Why am I telling you this?
Because, as a writer, there is going to come a time when you (the writer) will have the opportunity to be a part of a trending news topic. During this moment in time, assuming that reporters can find you and that your network is set up properly, you (and your work) will be featured on the world’s stage, you will set a crap-load of books, and you will pick up a ton of new subscribers/ followers.
My sincere hope for you is that when your moment comes, you’re ready for it. I have seen too many writers’ moments pass by while they stare helplessly at the “Trending News” box, knowing that this topic (and its publicity) is THEIRS and wondering why no one is calling them.
Here’s an example: a few years ago I worked with the author whose work was focused on fiction set in the Middle East. Specifically, she writes fiction from the perspective of women in Saudi Arabia, plus one non-fiction book about Osama bin Laden. We worked for months on her network, getting her email opt-in to work properly, optimizing her website for the proper keywords, and generally making it so her books were findable through her website. During this work, I repeatedly reassured her “This is what you need to do to make it so people who are interested in this topic can find you.”
Then her moment arrived, and nothing has been the same since.
Her moment, as it happened, was the killing of Osama bin Laden. During that specific moment in time, reporters were scrambling for information to fill out their stories, and my author appeared at the top of Google as an authority because of her book. Over the course of one week, she was interviewed over and over again, her site’s traffic exploded, her subscriber list increased exponentially, and she’s been consistently selling more books ever since.
“But wait!” you’re thinking. “I’m a Young Adult author, so my topics will never be trending in the news!” Next you’re going to tell me that YOU don’t need a website. Writers love to tell me how they don’t need a website/ don’t need to think of themselves like a business/ don’t need an email list/ don’t need to think about SEO. This is not a debate I even have anymore, because the fact is, your moment is going to come, and I don’t want you to miss it. I know I’m right about this because I’ve seen hundreds of authors have their big moment, and those authors are all across the map in terms of their subject matter and genre.
As an author/ artist/ entrepreneur, you are in the “create the supply then wait for the demand” business. The supply, of course, is what you make: that book you wrote, or the cool invention / problem solver that you came up with in a moment of inspiration, or coaching/ consulting/ design / SEO services that you offer. The demand is a little trickier to quantify. That is to say, how is a person who needs what you offer going to find you/ your book/ your services at the exact right time when they are ready to take action/ pull the trigger?
Here’s what it’s going to take to make it so everyone can find you when you (or the topic you write about) hits the news:
You need a website.
This website needs to be yourfirstnamelastname.com, and it needs to come up # 1, not only for your name, but for the topic about which you write (I’ll talk a little more about this later). To answer your next question, no, this cannot be a free website, because free websites have limitations, and businesses with limitations cannot grow. If you are wondering how to make your own website, I have a whole course I made about this, just for you, over at www.thewebsitecourse.com. Everything else on my list is really just a sub-set of this extremely important and necessary element, so I’m going to put the points down as a sub-list.
a. Your website needs to have your books prominently displayed so people can find and buy them. If you don’t have any books yet, write some blogs so people can fall in love with your writing and offer you a book deal.
b. Your website needs to have a place for people to sign up for your email list. By “email list” I mean a real list service, like GetResponse or AWeber, or even MailChimp if you’re trying to save money. That list represents your customer base, and you should always be trying to grow it, period, full stop. This one element is probably the other thing I debate the most with writers, which is crazy, because of all the bestselling authors that I know, the ONE THING they have in common is that they all have large email lists. ALL OF THEM. The bottom line: if someone comes to your website, get them on your email list, then cultivate them until they become your customer. Grow your business!
c. Your website should have several ways to contact you that you actually check. Here’s another example: you write about anxiety. Anxiety gets into the news because someone famous mentions they have an anxiety disorder, and reporters now want to do stories on this. Reporters find your website. Reporters need to file stories by the end of the day, so they look for ways to contact you RIGHT THEN. If you are not on social media or you don’t check the email that comes from your website, you are going to miss that big moment. I have seen it happen.
d. Your website should rank in Google not only for your name, but for the topics about which you write. I am an SEO expert, but you don’t need to be one to make this happen. Just put a good description of yourself and your work on an “About” page on your website, and make sure that your name and your topic appear in the Title Tag of that page. Write regularly about your topic, consistently link over to that About page, and Google will figure out what you’re about.
The bottom line is: you need to always be ready for your big moment, and you do this by acting “as if” that moment has already arrived. Seneca famously said that “luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” Your work as a writer is basically one big audition, waiting for that moment to arrive. Make sure that you are ready with good quotes, a press kit, a photo of yourself, and links that work. Basically your job (if you’re not talking to a reporter or writing a book) is to get yourself ready for that moment.
I will be hoping to see your name in my “trending Facebook topics” sometime very soon!
DON’T MISS YR BIG MOMENT! (WHY U NEED A WEBSITE) by @LoriCulwell http://goo.gl/K4aTTh #Authors #Trending #SocialMediaMarketing