His is a universe filled with monsters and aliens. With blood and bravery. With murder…and football.

SciFi/horror author Scott Sigler is a New York Times bestselling author. His books are sold around the world. He’s been written up in Time Magazine, the Washington Post, the New York Times, and Entertainment Weekly among others. He calls himself the Future Dark Øverlord and his loyal following of self-proclaimed “Junkies” flock to see him whenever he’s on tour.

And Scott Sigler has given every one of his books away–for free.

When content marketing creates a cult following

Scott Sigler made a name for himself by doing something many in our copyright-obsessed society would consider crazy, but that he called a “no-brainer.”

In 2005 Sigler released his novel, Earthcore, as the world’s first podcast-only novel. Countless individuals (including yours truly) discovered Earthcore for free on iTunes, and became hooked. The podcast is 20 serialized episodes filled with suspense and Sigler’s trademark blood, guts, and aliens.

Since then Sigler has released (if my count is right) 11 more podcast novels–all of which are available free of charge via iTunes or ScottSigler.com. But Junkies don’t just take advantage of the free content; they buy. They’ve bought enough to land Sigler on both the Amazon and New York Times bestseller lists.

So What?

So content marketing works. Giving away free content lets people learn about your brand, learn that they like your brand, and learn to trust your brand to deliver quality goods. And the best part is that your content doesn’t have to come in any sort of pre-defined format. (Remember, there was no template for Sigler to follow, his was the first podcast novel, a form that many have since copied.)

If they try you out for free, they become lifelong customers.”
-Scott Sigler

Podcasts, videos, white papers, blogs, infographics, games. They’re all content. And if they’re useful and/or entertaining they’ll earn you a following. A following that is likely to either buy or evangelize your brand to others.

Content marketing as a stepping stone to relationship marketing

Sigler is a truly gifted author, but he has also mastered the art of interactive marketing. He regularly communicates with his fans via social media, blogging, and forums. He acknowledges individual Junkies in his podcasts, invites everyone to participate in live events, and actively encourages fans who create stories or art based on his fiction. He even goes so far as to name characters after Junkies (and then, as any good Dark Øverlord would, unceremoniously kills them–which is considered an honor).

Today’s marketing is all about relationship building: listening as well as speaking to your audience. It’s no longer okay to just push content or products or services out into the public. You need to interact.

Wondering how you can use content to build relationships with your customers? Get in touch. I’ll be glad to help you build a multi-faceted, interactive marketing campaign for your business.

And if you’re looking for a thriller to enjoy this Halloween, I highly recommend Scott Sigler’s Nocturnal or Infected.