Having a content strategy was not in my mind when I started writing books. Indeed my marketing books were PDF’s which I sold on my website. One I cobbled together using Dreamweaver. Those were the days, eh? It is so much easier now.
In fact, writing Writing To Heal was incredibly random.
One weekend I had an idea to write a book about all the ways I used writing to support my healing. My dog Ferdy and I sat with Dragon Naturally Speaking and talked the book. Only interrupted by walks, snacks and wine. It was a winner…
Two weeks later (no editing included), my first draft turned up. This came on holiday with me. I giggled so much on the plane I thought someone would cart me off. Some of the things that Dragon thought I’d said were hilarious. Still, it got edited and published.
It was a short while later that I used the book to run workshops and blog and created my first online course. This course remains one of my best-selling courses.
And during the lockdown, I re-edited the book and re-recorded the course. That was step one of my content repurposing strategy.
Plan Your Non-Fiction Book was written rather than talked. I used blogs and workshop handouts to create the content, plus the methodology used for previous books and workbooks.
This book has been used in many, many blogs, courses, workbooks, programs, workshops, retreats, talks, stuff on YouTube, Facebook, memes, infographics and anywhere and anyway I could think of to get the message out.
But honestly, with both books, I didn’t have a content strategy. I simply did what I felt like in the moment. And that worked for me. I like to call it an evolving strategy.
Now I am all grown up and know better. Although that will not stop me from doing things in the moment…
Before we look at a content strategy, let’s look at what a strategy is.
What is a strategy?
Planning, at any level, whether for us personally or for your business, cannot be effective or efficient without an overarching strategy. There is often confusion between strategy and planning.
- A strategy is setting short and long-term goals and then choosing the major methods for achieving them. Thereby enabling ourselves and/or our business to at least survive, if not thrive, today and definitely to thrive in the future
- Planning is more than just setting a route to your goal or destination. It includes identifying the necessary actions, the timing of them, determining the necessary resources and estimating the costs
As you can imagine, there are as many views on what strategy is as there are on how to develop strategies. The key to your business’s success is, without a doubt, the appropriateness of the strategy to your situation. Your role is to develop and execute effective strategies for the business you are in or are creating.
You may not get your strategy right from the get-go. It is about doing your best with the available resources and using feedback to refine them. The sad truth is that strategies fail despite the vast amount of resources dedicated for many great businesses. Think of strategy development as being the orchestra leader for all aspects of your business and coordinating them into an integrated whole.
For the music to play sweetly, everything about your brand and business must be aligned. Strategy answers these questions:
- Where we are going?
- Why we are going there?
- What do you want to do?
- Why do you want to do what you do?
- How are we going to do it?
- Who are you doing it for, and what do they get?
- What would happen if you did the right things?
Naturally, it includes people, products, processes and profits as well. Each of these elements is an essential part of the strategy. Planning ensures the development of the coordinated, specific actions to be taken to ensure the successful attainment of the strategic intent.
Your market/personal branding strategy, which is part of your strategy, consists of many P’s. When I did my MBA, there were just 4.
These are now joined by people, processes and physical evidence. Then there is profit and planning. What about passion, purpose and palatable?
Ok, I’m being playful because I want you to see the potential that strategy could have for you.
What is a content strategy?
The content strategy sits within your overall strategy and, in part, answers how are you going to do it. A content strategy is part of your overall personal brand/marketing plan.
Content is more than just stuff that people like to read, watch or listen to. It is how you deliver your message – your vehicle. It also includes why you do it – your story and your personal transformation process.
My content strategy always starts with the book… Yours may start with something else. I like to create structure, a process and my message and then be able to use that in a variety of ways.
I imagine that there must be authors who, with good intentions, have written a book and then gone off the boil and not done anything with it. Perhaps now is the time to look at it with fresh eyes.
My book The Conscious Woman’s Guide To Leaving Your Husband And Getting A Life (yeah, simple title…) came into being through a jokey conversation. Women bought it and thanked me for the strategic planning and self-love support. But it wasn’t a strategic part of my business, and so I unpublished it. It had served its purpose – it helped me to heal.
Taking the time to develop a strategy starts with the right book.
Because if you love your book and its message, this will build your personal brand beautifully.
There isn’t a content strategy to suit all. It must be tailored to you. Pretty obvious, really!
That could mean a website, an author’s page on Amazon and Goodreads. It could mean blogging and videos on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. Lives on all platforms. Courses, programs, memberships, retreats and conferences.
The secret to content strategies is that there’s no such thing as ‘A’ content strategy.
There is usable and reusable content to suit your current strategic aims and goals. Your content needs to tell and sell your story, transformational process, purpose and vision, and it needs to inspire and impact others to take action.
Why authors are missing out by not utilising their book
Words hold power. We need ideas and ways to inspire and motivate us daily. I read (listen on Audible) to lots of books, which inspire me to be a better person (non-fiction) and a better storyteller (fiction).
Books are powerful. So much effort goes into writing a book. I can understand why an author runs out of steam once the launch has happened – if they get as far as launching. Perhaps they should have considered chunking their content and writing a little book or series of little books.
Anyway… Marketing starts when the planning starts. This is when you can start to use your book to build your brand and reach the hearts of others.
As an author, you will know that the best route to achieve your outcomes is through your own unique content and strategy.
How many authors are exploiting their content?
And I have no idea how many authors are using their books to raise their profiles.
One big benefit of being an author with content is that you can save loads of time in the content creation process by repurposing it. And, of course, you have already tested your ideas.
By creating a great content strategy using your book, you can:
- Reach new people
- Be more visible
- Reinforce your message
- Be seen as ‘the’ expert, rather than just an expert…
- Enjoy a great SEO boost
Simple content strategies for authors
By far and away, one of the simplest strategies is to blog. You already have your blueprint – the outline, so from here, you can pick parts of the chapters and some of your stories and share your insights. Your call to action – buy the book, coaching, course and program – depending on what else you have created from your book.
By the way, if you haven’t written a book, you can start by creating the blueprint and blogging your book.
A point to remember is that you write blogs differently from books, so you are not just copying and pasting your content. Blogs have a different structure and purpose, and of course, you would SEO a blog, which you certainly would do for a chapter…
A final point is that once you have a library of blogs, you can repurpose all of those again and again. The gift that keeps on giving.
You have loads of ideas for communicating with your readers by taking principles and ideas from your book.
What about a mini-course that takes your ideal client through a 7 or 10-day challenge based on the book’s principles?
Each chapter theme can be a step in your magical lead magnet. That has an email follow-up, which suggests the book, mini-course, big course or program. Or maybe you have a workbook that they can buy too?
Videos on social media channels
There are endless opportunities to create videos that you can repurpose and use in many ways.
An evergreen webinar
With an evergreen webinar, you can automate a process that will lead your ideal client to your book and your services in a very simple and effective way.
Images and stories
I create quotes from my content and write little stories. These are kept in a swipe file, and I can reuse them whenever I need to.
These are just a few ideas.
The digital landscape is changing at the speed of lightning. Things like lockdown forced many people to change how they worked and how to engage with their clients. Many also had to think of new ways to do business, and a book is brilliant because it can become so many other things.
To be competitive and reap the rewards of your book, you need to adapt your ways of thinking and adopt new ideas. Even an old book can be revamped and brought to life.
Where to start?
Where to start is a great question. I’m assuming that you have done the who am I, who do I want to become, what is my purpose and inspirational message, what do I want to create and for whom stage? Great then…
- Start by reviewing your content blueprint – the book outline
- Brainstorm each chapter and come up with a series of content ideas
- Look at your goals and plans and ask how the content you want to share fits with and supports these
- Create a 90-day content plan
- Do it. You have to start somewhere, and it will get easier
- Pick something easy so that you feel you have achieved something. A lead magnet or e-book works here
I currently have a set of older books that I have repurposed to death. My newer ones are smaller (I call them little books). They are simpler, mostly about journaling – and they give me a way into selling my courses and, of course, my books.
The content for Ignite Your Success, which will take the little book format, will be tested with a series of blogs. I have a draft plan of how I will use this book.
We all work differently, and I like to start by outlining and writing a book when I create a course – it works for me. I create the lead magnet, e-book, mini-course, course and whatever else from that book and then I finish the book. Creating content from the draft book helps me to get clear on what I want to teach.
This may or may not work for you. You will, though, have a way that suits you and your learning style, and that’s what we have to tap into.
Where can you go from here?
Meet me in the creative space.