We all know that “content marketing” is one of the hottest marketing trends around, right? People don’t want to be advertised to anymore. They don’t want to be told what to buy. Instead, they want stories. They want to engage. They want to know that their beloved brands have heart, and care about something other than the sale. It’s only by establishing trust and a connection through content creation that people then become interested in converting a simple page visit to a sale.
That’s all very theoretical … but does it really work? Specifically where I’m concerned, will I, as an author, benefit from creating content on my blog?
For the longest time, I couldn’t tell you the answer. But lately I’ve managed to glean some amazing insight into the reality of content marketing for authors. That came about when I began paying attention to my “site stats” on my blog.
Previously I was looking at my stats, true, but I was doing so in a way that was … I’ll call it cosmetic. Every once in a while I’d go in and check how many visitors I was getting overall. But more recently, I started drilling down to find out, of those visitors, where were they going? What were they seeing? Were all my efforts on Twitter and Facebook and Google Plus to promote myself and my blogging worth it?
Imagine my surprise when I found out that, indeed, for each day’s worth of pageviews, a number of visitors were checking out my “Veronica’s Books” page. Awesome … right?
For me, no.
Here’s where I’m kicking myself right now: all these visitors that did me the favour of hopping over to my books page were landing on a page that I knew was not properly optimized. My books page was a mishmash, patchwork, jumble of unnecessary text and too-large images. In essence, I turned off my hard-earned visitors by asking them to work to find out about my books.
Here’s the trick to content marketing: if you create content and share it on social media, visitors will come to your site. But once you have their attention, you must, must make it extremely easy for them to find out about what you do, or what services or goods you’re providing. In an author’s case it’s the books. As an author, you only have a fleeting window to hook your visitors. If your “sales” page is not optimized to catch their interest immediately, you’ll lose them.
And rightly so. No one should have to work at being a patron of your craft.
I spent the weekend overhauling my blog and my website. I knew I needed to for a long time, but I never got around to it. Now that I’ve seen how many pageviews I’ve wasted on a poorly optimized site, I’ve gotten my behind in gear and fixed that problem.