You’ve probably been hearing a lot of “New Year, New You” talk recently, from people looking to jumpstart a new, healthy lifestyle to those looking to rethink their finances. This January, I’d like to recommend that all current and aspiring authors apply the “New Year, New You” concept to their digital brand.
The new year is the perfect time to rethink your online presence—whether this means revamping an outdated website, updating a stale blog, or expanding onto a new social media platform. In fact, when I start working with a new client, one of the first things I do is a “digital audit.” By looking at an author’s existing digital assets, I can identify areas of improvement and specific steps that will help build his or her online brand.
While this is certainly not all-encompassing, start your digital audit here:
Website: As you know, I think it’s necessary for all authors to have a website. But it’s not enough to simply create a website and never touch it again. When auditing your website, start with the content that’s “above the fold”—what’s on the screen when you open the page without scrolling. This should contain the most important information and be visually engaging.
Make sure your website has links to purchase or pre-order ALL of your books (not just your most recent), and include links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Indiebound. Insert links to your social media accounts. Include any media hits, including links. And if you have a newsletter, make sure the sign-up is clear and easily available.
Blog: A blog is great way to connect with your readers, but you must make sure it’s updated regularly. Is your last blog post six months old? Take the time now to commit to a realistic editorial calendar. Once a month is ok, as long as you stick to that schedule. Make sure the content adheres to your brand, and steer clear of anything that will isolate readers (politics, religion, etc.). Make sure to include graphics with your posts whenever possible.
Social media accounts: Look at your accounts with a fresh eye. Make sure you have cover images that feature your books (the same image on multiple accounts is ok). Check that your bios are completed on all accounts, and that you link from one platform to another. And think about a posting schedule that makes sense for you and is achievable. If you haven’t posted on Twitter in two years, but you have a robust Facebook following and post there regularly, it may be time to either recommit yourself to Twitter, or shut down the account altogether and focus on Facebook, where you have an existing and dedicated audience.
The digital audit is the perfect way to work with your fellow authors, so why not execute a digital audit for each other? And while it’s helpful to have a third party conduct this audit for you, if you want to do this alone, you certainly can. Just remember to look at your online presence with an unbiased eye, and you’ll find some quick wins to help enhance your online presence in the new year.