In being a well-rounded authorpreneur (an author who recognizes what it takes to be successful as an author in today’s world), we know that authors have to think of themselves as thought leaders. With that mindset supporting your book marketing endeavors, the horizon is much more expansive. An author’s goal is to sell books; a thought leader’s goal is to sell an experience. This brings us to the second piece of being a well-rounded authorpreneur:
Make your CONTENT an EXPERIENCE.
So what does that mean, exactly? Of course, we all put out content whether we know it or not. A text message is “content,” even though it’s probably only seen by one person. A book is made of content. A speech is made of content. This blog is made of content. Content is that “stuff” that you get after you’re done reading the words; the content is the value in the words that carries on beyond the first listening/reading. So how do you make your content an interactive experience rather than just talking at people?
Making your content an experience means that you’re thinking of how to position it to have the greatest impact. You’re making a deal with the receivers of your content (your “readers”) that they’re going to be involved, and you’re forcing yourself outside the traditional realm of content delivery. The traditional realm of content delivery is: writer writes book, writer delivers books to agent, agent delivers book to publisher, publisher delivers book to bookstore, bookstore delivers book to reader. While this worked for where the world was before, readers of today are used to having content hurled at them from all directions, and now they’re looking for the content that means something more. Readers of today want connection to the content that goes deeper than a bookstore telling them what to read! They want the content they consume to be an experience!
What are some examples of how people are making their content an experience? Don’t just use Twitter to deliver your novel one line at a time, or to simply link to your book on Amazon. Go on Twitter and give your readers a contest, engaging them to get involved with your book. What about other parts of the experience? J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore website is a great example of how an author has taken book content and made it into an experience. I’m not assuming that all readers of this blog are going to be J.K. Rowling, but she has engaged her (obsessed) audience in ways that other authors can mimic. Though not an author, Target brand has greatly succeeded in capturing an audience of college-agers in recent years. They have NOT succeeded by saying “We’ve got extra long sheets for dorm beds and lots of Ramen Noodles!” on all of their social networking sites. Instead, they created a program Target Stuff Scholarships via a Facebook app (to connect directly to those young people), that challenged college-agers to engage with Target by responding (via a YouTube video) to some interesting and inane questions posed by a silly panelist of “judges,” though the real judges would be Facebook users voting for their favorite. The prizes? A Nook Tablet that comes with Angry Birds already downloaded. A year’s supply of Ramen Noodles. A laptop. One hundred frisbees. This trick by Target created lots and lots of audience engagement–emotional engagement at that–and reinforced Target as THE place to buy school stuff. And with little investment on their part.
These are methods authorpreneurs could be applying to their marketing processes for ultimate success. What examples have you seen that other authors are using?