Like it or not, publishers, booksellers, readers, and the media think of you and your book as part of a category—they associate you with other books, authors, ideas, styles, location etc. My primary category, for example, is listed right on the back of my book: “Social Media/Marketing.” While this is absolutely accurate, it isn’t the only territory into which my writing ventures. There’s a fair amount of media criticism and even futurist thought in my book and on my blog. I’m not known for either kind of writing, though I’d like to be.
There’s a good chance you’re in a similar situation. You want to build credibility in other categories, too.
In nonfiction, perceived authority is just as important as book content. Many authors figure, naturally, that they can write their way into credibility by blogging about topics with which they aren’t yet associated. Content creation is certainly one component of a sound strategy. But building significant audiences through blogging is extremely difficult, and it’s a long process.
Readers (and journalists) prefer authors that consistently use social media to bring them value of the type they’ll find in the author’s writing. Your book was not written in a vacuum. You’ve surely been influenced by other writers, and perhaps you used some of their content as building blocks for your own.
That’s why I love curation: collecting, critiquing, building on, and sharing content that isn’t yours. It’s no substitute for blogging, but it can be a great method of creating visibility in another category.
Curation is a way to get more value out of what you’re likely already consuming.
If you’re trying to break into a category, you’re probably reading blogs and articles from recognized leaders in that category, and encountering other interesting perspectives from emerging thinkers in the space. Instead of leaving those ideas in your brain, share them with others. If you do so with the right content, at the right frequency, you’ll become a resource. Buffer is a great way to get started—when you read something interesting, simply add it to your queue and Buffer will share it with your networks at ideal times.
Relationships with influencers and network growth can start with simple acts of curation.
The first step is to publicly recognize content creators whenever you can. For example, before I share a great article to Twitter, I’ll quickly search for the author’s Twitter handle, and I’ll include it in the tweet. This simple step has resulted in hundreds of new followers and scores of fascinating conversations with highly influential people. Plus, it helps your followers easily follow people they might not otherwise discover. When blogging, link to related work and quote relevant experts. Pingbacks and Google Alerts will let them know you’ve done so.
It’s always a thrill when someone you admire finds your blog this way, and then leaves a comment, subscribes, or shares your content.
Tell me something! How frequently do you curate content in your own niche?
Ian Greenleigh is a social media and content strategist, and author of the new book The Social Media Side Door: How to Bypass the Gatekeepers to Gain Greater Access and Influence (McGraw-Hill Professional). He helps companies turn data, ideas, and relationships into true thought leadership. His words and ideas have been featured in Harvard Business Review, Ad Age, Adweek, Digiday, Ragan, Seth Godin’s The Domino Project, U.S. News & World Report, and elsewhere. From 2010 – 2013, he led content and social strategy for consumer insights network Bazaarvoice, Inc. (NASDAQ: BV). He writes and speaks on a wide range of topics, including changing consumer-brand relationships, the convergence of personal identities, and the radically shifting landscapes of access and influence. Greenleigh tweets at @be3d and blogs at daretocomment.com.
photo credit: keepps