Authors: Is Your Website Missing these Key Elements?
February 21, 2017
Note From Rochelle
I’m putting the finishing touches on a brand new program for you, and should be ready to share it with you soon! Woot!
For the past several months, I’ve been helping new clients sharpen their social media strategies—so that they can get noticed by the traditional media. As I look at their websites and social media sharing, I’ve had a few aha moments about how authors can help the media write about them. I share these ideas with you in today’s tip. Enjoy!
Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach
Authors: Is Your Website Missing These Key Elements?
by Rochelle Melander
I hear a lot of writers complain about not getting noticed by the media. “I try!” they say. “But no matter what I do, nobody notices me. Social media is too noisy.”
They’re half right. Social media is cram-packed with announcements and sales pitches and more. But that’s not the whole story. For years, I’ve interviewed authors for my blog. Recently, I’ve taken on a new gig compiling a calendar of events for a local magazine. And here’s what I’ve noticed: writers, artists, and arts organizations make it challenging for the media to cover them and their events. But you can fix that! Today’s tip provides you with the key ingredients every website needs to be media-friendly.
As someone who regularly contacts writers to interview them, this is one of my biggest pet peeves. I find your website, and you have no contact information. You might as well live on Mars. Let visitors know how to contact you—in multiple ways. According to the 2015 B2B Web Usability Report prepared by Huff Industrial Marketing and KoMarketing, 98 percent of respondents said that “No Contact Information or Phone number would cause them to think about leaving or leave the website.” 98 percent. Don’t be the writer who misses the media opportunity because no one can find you.
Pro Tip: Add social media contact buttons. It provides an easy way for readers and media professionals to connect with you.
Make it easy for media professionals to write about you and your book. Offer a separate page for the media with information and photographs they can download and use. Consider offering: third-person bios in several lengths, photographs in several sizes with credit information, and a jpeg of your book cover. You get bonus points if you include extra goodies, like an interview or an article I can download and use on my blog. Make it easy for the media to write about you and for reviewers to feature you in their blogs or other venues.
Pro Tip: Plan ahead. Include information about future events as soon as you have them. If possible, be proactive and send press releases to media organizations 6 months ahead of your event. Often, when authors and arts organizations send me press releases, it’s far too late for me to cover their event. As a blogger, I work several weeks in advance. But as a magazine writer, I work 2-6 months ahead of schedule.
The About Page
You need a way to establish both trust and credibility with your website visitors, and the about page can help you do this. Your site needs to tell visitors who you are, your education or experience, what you have written, what you currently write, and what sort of work you are looking for. Tell visitors enough about you and your experience so that they know you are legitimate and respected by clients, readers, and others in your field.
Pro Tip. Readers love it if you can write an about page in your own unique voice. Share charming, funny, or interesting facts about you and your life.
Give and Take
In addition to offering your own contact information, a good online presence provides a way to stay connected to those who visit your page. This might be a blog people subscribe to or an ezine list they sign up for. But the precious email addresses of your readers don’t come free. You need to give them something that will benefit them. In last week’s tip, Timothy Hallinan shared that he sends out a playlist of tunes for each one of his books and Elizabeth Cole offers interesting details about her life, including her recipe for iced coffee.
Whether you are the author of a novel or a nonfiction book, readers will offer their email addresses if you provide good resources right now. For novelists, this might include a novella, photos of your book’s setting, or recipes that your protagonist cooks. For nonfiction authors, these might include a sample chapter of your book, a podcast interview, an audio of a class you taught, examples of articles you have written, and links to resources from others.
If you have a website, evaluate it for each of the above categories. What can you do to make it better? If you don’t have a website, take the list and start creating one today! And always, if you need professional help—get it. I’ve helped many authors evaluate their website, blog, and social media strategy, and I can help you, too. Connect with me for a complimentary consultation.