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That’s Keno, Aya, Murphy, and Inka. Readers coming from the Deep Archive will know everyone except Inka, who started appearing as a series of doodles on yellow sticky notes at work where I was drawing Keno and the gang getting into various scrapes. Keno and Inka were stealing fish from the same angry angler and they became friends. It’s going to be my first NaNoWriMo book and will be going up on Patreon when it’s done.

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Today we’re going to be talking about Content Marketing, which is the green bar in our template. The suggested subheadings are Sponsored Content, Landing Page, and White Papers/eBooks.

Sponsored content covers cross-promotional activities. If you get a sponsor pay you for mentioning their brand in your comic, that’s product placement and falls into this category. If you do a blog entry resembling your usual style but promoting someone else’s work, and you receive payment of some kind, that’s sponsored content.

In webcomics this happens mostly on the community level in the form of Fan Art, Guest Strips, Crossovers, and Reviews. There’s a bit of crossover here with what we were talking about with trying to get mentioned in Podcasts. Don’t let anyone try to pay you in exposure, but if you’re working for your own benefit you can pay yourself in exposure all you like. Get yourself a little heater for under your desk and draw naked. Lock the door if you have kids.

Conversely, inviting guest strips to cover chapter breaks or hiatuses in your own comic gives you an opportunity to link out to other sites and knit in with the webcomics comics community. For the most part this operates in a non-monetary economy and will tie in heavily with our social media strategy.

Goals for sponsored content are traffic growth and new subscribers, metrics are the number and quality of links from other sites measured against the time you spend working on sponsored content and the time saved by hosting sponsored content.

Sponsored content.

Landing page is the first page people are directed to from outside sources. For the most part this will be your main domain, in our case www.nekothekitty.net

However when you’re posting stuff yourself you can have the ad or post direct to any page you like. This can be a page in the archive you’re particularly proud of and/or kicks of an interesting storyline, or an ‘about’ page if you’ve got an intriguing premise or character that takes a little while to pay off in the comic itself.

Indicating a payoff somewhere down the line is the heart and soul of both marketing and storytelling, by the way, so this is doubly relevant for cartoonists. Think about what you want people coming to your site should see first, and what would make someone want to start reading your comic. Keeping them clicking ‘next’ is mostly up to the comic after that, but you can decide where people show up first.

For my landing page goals I want to redo my ‘about’, and redesign the layout of the main page (which is also the template for the archive pages) quarterly, with minor monthly tweaks. I remember reading about a computer science class which was divided into two sets, each divided into groups and tasked to solve the same problem. One set were given six months to learn theory and build a program to do XYZ tasks. The other set was given the same resources as the standard classroom model, and had to present their projects every two weeks.

The final projects of both groups were graded by an external assessor. Rated only on the final project submitted at the end of the year, the group that had been submitting their projects every two weeks performed consistently higher than the group which had taken their time every step of the way.

Early on in your development process, the quality of each individual iteration matters less than the frequency with which you implement changes. I’m thinking about decorating the site for christmas, maybe moving some of the banners around, put up some wallpaper and fiddle with the colour scheme, that kind of thing. I’ll have to take it down after Christmas and put up something a bit more seasonally appropriate to January, but that’s kind of the point.

That’s really more a strategy than a goal, but I’m a little over my word count at this point so we’ll continue this on the next page.