Most bloggers have an agenda. Frequently that agenda is to use their blog to brand themselves within a given niche. If done right, just as frequently it does just that.
Which means you can leverage that brand to sell stuff.
It is a noble strategy, because for the most part blogging is about the delivery of value to the reader – free being the operative albeit implied word here – and one that can and very often does include the schlepping of an ebook.
A Benevolent Approach to Selling
The whole premise is the epitome of a business model that suggests we earn the business we do and the customer loyalty that hopefully ensues. If we give it away long enough, nobody will wince when you ask for a little in return.
Do it too soon, though – or worse, do it wrong – and you’ll slip right off the pedestal upon which you’re trying to set up shop.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with promoting your own book on your own site. As long as you position the pitch as a value-add.
Approach #1 – Going Straight At It
The most ineffective, and yet the most common, way to promote your ebook is to simply pitch it within the body of the blog. To announce it’s available and create a link, as if this alone will prompt people to dig out a credit card.
Not so much.
It’s always within the boundaries of decorum to run a little sidebar ad for your ebook. Nobody really sees those anyway, so no harm done.
But when you push your ebook within the blog itself, this is like trying to sell raffle tickets at a dinner party. They came for the drinks and the shrimp, not to give you money.
It can work, but the way you do it dictates how people feel about it.
If the blog is about why they should buy your book, rather than a gratuitous pitch, you’re getting closer to the sweet spot of what works.
Approach #2 – A Little Taste Before Buying
Here’s the best way to sell an ebook: give some of it away.
The more of the ebook you actually deliver in a blog, the higher the likelihood someone will buy it. An excerpt, a sample chapter, or a detailed summary – versus a promise – of what the reader will learn, trumps a bald-faced plea based only on the equity of your brand anyday.
Both approaches can work. But as someone with an agenda, it makes sense to stick to the fundamental rule of blogging even when you’re selling – the delivery of content is why they’re there.
And it’s also why they’ll buy.
Since its release, Larry Brooks has pitched his ebook – 101 Slightly Unpredictable Tips for Novelists and Screenwriters – four times by giving away verbatim chapters from the ebook itself. He says sales from this approach exceeded results from simply mentioning the ebook – he’s tested both – by a factor of 6 to 1.
He also wants you to know that’s not him in the picture.
Photo credit: Jemal