Checking it twice… Marketing checklist for 2018  

It’s that time of year when we check our (book) marketing list and then check it again. What have we done right? What have we done wrong? And, what should we add or delete from our list for next year?

I’ve been reading many articles on marketing trends for 2018 and to put it in the words of a global marketing industry leader, they are filled with “predictable predictions”.

Of course, the latest and greatest technology is always on the list as is focusing on the customer, making better use of data, and the role of the marketer. All of these are about getting down to basics and doing them well. Serving your customers or readers is always the most fundamental and essential ingredient of successful marketing as is staying in touch with them.

But, you ask, how do I get the basics right?

Here are a few helpful tips:

  1. First, plan ahead to take a strategic approach, stay focused and efficient, and meet your objectives.
  2. Consider your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats). Make a list and plan ahead for unforeseen changes! This is a time to be realistic and take a look at competitors/authors in similar genres. What are they doing that seems to work. Can you use this strategy or tool to your own advantage?
  3. Content is still king and the more organic and fresh the better. That means investing the time and money to make it interesting and informative. Sharing good, relevant information is always important. Ask yourself what and why this is good information for your followers and customers.
  4. Use tools like Google Analytics and social media native analytics to determine what is and isn’t working and how your audience is responding to your digital marketing. You’ll know what platform and type of post are working best, and the optimum time to post on social media.
  5. Think before you post to protect your reputation and brand! Develop a personal social media policy. Getting too political, for example, may offend current or future customers.
  6. Don’t neglect face-to-face or phone conversation. The art of the relationship is always best in person.
  7. Schedule your posts to save time. There are many useful tools such as Hootsuite or Facebook’s built-in scheduler that are free or low-cost.
  8. Always target your audience no matter where you’re promoting your product or book.

Choose a plan that focuses on strategy and sustainable growth. Build your program on a solid foundation and get help where needed. The best advocate for you and your product is you (and your publicist!).

 

(Reprinted from a blog post published on Priscilla Goudreau Public Relations & Marketing)

Get social in just 30 minutes a day!

Tina Siadak - Wedding Shower 5-3-16 010All of us are working on so many things every day that it’s hard to carve out time to connect with our friends and followers through social media. Let’s face it, some people enjoy social media more than others, and some are just better at it. But, for those of us hard pressed for extra time, what if it’s possible to build our online conversations in just 30 minutes a day?

That’s right, begin each weekday (or whatever time works best for you) with a 30-minute social media program. You’ll find that your social network will build quickly over time and hopefully, using it will be more fun.

Use the channels that are most familiar to you and your fans. And, those that fit your demographic e.g. women ages 25-55.  For example, if Facebook is a good tool in reaching your fans – one that you use frequently — this is a good place to start. I use Facebook, Twitter, blogs and email marketing. If there are others that work well with your book topic such as Pinterest, use those in lieu of these or in addition to your preferred social media.

Here’s a look at a five-day social media plan using just 30 minutes a day:

Monday

  • Brainstorm ideas for Facebook and Twitter posts that your fans and readers will find interesting and that relate to you and your book. Remember that you want to start conversations that others will respond to. Next, draft a few. (10 minutes)
  • Begin writing a brief blog post (300-500 words) about one of the ideas you came up with (10 minutes)
  • Connect/follow with those who have connected with you on Facebook and Twitter and search out new connections. Also, build the trending topics/hashtags into your posts so that they reach larger networks. (10 minutes)

Tuesday

  • Finish your blog post and post it if you haven’t already. Definitely use a picture if you have one or can find one without copyright issues. Make sure that you include a link to the post on your social media posts to gain greater readership. (10 minutes)
  • Respond to comments from readers (5 minutes)
  • Draft an email newsletter in Constant Contact or Mail Chimp with good information about your book topic that augments the information you’ve posted on your blog and that’s meaningful to your reader community. For example, if your book is about hiking in North Carolina, include a meeting of a hiking group or a newly discovered trail. (15 minutes)

Wednesday

  • Connect/follow with those who have connected with you on Facebook and Twitter and search out new connections; build the trending topics/hashtags into your posts so that they are reach larger networks. (10 minutes)
  • Respond to any comments on your blog (5 minutes)
  • Go through your Facebook and Twitter feed to respond to those in your network – be interested in them and they’ll be interested in you! Add new posts of your own. (15 minutes)

Thursday

  • Finish and send your email newsletter and then send out social media posts with a link to the sign-up page on your blog or website. (10 minutes)
  • Connect/follow with those who have connected with you on Facebook and Twitter and search out new connections; build the trending topics/hashtags into your posts so that they are reach larger networks. (10 minutes)
  • Go through your Facebook and Twitter feed to respond to those in your network. (10 minutes)

Friday

  • Respond to anyone who’s commented on your blog post or Enewsletter. If they express interest in your book, let them know the publish date or if already published, where they can get your book. Pre-orders prior to publication rock! (10 minutes)
  • Connect/follow with those who have connected with you on Facebook and Twitter and search out new connections; build the trending topics/hashtags into your posts so that they are reach larger networks (10 minutes)
  • Add new fans to your mailing list or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) database so that you can send them announcements about exciting upcoming events or happenings. (10 minutes)

Are you ready to give it a try at least for two weeks? If you get in the social media habit, I think you’ll be amazed at the results. Just remember to check your messages, especially on FaceBook. Your connections and conversations will grow exponentially but you have to keep them going. Bon chance!

 

It’s your party! 5 Tips for a Great Book Event

Burkhalter 1Here’s the awesome part! It’s time to tell everyone about your book. Hopefully, you’ve already launched your website or blog and built relationships via social media. So, the buzz has begun. Now, you can begin planning your book signing event or events. Your first step is securing your location/s. Then, begin planning for each event.

Follow these five tips for a great book event:

  1. here Once you secure your location, see work with the bookstore or other retailer. Speak to the person handling the event for the store and find out what she or he will do to promote the event. Most bookstores look to their authors to bring in traffic for the event so coordinate your own efforts with those of the bookstore.
  1. Then, follow create buzz for your book(s) with press releases that dovetail with social media including Facebook, Twitter posts and LinkedIn as well as email marketing via a newsletter or Call-to-Action marketing piece letting the media and your fans know about the event. You might offer a sample chapter and author information to your local newspaper, magazine and radio station and ask for an interview before your book signing. Your community papers and local radio stations are the best media sources for getting the word out.Burkhalter 5
  1. Develop collateral materials and giveaways including postcards, posters and bookmarks. Send postcards to friends and family with a handwritten note before the event and keep them handy on your table. Several posters displayed in the store as well as one at your table are great point-of-display items that will create interest. Also, ask nearby retailers if they’ll display your information, too. Contact special interest groups like the local Chamber, arts society, your book community, or any other group relating to your book’s topic.
  1. Practice your presentation and/or reading. This helps you be more comfortable in front of a crowd especially when you’re not following a structured speech. Many authors are more relaxed when they speak less formally but it’s always a good idea to have at least an outline of what you’d like to talk about. And, if you’re doing a reading, make sure that you practice reading the excerpt aloud on your own. Most authors talk for about 20 to 30 minutes and then open up for questions from the audience. Have a few of your own handy to get the conversation started.Burkhalter 4
  2. Have a friend on hand to help. When your table gets mobbed by readers as you hope it will, a friend can hand out bookmarks and giveaways, replenish your books, ask customers to join the email list, make announcements, and take pictures of the event. You’ll want to post these on social media as soon as the event is over with a short write-up about the event. Also, send it out to the same media contacts who may run a photo or two with a caption.

There are so many great ways to promote yourself and make the most of the event.  Have fun and do as much as you can to make it successful.  You can always add special touches like food, wine and a designer cake to make the event a celebration.  After all, it’s your party!

The Worst Advice We’ve Heard About Book Publicity

megaphone-kid-cropped1You must do a book tour

Ask a handful of published authors or better yet, go to a local book signing and discover why book tours aren’t a must for most authors. Unless you have an established following or are part of a larger group such as a YA panel, a book signing may be a bust. Bookstores depend on authors to bring in a crowd and often underestimate attendance.  I represented a Nashville author who wanted help arranging his book launch. The large-chain bookstore underestimated attendance and had to ask him to bring an extra box of books for the signing. If not for his personal following and our combined publicity efforts, he might be like the majority of authors who show up to only a handful of dedicated fans.

Why bother with a social media campaign?

Today’s industry standard includes a social media campaign. I know, I know, you’re a writer not a Facebook positor of trivialities or a “Tweeter” of the banal. But, believe me when I say that publishing contracts are sometimes awarded to those who have built a large fan base proving that people are interested in them and what they have to say. Start with social media that you like and that makes sense for you. Make sure you’re targeting your audience – Facebook is known to be popular with women, Google+ with men. Today’s book publicity is fueled by social media. Try it – you might like it.

Media outreach isn’t important

Let’s face it – it’s hard to sell yourself. Everyone (or almost everyone) has trouble with self-promotion. But if you’re self-published or even if you aren’t, media outreach is a crucial part of standing out in your community and in the larger book world. Not only should you seek stories about yourself and your book or books but also the crucial reviews that can help launch you onto a larger platform.

You have to be on Oprah to achieve success

This is a famous battle cry for wanna be top-selling authors. The gold stamp of approval is being endorsed by Oprah and it is, of course. It’s just really, really hard to achieve and an unrealistic goal for a beginning or modestly successful author. Yes, it’s important to reach for the stars but keep your feet on the ground, too. Look for media opportunities in your local community or groups. Branch out from there with targeted outreach to media in ever widening circles and don’t give up. It’s usually just when you want to quit that you get that exciting phone call from a journalist or radio show host who is interested in interviewing you.

Garner book reviews by badgering reviewers

Reviewers are people, too, and usually very busy people. Treat these contacts with respect similarly to journalists who have limited time to find out about you unless you and your book are interesting to them. Find out if the reviewer covers your genre and work to develop a relationship with him or her. Send a personalized email asking if he would like a copy of your book (and in what format) and then follow-up. It’s a waste of a good book if you send it to a reviewer who isn’t interested or just doesn’t have time.

Book publicity isn’t selling

As an author, especially a self-published author, you are an entrepreneur with a product to sell. What you need to do is become comfortable with the process. Whether you’re promoting your book through social media, media outreach, with a book tour or signing, or by giving talks in your community and at conferences, you’re selling. And, the best part is that it’s something that you’re passionate about. Get out there and have fun!