Now that you’ve decided which social media networks to focus on and where you hope to make guest appearances, it’s time to create a daily marketing plan for the next month. Some activities, like scheduling promotional social media posts, should be done once or twice a month for best results, but you should incorporate time for marketing in your schedule every day.
Why it’s important to market daily
Even if your blog already has several hundred followers, even if you’re selling books well or making a decent living from freelance writing, you need to market yourself every day. Word of mouth is great, but marketing your books and blog yourself is the only way you can guarantee an increase in followers. This is especially true early on–eventually you will experience organic growth, but only a small percentage of people will share your work, so you need to get a fairly large number reading your stuff before it really takes off.
Jobs dry up. Old fans get too busy–or broke–to purchase your latest book. Some months you get more rejections than others. Intense marketing when you go through one of these dry spells might help you get back on your feet, but only by marketing yourself daily will you be able to avoid the dry spells. Hundreds of writers are already marketing daily. To get and keep attention, you must do the same.
How much time should you devote to marketing?
This varies greatly. If you already have a significant following and are making a decent income from your writing, half an hour might be all you need to stay visible. If you only started promoting yourself a month ago, you might want to devote significantly more time to marketing.
Outside life will put constraints on the amount of time you spend marketing, but you should make sure you spend at least half an hour, five days a week putting your name out there.
My daily marketing schedule varies–some days are devoted almost entirely to paid clients–but I always find at least an hour to market myself and search for freelance clients.
What should be on your daily marketing task list?
Every writer’s daily marketing task list will be different. The best ones will all have one thing in common: they focus on creating and developing relationships. Selling a product or service should always be your secondary concern. Even if it isn’t, the key is to act like it is.
So how do you accomplish this?
Start with a small daily commitment to the social networks you’ve decided to focus on. I spend 20 minutes on Twitter every day and always retweet one post I enjoyed by someone in my network and start or participate in a conversation with one other person. I’ve grown to love these conversations, and while Twitter itself still isn’t providing me many clients, I am building awesome relationships with awesome people who might someday read my novels. That’s pretty great. I also participate in one LinkedIn conversation every day, and am growing quite fond of the groups there.
Make sure you’re actually developing relationships with people and, if you’re looking for freelance work, actively tell new connections and ask them if they need any writing done or know someone who does. People on LinkedIn are especially receptive to this and many will hire you–or at least agree to pass your name along.
As for guest posts, I tend to do these in a cycle. One day I’ll spend half an hour or so identifying blogs where I’d like to guest post. The next day I’ll brainstorm ideas for each blog on my list. On the third day I outline some posts. On the fourth day I pick one to write. I usually edit guest posts two or three times before I submit.
You might decide you want to incorporate another activity or two into your daily marketing schedule. Maybe you want to run your email newsletter daily–which isn’t always a great idea–or cold call businesses to offer freelance services. Do whatever feels right. Some things work better than others, but something you enjoy will always work better than something you don’t.
Write it down
Whether you use a calendar, a monthly planner or a weekly agenda, write all your daily marketing tasks down. Every day. For the next month. Right now. Following through on your marketing plan is the hardest part–and the only way to get results from all the planning you did this month–and a daily reminder will help you get it done.
Eventually your daily marketing activities will become automatic and can be scheduled as just “marketing time”. Until then, write down everything you’re committed to doing. Remember that you won’t see big results right away. You might develop a connection on your first day, but it will take time to forge enough connections to create a steady income from your writing.
Incorporate marketing into your daily schedule this month if you want to grow your following substantially this year–every day you wait is an opportunity lost.