I’ve spent the past several weeks considering different approaches to marketing my upcoming novel.
As a writer of fiction, I’ve naturally gravitated toward the idea of using the basic element of storytelling as a catalyst for spreading the word about, well, my story.
Of course I should use snippets of the character’s conflicts to draw people in!
Why else would they want to read my book?
Great, but will that work for me?
I’m sure you other fiction authors are nodding in agreement at this no-brainer of a promotional tactic, but as non-fiction writers, bloggers, or salespeople, some of you are probably shaking your heads emphatically, convinced that this only applies to those of us who write mysteries, thrillers, dramas, and fairy tales.
Guess what? You’re wrong.
Come on, baby, light my fire
In preparation for launching the promotional campaign for “Murder At Castle Rock,” I’ve been reading a book by Rob Eager called “Sell Your Book Like Wildfire: The Writer’s Guide to Marketing & Publicity.”
It’s most definitely classified as non-fiction, and yet, the first several pages tell a story.
Eager puts you in the familiar situation of camping in the wilderness and likens marketing your book to starting a campfire.
He explains the ordeals you might face as a camper as you try to build your fire—like how just tossing a match at a log and hoping it will ignite is not going to work.
If you want to get a real fire going, you have to spend some time setting up some kindling and getting the flame to ignite, right?
That right there, my friends, was Rob Eager’s way of drawing you in with a story in order to teach you a lesson about marketing your content.
Sell them what they want – what they really, really want
Yes, I did just use a spin on a cheesy old Spice Girls lyric—but it’s the truth.
At the end of the day, there is only one real reason that people consume your content: You have information that they want or need.
If you’re a fiction writer, you offer that escape from the reality that so many of us crave.
If you’re a writer of non-fiction or a copywriter, while you may have information that people need, you’re more likely to send that message viral by taking a cue from fiction writers and use storytelling to relate to your target audience and draw them in.
What makes successful content stand out is its relatability.
Watching all those ads on Super Bowl Sunday is like doing your content-marketing homework
Let’s take television commercials as another example.
The writers of the best ads don’t pay an actor to stand there and say “You need to buy this product.”
The most popular ads—the ones that really sell the product—tell a story about relatable people in relatable situations using the advertised product to achieve whatever their goal, drawing the audience into that person’s world for just a moment and assuring them that the product will help them achieve the goal too.
Whether you’re writing a press release for a New York Times bestseller or a public service announcement about why people should brush their teeth, just remember that your content will always spread farther and reach more people if you use storytelling elements to catch and keep your audience’s interest.
What particular ads or marketing campaigns have you been able to relate to the most due to the storytelling tactics they used?
What other approaches have you used to spreading your content more widely? Has it been successful?
Let us know in the comments …