Sharing content is an author’s best way to attract new readers, convert readers to fans, and engage fans as a community. Here are five reasons why your content giveaways might not be working as well as they could be for building your audience and a sustainable business.
- Not Personal Enough
Many authors struggle connecting with readers in a personal way through book giveaways. They often will broadcast giveaways over social media, which is efficient but the response rate is low. Most authors understand that face-to-face interaction is an effective alternative—there’s nothing like seeing a reader’s face when you personalize a copy of the book they bought—but this type of connection isn’t efficient. By building and maintaining a mailing list through shared content, you can be efficient and effective. Break up your mailing list into smaller lists, or segments: This allows you to share more relevant content in your giveaways. You can also make communication more personal. Try sending different messages to new readers and established fans.
- No relevance
Having a unique writing style is important. It’s equally important to identify the niche genre your work falls into. People will tend to read in specific genres even when they don’t personally identify with that niche. For example, a reader might say “I absolutely won’t read erotica,” but buys every book in the Fifty Shades of Grey series. Make your giveaways relevant to your audience by finding a specific book or author (not genre) for comparison. Saying “if you like this then you’ll enjoy” or “people who liked this also enjoyed” is a great way to build a connection and attract interest.
- No Teamwork
Banding together with other authors increases the chances of success with your giveaways. Many authors fail to leverage the power of sharing relevant content from other authors. This is important for a couple of reasons: (1) it’s a great way to engage with, and learn about, your readers, and (2) it builds goodwill with other authors who appeal to a similar audience. When authors develop content sharing networks, everyone wins. Furthermore, bundling your content in giveaways with other relevant authors is another great cross-promotional activity. You’ll benefit from the synergy of combining brands while giving readers a way to discover new authors.
By making giveaways simple, readers will be more comfortable sharing with their friends.
- Not Simple Enough
Authors often struggle with matching the right book format to a reader’s device when doing a giveaway. They also don’t consider that an individual might share a giveaway with friends. A reader should be given the option to download a book to a device of their choosing. By making giveaways simple, readers will be more comfortable sharing with their friends. Readers should also be given the peace of mind that their personal recommendation will not result in their friends getting spammed for downloading your giveaway.
- Wrong Audience
Be sure you’re targeting the right people with your giveaway. Before looking to a broad audience to share your content, reach out to influencers— librarians, educators, beta readers, and bloggers—in your specific niche genre. Friends, family, and followers will often look to these influencers as book mavens, so their personal recommendations have clout. Relationships with influencers can be built by following and commenting on their social media and websites, or even connecting face-to-face at local events such as book readings or festivals. If you spend time building real relationships and not spamming these influencers, they will be more willing to accept your giveaway, and may even spread word-of-mouth on your behalf.
Developing connections with your audience by sharing content is critical and it’s also important in sustaining those relationships. For aspiring authors, you should start small: focus on sharing ten giveaways a day. Developing momentum through incremental wins helps you reach larger victories down the road for building audience. For more established authors, it’s crucial to sustain sharing habits and to keep your fans sharing for you.