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a Jackie M. Johnson photoGreetings from Jackie M. Johnson!

As 2014 draws to a close, it’s a good time to reflect on your marketing efforts over the past year and prepare for the year ahead. Here’s what I like to do. First, I look over my content marketing and social media. I review the analytics on my website, blog and Facebook page and note the pages that were most accessed and the posts that received the most views and “likes.” What worked well? What didn’t?

As I review the year gone by, I ask myself, “Did I plan my time well? If not, how can I restructure my life to make more time for writing and for marketing?” It all comes down to knowing what you really want and considering your options for how to get there.

To plan for the year ahead, I like to have a planning day (or a planning afternoon, depending upon my schedule). This annual time is for intentional prayer and brainstorming ideas and goals for my writing life before the New Year begins. While some people like to write their plans and thoughts on paper or on their computer, I like to write with colored markers on a huge pad of paper set on a standing easel. Somehow all that white space—and standing up—helps me to think better. It’s very freeing for the creative brainstorming process.

During my planning time, I ask the Lord in prayer these questions and take notes when ideas come to mind: “How can I bring glory to God through my writing, editing, speaking, social media and other communications in this coming year? What do I need to succeed (more time, energy, resources, opportunities, and/or something else)? How can I help others succeed with their writing and book marketing goals?” I also thank God for the year that is ending and all that He has done for me. I ask for wisdom and guidance in the year ahead. I don’t want to miss His best! And, I want to be ready.

Overall, this planning time is a time to pray and to ponder, to reflect and to wonder, to jot down ideas, make lists and pray some more. For me, it helps to get my thoughts on paper. Then, later on I can assign dates or deadlines to the best ideas. For now, I want to get initial ideas on paper.

Your planning process may differ from mine, and that’s fine. However, as you prepare your author marketing strategy for 2015, here are five foundational ideas to consider—and important questions to ask yourself—in the planning process:

1. Know your audience. How well do you know your audience? Have the demographics changed? As you review your social media analytics, you may notice changes or trends over time. Are your readers skewing younger or older than you thought? Do you need to change your content or marketing channels as your audience changes?
2. Review your social media. Just as a store owner takes inventory of the items in her shop, an author needs to take “inventory” of her social media. In other words, what sites are you currently using to promote your work and your brand (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and the like)? What’s working and what’s not? Do you need to simplify; are you spread too thin with your schedule to update all your channels? Do you need to adjust the time of day you post on Facebook to get more “likes”? Consider what needs to be tweaked or changed.

3. Update your website. Make a plan to update your website regularly. Is the content fresh? Does it reflect your brand? Do you have high quality images (photos) that draw readers into your content? What can you do to make your website more effective in the coming year?

4. Try something new. If you’ve never ventured into Pinterest, for example, learn new ways authors are using Pinterest to promote their fiction or nonfiction books. Or, if you want to expand from Facebook (the top social site on the Internet) and Twitter, try a more image-oriented social networking site like Instagram (for photo sharing) or Tumblr (for visuals; mostly viewed by a younger demographic).

Have you ever made short videos to share on YouTube or GodTube? What about creating e-books or audio books? Or, are there ways to include more audio and video links on your website, blog and social media? Trying something new in 2015 could open doors to new opportunities and wider audiences.

5. Pray. For me, it is essential to set some time aside with the Lord to thank him for all He has done in 2014 and ask for guidance in 2015. You may want to ask God what He has for you in this season of your life, and how can you move forward by faith in the year ahead.

As you write and promote your writing, my prayer is that God’s peace, power, provision and His close presence would be abundant in your life.

Here’s to a Merry Christmas and a joyfully abundant New Year!

 

Jackie M. Johnson is an author, blogger and freelance writer in Colorado. Connect with her at www.jackiejohnsoncreative.com. Jackie blogs at A New Day Café and Living Single, a blog for singles of all ages on Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk website.

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About Ava Pennington

Ava Pennington is an author and speaker. She also teaches a weekly Bible Study Fellowship class. Her newest book, Daily Reflections on the Names of God: A Devotional, is published by Revell Books and endorsed by Kay Arthur, founder of Precepts Ministries. For more information, visit Ava’s website: www.AvaWrites.com

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