it’s easy to think that blogging isn’t selling anything.

Entrepreneurs who use this blogging model are the ones that say things like, “Yeah, it’s great for SEO, but it doesn’t actually sell stuff.”

Technically, it doesn’t sell stuff. They’re not wrong. But SEO blogging forms a cog in a much bigger machine, and that machine does sell stuff!

That machine wouldn’t run if the blog cog suddenly stopped turning.

Content Marketing

Content Marketing, on the other hand, has a direct correlation between blog posts and profit. You can see how effective it is.

You know which posts have led to the most signups to your email list.

You can even see how much money you make from each person on your list, and backtrack it to figure out how much has been earned from each individual post.

It’s tangible profit, and therefore a lot easier to understand.

Whether you’re a hobby blogger, an SEO blogger, or a content marketer, all three forms of blogging have the potential to sell your stuff, earn you money, and convert readers into clients.

BUT if you use the wrong blogging model for your business model, you won’t get anywhere.

Blogging Doesn't Sell Shit How To Make Your Blog Convert Like Magic

#4 Your Posts Are The Wrong Length

Using the right blogging model impacts your ability to sell through your blog for a lot of reasons. One of those is post length.

That requires a lot of time and/or resources, as well as expertise. If you are a hobby blogger, or only writing blog posts to boost your search engine ranking, content marketing is likely a greater investment than you’re willing or able to make.

Even if you are willing to make it, it may not be the most productive and profitable way for you to spend that time and those resources.

Boosting your SEO can be done quickly and easily using short, c.500 word posts, and this is the form of blogging favoured by a lot of business owners, especially those with product-based business models, or bricks-and-mortar businesses.

It can work very well, but it is not an effective form of content marketing.

As I mentioned last week, the days of content marketing being synonymous with blogging are long dead.

If you’re trying to drive signups and establish your expertise in a niche, a 500 word post just won’t cut it.

So it’s important to understand post lengths and create content that is the right length for your business model, blogging model, and core objectives. (This only emphasises why it’s so important to clearly understand your objectives!)

#5 You’re Not Search Engine Optimising Your Blog Posts

One of the biggest ways blogging will earn you money is by boosting your search engine ranking, and driving a massive amount of organic traffic to your site.

Great SEO means you have no (or very little!) need for paid advertising.

The majority of my own traffic is fairly evenly split between organic traffic coming from search engines and social media.

If you’re not optimising your blog posts effectively for search, you will miss out on all that traffic. That will not only eat into the number of people on your website, it will massively diminish the number of new people who find you through your content.

Unless you have 100% client retention, any blogging strategy that doesn’t consistently attract new readers is going to fail eventually, even if it makes money initially.

I mentioned SEO blogging and content marketing as separate models, and they are, but long-form blog posts are actually much better for your SEO when properly optimised. The reason they’re not used in SEO blogging is that the benefits drawn from SEO alone aren’t usually worth the effort and resources they require.

The reverse is not true. The SEO benefits of a full content marketing strategy are massive and in order to leverage your strategy to earn you as much as possible, SEO is essential.

Just because your core objective is list building, or launching a service, rather than building your search engine ranking, doesn’t mean SEO isn’t vital to your objective.

Blogging Doesn't Sell Shit How To Make Your Blog Convert Like Magic

#6 You’re Not Building Your List

Just as content marketers often forget about SEO, search engine bloggers often neglect to build their list.

In fact, list-building is one area of blogging that entrepreneurs across the board often shy away from. They may not believe it’s worth the effort, or think it’s more trouble than it’s worth. Some of them simply don’t know how to do it effectively. Others know they should, want to, and are fully aware of how to do it, but they haven’t started yet.

They’re waiting until they have money or time to achieve it, or can afford to outsource it.

But one of the most powerful ways your blog can sell your stuff is by growing your email marketing list. Your list is usually what actually sells stuff, but your list won’t sell a thing if it’s not populated by your ideal clients.

That’s where your blog comes in.

People don’t magically materialise on your email list, they have to choose to sign up to it.

This is done through the creation of a lead magnet – a free resource that has enough value that you could actually charge money for it, if you chose to. Instead, you’ll give it away for free, but only in exchange for people joining your list.

If you don’t have any lead magnets, you’re not actively doing anything to build your list.

That’s going to seriously curtail your earning potential!

#7 You Don’t Have Any Content Upgrades

Most business owners who use email marketing are aware of the concept of using Lead Magnets to grow their list. They may not have any, but they know they should, and plan to create one (or more) soon. A lot of entrepreneurs already have lead magnets and are using them to great effect.  

The trick they miss, however, is the ease with which you can build optin opportunities into your blog posts through content upgrades.

These take far less time and resources to create, and can easily be added to your blog posts. You can work them naturally into the text, compelling people to signup at multiple opportunities.

#8 You’re Not Promoting Your Content

There is a myth in online marketing that I refer to as The Cornfield Paradox.

The notion is really simple: if you build it, they will come.

This is the biggest lie told in marketing. Building a website and writing blog posts IS NOT ENOUGH. Your blog will never sell if you’re not promoting your posts.

Before you start screaming, “Hey, hey, hey! You said I didn’t need adverts!” – cool your tits.

When I say ‘promote’ I don’t mean paid promotions. I mean sharing your blogs on social media, sending out email newsletters, spending time networking, and sharing your content in targeted groups of your ideal clients.

If you’re not promoting your content, nobody knows it’s there. SEO is one form of promotion, and effective SEO will raise awareness of your content, but even that, on its own, isn’t enough.

Like I said, my website traffic is half SEO driven, and half social media driven.

To really make money from your blogging, one is not enough.

You need both.

Blogging Doesn't Sell Shit How To Make Your Blog Convert Like Magic

#9 You’re Not Promoting Your Content ENOUGH

The next mistake people make is massively underestimating how much they need to share their content. One Tweet isn’t going to do much good. One share on Facebook is likewise not going to get you very far.

If you’re already promoting your content, I applaud your efforts, you’re doing great, but ask yourself, are you promoting it enough?

#10 You’re Promoting The Wrong Thing

I’m a great advocate for promoting ALL your content, but there are certain types of content that need more attention than others. There are certain types that don’t really stand to be shared a lot.

Seasonal posts, for example, are only relevant for a brief window and shouldn’t be promoted after that window has passed.

Evergreen content, on the other hand, can and should be promoted for extended periods.

There’s also the question of those times you choose to pay to promote your business.

If you’re going to pay for people to look at anything on your website, drive traffic to a killer blog post that includes a solid call to action to sign up for an amazing lead magnet.

Don’t advertise your sales page!

Unless you’re in the middle of a launch, when things work a bit differently, you will find it far more effective to drive traffic to the content most likely to get people on your list.

#11 You Don’t Have A Nurture Sequence

Which leads me to the next mistake people make. They expend so much energy in getting people to sign up, and then do nothing with them.

You need a carefully written nurture sequence with a solid structure and strategy, bolstered by more of your amazing content, in order to convert people from subscribers to clients.

Your blog is a catalyst compelling people to sign up. Once they’ve signed up it’s also the fuel that keeps them moving down their journey.

Your nurture sequence is the delivery mechanism for all that fuel. Without it, your conversions will stall.

Blogging Doesn't Sell Shit How To Make Your Blog Convert Like Magic

#12 You Aren’t Using Multi-Media Formats

Blogging isn’t all about writing. Not anymore.

If you haven’t already, start a vlog! I cannot overstate the super awesome power of video marketing.

Video is only going to become more vital to your marketing as time goes on. Start now!

#13 You’re Not Effectively Explaining The Value Of Your Services

The biggest gap in any blogging or content marketing strategy is that which lies between your audience’ knowledge of you, affection for you, and trust in you, and their ability to grasp the value of your products and services.

If they don’t understand why the thing you’re selling is valuable to them, it doesn’t matter how much they know, like, and trust you, they will still never buy.

Pack your blog with posts that demonstrate you understand exactly what your readers’ problems are, and you have the perfect solution to fix them.

Paint them a picture. Show them a world free from their pain points. And make sure they’re fully aware that all they need to do to get to that shiny Nirvanaesque place is buy your shit!

#14 Your Content Is Inconsistent

Lack of consistency is another big problem a lot of people have. A blog post here and there won’t do any good.

You need to produce content that is consistent in quality and regular in its publication.

The frequency with which you post isn’t nearly as important as posting consistently!

If you post once a week for 12 weeks and then nothing for nine months, you’re not going to get very far at all.

If, on the other hand, you post once a month for a year, you’ll make better progress.

Of course, you would ideally post once a week for a year, but that’s not always possible.

Choose consistency and quality over quantity every time!

#15 You’re Not Automating Your Content

I’m not going to lie, creating a blog that converts and earns money is tough.

Good blogging doesn’t happen without effort.

Content marketing is hard work, and a lot of it.

You can quickly exhaust yourself and your resources. The more you streamline the process the greater your ability to achieve quality and that much-needed consistency becomes.

Automate as much as you possibly can. This is especially true of the promotional elements of your content strategy. There is no reason not to automate your social media! You can still post and interact with people in real-time, it doesn’t have to be 100% automated, but automation ensures consistency and takes a lot of the pressure off you.

Blogging Doesn't Sell Shit How To Make Your Blog Convert Like Magic

#16 You’re Not Repurposing Your Content

Tied to this is the need to repurpose everything.

A Tweet will get almost the same amount of engagement the second time you post it than it did the first. It may even get more!

Not everyone will see your content when you share it, so sharing it multiple times isn’t an issue.

In fact, it’s a necessity.

This is one of the main reasons I encourage everyone to record content in video form. Videos can be converted into any other form of content. You have visual, audio, and written options.

Every time you create a blog repurpose it. Use bits and pieces for social media messages, take quotes from it and create memes, pull it apart and put it back together in as many different ways as you can.

Got long-form content? Write short-form versions for use on different platforms!

The possibilities are endless and there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

#17 You’re Trying To Do It All On Your Own

Overwhelmed yet?

The number of things you need to do to make your blog convert like magic are seemingly endless. A fully functional content marketing strategy takes a phenomenal amount of work.

Research, writing, editing, SEO, proofreading, formatting, designing, image creation, recording, uploading, promoting…

If you’re running a business you also have a few billion other things to do.

The main reason blogging fails is not a lack of understanding on the part of the blogger, but a lack of time, resources, and inclination to get it all done.

It’s just too much.

At least, it’s too much to do all on your own.

I am a professional content marketer and I don’t do all my own content marketing!

In the early days, I did everything myself. When business was relatively slow and I could spend the time on it. Then business picked up and some of it fell by the wayside. My social media promotion has been virtually non-existent this year because I no longer had the time to do it.

Sorting out my clients’ social media took priority. My marketing suffered as a result and something had to give.

Despite this, I still tripled my income this year. Had the social media strategy I use for my clients been up and running for my business, I’m quite certain that figure would be even higher.

I’ve spent most of the year building a cracking team around me to take off as much of the load as possible. I now have a VA who handles my newsletter, a social media manager who deals not only with promoting my content (you may have noticed a huge boost in activity starting last week!), but all my clients’ content too. I have a web developer, a web designer, and a technical assistant who collectively handle the website.

The strategy and writing are still my responsibility, because that is where I excel. That is my Zone of Genius. But the rest of it is stuff that is best left to other people.

It’s too much to do on your own!

Identify the areas of your content marketing strategy you’re amazing at, do those, and outsource the rest.

If you feel you’re unable (or disinclined) to do any of it, outsource the whole lot!

#18 You’re Genuinely Trying To Sell Shit

There is one final point that needs to be made.

Sometimes the reason your blog isn’t selling shit, is that you’re literally trying to sell shit.

If the services or products you’re offering are no good, no amount of blogging in the world will sell them. There are loads of reasons they might be bad, from being over (or under!) priced, to being poor quality, failing to effectively solve your audience’s problems, failing to meet the genuine needs of your audience, and much more.

It could easily be that they’re good offerings, they’re just not right for the people you’re trying to sell them to. If that’s the case you either need to retarget at the right people, or change your offerings.

When you’re doing everything I’ve covered in this post, and doing it well, you should be selling your shit left, right, centre, upside down and backwards.

If you’re not successfully selling, and you’re absolutely sure you’re doing everything right, the problem is not with your blog.

It’s what your blog is trying to sell.

If that’s the case, go back to your ideal client and figure out what they really, truly need. Find the point where those needs crossover with your skills and Zone of Genius, and create something new to sell.

Something you can show the value of, that they will fall over themselves to have.

Something they can’t live without.

And if you’re looking for help developing a complete content marketing strategy that covers all the bases, and gets your blog converting like magic, check out The Divine Blogging Design (aka the system that tripled my income this year) and book a FREE discovery call now…

How To Make A Business Book Part Of Your Content Marketing Plan

If content marketing is part of your business (or you want it to be) you probably already have a content marketing plan. You’ve probably already read a great deal about the concepts behind content marketing as a business strategy and the types of content you can (and should) use. You know you need to blog a lot, vlog a lot, tweet a lot, and generally spend an insane amount of time, effort, energy, and resources, creating content.

What you probably haven’t heard as much about is the use of books as part of your content marketing plan. Short freebies and guides, yes, but full length books? They tend to get overlooked. When you do think of them, there are a few things that will immediately put you off the idea:

I could never write a book.

It would take far too long to write a book.

Releasing a book would cost way too much money.

I don’t know how to find a publisher.

I’d never make my money back!

Sound familiar? These are all very common and perfectly understandable questions/concerns that I hear from clients all the time. Over the next few weeks in the run up to National Novel Writing Month in November, I will be blogging a lot about business books, how and why you should write one, and why November is the perfect time to do it.

How To Make A Business Book Part Of Your Content Marketing Plan

To kick everything off, here’s my ten step guide to making a business book part of your content marketing plan. Take a look, you’ll be surprised by the benefits!

Step One: Plan A Book

It’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking your book can’t actually be part of your marketing strategy until it’s published.

This is wrong.

Very wrong.

Your new business book will form part of your content marketing plan from the moment you decide to do it. Scratch that, from the moment you think it might be a good idea. One of the key concepts that you have to wrap your head around very early on here is that you’re not writing the book you want to write. You can, but the odds are it won’t help your business. 

In order to do this, you need to find out what kind of business book your tribe needs. This means market research and planning. Take a look at other business books in your niche. Ask your tribe which business books they love, which authors they devour. Consider the topics that are very popular, and the topics that could be the next big thing. Ideally, you want to combine the two.

Try to find a subject you can write on with great authority, that your tribe have told you they would love, that straddles one extremely popular subject, and one little-known subject that could be the next big thing. If you’ve really niched down in your business, the odds are you’re already doing something that’s little-known but could be the next big thing.

Once you have your subject, test it. Survey your tribe and potential ideal clients. Find out if it’s something they really would be interested in. Get their opinions on titles, chapter topics, themes.

For example, the original title of my current WIP was When the Phoenix Dances, and the cover was one of the illustrations. I was very attached to both, but I surveyed my tribe and potential clients and they didn’t get it: they thought it looked more like a novel that a business book, and didn’t immediately understand what it was about.

In hindsight I should have realised this, but this is why you need an outside perspective! I changed the title and cover, based on feedback from my tribe.

When The Phoenix Dances: Soulful Selling for Female Entrepreneurs by Hazel Butler How To Make A Business Book Part Of Your Content Marketing Plan

The Tao of Corporate Storytelling: A Guide to Copywriting and Business Narrative by Hazel Butler How To Make A Business Book Part Of Your Content Marketing Plan

The final working title reached – with a lot of help from my tribe – is The Tao of Corporate Storytelling.

Rather different.

One was about me, and what I wanted the book to be, the other was about them, and what they needed the book to be. 

You should always work to what your readers need from your book, and not what you want from it.

Now plan your book according to that data (don’t worry, I’ll be doing a post on how to plan your book very soon!). 

Step Two: Take Your Readers On Your Writing Journey

Once you have your book planned, you need to start writing it. Whether you’re writing it as part of National Novel Writing Month over the course of November, or doing it in fits and starts as you’re able, keep your tribe updated. If you follow me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter you will regularly see photos of me out and about with a notebook/laptop. Sometimes with a coffee in a café, other times down the pub with a pint, or at the beach. If you’re writing, your tribe needs to know about it!

  • Which bit are you working on?
  • Are you finding it easy or are you really struggling?
  • Do you have block? If so, how are you addressing it?
  • Are you really exacted to share a particular part of it with them?
  • Have you hit any mile stones – finished a chapter, reached the half way mark, finally figured out why a particular section wasn’t working?

Don’t forget to use the relevant hashtags when posting updates to drawn in new readers and grow your tribe even further. #AmWriting and #WritersRoad are good, but you need some specific to your ideal clients!

Step Three: Give Bits Of Your Book Away For Free

The sooner you start teasing your book, the better. There are many ways you can do this. The most effective are to pull quotes from your new book, create lovely, branded memes (like mine below), and share them on social media. 

HOW TO MAKE A BUSINESS BOOK PART OF YOUR CONTENT MARKETING PLAN Quotes From 'The Tao of Corporate Storytelling: A Guide to Copywriting and Business Narrative, by Hazel Butler

Quotes From ‘The Tao of Corporate Storytelling: A Guide to Copywriting and Business Narrative, by Hazel Butler

Share your little heart out. Use the literal writing process:

  • Your computer screen open on the document
  • Pages from your notebook
  • Index cards detailing sections and chapters of the book, laid out on the floor

And then shots of the later stages of the book’s progress:

  • The cover design and/or illustrations
  • The first draft, printed out and awaiting reading
  • Scribbles of red pen all over pages you’re editing
  • The proof copy once it arrives from the printers

The idea is to give your followers a sense of the book and what it is about long before it’s available. The real trick here is to prove the book’s value, and show them why the need to read the whole thing.

Hands down the best way to do this is to let them read the first chapter for free. You can very easily share a PDF of the draft of your first chapter as soon as you have it. 

Step Four: Build A Book List

Just as you build an email list for your business as a whole, you should be building a list of people interested in your new book. Start doing this as soon as you announce you are writing the book, don’t wait! There will always be people immediately interested. There will always be people who read the quotes you are sharing freely and want more. Make it easy for them! Include a description with each meme you share including the quote, details of the book it’s from (title, publication date if you know it yet) and a link to sign up to receive the first chapter for free as soon as it’s available.

You don’t have to have the first chapter ready to go when you start getting people on the list to receive it! At the time of penning this blog post, my first chapter of The Tao of Corporate Storytelling isn’t finalised yet. There’s still a very prominent page on the site where people can sign up, with buttons and links to it everywhere. By the time you publish you should have a list of people ready and waiting to BUY! 

Your book list should also be a section of your MAIN EMAIL LIST – a book is the biggest list builder you will EVER create, make sure you’re taking advantage of it from the start. Everyone signing up to your book list automatically gets added to your main list, to start receiving your newsletter.

Step Five: Write The BEST Book Possible

Many people make the mistake of thinking a business book doesn’t need to be earth shattering. That it can be a perfunctory thing created as a marketing tool and then forgotten about. That it doesn’t need to matter. While it’s true that your book will be an amazing marketing tool, it won’t work unless it’s a good book.

By ‘good’, I mean well planned, well structured, well written, thoroughly edited and proofread by a skilled professional, professionally formatted, has a top-notch, gorgeous cover and/or illustrations, and is published in a high-quality format. If you’re only publishing in electronic form, the latter part isn’t relevant, but if you’re publishing a paperback/hardback version you need to make sure the printing is first rate.

The reason for this is really simple: your book is a reflection of your business. If your book is crap, people will assume you are crap, your business is crap, and your other products and services are crap too. Conversely if your book is professional and fulfills a need, they will assume you are professional and can fulfill their needs, and that your business, products, and services, are something the NEED.

Your book is an investment. Don’t skimp on ANYTHING.

Step Six: Offer Advanced Reader Copies

Once you have your book in its final stages, when there is nothing left to do but the last proofread and checking the format for the final version, you can made advanced reader copies (ARCs) available. You can offer them exclusively to people already on your book list, or you can offer them to anyone interested and thus grow your book list still further. There are merits to both approaches: one rewards those who have already shown interest, and gives you an extra hook to get people to sign up to the list from the start; the other gives you a massive competition to run across all your platforms ahead of the book launch, raising the profile of the launch. 

Don’t give away the farm. Decide on a set number of copies. It’s easy to stick to a small number to make them even more valuable, but bear in mind that one of the main reasons for giving away ARCs is to get REVIEWS of your book ahead of your launch. Only about one in ten people who read your book will actually review it (excluding friends and family, who generally feel compelled). If you want lots of reviews ahead of time, you need to get the book out to a reasonable number of people. Hard copies will cost you money to print and post. You need to factor in the costs when you’re deciding how many you will offer.

If you’re offering them to your list exclusively, select names at random until all copies are allocated. If you’re running a competition, make sure you promote it everywhere for a reasonable length of time.

You should also approach professionals in your field and specifically request that they review your book in advance of the launch. This will give you exposure to a wider audience who are likely to be interested in your book, and give you quotes to use on the cover, in the front matter, on any promotional materials, and during the launch.

Step Seven: Launch Like You Mean It

Launch your book with as much passion and fanfare as you can muster. If you have kept your costs very low, and have a huge following, you might break even. If you don’t, don’t let it get you down. It doesn’t mean the project will never break even, it’s just the nature of publishing. 

Your eventual goal for the book should be that it provides you with consistent passive income. But that’s your end game. Your main goal here is to make your book a part of your content marketing plan, and use it to market your business.

Consider how much money you would spend on an advertising campaign to generate the amount of attention and leads your book has already created. And that’s before it has even been published! A few key things you will experience leading up to and during the launch of your book (if you’ve followed this plan!):

  • A surge in your social media following
  • A massive increase in your list
  • Increased traffic to your website
  • An uptake in inquiries and sales 

And that’s before you’ve sold a single copy. So buck up, this isn’t about making green – that’s the gravy, baby!

Pour your heart and soul into launching your book and make the most you can out of it from a marketing perspective. This is a HUGE opportunity massively to grow your tribe with a single campaign. Don’t waste it!

Step Eight: Quote, Reference, Mention, Repeat

Now you’re a bona fide author, for the love of god, milk it! Quote your book, reference your book, mention your book at every available opportunity and in every relevant blog post. Don’t shove it down people’s throats when they’re not looking at something directly related. If you’ve chosen the right topic, you will be able to talk about lots in a natural way.

Step Nine: Give Your Book Away

You already ran one competition to give away ARCs. Wait six months to a year and run another, this time with the final copies available. This works well if you’ve sold lots of eBooks but few hard copies (which is totally normal!). People who love the eBook will want the hard copy, people who’ve never read it will just want a copy.

Also, take advantage of that wonderful boon every author embraces: SWAG!

Bookmarks, key chains, post cards, posters, business cards, mugs, notebooks… Even cushions and other home wear items can all bear elements of your book. Whether it’s quotes, the cover, or the illustrations, it doesn’t matter. Sell the high-end items, give away the cheap options in spades. Imagine pens with your name, business logo, and a quote from your book, nestling in the handbag of every woman in your tribe.

How many of those women do you think will turn into paying clients one day?

Step Ten: Write Another Book

I know, I know, you hate me for saying it. It’s so much work, stressful, expensive and so rewarding. Better, it will give your business a massive boost, not just now but for years to come.

Do it all again…

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