This is the final part of a three-part-post about publishing blogs to Amazon Kindle. I have been asked to write it by various people on Twitter, so my apologies to those for whom it holds no interest. Normal service will resume tomorrow. For those who asked for the tutorial, I hope it’s useful.
In part one of this series I explained why I’d published More than Just a Mother on Amazon Kindle, and what the benefits were for bloggers considering doing the same. Yesterday I outlined step-by-step instructions for publishing a blog to Kindle. Today I’m going to share some thoughts on how to market your blog successfully on Kindle. I should point out that I haven’t done all of these yet, having promptly forgotten about my blog the moment I uploaded it to Kindle. However, since realising the potential of Kindle as an additional, if small, income stream, I intend to give it some more thought. This post, therefore, is as much an action plan for me, as it is a tutorial for others.
Best-selling doesn’t mean it’s any good
Take a look at the best-selling blogs on Amazon Kindle. Then read their reviews. Pretty damning, aren’t they? So why on earth are terrible blogs listed so highly on Amazon? Because they’ve done their marketing right. It’s a sad fact that ‘best-selling’ lists are self-perpetuating; buyers see the most popular blogs and subscribe without doing any more research into them, thereby propelling them further up the best-selling list. Early adopters to Kindle blog-publishing had an advantage and now it’s harder to cement one’s position at the top of the tree. But there are a few ways to make sure your Kindle blog is working well for you.
Write good content
It’s dull but true. If your blog is worth reading, people will read it, online, by email or on a Kindle. Concentrate on producing good quality copy which is either useful or entertaining, and make sure you post regularly.
Get the price right
This is a bit of a mystery to me, and Kindle’s help forums failed to shed any light on the issue. I mentioned yesterday that my blog price changed when I altered the frequency of my posts, but there appears to be no consistency across blogs in this respect. What I have noticed is that all the best-selling blogs are priced at 99p and not £1.99, and personally I’d strive to keep my blog at the lower price, by tweaking my settings if I noticed the price had been raised.
Use good images
Like the cover of a new paperback, your blog image is crucial in attracting the attention of a prospective buyer. I’ve chosen to use an avatar – a logo, essentially – instead of a screen shot, because I prefer the image and choose to reinforce my ‘brand’ in this way. If you use a screen capture, make sure your blog layout is attractive and eye-catching, with important information ‘above the fold’. Using a mast-head (the banner image which will appear above each post when it is delivered to a subscriber’s Kindle) will help foster loyalty among your subscribers, who will associate this image with your content.
Choose the right category
When you upload your blog to Kindle you can choose up to three categories in which to list it. Choose carefully. Decide whether you want to be a big fish in a small pond, or fight with the sharks in the big one. For example, there are only 16 blogs listed under Parenting, a sub-category of Lifestyle and Culture, so it would be relatively easy to reach the top of the Parenting best-seller list. But isn’t it more impressive to reach the top ten of all 7,000 blogs listed in Lifestyle and Culture? By taking a more generalist approach you broaden your audience reach and attract subscribers who might not have trawled through the specialist categories. If you’ve already published your blog to Kindle, it’s worth amending your categories if you’re not gaining subscribers.
Tag your blog
Look at your published listing on Amazon and scroll to the bottom, just above the reviews. Here you have the option of adding ‘tags’ or key words to your listing, to help readers find you more easily. You can see that on More than Just a Mother’s listing, several people have added tags to my listing, and reinforced ones already added.
Ask for reviews
Reviews are key to converting browsing to subscribing, so ask your readers to take a few minutes to write a few lines about your blog. Many people will search only for blogs with five star reviews, so don’t ask for reviews unless you’re confident about your content!
Promote your listing
Once your blog is on Kindle, you’ve chosen the right categories and tagged your listing, you need to tell people about it. Think about your market; the people most likely to subscribe to your blog via Kindle are your existing blog readers, and people who have Kindles (or use a Kindle app on an iPhone or iPad). There are limited opportunities for promoting your blog to wider Kindle users (although Amazon will do this for you once your blog becomes more popular, by suggesting it to browsers) but you do have control over your existing blog readers. Write a post to tell them they can now access your blog via Kindle, and add an easy-click button directly from your blog to your Amazon listing. Don’t just announce you’re on Kindle – sell the benefits. Subscribing via Kindle is great for people who commute or travel and want to read their favourite blogs without being online. Send a mail shot to your contacts, include an update in your newsletter, or add the news to your email signature. Buttons on your Amazon listing make it easy to share the link via Facebook, email or Twitter, so make sure your followers know that you are now on Kindle.
That’s your lot. A brief glimpse into the sensible side of what I do before I return to what this blog is really all about. Entertainment. Thanks for reading, and if you’re a Kindle subscriber, thank you for continuing to keep me in gin.