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Friday, March 10, 2017

A to Z as Marketing



       When I did my first Blogging from A to Z April Challenge in 2010 I had no idea that my simple stunt would still be going strong seven years later.  At the time I was merely trying to gain attention to my few month old blog and acquire new followers.  After my announcement on Saturday March 26th, 2010 of my intention to blog from A to Z starting the following Friday, there was an immediate response from my few readers that they'd be willing to join me for the month of blogging.  In a matter of five days nearly one hundred bloggers from around the world had signed up to join me.  Most of those lasted through that first month of A to Z.   The success of that first April indicated to me that we had something with great potential on our hands.

       From the outset, one of my primary impressions was that the A to Z Challenge was to a great extent about marketing.  I was trying to "sell" my blog to a wider audience in order to reach more readers.  At the same time, I was building a community of other bloggers who desired a similar goal.  The concept worked.  I gained followers as did the other participants.   But not only did we build that participant community, the event attracted an even larger number of observer readers, many who joined us for the event in subsequent years.  A to Z was a blogging phenomenon with a generally favorable reputation.

      Looking at the A to Z Challenge from a writer's perspective, this April event can be a great tool as well as a learning experience.  Marketing instills fear in the hearts of many writers or anyone else who relies on reaching out to the public.  It's something most of us have to accept whether we are in business or merely trying to get others on board with whatever we might want to interest them in accepting from us.  Marketing your own products is a necessity that doesn't have to be something to dread.  Rather than a chore, make the marketing a fun challenge.  If you can get your potential audience invested in what you are doing, you can get more publicity and more importantly, sales. Writing takes creativity, but so does fun marketing.  The process of selling your story is a new story where you and your book are the main characters and the marketing plan is the plot.  Believe in your writing enough so that others might be inspired to help you promote it.  Successful marketing requires innovative strategic thinking.

       Using my own experience with the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge, you can find ideas that might assist you in developing your own personal brand and your marketing plan.  Many writers with blogs have used the Challenge as a way to promote themselves and their books.  Maybe the results will seem inconsequential at first, but remember that the content on your blog becomes part of your résumé in a sense.  A to Z builds content and helps develop writing skills.  In the course of the many past Challenges, a number of books have actually been published based on the posts written in April.   The April Challenge can be a boon to writers as well as others in many ways.  

        If you're a blogger and have never tried the A to Z Challenge, I encourage you to give it a shot in 2017.   Participate well; finish strong and I can almost guarantee that you'll feel good about your achievement.  But even better, you will accomplish a marketing feat for your blog that may make business marketing in general much easier and provide you new ways to look at marketing.   You don't know until you try.

          Have you ever thought of the A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing?  Have you yourself used the Challenge as a marketing tool for yourself?   What ideas can you think of in order to use A to Z as a marketing tool?



 

26 comments:

  1. I love the idea of using the A to Z as marketing. I am hoping that some of that happens this time. I have affiliate links and links to my Etsy shop on my blog so maybe someone visiting from the A to Z will click on one of them. Thanks for starting this Arlee!

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    1. Increasing visitors will increase odds of getting clicks. After all, it's all about getting more traffic which a blogger can do in April if they take the right approach.

      Arlee Bird
      Tossing It Out

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  2. I love that it makes me write twice as many posts for the month - that puts me out there more and increases engagement - what more could I ask for? Thanks so much for being the inspiration behind it all - and for maintaining the momentum!

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    1. Leanne, thank you for your support. A challenge is supposed to push a person beyond normal limits. April A to Z is a fun way to push limits alongside others doing the same and still others cheering us on.

      Arlee Bird
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  3. Hi Lee - I didn't do the first year, but was there for the 2nd and I thought then - 100 was 'so many'!! Brilliant idea and concept ... and offers us so many advantages to blogging, to meeting new friends, and to finding things out ... about blogging and about other subjects ... I'm looking forward to this year - cheers Hilary

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    1. Hilary, you've been a mainstay to A to Z contributing fascinating as well as highly informative posts. You are one of the highlights of A to Z.

      Arlee Bird
      Tossing It Out

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  4. I agree. Added the post to my collection
    A to Z of Blog Promotion and Marketing
    Hope many bloggers realize importance of blog marketing.

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    1. Narayana, nice way to add more credibility to your personal brand.

      Arlee Bird
      Tossing It Out

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  5. It's a lot of work doing the a-z, but I've created some blog series I'm quite proud of. People still come back to read later and comment. And we learn so much too, researching our own and reading other blogs. Some I remember for a long time. This was an incredible idea you came up with Lee! I'm a bit leery of the new method this year without a list, but hopefully all will go well. All the best!

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    1. Sharon, just think of the "new" method as the same old method that millions have used to build blog readership and networks. The list is there if you look hard enough--it's just not the old official A to Z list.

      Arlee Bird
      Tossing It Out

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  6. I see so much potential for the A to Z to increase everyone's visibility and marketing success. I started something new yesterday with a 30 day trial of HootSuite which I am utilizing to send teasers out about my 2017 A to Z topic.

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    1. Dobson, glad you see that potential. It's there and keeping eyes and mind open you'll discover many new ways to promote your blog. I've never tried HootSuite, but I've heard encouraging things about it.

      Arlee Bird
      Tossing It Out

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  7. I've never thought of it as marketing, but as a way to meet people. I guess since I'm a writer and I want more people to find my books, it works for marketing for me.

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    1. Patricia, as I've declared in my past marketing posts, everything we do in life is a form of marketing or closely connected to marketing. Usually we are just marketing ourselves and our ideas ("hey, let's go see a movie" which continues with your sales pitch to get other to agree). Whenever we are trying to get others on board with agreeing with us we are marketing "our product and our personal brand".

      For a writer with books to sell, think of A to Z as a writing showcase that will get your potential reading market interested in the books you have to offer. Definitely marketing!

      Arlee Bird
      Tossing It Out

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  8. I'm already planning next year's entry. Hmm...

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  9. The A to Z is/was always about improving my writing and playing with words. I don't know about this year, though. Life has its ways of slamming one to the ground, and then stomping on that one.

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  10. This is a very encouraging post, Alex. I've very seldom used my blog site for marketing effectively. This may be the year! Thanks.

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  11. I have two blogs - one is under my name and is associated with my Facebook and Twitter accounts. The other isn't associated with my name. I've been hoping to write a book "one day" about its topic - my experiences with my brother in law, who has autism, and is in his late 50's. I may be overwhelming myself participating with two blogs, but I am hoping I can figure out, through A to Z, if a book about my experiences is truly within me.

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  12. This is a great opportunity to help bloggers gain social media presence. I participated in 2013, but I recently changed to a new website/blog, so I'd love to participate again in another round. Thanks for keeping this challenge alive.

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  13. I think it's fun and I'm excited for Day 1.

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  14. This year I am actually looking forward to gain more readership as I have just moved to a self hosted site and have to start from 0 stats. Would be nice to see some boost during the challenge :)

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  15. Since I am not a professional writer, I do not think in terms of marketing per se. But doing the challenge does boost my following each year, and I find new blogs I love to replace blogs that have dropped out. I heartily recommend it to anyone who blogs.
    Barbara from Life & Faith in Caneyhead

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  16. Absolutely! I use the A to Z Challenge as a way to get people interested in the books I'm writing, based on my posts from the challenge. So the book itself is being written one post at a time, then read and shared, leading to reader feedback. It helps me find other topics that readers will want to see covered in the book, and gives me additional ideas for "bonus material" to include -- like musical playlists, maps of city hotspots, or other things I've been writing about. It's a great way to organize an annual blog-to-book for yourself!

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    1. Thank you Laura! Laura knows of that of which she speaks. Check out her book San Diego from A to Z. Follow Laura's lead and you might come up with your own A to Z book!

      Arlee Bird
      Tossing It Out

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  17. This is my first year participating, and I'm looking forward to it. I am hoping to tie in several of my posts to my books, so we'll see how that goes as a marketing tool.

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