Wait. I have to write AND market my book? Help!
As many indie authors will tell you, writing a book is the first step of many. After that wonderful moment when you officially publish, you need to get the word out to readers and that can be a daunting task.
How can authors focus on writing while also taking care of all-important marketing aspects?
What kinds of services help authors connect with readers?
How do I get started?
While there are many people and services available to authors, both free and paid, today we are going to dive into the history and ideas behind one man's vision to help authors, and all artists, connect with people and get the word out about their work.
Ask Colin. He can help!
A main core to the Colin Can Help philosophy is to be active everywhere there is an audience for your content.
Tell us about the man behind, Colin Can Help.
How did your project begin and what are your hopes for its future?
Colin Can Help was born from a career in lawn care. For about ten years I kept myself employed as an owner/operator of a lawn care company. I could never seem to find reliable workers. I tried hiring people of all ages and backgrounds, tried partnering with a friend, I could never find a reliable work force. Every year, I would do more off season marketing to be able to generate enough income to hire staff and scale the business.
I love landscaping. It is great physical and mental work. I learned how to fix all sorts of machines and learned a ton about nature and how home maintenance works.
I learned that I love the building of the customers, getting people interested in what I was offering. What I really liked was marketing at the end of the day.
I wanted to try something other than landscaping and as I went through all the things I liked to do, was good at, and thought were marketable, Colin Can Help was formed. As far as hopes for the Colin Can Help brand, I hope that I can sustain myself by charging fair rates to do services that I love to do while making sure that the people paying for those services get more value from them than the money they spend with me.
Why are podcasts an essential part of your platform?
Podcasts are essential to my platform as they should be to just about every person in business in 2020. I call the Colin’s Conversations Podcast my pillar content for the Colin Can Help brand. If I lost you with the marketing talk, more simply put a podcast allows me to create an insane amount of content. My show is filmed which gives me the ability to not only have video footage, but to also separate the audio for podcast. It allows me to network with entrepreneurs, entertainers, educators and learn about what they do. Being able to get a different perspective every week on different industries allows me to better help clients that work with me on marketing plans.
Finally, by giving someone a platform to talk about what they do to your audience, you start the relationship on a really good foot. It makes for a very easy transition to working with them. It is kind of like a free audition to show what type of content I could make for them if I worked for them.
What makes a great podcast episode?
At its purest form, a great podcast episode is something that keeps your attention the entire duration of the episode. There are a lot of things that go into that and I learn more of the intricacies with every episode I produce. Sound quality is very important. It is very hard to stay interested in a show if it is hard to hear or has all sorts of static or background interruptions.
A lot of people will use that as an excuse to not start. I have microphones that cost ten dollars that do great, it is just about know how to use them and making a few adjustments. The other main component to a great podcast episode is how well you get along with the guest. If there is a lot of tension in the room, the audience will know. Being able to make the guest comfortable before the tapes start rolling is crucial to having a good flowing conversation. I have also realized the more the guest likes you, the more exclusive stories or detailed information you will get.
How can guest authors make the most of a podcast interview?
I think it is important to let your personality shine early in the episode.
You want to be likable, relatable, and show that you are someone that has depth.
Nobody likes the constant, “Buy my book” all interview. Show that your stories have value and make people want to look more into you. I think it is also a good idea to do some sort of giveaway or give a copy of the book to the podcast host. Doing this is a great way to get organic exposure to your book. They can also then read it or give it away to their fans. Also, I love it when a guest of any kind asks how they can help promote the content that comes from the interview.
To Instagram or not to Instagram? That is the question. What are your thoughts on the platform and how do you use it?
A main core to the Colin Can Help philosophy is to be active everywhere there is an audience for your content. Currently Instagram is a main focus for almost all industries. I have I think 5 accounts of my own and I have managed others. I wouldn’t suggest many clients not use Instagram. With that said, Instagram has reached a point where in order to get the same reach you got not long ago, you have to pay to play. Without sponsoring ads, you will not get much reach. I use a scheduling software for all of my accounts as well as all of the accounts I manage that gives a great linkinbio service. I use that and the copy for my posts to direct people off of Instagram and to my website or podcast platforms. It is also important to stay up to date with all of the new features and changes. The more time you spend on the app, the more new features you use, the more likely you are to be shown to your audience.
Being an author is challenging. One of the biggest obstacles authors face is being seen in a flooded market. How can you help authors navigate the marketing world?
Marketing gets this really mystical reputation I find. If you look at marketing as reverse engineering your goals, it may seem more manageable. If you were looking for a book like the one you wrote, where would you expect to see ads, what would they look like. If you were looking for a new author, where would you look for them, what type of posts would make them seem cool?
As far as a “flooded market” I think that is the glass half empty approach. Yes, there are millions of books produced every year. That could be discouraging. I look at it more so that publishing your own work has never been easier and there has never been easier access to books for millions of potential readers.
Many people look for the “magic formula” but I think it is important to know that you are in for a long road. You have to every day reach out to new people and businesses and make your ideas and your personality seem relatable and exceptional to them.
You have to find the way to stand out, but still be yourself. I also think something that is very overlooked in the digital world is physical marketing. Printing bookmarks, flyers, going to different stores and shows is very important. It is easy to overlook a post or sponsored ad while it is much harder to say no to someone in person!
With that said, a digital and physical marketing mix I think is the key to the highly populated market. Getting on podcasts, radio shows, TV, networking with influencers, book signings, and just talking to people are just a few ways to rise above the rest.
Many authors, myself included, struggle to set aside and maintain a solid marketing budget. How are you addressing this real issue at Colin Can Help?
I think that many people want to be famous but are afraid to lose comfort in order to reach for greatness. That is my poetic way of saying to limit the Starbucks trips, the unnecessary purchases, and live under the means you are used to.We look at going to Starbucks for a venti latte every day as ok, but don't think it is a good idea to put that same $150 into ads or promo materials.
I totally understand not having money, I have been there more times than I would have liked. That is why I am trying a new service offering I call Digital Artist Management. It has a monthly charge of $125 with an encouragement to develop an additional budget for ads and marketing materials.
What do you get for the $125 monthly fee? I set you up with a website that has a custom domain and premium Wordpress theme, schedule daily social media posts, create and repurpose images and videos for you, reach out to podcasts and other news to get you interviews, and get weekly analytic updates.
Essentially you get a digital assistant, social media management, website hosting & development, and get to focus on your writing instead of marketing.
This same service for a small business I typically charge $600-$1,000 for, but I want to help artists get to a point where they are doing enough business that they can become the small business.
Where do you see author marketing going in the future? What platforms will you be putting more emphasis on within your host of services?
I think that author marketing will mirror what I have been suggesting for all of my digital artist clients and friends. If you are not podcasting, you are like the guy 20 years ago afraid to put his books for sale on the internet who is now looking at what Amazon has done. Writers will also need to become more extroverted. Making personal connections while maintaining them online will be the ways of writers.
Lately, I have been all about websites. I think they are something overlooked and crucial to your online profile. A lot of people think that it is all about Instagram or Facebook, but they limit your reach. I also don't like always promoting corporations ( Youtube, Social Media Sites). I much prefer to direct people to my personal websites where they can find the highlights from all of my other online projects. Also a thing overlooked about websites are their ability to generate ad revenue. You don't get paid for the traffic you generate to Instagram or other social media sites, but you can with a website.
Side note: TikTok and Pinterest are very much overlooked platforms to find and drive traffic.
Where can authors go to learn more about Colin Can Help? For services, the Colin Can Help Blog, Colin's Conversations Podcast.
I try to be as active as I can on all of the social media and podcast platforms as well. I always am open to give free consultations and can almost always find a solution for any budget.
I now turn it over to you! What else would you like to share about yourself, your vision, or your services?
I think I covered just about all the main points with your other questions. I just want to help people get their projects to their target audience and make my living delivering help and happiness to others. If I could leave the readers on any note, I just wish you refer all of the interesting people you know to colinsconversations.com/contact and have them apply to be on my podcast!