by Emilie Haertsch
Why should creative nonfiction writers embrace content marketing? It enables us to tell and share great stories, which is really what we are all about, as JPL senior copywriter Kelly Kautz pointed out at her August 13 session “Content Marketing for Writers.”
It starts with setting content goals – both SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relevant, and Timely) and stretch goals. SMART goals are concrete and achievable, like writing a certain number of guest blog posts per year, and stretch goals are lofty but exciting, like speaking at a sold-out book reading. Once you have established your goals, you must determine how much time per day or week your can devote to content marketing, and plan for anything that might derail your efforts. Kautz urged writers to spend as much time on content promotion as on content creation.
An editorial calendar will help you follow your plan and work towards your goals. Kautz suggests using a large wall calendar and some colorful post-it notes to plan out your content promotion. When determining what to post or tweet about, look for topics in your own preoccupations. What’s on your mind right now? Think about where your target audience lives, too, and put your energy there – are they more of a Twitter or Tumblr crowd?
Kautz advocates that writers brand their names, because they will follow you wherever you go, unlike book or other project titles. WordPress and Squarespace offer free, fairly user-friendly platforms for writers to create author websites or blogs.
Finally and most importantly, stressed Kautz, be authentic. Readers recognize a phony. You should be a little embarrassed by old content – it demonstrates your willingness to be true to yourself and represents your growth.
You can find Kautz’s full PowerPoint presentation, and some great worksheets to help you get started, here. Follow her on twitter @KellyKautz.