As a writer, it is important that you are ‘seen’, that your voice is heard and that your work matters. 
You have spent months, if not years creating your book and it deserves a fair chance to be read and loved. 
Though the Internet has democratized the writing and publishing process, it has also meant that getting your work seen and read is an uphill struggle. 
Each year, thousands of books go unloved simply because they have been unable to attract the attention they deserve. 
In this article, you’ll discover how you can use content marketing to gain attention and direct readers towards your book. You’ll find out how this content marketing can be used to amplify your online identity and be used to build a long-term sustainable readership. 

What is Content Marketing?

It’s easy to say, ‘Create free content and attract readers?’
But what does it mean?
In the context of this article, content marketing is something that goes beyond a basic social media tweet or post. 
It is something that takes time, thought and deliberation to make. 
Examples might include a 1500-word blog post about how you planned out your novel or a thirty-minute video interview with your book editor or perhaps a short story about one of the side characters in your novel. Content Marketing is anything that will excite and attract potential readers. The form this takes is unimportant, what matters is that your readers will consider it of great value. 
But why bother? 
Why create free content? Why go to all the effort?
After all its time consuming and difficult to create a constant flow of content marketing.
These are three reasons why creating this content will transform your writing career and help you market your book online.

To Gain a Writer Identity

A writer has never been much without an identity. 
In the past, before the Internet, writers would show their identity via what they wore, how they looked, or the causes they supported. Writers had to work hard to connect with readers and show them why they should care. 
Nowadays, it all about the Internet. 
Today, it’s the opposite. Each time you send out a post on social media or take a selfie or share someone's post, you are adding to your identity. You are showing your readers something about yourself.
The problem today is not creating an writer identity it is controlling your identity.
So, what is an identity? 
An identity is your values, goals, missions, and fears. It is what makes you who you are. 
As a writer, looking to attract readers, you should have a very clear writer identity
Your identity is what gives readers that clear message they need to connect with, something to hold on to. 
Content Marketing of high value to your readers is a great way to present the right writer identity.
If a potential reader watches a great interview or reads a short story you wrote or just hears the story of why you decided to become a writer, you will make a connection.
These connections might not seem like much, but writing is all about connections. If you are consistent with both creating content and the message you present, over time these potential readers will start to become interested in you and the books you write. 
But here’s the power. 
When they do finally read your book, they will come to it invested. They are invested in you, your message, and what you have to say. These are the readers that stick around. These are the readers that can’t wait for your next book.
These are your superfans. 

Can Content Marketing Make you Money?

Okay, don’t get me wrong writing is not all about money, far from it. 
But the reality is that if your writing can provide some income, then it makes it all that little bit simpler.
Although, to make a sustainable career out of writing you must be aware of the costs and the way that you can make the most out of the process.
Constantly creating great free content leads to opportunities.
Good content brings attention and attention converts into sales. If you get enough liked mind people to see your book, you will sell more copies. 
This is only the case if the content is top quality. You need to make sure you are offering a unique view on things on relevant topics to your readership. 
Content can also lead to credibility. Each time you create a piece of great content, you are showing the world that they need to take you seriously.
There’s one more thing to consider. Great content is timeless. You could create a blog post today and still be getting hundreds of hits a day in a year or even ten years. The same is true for a YouTube video, a short story, or even a podcast. 
You are building for the future. It is a gift to your future writer self. 

Grow a Following

Self-promotion is great and it can bring a boost in sales, but if you are looking to develop a sustainable readership, then you need to be playing the long game. 
You need a strategy not a bunch of tactics.
Putting your book up for sale is a tactic. Buying Facebook ads is a tactic. Doing book signings is a tactic. 
Creating free content is a strategy. 
To grow interest and gain a following, content is key. 
It is a great way to initiate connections and allows people to find you and know what you are all about.
It also builds trust. What better way to show potential readers that you are the real deal than showing up time and again with content they love?
Creating content allows you to build a following and gain attention. 
Once you have attention then you can begin to communicate and deepen your connections with readers, turning them from readers into fans. 
  • You can release exclusive information about your books.
  • You can give them a behind the scenes look into what inspired you.
  • You can show them sketches of your characters. 
  • You can ask them to pick character names, book titles, covers.
You can interact, talk, and build. 
And all of this starts by showing up regularly and creating great free content readers will love.

Final Thoughts

Creating free content is hard. It's time-consuming and it takes dedication to do correctly. 
But the question you should be asking yourself is not if you can do it but if you can afford not to do it?
The regular production of great free content for your readers will love can be the foundation to building a long-term career as a writer. It allows you to find new readers and connect on a new level.
It allows you to build trust and it allows you to turn readers into fans.