Do you want to know how to market your book using a killer content strategy?
Listen in as Melanie Herschorn shares the top strategies for content marketing that connects you with your target audience and establishes you as an 'AUTHORity' in your niche.
Do you want to know how to market your book using a killer content strategy?
Listen in as Melanie Herschorn, Founder of VIP Digital Content shares the top strategies for content marketing that not only connect you with your target audience but establish you as an 'AUTHORity' in your niche.
In this week's powerful episode "How To Market Your Book Using A Killer Content Strategy" you will discover…
• How to use a content strategy so you're seen as a trusted expert
• What is a more intimate way of connecting with your audience rather than social media
• Melanie's proven content creation strategy to answer the "What's In It For Me" question
• What is the best strategy to use instead of hiring a PR agency to market your business, book, or brand
And a whole lot more…
Welcome to Book Marketing mentors the weekly podcast where you learn proven strategies, tools, ideas and tips from the masters. Every week I introduce you to a marketing Master who will share their expertise to help you market and sell more books. Today my special guest is Melanie Hirshhorn. Melanie wants to make your book and brands sparkle online as a content marketing strategies for coaches and speakers worldwide. She's on a mission to support and empower her clients to create clear messaging and content that shines a light on their individual experience skill set and books. With her unique combination of entrepreneurship, award winning journalism, and PR experience. Melanie guides her clients to attract and nurture leads and positions themselves as industry experts. I love it, Melanie, what a pleasure it is to welcome you to the show. And thank you for being this week's guest expert and mentor.
Melanie Herschorn 01:05
Thank you so much, Susan, I'm so happy to be here.
Well, Melanie, you and I are seeing out of the same hymn book, looking at helping authors become authorities and shining in their brilliance. And I know that what you love to do with them? Is that whole aspect of content marketing, I love it. So let's talk about that. And let's just start off with Why do you feel authors need to sort of do content marketing, because it's so key to them becoming authorities thought leaders in their field? So take it away? Tell us?
Melanie Herschorn 01:51
Well, let me ask you this question. Have you ever planned a party hired the best caterer gotten some amazing flowers chosen an amazing menu, and the venue is fantastic. And then you just didn't send out any invitations?
Well, that would be an interesting thing to do.
Melanie Herschorn 02:15
That'd be a waste of your time and money, right?
Absolutely be a total waste of your time and money.
Melanie Herschorn 02:22
It's the same thing when an author spends all this time and effort and money and writes and publishes a book and then they don't ever tell anyone about their book. Other than, hey, I wrote a book. That is basically the content marketing is those invitations.
I love that keep going. I think I stood on your toes there.
Melanie Herschorn 02:47
Not at all. What it does is it allows people to get to know you get to like you get to trust you as an authority in your space. And without content. People are not going to know who you are. And they're certainly not going to buy the book. Right? We have so much noise coming at us on a daily basis. I mean, I know I wake up every morning, but at least I don't know 150 To 200 emails waiting for me across by seven email addresses. And it's a lot it's enough to make your head spin. And so how do you stand out in that crowded space? Well, that's with your content marketing.
That's an excellent point, because I'm just going to ask you exactly. You've got all these emails you trying to stand out. The next question is, what is the best way? Or where is the best way place for you to actually stand out with your content?
Melanie Herschorn 03:52
Whoo, I love that questions. It's okay. It really depends on who you are, what your mission is, and what your books about, and who your ideal reader is. Because wherever your ideal reader is hanging out online, that's where you want to be. So for example, I was talking to a gentleman the other day, and he was telling me that he helps people decipher their dreams, and that he has been hanging out on Instagram. And I said, you know, that's great, but I don't know that your reader is on Instagram. They're probably on Facebook. So you have to be judicious where you are spending your time online. If your ideal reader is not on the platform that you're pouring your heart and soul into then you're just wasting your time.
Melanie Herschorn 04:43
But no matter what, no matter where these people are online, I am such a proponent of email marketing, because we are just parking our cars on the metaverse parking lot. We do not own our social media following If you really want to always have control, then you have to have people's email addresses. There was this fateful day back in October 2021, when everybody woke up, and Instagram and Facebook worked out for hours. And those of us with robust email subscriber lists, we're like, oh, that's no big deal. I'm just gonna send an email to my list. I use that day to show people how important it is to truly have a robust email subscriber list, because that is how you get to reach people in the most intimate way.
I love that, because so true. I just remember that day. And I was like, Oh, my goodness, all those people who are on Facebook are like, Oh, my goodness, what's happening? What's happening? What if I lose everybody? And that's what I tell my authors, if they say, oh, you know, I said, Well, how are you going to market the book? What's your plan? And there's, oh, I've got 1000s of people on Facebook. And I was like, Well, what happens if Facebook goes away? What happens to all those people? I mean, they're not going to suddenly give you all those people's names and emails, addresses.
So you're building like you rightly said, on rented land, and rather build a robust list under your own banner so that you can control that. Keep going in terms of this content? With sending people an email, with content? I mean, do you recommend tips? Do you recommend an article? And if it's an article, is it on your website? Is it on medium or some other platform? What do you recommend?
Melanie Herschorn 06:47
Well, a lot of people will get lost if you start sending them elsewhere. I mean, basically, anytime you send an email, or you post anything online, you have to remember that the person who's getting it or who's viewing it is thinking what's in it for me. And you have a split second, to get them hooked on what's in it for them.
Melanie Herschorn 07:10
So if you're sending an email, and it's got an article in it, and you're sending them somewhere else to go read the article, chances are, you're going to lose them before they even click the button because they don't want to work that hard. The more information that you can give just writing the email, the better. For example, let's say you write a blog post, well, why don't you just copy and paste that blog post right into your email, so people don't have to work so hard to read your content.
Melanie Herschorn 07:36
Because I believe in the 8020 rule, 80% value 20% selling, that's not to say at the bottom of this amazing email that's filled with incredible value, that you can't say, oh, and for even more great stuff, grab a copy of my book, click here to buy it, that's fine. But if you're going to really just do a sales, email itself, or a sales post, then I would recommend having at least 80% of what you are putting out there value to kind of establish you as an authority in your space. Because if you come out of the gate, proposing on the first date, chances are people are gonna say no,
yeah, they don't want to be sold to. Now, I know that there are people who send out emails on a regular basis, but it's full of interesting stuff. So people will open it. I mean, somebody like Seth Godin, for instance, I send something out every single day, but it's good stuff. Sometimes it's a short couple of lines. Sometimes it's a few paragraphs, but there's always substance in there. And I mean, he sells stuff, obviously, you know, he's got his workshops, or he might recommend somebody else. But he's definitely showing off his expertise by sharing good content.
Melanie Herschorn 09:03
Absolutely. Well, I mean, I can't speak for Seth Godin. Obviously, he's a fantastic marketer and a prolific author, but he's being judicious about what he sends out. He knows that if he starts hammering people with by this new book by my Purple Cow by this by that he's gonna lose people. And he's a big name. So when you're just starting out and you're trying to establish your thought leadership online, you're trying to establish your influencer status. You really have to show people I know what I'm talking about. Here's how I can help you and really make it about them and not really about you at all.
Yes, I love it when exactly you're speaking to them. I know your issues. I know some of the pain you might be going through or where you might need help because I've been there. Yes. Now you talked about earlier. grabbing people's or encouraging people to give them their email address. Now we need to offer them something in exchange for that email address.
And some people call it some a freebie. Some people call it a lead magnet. And I often get asked, as I'm sure you do, what's a good giveaway item that would encourage people to give me a pop with their email address, because it's getting more and more precious. People are very judicious about who they give their email address to. So how would you answer that if somebody came to you with that question?
Melanie Herschorn 10:42
Well, I love that question. And yes, Susan, I get it all the time. In fact, I host masterclasses just on this topic, the truth is that the first chapter of your book is not a lead magnet. People don't want the first chapter of your book, they don't know who you are, chances are the first chapter of your book isn't really going to help them in any way. Because it's probably doesn't have the meat of what you've written.
Melanie Herschorn 11:08
The first chapter of your book has to go away as a lead magnet. So putting my you know, stake in the ground there. But to answer the question, specifically, what should your lead magnet be about? your lead magnet has to be the start of the customer journey. So the very first thing that you can show somebody, you can give them a quick win something they can do in 48 hours, where they're going to go, oh, I implemented this. And, hey, wait a second, I got something good out of this. This person really knows what they're talking about. I want to learn more about them. I'll give you an example of a life coach. So maybe there's a life coach. And they've written a book about having work life balance. Basically, that's what their book is about. But you've never heard of this life coach.
Melanie Herschorn 11:58
And so how do you know that what they're saying has any value or validity, but maybe if they have a freebie that tells you how to have a very productive morning. So then you download the freebie you test out their checklist for having a very productive morning, and lo and behold, wow, you've had a really productive morning, then you say, Wow, this life coach really knows what they're talking about, oh, I want to read their book now. Because clearly, they know how to help me have a productive morning. So obviously, the next step is they're going to help me have work life balance, it's that thing, you have to think about what comes before the book in the customer journey. That is what I would advise that person.
So in order to know that, I'm assuming there's got to be an element of research to find out what that customer journey would look like. Would that be correct?
Melanie Herschorn 12:55
Well, I mean, when I say customer journey, I mean, this is all in my brain. So I don't know how much research. But when I look at I guess this is part of my zone of genius. I can read a book, I can work with a client, and then I can tell them, here's the thing that comes before your book. Here's what your ideal reader, here's how they want to dip their toe into your pond, basically, how they can learn about you, and get some success, a small success a quick win, and then be interested to learn more.
That zone of genius. We need to tap into that. So yes, you can look at that. And how could we though, look at our own work, because sometimes we're so close to it. We don't see the wood for the trees. But let's say we want to look at our own work more objectively, so that we could potentially see, well, what would come before telling them everything that's in the book.
Melanie Herschorn 14:07
Exactly. So think of a quick win. Here. Just throw out an idea of a book. And then we can sort of reverse engineer, any kind of book anyone that you have helped published recently, maybe somebody so yeah, I've got a young
lady. She actually is an intuitive. And she's in the process of finishing up a book called free to fly and allowing people to use their intuition in terms of how they run their life. It's her zone of genius. However, there's an element of it, that she could teach people. So if anything come to mind, I gave you a tough one there.
Melanie Herschorn 14:52
Yeah. Oh, no, no, it's not tough at all. So she's teaching people how to access their intuition to live a better life. Correct. Okay, so what would be the first step then? How do they know that she knows what she's talking about with regard to intuition. So maybe there is a five step process that can help them find their intuition. Maybe it's a meditation technique that she can provide. Or it's a five things that you can do today to access your intuition, even if you think you don't have any.
Cool. No, that really is that's right on. And I think she's done challenges that tap into some of that. I mean, I'm a great proponent of tips. And you've already talked a little bit about tips, or checklists. And I feel people eat that kind of thing up. And it doesn't have to be big. But I remember that. When I was in the tradeshow industry, I put out tips all the time, and people love them.
Melanie Herschorn 15:56
It's true, because, you know, you don't want to overwhelm people. I mean, you're an expert, right? So you know everything about your topic. So then you want to Firehose people with all the information, and you kind of just have to dial it back. And you gave a great example of a former business, your former life in the tradeshow industry.
Melanie Herschorn 16:15
And for me, my former life is as a journalist where I would interview, you know, all sorts of people, you know, politicians, professional, you know, doctors, lawyers, and every single time, I would have to say, Okay, that was a great answer. And I'll repeat it again, but pretend that I'm eight years old, and tell me again, it's that necessity to just streamline things to make them easier to just kind of, I don't want to say dumb things down, but no a dumb things down. It's necessary because people don't have a lot of time, and they don't have a lot of bandwidth. And so the easier and simpler you can make something, the more likely you are to stand out.
Yeah, from that's why, you know, why Lee and Penguin have done so well with for Dummies books, and therefore idiot's guides. And I've written for one for both of those. And it's exactly that people want to know the basics. People suffer from this curse of knowledge, you know, it's like I know it, therefore, I assume you know it as well, because, hey, it's so simple. I know how to do it. Therefore, you should know how to do it. And that drives me bananas when people.
Melanie Herschorn 17:32
Exactly. And so when you're coming up with your lead magnet, what could be like the little itty bitty taste that you take yourself out of the equation? And what are people asking you all the time? Answer that question.
Yeah. And it's knowing that and paying attention to that, because I think sometimes we don't pay enough attention to those simple questions, those frequently asked questions. And that, as you rightly say, come up over and over again. So that is a big hint. Hey, ding, ding, that perhaps people want to know about. The same question comes up over and over again. Yeah.
So what are some of the biggest mistakes that you find, Melanie that people make when they're looking to become a recognized authority in their field? Oh, I
Melanie Herschorn 18:27
love this question. Okay. So biggest mistakes. The first one is that they go and hire a PR firm. And they don't have even a viable website, yet. They're not really anywhere to be found on social media. And they think that their PR firm is going to, well, they will the PR firm will get them on the places they say they'll get them. But then there won't be book sales to follow.
Melanie Herschorn 19:00
Because there is a chain of command. If you don't really exist online, when people see you on Good Morning, America, and they head over to your website, and there isn't much there. And then they've tried to find you on LinkedIn and you don't exist. They're not gonna buy your book. They're gonna be like, Who is this person? I forget their name, goodbye. So that's number one. You really need to have your platform online created before you then go and you know, see your name in lights.
Melanie Herschorn 19:31
The second thing I would say is that a lot of authors who want to grow their influence will you know, they'll hire somebody to do their social media marketing and your VA virtual assistant and they'll be posting and then they'll say, so what is your VA posting for you? Yeah, I don't know. Just things just posting things and well, I posted so that counts, right? When you don't have a strategy and I know you can speak to This isn't when you don't have a strategy for what you are putting out online, you are basically throwing the proverbial spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. And unfortunately, that's just wasting your time and your money, your messaging has to be dialed in and resonating with your ideal reader.
That's so key. I use that example all the time, you know, throwing the spaghetti against the wall, hoping some of it will stick. And one of the principles that I believe is it's not about selling the book, right? If you're out there, and you want to be recognized as a thought leader, and an expert or authority in your field, the book will sell but it's not about the book, it's about you, you don't want to hide behind the book.
And like you said, hiring a PR company or somebody else to do your stuff for you, your social media and your messaging. It just doesn't make sense. Because you're the one who has the passion for the book, if you don't have passion for your book, then you're wasting your time. Because that's really what it's about, I believe your passion is what's contagious. Your passion is what's going to help you sell. What are your comments on that?
Melanie Herschorn 21:23
Yeah, I mean, I think that ultimately, the goal is to have somebody being able to post for you. But you have to create the foundation of it. And yeah, I think you need help with a strategy. Yeah. So I would say yes, your passion, your mission? That is absolutely what will resonate with your audience.
Melanie Herschorn 21:43
And keep going back to that, like you said, not hiding behind the book, not saying I wrote a book, buy it, nobody cares, no offense, what they care about is why you wrote the book, why you feel empowered, to put that out there in the world, and how you want to make this world a better place. And I mean, that's why I do what I do every day is because I'm helping authors amplify their mission. And that's how I, you know, in my small way, make this world a better place.
Yeah, it's the value. I think you say that so beautifully if it really is the value that you're bringing, and in that book, and obviously the value, a lot of it comes from your own experience. And so many people say to me, Well, I had this experience, and therefore, I want to share it with other people. And I'm like, Okay, but what are the lessons? What are people going to take away from it? And you said it earlier? What's in it for me? Because that's what people are interested in? How is it going to help me?
And that's why I put this podcast together. Because I want people to get something out of it. This is not sue Friedman's show. Because I bring on experts like yourself, who can share valuable tips and techniques, practical things that after somebody listened to the episode, they can say, oh, I can do that. That's something that I can do, which is that small win, which you refer to earlier. This is a great segue, Melanie to, you know, you mentioned, this is what you do, how you help people talk about your services, and how people can get in touch with you.
Melanie Herschorn 23:32
Thank you. Well, my goal, my mission is really to help authors grow their influence, so that whatever is driving them, whatever their passion is, can sort of spread out and have a ripple effect in the world. And the way I work with clients is one on one. And we create an entire marketing strategy for their book and their brand. And we start with messaging. And we work on their social media, their lead magnets, their email marketing, podcast guesting and launching campaign strategies, because I feel like things don't exist in a vacuum and guess you have a book and that's wonderful.
Melanie Herschorn 24:19
But you are the face of your brand, just like you said, you can't hide behind your book, you are the face of your brand. And you are an author and you are a thought leader. That's my mission is to be the marketing support, and the cheerleader and, and I was saying to a client the other day that part of my job description is to play devil's advocate. It's, it's fun to help you craft a message that is really going to resonate and really, when you think about what does it mean for your dreams as an author to come true? That's kind of what I'm aiming for.
That's beautiful. that really is and what comes up for me often. And I have a feeling that you encountered this as well, is that people feel that they are an imposter. But they're a fraud doing this? How do you deal with that?
Melanie Herschorn 25:17
I had a client who didn't want to post any pictures of herself. She thought that it was narcissistic. And I sat with her and I coached her through it. And I explained, you know, people want to see pictures of you, they want to see your face, they want to know you humans just prefer pictures of people, to pictures of things. And so we work through it.
Melanie Herschorn 25:45
And, now she's posting pictures of herself all the time and growing her audience on Instagram and her influence entirely. Yeah, it all gets rolled up into that, in my really an expert. I mean, I wrote a book. But what if people actually read the book. And I'm there to say, first of all, I read the book, before other people get to read the book, which is just one of the perks of my job. I am blown away every time by the work that I get to read. When a person sits down to write a nonfiction book, it's their heart and soul.
Melanie Herschorn 26:26
I want people to remember that even though you may feel like an imposter, you truly have a unique experience that nobody else in the entire world has. It took me a long time to realize it, you know, I would look back and say, Well, what makes me so special? And then I thought, Oh, well, you know, what makes me different is I've got a background in PR, I've got a background in journalism, I've got a background as an entrepreneur, I manufactured clothing. I also did marketing all that time.
Melanie Herschorn 26:59
Wait, maybe that gives me a special lens through which I can do this. I think that sometimes people just need to sit down with somebody. And, you know, tell them what their life story is, and then have somebody sort of reflected back at you to show you that you're doing amazing things. And guess what? You wrote up Book Two, which makes you an expert.
That's so beautiful. As I mentioned to you, before we started this interview that we always like to leave our listeners with a golden nugget, I'm going to have you piggyback on that. And I also, before we go there, I know that you've got a special something that you're going to share with our premium members. So we'll go into our Premium Member studio, right after this. But before we do that, and as we wrap this up so nicely and put a little bow on it, Melanie, your golden nugget, what's the one takeaway that you would like to leave our listeners with?
Melanie Herschorn 28:04
I think that people work so hard to create a book, to birth a book, it can take nine months, it can take less time, it can even take longer, it can take years. But just like when you birth a baby, you don't just walk away and let the baby raise itself.
Melanie Herschorn 28:28
You have to raise the book too. And that is what the marketing of your book does for you. It helps raise the book and helps you grow your influence. It becomes sort of not just about the book anymore, because you can take that book, and you can make that as the basis of a program. You can leverage it so that you're speaking on stages, the sky truly is the limit. So don't just stop when the book is done. That's when you need to ramp up and really get started.
You're speaking my language you really are. I'm like oh my goodness. She's saying my words. I'm like, it's beautiful. I love it. Yes, you're so right. I mean, writing the book is one thing, but it's not the end. It's not a destination. It's just the beginning of the journey. Melanie, this has been amazing. Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom. And thank you all for taking time out of your precious day to listen to this interview. And I sincerely hope that it sparks some ideas you can use to sell more books. Here's wishing you much book and author marketing success.