As I write this, I am attending the San Francisco Writers’ Conference held annually at the Mark Hopkins Hotel. I’m a writer (obviously), with popular books on SEO, Social Media Marketing, and AdWords, and yet I am always ready to learn. “Never stop learning” is one of my life mottos (along with “The perfect is the enemy of the good” (Voltaire), and “Haters gotta hate” (Taylor Swift). The conference is swirling with great speakers and passionate authors, but most of them are fiction (a few non-fiction), and I would dare say that many of them don’t know much about book marketing. If they were my Silicon Valley clients, I would advise them that “building a better mousetrap” doesn’t necessarily mean that they world will “build a path to your door.”
The Importance of a Platform to Your Marketing
Which gets us to the importance of platform. That’s one of the buzzwords at the Conference. A good writer – whether a fiction writer writing the next great “Young Adult Novel” about girls growing up in the Hunter’s Point neighborhood of San Francisco… or a non-fiction techie writing an article on how to grow you start up in San Francisco on artificial intelligence… well, a good writer needs a great platform. Especially a digital marketing platform – meaning you need amazing Twitter followers, an incredible Instagram feed, or thousands of Facebook friends. If you’re B2B, this means publishing articles on LinkedIn’s Pulse. The “platform” means hundreds or thousands of hungry fans, eagerly “consuming” your content and ultimately ready to buy your books.
It’s a funny thing for me as a marketer, therefore. Because, on the one hand, it seems like authors, booksellers, agents, and publicists seem “so different” from my usual Bay Area techie clients… but on the other hand they’re just like the rest of us. Seeking to “stand out” amidst the digital noise, and then leveraging that digital content to build your brand, and sell more books (or more mousetraps).