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.

3 Tips To Make Your Business Blog Work

Is your business blog making your company look bad? I’ve been working with a content marketing client, who asked me to look at business blogs across a range of industries, and create a report.

Yesterday, we looked at content marketing mistakes and how to fix them in a slide deck. Today, let’s look at some easy tips to make your blog work for your business.

Some companies do a fantastic job of integrating their blog with their overall marketing. They get it. A blog isn’t an obligation, or something “for the search engines”. It’s a publication. Consider blogging to be instant publishing, and think about your most recent blog post. Is that post something you’re proud to publish? Would it work as a brochure?

If publishing a blog post were as expensive as publishing a brochure, business blogs would get a lot more respect. Many companies blithely push blogging and social media onto their least experienced employee. Not a good idea.

Each and every blog post is a gateway to your website. It represents you, and every post, no matter how short, can work for you.

Let’s look at some tips.

1. Publish real content: forget junk content for “SEO”

If someone says to you: “a blog is good for SEO”, ignore them. The days when shoveling junk onto the Web in the hope of getting search engine rankings have LONG gone. In fact, those days never existed.

A lot of great companies have woeful blogs. They’re updated infrequently, with content which looks like placeholder text.

On the other hand, many companies have good blogs. Here’s one.

I enjoy shopping at The Good Guys, and their blog does them proud.

To repeat, your business blog is a publication. Integrate it with your website; The Good Guys’ blog does product reviews. You can too.

2. Get personality: blog for real people

Consider magazines. Next time you browse a magazine rack, pick several magazines devoted to the same topic — any topic you choose. Each of those magazines is slightly different. It has a vision — a personality, if you like.

Your blog should have a personality too. Consider this blog.

Rhodia Drive is a blog published by the Rhodia paper company, and promotes its products. The blog is for people who love paper, and buy and use paper notebooks. It’s got personality, and the blog appeals to people all over the world who love paper.

What could you do to give your blog a personality? Start by considering the people who buy your products. The Good Guys do this: they’ve got recipes and videos for people who love food and cooking — and those people are a part of The Good Guys’ market.

Years ago, Microsoft had major PR problems. Robert Scoble’s blogging went a long way towards showing that Microsoft, big as it was and is, is a company made up of real people.

You’re human. Your company’s made up of people. Relate to your customers as people via your blog, and you’ll reap the benefits.

3. Know what you want your blog to do

Again: your blog is a publication. You can publish anything you like instantly. Your blog’s a huge opportunity to humanize your company, and differentiate you from your competition.

If you’re not happy with your blog, start your blog’s makeover by checking out what your competitors are doing. Then check out the blogs of big companies. Check out the magazine rack too.

Consider your customers. Create customer personas, if you haven’t done so already. What magazines do your customers read? What movies and TV shows do they watch?

Your blog is a huge marketing opportunity. You can be one of those companies which does blogging, and content marketing, well.

Want some blogging inspiration? Contact me.

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

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

Simple Content Marketing: 4 Tips for Success

Hate writing? Me too, at times, even though it’s what I do. Whenever I don’t want to write, I check to see if I have a plan for what I want to accomplish with that piece of writing. Usually, that’s the problem: I don’t have a plan which is easy to execute. Similarly, when my content marketing clients have challenges, the first thing we look at is their plan.

CMI created a good one page content marketing strategy plan you can check out. Create your objectives, goals, and strategies, then create your plans for your content.

With your plans in place, let’s look at some tips for success for SIMPLE content marketing. Suggestion: keep your plans simple until you have feedback. Then you can adjust your plans.

1. Promote your content: online and offline

With some 30 million pieces of content flowing onto the Web each day, the days when you could publish a blog post and sit back and relax, are long gone. Luckily content’s easy to promote. We’ll look at ways to promote content in another blog post.

Make your own list of how you’ll promote your content. Tackle easy methods first. Get staff to promote the content on their own social media accounts, and of course, promote it on social media yourself. Set up a page on Google+. If you have page on Facebook, expect to pay to promote your content there.

2. Get help: collaborate on content with suppliers, your industry, and even competitors

Broaden your reach for content. Discuss content with your suppliers. If you have an industry group, contact them and ask how they’re promoting your industry. If you know what advertising they’re doing, consider piggy-backing your content onto that.

Consider collaborating with your competitors too. There’s power in numbers. Today, your biggest challenge is getting traction and visibility. When you band together with others, their audience and your audience combine.

Collaboration can work to generate publicity too. Here’s an easy way. Make a friendly competition public, for the public good. Have a competition to see which company can raise most money for a worthy cause. Or raise money together. Either way, your collaboration can generate publicity.

3. Use keywords to find topics, and brainstorm (keywords still matter, sort of)

I know. The days of “keyword” content are over. However, keywords come in handy to help you to generate ideas for topics, because they show you searchers’ intentions. I’ve been using KWFinder for keywords.

4. “Content” can be anything you choose: keep it simple

Consider various forms of content. Keep thinking “simple.” It’s easy to get stuck developing complex ideas. Images on Instagram may work for you.

If you’re writing articles for your blog, consider using them to create videos on YouTube. Demonstrate your tips, if you’ve created a tips article, for example. Or demonstrate a feature of your product.

So there you have it. Keep your content marketing simple, and you’ll succeed.

Article Fire Storm: content strategy secrets

I created Article Fire Storm for writers, but anyone who’s using content marketing can benefit from the program. The four-week program helps you — or whoever’s responsible for content in your company — to get a handle on content, and use it profitably. Check it out.

Top Ten Content Marketing Mistakes — And Simple Ways To Fix Those Boo-Boos

Here’s a slide deck which covers easy fixes for the most common content marketing mistakes. Once you’ve got the mistakes fixed, you can develop a strategy which helps you to make content work for you.

Top Ten Content Marketing Mistakes – Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

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

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

Sponsored Content: Ads That Get Read

If you’re not doing content marketing yet, you’re thinking about it. This study reports that 86% of North American B2B businesses are using content marketing in 2015. Sponsored content, also called “native advertising” is a form of content advertising.

In a sense it’s the successor to old-style magazine advertorials. But where advertorials — I’ve written more than a few in my time — plugged the advertiser’s product, sponsored content doesn’t. It’s going for the click, and aims to look innocuous, to blend in to its surroundings. That’s where the “native” comes in. It’s advertising designed not to look like advertising.

Let’s look at an example, clipped from News.com.au.

Sponsored content appears on News.com.au as it does on many news sites; in this instance, it’s called “News From Around the Web”.

Sponsored content is all about the headline, and history junkie that I am, I couldn’t resist a click on the Titanic mystery article, sponsored by Ancestry, via Outbrain. The article’s 400 words, and it’s an article, rather than an ad. The only clue you get that it’s advertising is the website on which it appears, and the final sentence.

Sponsored content’s replacing banner advertising

With straight banner advertising dead, sponsored content is its replacement. Unfortunately, as Mashable points out, marketers lose the plot. They get hypnotized by clicks, and a lot of sponsored content is just click-bait. Where’s the return on investment?

Making sense of sponsored content

Sponsored content can be hugely valuable. Your content appears on a heavily-trafficked website, and you’ll get clicks. However, there are challenges, because this is a new area of advertising.

Inc.com reports:

“Sponsored content represents a burgeoning opportunity for brands to connect with consumers in the comfort of their most trusted environments–the publications they go to for information and entertainment. Yet, as a relatively new form of advertising, the realm of sponsored content is largely unexplored and unknown. This will be the year that brands come to know sponsored content intimately–and embrace it wholeheartedly.”

Yes, sponsored content is a growing opportunity. If you’re using content marketing, sponsored content is your next step. It’s advertising, but it’s ads that get read.

Want more info? Contact me if you’re wondering whether sponsored content could enhance your marketing this year.

 

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

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