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?