Engagement, the Other Half of Author Marketing
Welcome to Day Seven! I’ve spent the last six days discussing platform—the foundation of author marketing. For the remainder of the course, I’m going to cover the tower that rises up from that foundation: your engagement strategy. Today, let’s define engagement and how it relates to everything we’ve discussed so far.
Engagement: How You Connect with Readers
Engagement is the way by which you interact with readers. Are you a hermit in a cabin who has no social media and relies entirely on word of mouth? Are you a go-getter who tells everyone you can think of about your book? These are two extremes of engagement.
Most likely as an author, you’ll want to be somewhere in between. How you decide that will come down to your comfort level.
Are you an introvert? If so, don’t overexert yourself by trying to show up everywhere online and plug your book. Are you an extrovert? Watch out for the temptation to show up everywhere because you just love it, especially if it means you can’t find time to write your next book.
Choose an Engagement System That Allows You to Connect with Your Ideal Readers
When you think about engagement, take it a step further and think about an engagement system. I’ll be talking about social media tomorrow, but my list from our first day included other aspects of engagement: blog, newsletter, podcast, YouTube, forums, etc.
One example of how these aspects might work in an engagement system:
• Tweeting each day to share a thought
• Sharing inspirational tweets from authors in your genre
• Combing the home feed on Twitter to @-reply to people
• Sharing a promotional message three times per week, on Twitter and Facebook
• Writing a weekly blog post
• Promoting a blog post (Twitter and Facebook)
• Creating a monthly newsletter
• Recording a biweekly podcast
The point in this illustration is, like your website, for you to try and map it all out. What exact actions are you going to take as you engage your readers? Who are your ideal readers, and where are you going to connect with them? After you do, what will you do to maintain those connections? What actions can you take to connect to more readers?
You don’t need to go to the extreme of controlling your every action, but rather, just like you wanted to find the “why” behind the what of your author bio, you want to find clarity on the aspects of your author platform, where you are engaging your fans (and others who will be prospective fans).
Decide what your engagement system will be. Take a moment to write down who your ideal reader is and where you think they’ll show up. Then consider which engagement platforms you’d like to use to reach them. Write down a plan or actions that you feel are sustainable and try them out. (And remember, you should revise your plan as you gain insights!)
For the remainder of the course, we’ll be going into more depth on this, but for now, spend some time thinking about social media, blogging, newsletters, forums, podcasting, and YouTubing, all in the light of your ideal reader and how and where you’re going to engage them.
Tomorrow, we’ll dig in deeper by moving to the fourth and final fundamental aspect of platform: social media.
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