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By Nancy Sheed

Behind the “Seens” with Author Kate Hanley

Learn How Kate Shares Content About How To Be A Better Person

Author Kate Hanley recently released her newest book, “How To Be A Better Person” in response to the discovery that “how to be a better person” is one of the top Google searches around the new year. With so much great and useful information in her new book, Kate had many options for promoting it. In a recent (technology challenged) Facebook LIVE interview, we discussed her strategy and the things she learned along the way to book launch. We also explore how sticking to her mission is what makes her successful on social media – with a side of slime, memes, and whippee-wows!

Watch:

N: What has been a game changer in terms of the online marketing behemoth that you have now for building a platform, and for your book launch – what’s the game changer for you?

K: I like social media. I legitimately do. However, I’ve always liked to use it when I’m inspired and when I feel like I have something to share or when something cool happens. I have been more resistant and flummoxed about how people post on social media and get some consistency.

So, what has really been a game changer for me has been embracing structure and planning. I feel like I’ve found a good way to marry structure and inspiration. I pick a theme for a week. For example, I’ve been doing micro-blogs on Instagram that follow the 8 sections of my new book, “How To Be A Better Person”. Things like showing love, and working well, and being healthy.

For example, one week I’ll talk about being healthy. Having that framework of the subject then allows me to be inspired to come up with 3 or 4 ideas and think about how I can represent them visually and I feel like it has helped me be consistent, and still feel like I’m being true to myself.

I did try to outsource someone to post on my behalf and it just didn’t feel right to me. I feel like one of my social media strengths is that I’m vulnerable and real. So, outsourcing didn’t exactly work for me. I did get outside help from you, dear Nancy!, figuring out what that structure would be and that was 2 thumbs up with a circle and a snap!

Yes, you are so good and natural, especially in the live video format. It was a treat and easy for me to ask you “Why don’t you do more Facebook live?” Most people cringe, but you said: “Okay great, no problem.” And you come across so authentically and naturally which is great.

Right! And you can speak to the fact that I was asking “Are you sure people will want to hear about the book for 8 weeks?” And you had to hold my hand through that.

Absolutely. Part of engaging on social media as an author is actually getting people into the book. You are answering their question “Why would I want to read it?” And you provide examples of what they can expect in the book, right?

Yes! And that reminds me of something which I think can be a conflict for authors. The idea of giving away your content for free. How much is too much? How much is too little? I haven’t found the ceiling yet of what feels like giving away too much content. I think that the more you can really give people the more they can experience what the book is like.

There’s always more in the book. I guess I could post a tip a day for 400 days but still, ofthat’s not the same as having the book in front of you and having a reference that you can easily turn to.

Diving into a section of the book for a week and talking about it in my newsletter and on Instagram has helped me melt some of that resistance.

Yes, there’s the typical fear that “why would anyone buy the book if I’m telling them what’s in it?” But think about it, putting up a button on your website or social media saying “buy my book,” is a BIG ASK of someone who’s never heard of you before.

For you those of us who know you and love you, it’s no problem. We get it, we’re going to pre-order. However, breaking your content up into pieces to baby-step people into your book gives them a little warm up. They get a chance to get to know the awesome Kate Hanley, the person, the expert, before they buy in.

Seeing this content sharing as a door opener is very important.

Next question: What is your favorite platform? Where do you feel most at home, or the most in connection to your people? 

It’s interesting. I love Facebook. If you look at my usage (and I don’t really track any of that and I’d only want to as a way to bring more awareness) in terms of where I go the most frequently, it’s absolutely 100% Facebook. Mostly on my personal page – but I do love building engagement on my professional Kate Hanley author page.

I post about my work on both of those places. In terms of experience and how it makes me feel it can at times, make me feel overwhelmed. Like a single drop in a vast ocean. I know Facebook is a business, and I know that if you want to make an impact and get seen you have to “pay to play.” I get that.

I love the engagement I get on Instagram. It’s closest to my heart.

That brings me to my next question. When you first started talking about your book launch, you weren’t new to Instagram, but you were confused about how to use it, right?

Yes. I didn’t know how visual my stuff was. I talk a lot about different ways to think for example. How do you take a picture of that? That was a barrier that I just had to get over.

It definitely makes me think. I have 401 tips in my book and some of them are more visual than others. So, I try and look for ways to share that. But even pictures of the book in a bookstore, or photos of people reading the book itself, it is very pretty. That’s something for authors to think about.

I think the cover is pretty, but when you open it up inside – it’s also really interesting. Some pages have gold flecks, and some have other colors.

I just got over not knowing and figured it out. For example, when I was talking about health, I took a photo of my vitamin D tablets that I take every day. ItIt forces you to think creatively.

There’s also something about the engagement that makes it worth it. It would be nice to line up my posts in advance and you can still go in when you’re inspired – like I like to be – you can change it up but you’re not starting from scratch.

I do like Twitter too because it’s so easy. I don’t like that a Twitter post only has about 15 minutes worth of currency, but it’s something I feel like is easy to stay on top of because you don’t have to craft it quite so carefully.

What are you doing this year, with this book launch to reach more people? You’ve had 2 book launches in a year and that’s a lot. What are you doing differently now? 

I am extending how long I’m talking about the book. You helped me and coached me through a pre-order package with bonuses and well in advance. Which was not easy to do especially when you release 2 books in one year.

And you changed your website and did a rebrand. 

Right! It was really helpful. If I have a list then I know what to do and I can do it. If I have to figure out what goes on the list, then that can take me a really long time – so I might never even make the list.

So having your help there was invaluable. We did the pre-order campaign to reach out to those who already know, like and trust me. Those people who are already following me on social media and/or who are on my email list. That was really cool.

I have extended the time I’ve been talking about it. It’s only been a month – but it feels like a year because time is moving so fast. I feel like I’m still continuing to gain momentum. And because I don’t have another book coming out in six months I’m staying on this longer.

My last book was called “Stress Less”, which applies to different parts of life but How to be a Better Person really does touch all parts of your life. I’m being inspired by the content in the book to find ways to talk about it for a longer period of time.

It has been fun to think about how to leverage my content. I love to do that. How do I take one idea and use it in different ways? What goes in the newsletter and on my website? What goes on Instagram only? What goes on Facebook and Instagram? What’s just good for Facebook? I thrive on the variety, so it’s been helpful to have some structure along with some experimentation and adventure.

You did a video – for the other book and for this book. Talk to us about book trailer videos. 

I did do a video in the past, and it was very different because, there was voiceover with B-roll of me and my kids (because we’re low-cost talent!) We shot it at my house and that was really enjoyable and fun, and I think it helped bring people into the book.

This time around, the book trailer video was more of what my husband (who is a web designer, animator, and digital artist) calls a whippee-wow—a really cool-looking, animated, digital experience. This video has a 3D version of the book flying around. It suited the book. Each video suited the topic of the book. It got about 5,000 views — it was very simple, and I do love working on them.

If you are working on a book and want to talk video trailers reach out to me. I love the idea of distilling it down to this one idea. I think all I did was show quotes and had one line of text. I edited ideas until I had the one core idea.

Also – authors make sure you have some text on every frame because if someone is watching but has the sound off then they will still know what’s going on. That wasn’t really an issue with the last video, so it was kind of cool to figure out the latest and greatest when it came to the video trends.

Great advice, Kate.

Now, what is your secret sauce? The magic of Kate Hanley when it comes to connecting with your people? 

Right. Golly, I feel like I need someone else to answer that question for me! That’s a hard question!

I think that I can cover somewhat heavy topics with a mix of levity and realness.

For example, I did a Facebook live about stress relief (above). My son was home that day and it was hot out, and he was playing with slime. It melted, and we had this slime disaster and I was trying to clean it up while I was on my FB live. My hand ended up covered in slime and I think slime even got on the ceiling.

That was very real. Melissa (who was on the FB live video) says relatability and I think that’s what I’m trying to get at. I don’t live in a glass house that’s for sure.

Right – my word for you was authenticity and relatability which is accessible authenticity. I remember the video where you daughter was your camera crew when you were opening packages. It was very real, no worry about special lighting or anything. It was awesome. And make us all feel like we want to be in “Kate Hanley’s world.”

I think Facebook Live has really changed things and maybe edged it ahead of Instagram. It’s so easy you just turn on the button and start talking. The ones I watch are like that – I had a friend who was doing her Facebook Live the other day while using a toothpick. I loved that!

You also find the best viral videos to share. I don’t always like that, but you have a knack for finding the ones that will make me stop and actually watch! That is a skill – not everyone has it. 

That makes me so happy. That’s my mission statement. I wrote a mission statement for my Kate Hanley author page. It is: I promise to only share useful content related to being a better person and feeling your best, and the highest quality means.

That’s perfect. You are definitely living your mission.

If you don’t mind sharing your stats with everyone. Part of the platform as an author is knowing your numbers. That’s important. But we’ve also talked about the quality of engagement being the most important – I know that’s a big factor for you. But what metric or stat are you proud of or want to share?

I started my website in 2005. It was MsMindBody for 10 years. From the very beginning, my take was I don’t care about traffic, I’m not hoping to write a blog post that goes viral someday so I can say I got a million visitors in one month. I want to be able to demonstrate that I have a relationship with people and know that they have invited me into their inbox.

So I have always really prized my email newsletter subscriber numbers. That’s really what I look at the most. That also keeps me thinking about what do my people need? What can I create and give away? How do I draw in just the right people who are going to be digging my special sauce?

That’s a fun, creative lens that inspires me to think about what those people need to hear when they sit down on Wednesday mornings when my email arrives in their inbox.

Here’s an interesting insight from my rebranding. I have 1,613 likes on my Kate Hanley author page. I rebranded over the summer of 2017 from MsMindBody.com to KateHanley.com. I wanted to change my Facebook page and have all my social media to reflect that change. I had been msmindbody for 10 years and I felt like my subject matter was broadening and I felt like maybe I was hiding a bit behind that, so I made the change.

I noticed that after the change, I stopped getting as many likes. I think that might be because the new “title” which is my name, doesn’t really say what I’m about the way that MsMindBody did.   I’m happy that I did it and there’s still growth, just not as many as before.

I want to get back to stats for a minute. I want to talk about what is my most favorite discovery with you in terms of stats. Is it okay for me to share the most popular page on your site? Does that steal your thunder? 

Sure. We discovered that two-thirds of my web traffic is coming from a blog post that I wrote – I think it has to be about 5 years ago, titled, “How I Stopped Hating My Husband and You Can Too”.  What that means is that people are going to Google and are typing in “I hate my husband” (or some version of that) and my blog post is popping up.

This makes me really happy because that post talks about maybe it’s not all your husband’s fault. Maybe there are ways that you could be co-creating the situation and that means that there are tools that are at your disposal to use to make it better that don’t require you to try and make someone else change.

Things can shift and get better and I’m happy that people are finding that post instead of a post about hiring an attorney or something else.

Right – and that’s information that you can use and act on knowing that there’s an audience looking for information like this. You can create other content around that or that complements this post. I also found this to be such an incredible example – of how good content will continue to be found and read – it just keeps going. 

I know. It’s amazing how evergreen it is.

Lastly, what do you do to get away from this stuff? Away from the social media and the things that can be consuming especially when you’re doing a book launch? Do you have rules about it or do you recognize triggers when you know it’s time to take a break? Or – share your tips from the book that help us manage social media. 

I don’t specifically talk social media in the book, but I do talk about building focus and that means minimizing distractions. One of my favorite apps is called the Self-Control app. It is meant more for desktop/laptop. You can blacklist sites and you can set a time limit for access to those sites.

When writing this book, I had an aggressive deadline. I set the time to 15 minutes in the beginning and worked my way up to one hour, so I could focus on writing without the temptation to hop on social media. It really helped me eliminate the distractions, so I could sit down and write and get the book done.

I also love using airplane mode on my phone. Totally amazing. You also have to turn off wifi, but it’s great because you don’t see the notifications.

I appreciate all of the zest that you bring to this discussion. Thank you for doing this video and for sharing your experience. It’s been a dream watching you bring this gem of a book to launch and beyond and see your continuing enthusiasm for it.

Thank you, Nancy. It wouldn’t have happened without you giving me structure and some marching orders and encouraging me.

Do you have questions about Kate’s book launch? Post them in the comments below and I’d love to answer them or have her reply. In the meantime, if you want more information about Kate and her life-changing book, How To Be A Better Person, check out her website, sign-up for her fun newsletter (you won’t regret it), or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!