Writing For Money: The Reason You’re Not Selling

Writing For Money: The Reason You’re Not Selling

This is a “writing for money” blog post, which I’d normally post to the Fab Freelance Writing Blog. But this post isn’t just for people who get hired to write, it’s for anyone who’s selling online. So, if fits better here because it’s broadly applicable.

It’s also the single biggest mistake I see companies making with content marketing. Not to mention authors. (Scroll down, if you want to know how to sell more books.)

You’re not selling because….

You’re looking in the wrong direction

Everyone wants traffic, and that’s the big reason you’re not making sales online. Whether you’re selling ebooks, self-help courses, or widgets, content marketing is just marketing.

The goal of marketing is sales. Ditto content marketing.

Your goal is never traffic. I discovered the perils of striving for traffic years ago. Did I learn my lesson? No way. I had to learn it over and over again. Traffic doesn’t help you to sell anything.

Stop looking at your website stats. Start looking at your sales.

Not making any sales? Then your content marketing isn’t working.

You need more content: content that’s focused on your customers, and this content may well be boring.

Josh Haynam describes the benefits of boring content in making sales in an excellent post on Hubspot. Trying for viral posts didn’t make sales:

“Then one day, out of sheer exasperation, I tried a different approach. Instead of just trying to get hits I decided to answer a real question that a real potential customer had asked me.”

Now let’s look at how to sell books — one tip, however. Don’t be boring — that’s the one thing you must remember as an author. Never, ever, be boring.:-)

How to sell more books: book marketing secrets

A couple of students asked me how content marketing — writing for money — works with book marketing.

That’s simple: write more books.

Let’s say you’ve written seven ebooks — fiction, or nonfiction, it doesn’t matter. You’re making sales, but your sales aren’t growing. You took a break from writing a few months ago, and haven’t been publishing. Your sales have pretty much flat-lined.

You’ve considered spending money on advertising. You’re blogging, and using social media.

Sales? Crickets.

To repeat: write more books.

Publish more. You don’t need to write more novels, if you’re writing fiction, or lengthy works of nonfiction. Write short material. Authors have had great results from the strategies we cover in Story Power, and from Sell Kindle Ebooks. Basically — write short material, and publish it.

Writing fiction? This post, 4 Easy Writing Tips To Turn Short Stories Into Kindle Cash, will help.

Yes, it’s content marketing. Your ebooks are content. Create more content to sell. With ebooks, a consensus seems to be that it takes authors (who don’t have a backlist of titles to which they have the rights back) around 30 titles to make “good” sales. You may need more than 30 titles to be happy with your sales. Kindle Unlimited helps. You get paid for each ebook of which 10% or more is read.

And of course, by publishing more and publishing regularly, you’re taking advantage of Amazon’s “new releases” list, which attracts readers for you.

So, whatever you’re selling, remember that your goal isn’t traffic.

If you’re Kindle publishing, stop the social media frenzy. Write more — create more salable content — that is, ebooks, and let Amazon sell them for you. Currently, that’s the way you sell more.

“What have you written today?”

A final tip: writing for money means writing. A lot. If something isn’t working, ask yourself the question I ask my students: “what have you written today?”

Sell Kindle Ebooks: Write Bestselling Genre Fiction & Nonfiction FAST

Sell Kindle Ebooks: Write Bestselling Genre Fiction & Nonfiction FAST

Sell Kindle Ebooks is a comprehensive self-publishing program which helps you to make the most of your talents. Take advantage of the power of Amazon to write both genre fiction, AND nonfiction. It’s time to develop a publishing program, and tell your day job goodbye.

You receive everything you need to become a publisher of both fiction and nonfiction.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

How to profit from your writing: online store.

Content Creation Or Content Curation: Which Is Better?

Content Creation Or Content Curation: Which Is Better?

Everyone’s doing content now; companies are becoming publishers. This question comes up continually: content creation or content curation? Content curation is cheaper, the thinking goes, but which is better?

(BTW, thinking that content curation is cheaper is incorrect.)

Bottom line: it’s what your budget allows. It’s also what your marketing plan requires. Many companies are committed to traditional marketing, so content marketing needs supporters within the company.

Content Creation: Original, Compelling Content Is Ideal

Original content is always better. It gets you out there. You get the attention of customers you’d attract in no other way, because your traditional marketing channels never reach them.

Once you’ve got their attention, you can build on that. At a minimum, you create content for these personas:

  • People who’ve never heard of you;
  • People who are aware of you, and interested;
  • Current customers;
  • Past customers.

If you’re baulking at all this content, consider that you don’t need to create it all today. Or this week. Or this year. You create content over time, and your content lasts. It’s on your website. You can refresh the content as needed.

Content Curation: More of a Challenge

Wikipedia defines content curation as: “… the process of collecting, organizing and displaying information relevant to a particular topic or area of interest.”

In an either/ or situation, content creation is always better. You’ve created it for your audience. With content curation, you’re promoting others’ content. This isn’t a bad thing in itself. However, it’s a challenge to mould that curated content so that it achieves your marketing goals.

Here’s why:

  • You’ve got to find good content which will help you to meet your goals. You’re promoting it, so what you choose says a lot about you. Finding this content takes time;
  • You’ve got to organize that content, and add your own insights to it. Analysis takes time. So does writing about the content you’ve found.

The Solution? Use Both

Why not not use both content creation, and curation? Content curation has benefits: your curated content may get links and shares from others. At the very least, you’ll get recognition, and you’ll show that you’re aware of what’s important to your audience.

I suggest to my clients that if they’re using both, they make sure that for each curated article, they post at least three pieces of original content.

The original content doesn’t need to be text. It can be images. It take seconds to snap a photo, and a few minutes to edit that photo, and provide a little commentary.

Get More From Your Original Content

Before you create content, or have it created for you, know where it fits into your content strategy. If the content is text, add an image (at least one), and a call to action. Make plans to get more from each piece of content before it’s written, too.

You can get lots of benefits from each piece of content. You use an an article as:

  • Social media shares:
  • A PDF for sharing;
  • An infographic for sharing;
  • A news release (rewrite it into the third person);
  • A section of a newsletter and/ or part of an email marketing campaign.

In summary, both content creation and content curation are valuable, and can form part of your publishing strategy.

If you need help with your content, get in touch.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Content Bonanza: 4 Ways to Create “Instant” Content

Content Bonanza: 4 Ways to Create "Instant" Content

Everyone’s touting the benefits of “content“.  Marvelous. Just how are you supposed to find time to create content? You’re running a business, not a media company.

However… You’ve just spent your monthly marketing budget on an ad which didn’t work. Now what? The world’s changed. You used to be able to advertise and predict roughly how well you’d do, and you could set your marketing budget with confidence.

Maybe you are a media company, and you’d better find ways of creating content fast. Luckily, there are ways you can create content, almost instantly.

1. Snap a Pic, and Post It

Instagram’s hugely popular. It may be an excellent marketing venue for you. Not for me, sadly. I snap images on my phone which are interesting only to me — whiteboards in meetings, pages from my paper notebooks, and ideas for my Christmas list when I’m at the mall.

Instagram

If you’re selling stuff — anything from houses to your crafts on Easy — Instagram is a no-brainer. Be there. Snap images as you go through your day.

As you can see from the image, Goulet Pens does a great job on Instagram.

Don’t forget Pinterest. Publish your images to Pinterest too. I created a slide  deck (see below), on Pinterest tips for bloggers.

 

2. See It, Say It

Love to chat? Share your thoughts and insights on SoundCloud. Podcasts are popular, and Soundcloud gives you a simple way to get your podcast onto iTunes.

Keep your podcasts short. Skip the long chatty intro: get to the meat, and get out.

3. You May Quote Me

If you’ve said it before, say it better, in a tweet, or in an image. There are dozens of apps to turn your quotes into images, so that you can post them on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, et al.

Tip: create 20 or 30 at a time; and repost them again and again, especially on networks like Twitter, where people can easily miss a single tweet,

4. Share Great Stuff

In How to Repurpose Campaign Content for Different Channels (And Never Waste the Leftovers), Kevin Barber suggests:

You can easily curate great content from around the web and repurpose it through your channels. Write a review of a relevant book, blog about a really cool infographic, create a video covering the main points in a webinar you listened to.

When you find great stuff, share it with your audience.

Bonus Tip: Reprise Great Stuff From Your Blog

Blogging’s wonderful, but once a blog disappears into your archives, it’s out of sight, out of mind. Reprise evergreen content, and content which is relevant to your audience today.

If your blog’s been active for a few years, it’s simple to write a “this time last year” post. Extract snippets from the article, or republish as-is, with a couple of paragraphs about what’s changed, and what hasn’t.

Make Content Part of Your Marketing Funnel

Pull all the pieces of your content together for your marketing funnel — whether you consider yourself a writer or not, you need a content strategy.

, on Twitter: @angee, and find Angela on Pinterest, too.

Get coaching, and build your skills at Angela’s online store.

Writing Journal 58: Stop Thinking, Keep Doing

Writing Journal 58: Stop Thinking, Keep Doing

My writing journal for Thursday, October 9, 2014. You can find all the writing journal entries here.

Got a great start this morning. The mystery novel is gathering steam, and I managed 2,200 words. I had to force myself to stop. I’m very pleased, but I try to avoid getting too excited, and telling myself that this novel will be EASY. Huh. You can have a run of great days, and then a run of horrible days, in which the words come slowly.

I try to convince myself that easy or horrible, it’s just another writing day — but I can’t help smiling.

On to the two nonfiction books. I manage 1,200 words. I’ve got the books planned in Scrivener, with complete outlines. I’m not writing them straight through. I write whatever I want to write. I’ve no idea why some books get themselves written this way, but they do.

Sometimes you can write from go to whoa, starting with the introduction, and writing each chapter as it comes. Other books insist on being written in little pieces. Part of one chapter, and then part of another. It’s not my preferred method of working, but I’ll take whatever comes, as long as the book — or books, in this case — get written.

After giving Honey her breakfast, I skim through email, and write a few responses while I eat my toast. Then I look at my schedule for the day. I managed to get a little writing done last night, but I’m still behind on what I wanted to do this week. Firstly, there was Monday’s rush copywriting project, and then yesterday the meetings ran longer than they should have done.

Next, I outline a couple of content marketing projects which developed from the meetings. There’s more content than I can manage on my own, so I need to tee up a couple of writers. I write a project brief, and send out a slew of messages to colleagues to gauge interest. I’d like to get these two projects out the door within a couple of weeks, but that depends on how many writers I can find who can handle the material, and slot it into their schedules.

Next, a couple of blog posts completed, and published. One of my own, on an easy exercise for story beginnings, and the other a post on a client’s blog.

Time for my walk.

Back again. More client blogging, then it’s time for lunch, while browsing social media.

I’ve got a mile of phone calls to return, so I do that. Next, a stream of email messages from clients and students.

Stop thinking, keep doing

One of the most common things I tell students is: “you’re over-thinking this.”

Many (all) of my students could be doing better if they’d stop second-guessing themselves and started deciding. And would charge more. We talked about procrastination.

Indecision is form of procrastination. Some of my students have a mile of unfinished work on their hard drives – they just can’t “ship.” This is one of the reasons I developed Your Creative Business: Coaching to Turn Your Creativity into Profits.

Some writers can’t/ won’t ship because they want to be guaranteed success. I can guarantee this: you need to fail your way to success. If you’re unlucky enough to be successful (yes, I said unlucky) instantly, you’re in big trouble. Instant success teaches you nothing. Failure, on the other hand, teaches you plenty. No one likes failure — and yet, failure is inevitable. It’s more valuable than success, because you’ll learn from it — the most valuable thing you’ll learn is that failure is OK.

Some words of wisdom on failure from Business Week:

“The only barrier to failing fast and failing cheap is your ego. You must be willing to fail, fail, and fail again if you are going to win in today’s competitive marketplace. Remember, even if you’re falling flat on your face, at least you’re still moving forward.”

Stop thinking. Decide. Create. Move forward. Whatever you’re doing, do it. Worry later — for ten minutes — then get back to doing and creating.

Enough advice… :-)

Onward with a full afternoon of on-going copywriting projects for clients, as well as working on my new website. I’m starting to see daylight, thank heavens. I’ve created a plan, and need to carry it out.

More phone calls before the end of business, then my daily review, and the day is done.

, and on Twitter: @angee.

You can find Angela on Pinterest, and on YouTube, too.