I came across this article on Publishers Weekly this morning. It talks about a firm’s new marketing strategy for authors, which allows them to promote books for a long period of time — not just the weeks leading up to and following a book’s release.
Basically, the idea is this: the marketing firm builds a website around several books that are similar in genre. They create free content on the subject and (of course) include a lot of promotion of the books on the site. They say that these sites exist for six months or so around a book’s release, but I don’t see why it can’t be longer.
Regardless, this is actually a great idea. It draws in traffic with free content (optimized for search engines, I assume), and then introduces the book to people who are already interested in the subject matter.
I propose, however, that maybe you don’t need a PR firm to do this for you. Maybe, as an author, you can do this yourself. Here’s how:
Step 1: Reach out to other authors who have written books in a similar genre. Propose that you get a group together of, say, five authors, and together you build a content-focused site.
Step 2: Cull your funds to purchase a domain name and website hosting. If you want to get a website designer to create the site, you can certainly do that. Otherwise, you can just use a WordPress template.
Step 3: Start loading the website with content. Each author who’s part of the website should agree to write an article and/or blog at least once a week. Depending on the subject matter, you may also be able to get some free content to put on the website from government sites, organizations, press releases, etc…
Step 4: Don’t forget the books! That’s the point, right? Make sure to include links to the book websites, the author websites, etc…. easily accessible. And include as many links as possible for buying the books.
Step 5: Make sure your site is search engine optimized. I highly recommend that you hire someone to do this, but if you don’t have the funds, you can try to do it yourself. Then submit your site to the major search engines.
Step 6: Set up Google Analytics. This is a free service from Google that allows you to track your website traffic. Trust us: these numbers will be invaluable.
Step 7: Don’t give up. It can take weeks (or even months) for your website traffic to pick up. Give it time. Keep on writing. Eventually, you’ll get the eyeballs you’re hoping for.
Truthfully, I’m also thinking about offering a service like this on Smart Author Sites. Would you be interested? Let me know!