Tuesday, July 10, 2018

5 Steps to Audit Your Author Platform in 30 MINS.

Welcome to Slayerverse.  We're talking about Amazon, our beloved "Value Val," and what we can do to engage readers by doing an author platform audit prior to book launch.

Problem: Ready to Launch But No Reader Engagement 

No picking on Val this week, Slayers: let Amazon rest (yah, right).  Seriously, though, let's talk about me 'n you.  We're ready to launch our book on Amazon.  We're so excited.  Then, uh . . . ?  No followers, or maybe a handful.  Why'd that happen?

It happened because you've done what millions of authors do.  You've focused on your writing and ignored your author platform. 

Your First Step: Author Platform Audit

Your first step months before you do your book launch (yeah, sure, I know: your launch is tomorrow--oopsie!) is to do a platform audit.  Why?  Mike Shatzkin, a publishing warrior for decades, opened Digital Book World 2016 this way: "At the very least, every [publishing house] should do a 'digital audit' for every author they sign.  That includes concrete suggestions for filling in gaps and improving discoverability and engagement."

It's about being discovered by your readers and, yes, my beloved Slayers, it's about engaging with them so they'll love you and buy your books.  After all, what's worse than being one of the Digital Dead on Amazon?

What's An Author Platform Audit?

An audit is simply analyzing your platform, i.e., your social media presence as an author on the Web, to measure the following: 
  • How well you're engaging with readers across your social media channels
  • Which areas of your platform you need to improve to increase reader engagement

Your "social media channels" ultimately become your "sales channels," so if reader engagement is poor on your Facebook channel, for example, then imagine how Amazon sales will go.


How Do I Conduct My Basic Platform Audit?

If you're phobic about using digital tools to perform your platform audit, you can hire it done, but you don't have to.  Be brave and face your digital fears, Slayers.  It takes time and hard work, but measuring how well your author platform promotes reader engagement and social media ROI is an ongoing process.  Also, many social media channels have free analytics built in, so no need to be phobic.  Press on!

The 5-Step Author Platform Audit Checklist

While you can hire a digital marketing company to do an in-depth platform audit, you can save money and do a simple audit in five easy steps.  In each of the following steps, I provide an example of a tool for completing the step in parentheses.  There are many tools, but those listed work well.

  1. Identify your social media channels (namechk, knowem)
  2. Measure reader engagement (links, shares, clicks) over time on each channel.  Note: you can use the metrics built in to many of your channels, such as Facebook's Analytics and Google Analytics.  But others, like Buzzsumo, which have free trials, charge.  For the free analytics, however, like your Facebook's, just Google on "Facebook Analytics," and then follow their steps.
  3. Check for consistency of branding across all channels, e.g., your bio, URL, branding style and graphics.  If they need changing and/or updating: (Landscape, Canva, PicMonkey)
  4. Identify top performing channels based on engagement and social media ROI.  Social Media ROI formula: (Earnings - Costs) x 100 / Costs).  
  5. Identify channels that need improving or eliminated

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