Words are the tools of inspiration, education, connection, discovery, mastery, performance and, most importantly, self-expression. In the absence of words, business could not happen.
You can do business without a product but you cannot do business without words.
You can have work a job without content but it’s hard to have a career without them.
There are two distinct categories of words in business: content and copy.
Copy is typically promotional in nature, designed to advance a selling transaction. You will see (and use) copy in landing pages, promotions, ads, etc. (Note: even executives and managers need to understand how to use copy in their careers in the form of testimonials and endorsements.)
While copy is vital in transactional business, if it is not done well, people will run away. Why? Because copy can be a ‘direct hit’ – and people don’t like to be ‘sold’. (Instead, they want to choose to purchase, which is different.)
Content is typically more substantive narrative that offers such elements as insight, perspective, education and strategy. You will see (and use) content in blogs, special reports, white papers, landing pages, email marketing and more.
A good promotion will usually blend both types of ‘words’ to be effective. However, the real key to success in using words well is the strategy behind them.
Definition of content strategy
A content strategy determines your focus, your outcomes and what pieces are needed to achieve your outcome goals. It will also prioritize projects within that strategy for completion dates and spell out the distribution channels. If any pieces will be repurposed, that will also be accounted for in a content strategy.
Here is a very brief sample content strategy:
- Determine goal (in this case, to build an email list)
- Write an optin incentive (a checklist, top tips list or report)
- Write (and put up) a compelling landing page on a website
- Write a second redirect page for those who opt in to receive the incentive piece
- Write a welcome email for opting in – which may have a second bonus or upsell option
- Write a Facebook ad or post to promote the page
If you do not have a content strategy in place, even if only for one ‘campaign’, you are likely not getting the results you want in your book sales (much less accelerating them).
How to begin developing your content strategy
Think about your book buying ideal client. Then answer the following questions.
- What does that person need to know about the topic of your book to make buying your book essential?
- What do you want that person to feel about the subject of your book?
- What is the most compelling thought about your topic that will create value for that reader?
The idea is to be specific with your ‘who’ so that you know ‘what’ they need to know or learn about your topic to find your book relevant and important enough to purchase it.
By the way, this is not manipulation! This is figuring out what your buying audiences wants and / or needs to help them understand how your book can help them.
This also applies to non-fiction books! Your ideal reader wants something – escape, romance, adventure, etc. How does your book give that to them? What expectations does your reader have about what they choose to read – and how does your book give it to them?
Once you know your ideal (buying) reader, you can create a content strategy that shares context, provides information and leads them through a buying journey to your book.
Here is a sample of a target-specific email content strategy for a book (either fiction or non-fiction) where you offered an optin checklist of the top 10 things they need to know about your topic.
Day 1: send the checklist and introduce yourself to begin building a relationship.
Day 2: share the backstory of your book (the reason you wrote your book and why you are passionate about it); make sure you include their expectations in your story as a shared experience.
Day 3: share what happens when people have the X (your topic /genre) in their daily lives to paint the positive picture of the future and what they could have more of (with the right book). Relate your key points to the checklist they downloaded as well as their wants and needs.
Day 4: talk about what happens when people don’t have enough of X (your topic) in their world. (For example, people might have a yearning or feel like something is missing.) You could include statistics, celebrity quotes or even current news to support your point.
Day 5: share reader testimonials or stories about how your book has touched them. Build ‘buzz’ about your book by letting them know you will send details about purchasing your book tomorrow.
Day 6: share where and how they can get your book. Ideally, you will have some sort of ‘limiter’ to create urgency in purchasing (such as, limited copies, you’ll sign the first 25 copies sold, etc.).
Day 7: answer questions they might have about your book and the purchasing process. Include where / how to purchase your book.
Day 8: invite them to share what they like about X (your topic) and, bonus, how your book will add to that. Include where / how to purchase your book with a reminder of the limiter.
Day 9: close the series by sharing that you hope they have enjoyed this email series and your book. Invite them to leave an Amazon review and/or connect with you personally to share their reading experience.
The bottom line of any content strategy is that you are helping your ideal customer understand why your book is relevant to what they are looking for in their life, career or business.
If you want my help in putting together your content strategy, click here.