Marketing done right is always a little sneaky. The best promotion is something that doesn’t look like you’re promoting at all.
There’s two main ways to get me to buy your stuff without outright telling me to. The first is to craft content of interest to your target demographic with the hopes that they’ll enjoy it and share it with others. The second is to share content tangential to the interests of your target audience.
Crafting your own content
Consider this: How did you come to be reading this blog post? Maybe you follow this blog or follow me personally on social media and regularly read my stuff. For everyone else, you likely found it because someone shared it, someone whose opinion you value enough to give it a click.
At no point in this blog post have I tried to sell you anything but there’s ample evidence on this website that I’ve got books to sell. I don’t know that I’ve ever uttered the words, “Buy my books!” in my life and yet my books and plays have been on bestseller lists and sold steadily for years. If I’m not telling people to buy my books, then how do they know to buy them?
Just like I lured you here, I’ve brought many a reader over to my blog with an article that peaked their interest. There’s hundreds of informative, funny or useful posts on this blog that I’ve written over the years and I offer them free of charge. These posts not-so-coincidentally are about the very same topics I sell books about and right alongside this content, are unobtrusive little reminders that, hey, by the way, I actually have some books out on topics just like this if you’re interested.
Better yet, if people like what I’ve created, they’ll share it with their networks who might share it with their networks and so on getting more and more eyeballs on my blog and, by extension, the fact that I’ve got books out. That’s what content marketing is really about. Creating great content that stands on it’s own and encourages people to share it themselves. If you’ve got fans and followers promoting your stuff for you, that’s more sales and less work for you.
Does this actually work? Apparently! I’ve got the book sales to prove it. Readers come in for the content and discover that I’ve got books on similar topics and check those out too without my ever having to command anyone to buy my stuff. I just make everyone aware that it’s available and let it go from there.