How Authorpreneurs in Kenya Can Connect and Gain Loyal Followers

As an authorpreneur in Kenya, you may be wondering how to connect your brand (you as an author) to your target audience in order to gain loyal followers who will not only purchase your books; but also share your fiction works with their friends and networks as well. You will need to apply a kind of marketing called inbound marketing in which you attract, convert, sell and delight your target audience. There are various ways of engaging with your target audience and achieving those four goals. Today I want to share four effective ways in which an authorpreneur can do so.

Authorpreneur 101 pic

1. Create a blog and post on it consistently
As a fiction writer if you don’t already have a blog, you need to create one right away. There are many reasons why any brand should have a blog, and for a fiction writer such as yourself – this applies to your brand as well. It is a very effective way of connecting with your audience; as well as sharing your sample fiction works and updates about your brand or any other interests you would like to share. You can write short stories in your blog which your audience can read to get a better understanding of your talent and style of writing as well as the genre in which you write in. A great example is this blog on Romance in Nairobi. You can also choose to share helpful and relevant information in any topic; whether it is geographical information about locations you write about, or helpful tips to writers who are beginning to write fiction stories. This is your own space online that will attract your target audience and let them know more about yourself and possibly convert them to become your loyal followers.

2. Create social media pages and engage with your audience
Once you attract your audience, it’s very important to engage and interact with them. The best way to do this is on social media since that’s where most of them are as well. If you don’t already have accounts, create pages for your brand in which you will connect and engage with your audience. You can choose two or three social sites that you feel comfortable to start with, instead of opening numerous accounts that you cannot keep up with. Examples are; creating a Facebook page for your brand image, opening a Twitter account and then you can add another social media site such as Pinterest or LinkedIn depending on whether you want a visual based social site or you want to network with other authors. You don’t have to get a third social media account, if you are comfortable with only two, stick with that. Make sure you post consistently on your social media sites and use the 80/20 rule; 80% helpful and engaging material and 20% promotion on your brand products i.e. Fiction books.

Elly Kamari - Author FB page

Elly Kamari – Author FB page

3. Create accounts on self-publishing sites
As a writer, you need to be available in sites that are used in your industry because that is where majority of your target audience will be as well. Two main examples of these sites are Smashwords and Amazon. They are important since they sell fiction books to their customers and this is a ready market for you to attract. This is very important especially if you are a self-publishing fiction writer. If you don’t already have accounts in these sites, make sure you open them as soon as possible. You will be able to create a profile for your brand as well as share your writing to your target audience as well.

Self publish on smashwords.com

Self publish on smashwords.com

4. Visit industry-related events and festivals
As a fiction writer, it is necessary to connect with other writers in your genre and area; as well as readers who have a major interest in your industry. Great places to connect with such people are poetry and spoken word events, festivals such as the Storymoja Hay Festival which offers a chance to meet great authorpreneurs in various genres and master-classes that offer insightful discussions and information on various industry-related topics. These kinds of events will be visited by both your potential target audiences – avid readers interested in meeting authors and learning more about their interests. You will also meet and network with other authors; those who have been in the industry for long or new fiction writers beginning to write seriously such as yourself. Therefore ensure you are always on the look out for such events; so make sure you attend the Storymoja Hay Festival in the Nairobi Museum starting on the 17th of September this month.

Come to the Storymoja Hay Festival in Sept. 2014

Come to the Storymoja Hay Festival in Sept. 2014

Get started on doing the above things and you will be on your way to creating a strong and loyal following for your brand as an authorpreneur in Kenya.

Do you have any other sites or tips for authorpreneurs to visit or follow? Please feel free to share below.

This post appeared originally on the Storymoja Hay Festival Blog

Why Writers in Kenya Should Start Practicing Authorpreneurship

Authorpreneurship is the business of creativity (hazeledwards.com). It is relevant especially to illustrators, designers, writers, multi-media innovators, photographers and other artistic individuals. Authorpreneurship helps you invest in your creativity to increase your professional opportunities. This involves combining both aspects of the individual in a way that works for them i.e. the originator and the entrepreneur. It involves learning the marketing, publicity, technological, legal and entrepreneurial skills required to sell ‘the brand’. Writers in Kenya fall under this category of individuals and should therefore think seriously of becoming authorpreneurs.
There is a misconception in Kenya that writing is not a “serious” job, especially writing fiction. Another misconception is that writers cannot make it as entrepreneurs  – by writing fiction alone. However, this is not the case and I believe writers in Kenya should start looking either at themselves or their books as the brand – just like a business person looks at his/her products or services as a brand. As an aspiring fiction writer you may be asking yourself, ‘Why should I do that?” Well, here are a few simple reasons why.

Make money from writing your books

Make money from writing your books

1. It’s a way of generating secondary income if you are employed
If you already have a job but you still write fiction constantly and consistently, then you should become an authorpreneur. This will guarantee you some income on the side that could grow in the future and become a major source of income. The same way that you carve out time to write fiction when you are not working, is the same way you can make time to find out how to promote your brand online and offline to your target audience. You could always use some extra income, why don’t you generate it by doing something you love.

2. It’s an assured method of entrepreneurship in this particular industry
There are many best-selling authors in countries like the U.S. where writing is a main source of income for those authors; they have made a business out of their brands – themselves. Examples are John Grisham, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, and Nora Roberts to name a few. In Kenya however, most authors usually have their ‘brand’ as a secondary income. However an example of an authorpreneur who uses his creations as a main source of income is Allan Gichigi, a photographer and filmmaker.

3. Writing can be an expensive hobby, so make money from it
Writing fiction as a hobby can be costly in the long run; expenses like internet payment or bundles and time as well, which is a resource in itself. If you like writing – that is good, however; time is valuable and if you are looking for ways to generate income, you should use your time wisely. Therefore, you should ensure all your time spent doing different things enriches your life in some way. So if you spend a large amount of writing, you might as well get some money out of it while you’re at it; especially if you are really a talented writer.

4. There are other budding authorpreneurs doing it already
You might wonder if it’s worth doing and whether other people are doing it in Kenya and if they are getting results. The answer is yes. There are upcoming authorpreneurs in Kenya who are doing well, as well as gaining a strong following for their creations. Great examples are Boniface Mwangi the photographer,

 Boniface-Mwangi-profile

Clifton Gachagua the poet and Nderitu Wahome the writer; Nderitu-Wahome-profile

to name a few. They are gradually creating their artistic works (fiction, poems or photos) and marketing it to the Kenyan market in order to generate income as well as share their amazing creations with their audience. Therefore, if you have amazing fiction that you know your target audience will love reading and you can also generate income with – get started on becoming an authorpreneur today.

5. You can’t constantly create content to reach your audience if you can’t survive financially
If you love writing fiction and sharing it with your audience, you have to maintain it financially as well (see no.3 above). It is therefore logical that this writing activity maintain itself, especially financially. It would be regrettable when you go through financial difficulty that your creativity would have to suffer as well. In order to constantly and consistently keep creating fiction, ensure you are financially stable to do so by making your writing work for you as well.

If you are an aspiring fiction writer, I hope that those very important reasons have inspired you to research and find out more on how to become an authorpreneur in Kenya. Get started on your journey today.

Do you have any experience as an authorpreneur in Kenya? Feel free to share your experience or any suggestions by commenting below.

This post appeared originally on the Storymoja Hay Festival Blog.

4 Effective Ways to Ensure You Post on Your Business Blog Consistently

If you are a small business owner who uses inbound marketing in their marketing strategy, you know how important it is to have a business blog. However; at the same time, it can be hard to post on the blog consistently. As a start up entrepreneur, you may have so many responsibilities that you may neglect some important tasks such as blogging.
I used to feel overwhelmed with the amount of tasks I had to accomplish, especially since I write for two blogs. At one point, one blog was suffering since I could only manage to post for one blog and then I would find that I don’t have enough time to post on the other one. I realized that I had to find ways of posting on both blogs consistently and effectively or decide to shut one down and concentrate on the one I could manage. Since I didn’t want to give up any of them (I love sharing information about baking on my Bakery blog and I love sharing about business as well ^_^), I decided to find ways to solve my problem. I want to share four ways that I guarantee have helped me manage to post consistently on my blogs and still manage to run a small bakery business as well. I hope they help you out as well.

Amari Bakery Blog - a business blog is very important

Amari Bakery Blog – a business blog is very important

1. Create a content calendar for your blog every month
The same way you create a calendar of daily and monthly tasks to complete in your business or personal life; you can apply the same for all your social media and blogging activities. This is also very effective since you get a big picture of your blog posts for the month and therefore; you are able to create goals for the month for your inbound marketing strategies, come up with topics for your blog for the month and prepare to write them. I have found it’s best to create your monthly content calendar a week before the beginning of the month you’re planning for. Allocate at least two hours of your time to sit down and plan your blog. State your goals for the upcoming month for both social media pages and the blog, and then brainstorm on the post topics you will be writing about. Take it another step further, write bulletin points for your topics, and come up with a suitable headline for your blog post. Using your calendar, schedule the days when you’ll post each of the posts – at least twice a week or more. If you have extra time (or you can allocate another two hours the next day), write your blog posts out, ready for posting. At least get enough posts for two weeks ready to go, so that you’re always ahead of the game.

Have a content calendar to plan your posts (Image: amazon)

Have a content calendar to plan your posts (Image: amazon)

2. Create reminders on your phone calendar or daily planner about the blog posts
You might have your calendar well planned and even written out, but you’ll find that maybe you got busy and forgot to post on your blog. Since entrepreneurs can have very hectic days, it’s best to schedule alarms that will remind you to post the blog on a specific day and time. If you’re often online at specific times daily, like during the morning hours (maybe between 5 a.m. to 10 a.m.), make sure you schedule a reminder for that time so as not to forget. That way, you’ll just take five minutes to post on your blog and move on to other tasks. I have found it quite effective to set reminders, they work.

Set reminders for when you'll post on your blog

Set reminders for when you’ll post on your blog

3. Choose one person to hold you accountable
You may plan your calendar and posts very well, but find that you are so busy that you’re not able to post on your business blog. You might even postpone your posts every time telling yourself that you’re too tired, you’ll post tomorrow – tomorrow never actually comes. I know how it feels like; trust me I’ve been there. I found that when I asked someone to hold me accountable, I was making sure to post weekly without fail. The person who holds me accountable is my sister (even to this day), she’s my business partner and she blogs as well; therefore I found that she was up to the task. If a week goes by and she doesn’t see more than one post on a blog, she asks me what’s happening. You should make sure you do the same; find one person who you either work with, or live with; maybe your significant other or any family member who fits the bill. This will motivate you to post weekly for sure.

4. Make sure you write down monthly marketing goals to achieve for your business
If you don’t do this for your business, you should start doing it. Some entrepreneurs write down monthly goals they want to achieve for their businesses in respect to sales or income. You should also write down marketing goals, they are just as important. This is because effective marketing leads to sales in your business, therefore; if you make effective marketing goals and achieve them, your sales will increase. It also comes in handy if you don’t achieve your monthly goals since you will be able to sit down and find out where the problem lies and solve it before it grows into a crisis. This is one way to prevent closing your business if it’s suffering and finding a way out or a solution. I can personally attest to this method having almost closed my business, but I re-strategized and found a solution before having to close my bakery. When you have clear marketing goals every month, you realize that you have to post on your blog and social media pages to assist you in reaching your sales goals. Therefore, when you see your reminder to post on your blog, you are more likely to do it since it ties to your sales goals and with that, achieving success.

Write down your marketing goals

Write down your marketing goals

Those are a few effective ways that I’ve found to assist me in posting on my blog consistently. Do you have any other ways you would like to share?
Please feel free to do so below.

Remember keep on the hustle, keep grinding and you’ll get there for sure ^_^

5 Ways to Market Your Business Online

In this day and age, any business person or any company that would like to conduct business would be wise to use online marketing as part of their marketing plan. This is because it is highly likely that your target customers are online. This applies to any industry in business; whether you are a writer, photographer, film-maker, blogger, baker, lawyer etc. You can market your business online through various channels; here are five effective ways that a business person can use online.

 

Social Media

Most people who go online everyday visit their social media pages at least 80% of the time. So it makes sense for a business person to set up business pages on social media sites to attract their customers. You can start with popular sites such as; Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google +, among others. You can choose to focus on two or three of these sites depending on your industry and where your target customers mainly visit. An example is a restaurant owner, he or she should focus on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest due to the visual nature of their products. A lawyer can focus on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn because he/she is looking for networking opportunities in his/her business. After you set up your pages, make sure you post daily to keep your audience engaged.

Your customers are engaging on Facebook (Courtesy: wikihow.com)

Your customers are engaging on Facebook (Courtesy: wikihow.com)

Blogging

Any business that is online should start a business blog. This is a great way of attracting your target market online. This applies to any industry as well; writers, photographers, chefs, bakers, lawyers etc. To attract visitors to your blog, you should post information or visual content relating to your industry, thus attracting an appropriate audience for your products or services. You can start a blog using different blog servers such as Wordpess, Google’s Blogger, if you have visual content, you can start a blog using Flickr or Tumblr. Make sure you post on your blog frequently and consistently, e.g. 2 or 3 times every week.

Bakery Blog

Bakery Blog

Website

As a business online, you should make sure you have a website for your business to post your products, services, prices and pictures. A website is like your online physical location, it represents your business when you’re not there. You can use different domain providers to get a website for your business that they can host for you. Most websites have a annual fee that is quite economical. You can use blogging sites to turn your website into a domain e.g. WordPress or Blogger. You can also use providers such as Google (i.e. Google site builder), KENIC, Safaricom and many more companies that offer the service.

E-Mail

You can use e-mail marketing as well in your business. An easy way is to offer monthly e-mail newsletters to your target audience in which you could offer industry information and coupons or sale discounts as well. A great idea is when an interested audience member chooses to get e-mail notifications for your blog posts; therefore they receive an e-mail every time you post on your blog. You can have pages on your website or post on social media, inviting your target audience to sign up for e-mail newsletters. This is a great way to turn a lead or prospect into an actual customer.

Online Marketing Sites

You can get an account on online marketing sites to sell your products or services. Examples are; Olx, E-Bay, Amazon, Mzoori and many others. You can also choose industry relates sites such as Smashwords for fiction writers that sell e-books. Others such as Cheki for automobile sellers or Jumia for online shoppers. These sites give your business other portals to attract target customers online. Now that you know you can market your business, products or services online in these five effective ways; go and start the necessary business pages you require and start engaging with your target market. Whether you’re a fiction e-book writer, or a chef, a baker, a blogger or even a lawyer, I guarantee you that online marketing is very effective.

This post appeared originally in the Storymoja Hay Festival Blog

4 Ways to Write For Business

As an entrepreneur, I strongly believe in writing for business. How you wonder? Well, one way is writing for your business blog. In this age of smart phones and accessible internet connectivity, target customers are online most of the time. It’s been reported in research done by the CCK last year April that 44% of Kenya has access to the internet and majority of these users go online using their phones. This information tells us that a majority of shoppers are online; they research brands, products and services online before purchasing. This gives any business in Kenya a platform to target, attract and capture customers online. This kind of online marketing is called inbound marketing, I won’t get into details on what it is exactly, but you can get a clearer definition from this blog post.

There are different ways in which you can write for business in Kenya, but I want to highlight four important ways which will help any entrepreneur in his/her business.

1. Business Blog

A business blog is a great way to start if you want to target a specific kind of customer. By creating content and posting it on your blog, you can attract the right kind of potential customer. A great example is my bakery blog (link -> http://quickbreads.blogspot.com) I want to target individuals who bake at home and are looking for tips on becoming better home-bakers. Therefore, the content I post is about baking equipment, baking tips and some recipes.

Amari Bakery Blog

Amari Bakery Blog

2. Guest Blogging

Being a guest blogger for blogs in your industry whether personal or business blogs, is also a great idea. It gives you a whole new platform to capture your target audience and attract potential customers. It also provides you with a potential of higher traffic to your own blog due to linking.

3. E- Books

This is where your skills as a writer come in handy; you can create an e-book for your target audience. E-books are great to offer potential customers that visit your blog or web pages in return for information (such as; name and contact of potential customers). Depending on which industry you are in, you can offer detailed information in an e-book to your customers that is helpful to them e.g. if you’re a fiction writer: resources on how to write your introductions, character creation, etc.

4. Info graphs

Info graphs are literally diagrams that offer information in form of graphs. They are becoming very popular in many industries as a simple and effective way of communicating data to a particular target audience. So if you want to make a certain point to potential customers, you can create info graphs. A great example is an info graph targeted at budding writers showing the type of books that are being sold to readers of different ages and the different genres they prefer to read.

E-book Infograph (speechbuddy.com)

E-book Infograph (speechbuddy.com)

Those are a few ways of writing for business. If you have any other ideas on ways one can write for business, feel free to comment below please.

This post appeared originally on the Storymoja Hay Festival Blog.