A lot of times when people hear Marketing, they think ad campaigns (both web and TV). It’s a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot. The simplest explanation is exposure.
You got a product. You want people to buy that product. You market to people that buy that kind of product. There are whole companies dedicated to doing this sort of stuff for other companies.
It terms of people who write stories, some publishers may publish your work and help you promote for a cut of the profit. For online self-publishers, like myself, you might be able to find a site that will help push your content if you can afford it. Depending on the self-publishing site, a fee is taken from each book you sell already. Adding a second service onto that to get exposure requires money. If you’re not making enough revenue to fund these marketing teams, no exposure.
So what does that mean for someone like me who can’t afford those services? A lot of legwork to get exposure, which means less time to write creatively. Today was a perfect example of it. I’ll share a bit of what I do in terms of marketing.
The Blog: My biggest point of exposure. It connects to all my social media accounts, meaning it’s the one-stop-shop for posting. I write a post and a link is automatically posted everywhere. Sounds like a good thing, right?
Yes and No. To keep followers, I have to continuously release content. Engaging content that will bring people back every week. To meet that demand, I have to find interesting topics to talk about. Write a few post and set them up on a release schedule. Like this post, I actually wrote it two weeks ago on Friday 01/13/2017. Depending on the topic the length of my post may vary as well as the time spent writing. Then extra time for edits and searching for a suitable picture to use that will grab someone’s attention.
To understand whether or not a post is successful, just on my blog alone, I have to look at the analytics side. It’s a system of graphs that shows what days received the most amount of traffic, at what time visitors are most active, and which topic did better. There is an analytic side for everything I use. Patreon in particular even shows who visited the most from any social platform I post on. So I might receive more visitors from Twitter than Facebook meaning I should target Twitter more.
The final part of this time-consuming process is titling and tagging. You might have heard of S.E.O. short for Search Engine Optimization. A basic, super simplistic explanation about S.E.O. is how search engines, like Google, work to locate a resource for its end-user and why so many sites rely on click-bait headlines. S.E.O. relies on keywords called tags. You want a picture of a cat in a tree? Input Cat in a tree, Google looks at that picks out cat and tree, sorts through all the tags that match and soon pictures fill your screen with cats in trees. This is why so many blogging sites ask if their writers can make S.E.O. friendly content. The more relative tags a post has, the more likely it will appear in top results.
The second half of that is the titling of an article or the click-bait headline. It’s the part that draws people’s attention in as few words as possible. Trump kills abortion, boom attention grabber. That piece has over 100,000 likes, downvotes, and shares before noon meaning it’s pretty much a viral story. So a post, one post, needs to use the best tags to be seen by a search engine to hopefully appear in the top results or recommended sections and then have an attention-grabbing title that pulls in readers.
I’m doing the work of an entire marketing firm on my own, in addition to being my own publisher, editor, and writer. That’s the downside and the hardest part for my blog and Pocket Change. It can lead to disappointment and discouragement since you’ve spent hours doing all this different stuff and there’s nothing in return. No likes, no comments, no shares mean no exposure, which means more time spent on marketing and less on creative writing. This is why creators, YouTubers, and more are always asking people to like, comment, and subscribe. It doesn’t just mean exposure, it also means all the legwork paid off, and the marketing takes on a life of its own as viewers share their content.