By John Reese, Feb 18 2016 11:04AM
Success as an author often hinges on catching the ‘perfect storm’ which means creating the right foundations for a book to go viral. Let’s be absolutely clear at this point and say no one can make a book go viral. Despite a plethora of ‘guru’s’ who are happy to help authors part with their money, going viral in the real context of the word should be an aspiration and is never a given, but you can load the odds in your favour.
With continuing innovations in modern technology and ever easier access to the web, content is king when it comes to grabbing a potential readers attention. For authors, especially those who are self-published and often have a limited marketing budget behind them, the overriding drive of content marketing is to spread the word, utilising the often overwhelming and vast power of the World Wide Web. It’s an undeniable fact that more and more authors get discovered by agents and send their book sales into the stratosphere just by posting something that hits the right note of accord at the right time. The problem is that everyone seems to be mimicking everyone else and worse still, automating it with the same content that countless others are posting.
You wrote an original book, your words differentiate you and make you interesting, it should be the same when it comes to content marketing, but where do you begin? How do you stand out and get ahead of the curve? It’s been the subject of countless books, but the truth is it’s really quite simple to ensure you have the right foundations in place.
We’re going to keep it succinct with just six key points to maximise the return on every post you make, but don’t underestimate the value of what follows just because we haven’t gone into rafts of detail. Here we go:-
#1 Always be aware of what’s trending
Everyone is short of time. Your readers want the point of a post to stand out so they can digest it without mulling over oodles of text. Current trends already have the attention of readers and trends make Social Media buzz. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook or any of the other heavy hitters, take a couple of minutes a day to find out what people are #TalkingAbout and ask if there is any way you could make your content relevant to that audience. If you can then you will have a far better chance of making your post viewed by potential readers because you are tapping into something they’re already interested in.
#2 Do readers want what you are posting?
We’ve heard it a thousand times. Social media is about being social and it’s true, but whilst posting something personal is great, always remember that the success of your content marketing is measured on the willingness of those who see it to share it with their friends. Take a little time to surf the Facebook or Twitter streams of authors who have a really engaged following. You should be taking note of the ones who get hundreds of retweets or shares because they are achieving the Word of mouth exposure that you need to leverage a viral marketing platform for your books.
#3 Be inspirational
Readers quickly get wise to self-absorbed, limelight hungry posts. As much as you may want to, never tell a potential reader how great your book is. Even posting the latest 5 star review from Amazon can come across as boorish. Many bestselling authors, especially those who are self-published, talk about anything but their books. Look outside of the publishing industry for innovative approaches that inspire a connection between your words and what your potential new readers want. Don’t just write another blog post, share your journey and what motivated you to write. Be someone that inspires admiration and people will want to read your books because they are an extension of you.
#4 Optimize for success!
Failure to optimize your posts will most certainly condemn them to obscurity. You need to fine tune your content with keywords and tag them with the aim of them being found on the first page of any search engine. This way, you give your content longevity and discoverability. Ask yourself, how many times do you really venture past the first page of search results? It doesn’t matter how great your content is, if people can’t find it then it’s not working for you. Too many authors rely on Facebook and Twitter because of their immediacy. They can see a like or a share, but Facebook and Twitter posts typically have a short and finite lifespan where as if you can get your post on the front page of a search it can be there for months, even years, depending on how popular it is.
#5 It’s all about the timing.
If you haven’t seen it, watch Al Pacino’s speech in Any Given Sunday. It’s simply brilliant and it articulates the critical importance of timing. Yes, he may be talking about football, but the analogy holds true for your book marketing. You’ve written a brilliant attention grabbing headline, together with an inspirational post and by simply posting it at the wrong time it only reaches a handful of people. You’ve not only wasted your time writing it, you’ve potentially lost a host of new readers who may never find your books. Always look at the clock before publishing your post. Consider your demographics. You are posting to the World Wide Web and your next reader could be in the USA, Great Britain or Australia. So invest your time to analyse how much activity your chosen social media channel has on specific times, to ensure maximum exposure for your next post.
#6 Don’t try too hard!
This might sound a little contradictory, but the worst thing an author can do is try too hard. Potential readers can sense desperation and you should never, under any circumstance, ask someone to like, view or even share something. They might do it once, but unless you give them an extremely powerful reason to keep doing so you will probably burn far more bridges than you build. Think of your content marketing as dangling bait and be patient. Yes, there are people who achieve overnight viral status on social media platforms, but they are the exception and invariably a significant element of that success is luck. At the beginning of this post we used the term ‘perfect storm’. Just because you posted brilliant content doesn’t mean it will automatically garner the audience it deserves. Think of going viral as a ‘perfect storm’. A number of factors need to come together at the very same time. They aren’t something you can control, but you can load the odds in your favour.
So there you have it. Six critical elements that will help ensure your content is retweeted, commented on, shared and talked about as you create the right foundations for a book to go viral.
As always, it's great to have made the connection with you and we hope we have given you something to think about. We'd also like to draw your attention to the 2015 BookViral Book Awards. We value originality and great writing. If you are confident your book meets our expectations you can enter it by clicking on this link 2015 BookViral Book Awards