Previously in this series, I shared the importance of monitoring your author brand reputation. Now let's talk about author engagement to cultivate fans of your brand.
Engaging with the readers who take the time to reach out to you can seem like yet another task on your neverending to-do list. However, by taking the time to engage with those that contact you, you actually experience a range of benefits. Not only do you protect your author reputation by coming across as polite and responsive, but you have the chance to turn readers into fans by providing them with a positive first-hand experience of you. This is an efficient way of ensuring your time is spent on actions which give real results.
But how exactly do you go about turning readers into fans? How can you capitalize on any engagement you receive to stand the best chance of furthering your author brand?
Read on to discover three tried and tested ways to further your author brand through the power of engagement.
I might be biased, but I firmly believe that an author blog is one of the best ways to build your brand. It’s also a great way to get fan engagement. This often takes the form of comments that are left in response to your blog posts.
But how do you make the most of the opportunity of blog comments to further your author brand?
- It might seem obvious, but not everyone responds to every comment on their blog. They often respond for a while and then stop for older posts. This is a mistake. If someone has taken the time to leave a comment, be sure to engage with them. This encourages them to respond again in the future.
- Call to action. Explicitly ask for comments at the end of a blog post. You can ask questions about your post, or ask for people to share their own experiences related to the topic you have posted about. This greatly increases the chance of people taking the time to leave a blog comment.
- People are only going to comment on your blog post if they actually read it. By using SEO keyword research you can ensure your blog topics are being searched for.
Blog comments are a great opportunity to turn traffic into dedicated readership, so don’t overlook them.
Social Media Engagement
Many authors invest the time to set up social media profiles, often across many different networks, and even schedule content for them, but fail to respond to the engagement they receive.
It’s very important to respond to people who engage with your social media content. This has a number of benefits, including:
- If you reply to the people who engage with you, Facebook will give you a boost in terms of the algorithm in the future. This makes it more likely that your content will show up higher in people’s feeds, in turn giving you even greater engagement.
- By responding to people, you show you care. This can take the form of liking and commenting on their Facebook comment, or retweeting one of their tweets in which they mention you or your book.
- Cultivating community. By the time your social following gets to a certain size, you will do well to cultivate regular engagement. This can take the form of social media contests where people are incentivized to like and share, or through regular weekly social media content formats.
Engaging with people on social both helps your content’s performance, and also helps people take a closer interest in you as an author.
Mailing List Interaction
Your author mailing list is one of the most powerful weapons in your author marketing arsenal.
Although it takes time to build up a mailing list, once it reaches a sufficient size you will be able to market yourself and your work effectively. However, like any other form of fan contact, it opens up the possibilities of replies and engagement. Should these occur, how should you best respond?
In order to effectively engage with your mailing list you should:
- Always reply. Of your mailing list, a small portion will take the time to respond to any given email. However, those that do are some of your most committed followers. Be sure to respond to encourage them to continue.
- Ask questions. Your mailing list doesn’t have to be a one-way form of author communication. By asking questions at the end of your emails, it acts as a call to action and increases the likelihood of responses. If you ask a question of your list, you need to have a solid plan in place to handle those you receive. You are likely to receive far more than normal and should be prepared for the extra workload accordingly.
- Monitor stats. An author mailing list is something you can experiment with. How about if you use different types of subject lines? What about if you advertise the cost of your book at two different price points? By monitoring opens and responses, you learn to optimize the titles and timings of your emails to get the best response rate from your list.
Like anything, your author mailing list requires care and attention to be maintained. Don’t overlook it. Your author engagement will bring a wide range of benefits that comes with maintaining close contact with your most dedicated readers.
Author Engagement - Final Thoughts
Thanks for checking out my thoughts on author engagement.
I’d like to get your take. How do you engage with your readers? As a fan, do you have any stories of writers responding to you? Be sure to let me know and continue the conversation!
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