Writer's Road

Author Platforms and SMART Campaigns

Hey BookWyrms,

I haven’t had much of a chance to discuss writerly things this year, so I thought I would tackle one of the most important tool kits an author needs: Author Platforms.

What is an author platform? Author platforms are where authors set up camp to meet their readers. I personally use my website/blog, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. We can get into the specifics of how I use these channels later (leave me a comment if you have any specific questions), but for now, let’s talk about the general purpose of platform and the fundamentals that will track across any social media channel.

Whenever you utilize your platform, you’re contributing to a marketing campaign. If you aren’t specifically marketing a published book, then you’re marketing yourself as an author that people will want to follow. Every single thing you broadcast should contribute to building your brand; brand being you.

For every marketing campaign, you will need tactics, strategies, and goals. Tactics being the things you physically do everyday; blogging, tweeting, sharing a post on Facebook, emailing a newsletter. Strategy is your plan. It’s staying organized, ensuring that your tactics are all aligned with the message that you are sending out. So, your strategy is the utilization of tactics to reach your goal. Your goal is the thing you want to accomplish, right? That one is easy, but you want to make sure that your goal is SMART.

Specific

Measurable

Attainable

Realistic

Timely

In order to make sure that your goals are SMART, you’ll need to ask yourself a few questions. Is your goal specific to what you want to accomplish? Is the goal measurable; can you quantify it? Is the goal attainable and can you realistically accomplish it? Have you established a timeline?

So, let’s say that you have a blog or newsletter and you would like to increase your subscribers by 15% within twelve months. This would be a SMART goal because it is specific (15% increase in subscribers within 12 months), it is measurable (15%), and it is timely (12 months). Now, when it comes to being attainable and realistic, that is a bit more circumstantial and where your strategies and tactics are going to come in.

You will need to determine that your overarching message is for viewers to subscribe. Everything you post should have that in mind. I’ll give an example of how I put this into practice. When I write a blog post, I end my message with a call to action for all you BookWyrms to sign up for my newsletter. I make sure that I cross post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. This brings followers from each channel to the post and to the call to action. When I don’t have a current blog post to share, I create content on each channel that illustrates myself as an author and a book lover. This increases followers for each channel, which in turn raises visibility when I share blog posts that end with the call to action to subscribe.

Finally, how do we figure out whether or not we are meeting our goals? With our handy dandy KPIs. KPIs, or key performance indicators, are where the quantifying figures come in. Usually, whatever platform your using will have some sort of tracking software, such as Twitter Analytics or if you’re using WordPress, it’ll have a statistics panel to breakdown how your posts are doing. Again, drop me a comment if you have specific questions on a particular platform. If a site you’re using doesn’t offer any form of KPIs, you can do this yourself with a little bit of math and paying attention.

For the sake of simple math, say you have 100 newsletter subscribers and you want to increase that number by 15% within twelve months. Simply, you just need 15 new subscribers and you’ll just have to track when you get a new subscriber. On the more complicated side of things, you’ll need to carefully track which posts resulted in a new subscriber and then modify future content to hang on to that success.

Final example, stick with me Wyrms, let’s say you’ve been tweeting for a month with no new subscribers. You feel a little discouraged so you back off a bit and turn your attention to Instagram by posting photos of your bookshelves and maybe a picture or two of your cat. Who doesn’t like a good cat picture, right? You cross post your blog on Instagram and notice an uptick in subscribers. This is what you want! You take those Instagram photos and you cross post those on Twitter, bringing in more Twitter followers. Your uptick doubles the next month. With KPIs, all the guesswork is done for you and you can see which posts are being seen and which posts are bringing followers right to your door.

Well, BookWyrms, I hope this helped! As always (if you couldn’t guess where this is going) drop me a comment and sign up for my newsletter to stay up to date on the going’s on of BookWyrm Cove. The goal is to always email twice a month, but let’s be honest. Life is crazy, so I can guarantee you that I will not be flooding your inbox. Happy reading, BookWyrms.

Charliesaidthat. (2019, June 16). Marketing Strategy vs. Tactics – Explaining the Difference. Charliesaidthat. http://charliesaidthat.com/digital/digital/difference-between-marketing-strategy-vs-tactics-an-example/

Marketing Metrics & KPIs. Klipfolio. https://www.klipfolio.com/resources/kpi-examples/marketing