Welcome back, people! It’s Monday and for those of you who follow this blog regularly, you know that means it’s Monday Marketing time!
Today I want to discuss the importance of taking the time to create a marketing timeline for yourself.
A quick reminder that all my marketing posts can be found in my Tutorial List so easy access 🙂
What is a Marketing Timeline?
Let’s start with the basics, what the heck is a Marketing Timeline?!
Well, remember that Marketing Plan you created? (You have created one, right??) This is where you use that to create a chronological calendar for your marketing strategy. 😀
A timeline gives you a reference to show you when you need to have completed certain tasks.
Look at it this way, if you are close to finishing your novel but haven’t yet “created an Author Website“, that should be right near the front of your timeline, waaay before the “publish novel” task.
Why Would You Need a Marketing Timeline?
A timeline gives you a clear roadmap complete with mile markers to keep you organised. It also helps to catch any issues that might arise before, during or even after the launch of your book.
“But Ari, I’m nowhere near ready to publish. I don’t need to think about marketing!”
Oooh, I gotta disagree with you there. Don’t wait until you have finished your novel, don’t wait until you are ready to launch. Your marketing strategy should be in place or at least being worked on while you are writing the book.
Marketing is a pain in the ass, so don’t leave it until the last minute. It’s a long, slow-burn kind of work that needs your attention now. Like, right now!
This is why I’ve been featuring marketing posts every Monday.
I personally am nowhere near ready to publish – heck, I’ve not even gone through the beta readers stage but my marketing plan and strategy are organised.
My timeline is set up, though just without actual dates (because I’m not yet at that stage but once I am, I can just slot it into my calendar).
How to Create a Marketing Timeline?
The simple answer, with a calendar! You know I love me some calendars for organising things.
Firstly, get your Marketing Plan. If you don’t have one, then it’s time to start creating one. It doesn’t have to be carved in stone, but get your marketing ideas down into some form of plan. Pronto!
Secondly, take the pieces of your Marketing Plan and consider carefully how long they will take.
For example, do you plan to find 10 guest post opportunities 3 weeks before your book is launched? How long do you think it will take to:
a) find those opportunities
b) discuss details with the blog hosts
c) write your guest posts
Give yourself lots of leeway for things like this. Yes, you could write posts early, but then the blogger might not like your topic.
You could do an interview, in which case you won’t need as much time but you need to make sure you still give yourself time to answer the questions, supply the relevant graphics etc for plugging your book.
Not to mention, some bloggers fill up their guest post slots well in advance. Case and point, I host guest posters and my 2019 slots are filling up fast. You need to be aware of things like this.
Do you need to create swag? Are you planning on making a book trailer? Want to redesign your website?
Figure out all the methods of marketing you want to do, and then work out when you’ll want to release them. Decide how long you think they will take to complete ready for release, and build your timeline.
After all, you won’t want to create a book trailer, and several new graphics and sample chapters and release them all on the same day.
The idea is to spread out your marketing so it’s a constant flow rather than a massive bombardment.
What To Do If You Don’t Have Confirmed Dates
As mentioned, I don’t have any actual dates for my marketing timeline yet. I’ll have a better idea of when my book release will be once it’s been through the final beta stages.
However, that does not stop me knowing what I want to do to market my book up to that point and beyond.
So I have my marketing ideas connected to blocks of time. How long will it take to find betas? (estimate) how long will I give them to read it? (estimate) When will I redesign my website? When will I find ARC reviewers?
Each of these (and many more) marketing points have timeframes connected to them. This means, when I’m ready with a release date, I can literally work backwards from that date and popular my Marketing Calendar.
So I know when I need to start my build-up when I need to start reaching out to reviewers or betas.
It’s all about taking out the guesswork (mostly), and creating a solid workable plan so you know what you’re doing and (eventually) when.
What part of marketing do you struggle with?
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