Dog Tweets–Story Telling for Blogs

Here are my Top 10 tweets from this past week, great for retweeting! If you missed these, follow The Publicity Hound on Twitter.

twitter birdStory Telling for Blogs #contentmarketing via @Patsiblogsquad ow.ly/KBrtG

11 ways to rule #Twitterchats via @PRDaily ow.ly/KBLm3

RT @MyDigitalAgent: A Funny Thing Happened During the 30-Day Blogging Challenge bit.ly/1LzIa0Y by @Synnovatia

Use Book Trailers in #MediaKits…You’ll love this collection of seven brilliant book trailers. ow.ly/KGYCK #bookmarketing

Writing a Blog? 51 Ways to Revive A Lifeless Business Blog ow.ly/KHAuK #bloggingforbusiness #bloggingtips

Big News: Google Loves Press Releases Now | @PRNewser @PatrickCoffee ow.ly/KK49N

9 #LinkedIn Publishing Tips That Can Build Your Visibility and Audience via @DeniseWakeman goo.gl/11eUxi via #sbzclub

How to Survive a Public Embarrassment with Smart #Publicity via @PublicityHound @webmoves_net ow.ly/KL86j

@Bookgal brings us tip 47 in a series of 52 ways to market your book! ow.ly/KL99g #bookmarketing

From @JaneFriedman How 7 Literary #Authors Collaborated to Launch a Box Set ow.ly/2Wp9T

 

 

 

How to Survive a Public Embarrassment with Smart Publicity

Boy with hands over eyes

By Jen Thames

The world is moving faster than ever. Everything is online.

Smartphones make it possible to record every seemingly private moment. And news travels as fast a tweet.

The odds of bad behavior going unnoticed are slimmer than ever.

You’ve seen seen those press conferences where a politician or professional athlete delivers a statement after being caught doing something embarrassing. You’ve watched brands go down in flames on social media over something an employee posted. And you felt relieved that you weren’t in that position.

But whether you represent a company worth billions of dollars, or just yourself, there’s always a chance something could happen to damage your reputation. Here’s how to deal with it when it does.

1. Plan Before You Speak

The moment something humiliating or negative happens to you (or your company or your brand—sometimes all three at once) address it publicly. Your first instinct may be to write and distribute a press release, or shoot off a tweet or a status update on social media.

All three are fine. But you also must be willing to face reporters, bloggers and others who have questions.

One of the best books that guides business owners and others in bad-news situations is Winning with the News Media: a Self-Defense Manual When You’re the Story by Clarence Jones. It covers print and broadcast publicity in addition to new media and offers step-by-step recommendations on how to respond. 

2. Control the Story

When a scandal or humiliating incident happens, the people telling the story have the power to control it.

If others are telling your story, you have no control. Just look what happened with Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. She addressed the issued in just one tweet, thus fueling a media frenzy that centered on speculation and a lot of unanswered questions. She eventually held a press conference but not until a week later.   

 

Hillary email tweet

 

Take control of your story as soon as you can.

Let’s say a pilot falls asleep in the cockpit and loses control of his plane. Just in the nick of time, he wakes up. He regains control and makes a water landing, with no injuries or casualties.

That story could play one of two ways. The first is that the pilot put everyone on the plane in danger and almost killed them. The second is that the pilot’s quick thinking and reflexes saved everyone that day. Both are technically true but only one makes the pilot look good.

3. Take Responsibility

The worst thing you can do when going through a public crisis is fail to take responsibility for your actions. Blaming others for things that happened on your watch is the quickest way to make your audience turn on you.

When Amazon customers found that their copies of George Orwell’s 1984 were deleted from their Kindle devices without notice or warning, CEO Jeff Bezos posted a message in the Kindle forums with an apology:

“This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our ‘solution’ to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we’ve received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.

With deep apology to our customers,

Jeff Bezos
Founder & CEO
Amazon.com 

But what about something your company didn’t do? Maybe it was something an employee did. In that case, you might not necessarily be apologizing for the problem, but for not catching it sooner or preventing it altogether.

Or perhaps you’re taking responsibility for not vetting staff properly. 

4. Move On

When all is said and done, remember that the more you talk about the incident, the more others will too.

After you’ve taken responsibility, it’s time to take a step back from the situation. Don’t respond to every new seed of the story. Get back to work. If you’re an actor, go make another movie. If your company makes dog toys, it’s time for another product launch.

A great example of this is Domino’s. In 2009, it was hit with a flood of bad PR after two employees filmed themselves violating public health laws by sticking cheese up a nose and blowing mucous on a sandwich. The video went viral, and Domino’s found itself unwillingly rebranded as the pizza company that does nasty things to your food. 

But instead of closing up shop and slinking into the shadows, Domino’s rebranded, changed its recipes, and launched a new ordering tracker that connected customers with the workers actually preparing and delivering the food.

Positive news like that can push the bad publicity further behind you.

Dog Tweets–A Book Marketing Truth Few Experts Will Admit

Here are my Top 10 tweets from this past week, great for retweeting! If you missed these, follow The Publicity Hound on Twitter.

twitter birdA Book Marketing Truth Few Experts Will Admit ow.ly/KpRq8 #bookmarketing

RT @RachelintheOC: The Dark Side of Selling Books buff.ly/1AWgtZv

You have until April 21 to make sure your website is mobile-friendly bit.ly/1BBV7fx

RT @HeatherLutze: #PR Tips From The Blacklist: How to Accomplish Your Media Mission | @Cision bit.ly/1GFhHbB

Free tool for radio show gigs, Radio Guest List. #publicitytip ow.ly/KrQ4

New Research: Content Marketing Performance ow.ly/2W1y0M #contentmarketing #contentmarketingstrategy

Business Blog Writing: How to Avoid Time-Suck via @Patsiblogsquad ow.ly/Kp1gj #businessblogging #bloggingtips

10 Ways to Get Your Book “Review Ready ow.ly/KpRfu #bookmarketing #authormarketing

RT @NinaAmir: Resource for #writers based on The Author Training Manual. 57 items to help #authors succeed! ow.ly/zn0IH #pubtip

#Authors: Detailed list of what your #Author #MediaKit must include. Free #tips today at 4 Eastern. bit.ly/1xA640N #authormarketing

 

More book marketing tips for fiction and nonfiction

Julie Eason podcast with Jule and Joan

This edited transcript is the last in a four-part series from an interview on Jan. 12, 2015. Julie Eason asks me about how authors can do their own publicity. Prefer audio? You can listen to the podcast on iTunes or on Stitcher Radio. You’ll find links to the first, second and third posts in this series at the end of this post. 

Julie Anne: All right, I’m all about action, I’m all about taking action and I love it when a podcast says, “OK, as soon as you hang up the phone or as soon as you pull into the parking spot and you turn off this podcast,” what action, what’s the first thing you would recommend that my listeners do as soon as the episode ends?

Joan: I’m not going to try to sell you anything. I want you to take advantage of my free content. I send my snack-size email tips twice a week, every Tuesday and Saturday. I’m paying more attention to authors and publishers, simply because there’s so many more authors and publishers these days than there were even two years ago. Everybody is a publisher today. Go to my website at PublicityHound.com. There’s a small white opt-in box in the upper left corner. Give me your name and email address and you’ll get your first tips on Tuesday or Saturday. It’s 100 percent free. You can go to my blog. I’ve got a whole separate category on author marketing and there’s a ton of free content there.

If you’re looking for something specific, send me an email—my email address is accessible from every page of my website—and tell me what you’re trying to do and I’ll be happy to help.

Julie Anne: I’ll tell you, listeners, I hardily recommend doing exactly what Joan just said because I have been on her free list forever and I’ve participated in her webinars and things and I have learned so much about publicity and all of the various tools that you can use to get publicity.

I’ve used it for my clients, I’ve used it for myself. If you do nothing else but go to the PublicityHound.com and you read through those things and you implement something that you learned there, you will be on your way to selling more books and making more money from your books. Absolutely, that’s fantastic.

All right, one last piece of inspiration or advice that you’d like to leave people with?

How Long You Need to Market Your Books

Joan:  Always be marketing, always. People say, “How long do I have to market my books for?” Well, how long do you want to be selling books? Do you want to be selling books for the next five years? You better be out there marketing for five years. But you don’t always have to be doing the same things. You can rotate these things:

  • Get out on the speaking circuit. It’s a great way to get in front of audiences.
  • Guest blog, that’s a way to market your books.
  • Create groups on social media sites like Facebook. Facebook can be a gold mind because there are big groups of people on Facebook, or small groups, devoted to specific niche topics. Go seek these groups. Go directly, form a relationship with the people in your target market. Don’t try to market to the world or you’re going to fail every time.

Julie Anne: Absolutely, always be marketing—always, always—no matter how many books you have out there. Your back list, I mean, Stephen King can tell you about selling from your back list. Your books are not going to go out of style unless they are about how to do Facebook and then you have to update it every week. But hopefully you’re not writing on that topic.

Joan:  Can I slip in one other quick tip?

Julie Anne: Absolutely!

Spin off Products from Your Book

Joan:  Most authors see their book as the end product. Smart authors see their book as the door opener to get readers interested and then to try to sell those readers a whole bunch of other products and services.

Julie Anne: Absolutely.

Joan:  That could be consulting, board games, calendars, speaking engagements, T-shirts, whatever.

Julie Anne: I’ve actually created one of my free giveaway reports on how to create back-end services and products. It’s unbelievable. I actually researched, I was like, “Stephen King merchandise, I wonder if he has any merchandise?” There’s an actual Stephen King catalog out there!

Joan:  Yeah, there you go.

Julie Anne: Where you can buy all kind of things  like key chains from hotels that are in his book. You can even get a Stephen King’s Simpson action figure.

Joan: You know what? I’ll bet there’s a Harry Potter catalog, too.

Julie Anne: Oh, there’s a Harry Potter theme park. You never know how far you can go with back end products and services. It’s really easy for me to rattle off things that you can do if you’re a non-fiction author, because there’s a million things you can do, especially if you’re a business owner.

But oftentimes fiction authors will be like, “I don’t know…I can’t have a back end unless it’s my back books.” It’s like, “Well, no, what did Star Wars do?” You can have as much merchandise as you decide to have. It’s all up to you.

Awesome piece of advice, thank you so much, Joan. This has been a fantastic call. If people want to learn more from you, how can they do that? One more time?

Joan:  They can go to PublicityHound.com, sign up for my free email tips. Click on the welcome video and it’s a warm welcome from me showing you some of the things that you can see at my site, sort of like a quick tour of my site, and some ways to stay in touch with me.

Again, please feel free to ask me a question about book publicity or publishing. I’m very generous with information. I answer my own email, and I love authors.

Julie Anne: Listeners, remember you can find all of the links and resources and everything from this episode on our website, SuccessfulAuthorPodcast.com.

One final thank you so much, Joan, I really appreciate your time.

Joan:  Thank you, Julie, and thank you, authors. Go out there and get some great publicity to sell books!

Julie Anne: Awesome! Until soon, everyone, bye-bye.

See All Blog Posts in This Series

Part 1: How authors can start do-it-yourself publicity

Part 2: How to identify the target market for your book 

Part 3: How to get book publicity from newspapers, TV

Part 4: More book marketing tips for fiction and nonfiction

 

How to get book publicity from newspapers, TV

Julie Eason podcast with Jule and Joan

This edited transcript is the third in a four-part series from an interview on Jan. 12, 2015. Julie Eason asks me about how authors can do their own publicity. Prefer audio? You can listen to the podcast on iTunes or on Stitcher Radio.  Part 4 will be published here tomorrow.

Julie Anne: Let’s say we actually want to find our readers among the “Today” show viewers or New York Times readers or whoever, even the local Bangor Daily News. I live in Maine. What if we want to get that traditional media coverage. How do authors go about doing that?

Joan:  I hear—and you probably hear this, too—“I want to be on Oprah,” “I want to be on the ‘Today’ show,” “I want to be on Fox & Friends.” First, if you’ve never done TV in your life, you have no business pitching the ‘Today’ show or ‘Fox & Friends.’ OK? I want you to go to your local TV station in Bangor, Maine and try to get on the small channels, even if it’s public access TV.

You say, “Nobody watches public access TV.” Get on it anyway because it will help you make your mistakes in front of the camera, so that by the time you’re getting onto bigger and better shows, you’ve made all your mistakes on TV and you’ve learned from them. I promise you, you will make mistakes. I’ve made mistakes on news shows I’ve been on, and I learned from them.

Start low and work your way up.

Weekly Newspapers Want Local News

If you’re trying to get into print media in your own community, try your weekly newspaper. Their bread and butter is local news, versus the daily, which has a lot of information from the wire services.

Go after the weeklies, talk about your work as a writer or editor.

In little my little weekly here in Ozaukee County, Wisconsin, there was a story about a woman author. What was her book about? I can’t even remember. She’s a local author, she’s older and her book has something to do with the environment. She got about a quarter of a page story with a photo showing her holding up her book. The story refers to her West Coast book tour and why she’s written it and all of this. Newspapers love those stories because you’re a local hero.

How to Pitch Journalists

Julie Anne: Absolutely. What’s the best way to get a hold of the journalists or the people involved in actually producing these stories?

Joan: Email.

Julie Anne: Email?

Joan: In general, it’s email. Before you pitch anybody—anybody—and this is a cardinal rule and you better not break it because if you break it, you’re probably not going to get publicity. You need to research the media outlet you’re pitching. You need to know who their target market is and what their audience needs.

You should also know if they’ve covered your topic in the past because if you pitch a story idea that they just covered last month, they’re going to know that you probably don’t read the publication.

Julie Anne: I was going to say sometimes it’s a good thing that they’ve covered it before though, because if you know they cover local authors and what they’re doing with their books, then there’s a good chance that they’ll cover you, too. But if it’s not a regular monthly column or something, you may want to wait a little bit of time before you start pitching them.

Joan: OK, good. You see the author’s story in the local Ozaukee Press where I live, and let’s say I’m an author and I pitch myself. I may wait a month or two and when I pitch the editor, I will reference the story about the older woman author to let him know that I have seen that, i.e.: I read the story and I know you covered it.

Julie, I can see and smell an off-topic pitch from 20 miles an away. I get pitched a lot by people who want to guest blog for me. I get pitches from people who want to write about how to be a good salesperson.

Julie Anne: Right, and that has nothing to do with what your audience needs. This is all again back to target market.

Joan: Exactly.

Julie Anne: It’s the most important thing that you can understand. It’s not only what your target market is, but what are those media outlets? What are their target markets? That journalist’s Number One job is to keep those readers happy, otherwise they lose their job.

Joan: Right.

Publicity Mistakes New Authors Make

Julie Anne: All right. I know that you have a ton of strategies and you do webinars and all kinds of things online, teaching how to write press releases and all the tools you use and online and offline and you have a crazy amount of resources. Let’s go and switch gears into some of the mistakes that beginning authors make when they’re trying to publicize their books. We’ve already covered pull marketing or push marketing where they’re pushing out, “Buy my book, buy my book.” We’ve already covered target market. Are there any other big mistakes that we should avoid?

Joan: Well, the big mistake that I see a lot of authors making is that they don’t understand that their ideal readers and even ideal reviewers—and that includes readers—they’re all over the Internet and there are a lot of places that you might not know about and they’re in very tight niches. For example, most authors are familiar with Goodreads. Go to Goodreads and find those groups, find those niche groups of readers.

There are Goodreads groups that devote themselves to only one character in the Harry Potter novels, for example. You think that’s crazy. Why would they do that? Because they are in love, not only with the Harry Potter series of books, but with that particular character. They are passionate about talking about that character.

There are lots of reader review and recommendation sites and Goodreads is the biggest one. Barnes & Noble has one, Amazon has them, there’s one called Romance Times. If you just do a Google search for reader review and recommendation sites, they are all over the internet and that’s one of the best places to find readers.

Julie Anne: Awesome. Finding your readers and going directly to them and setting yourself up as an expert, really the best way to get that public outreach that you need in order to sell your books and sell your products and services.

 

Part 1: How authors can start do-it-yourself publicity

Part 2: How to identify the target market for your book 

Part 3: How to get book publicity from newspapers, TV

Part 4: More book marketing tips for fiction and nonfiction

Tools to Help You:

How to Get on the Local TV News Tomorrow
Where to Find Millions of Readers Online to Review, Recommend & Buy Your Books.
How to Ask for Book and Product Reviews from Bloggers, Journalists & Consumers

How to identify the target market for your book

Julie Eason podcast with Jule and Joan

This edited transcript is the second in a four-part series from a podcast interview on Jan. 12, 2015. Julie Eason asks me about how authors can do their own publicity. Prefer audio? You can listen to the podcast on iTunes or on Stitcher Radio. Part 3 will be published here tomorrow.

Joan: When you market your book, it’s not only push marketing. It’s not only about pushing the message out there and finding that target market. It’s positioning yourself, online especially, that makes it easier for your target market to find you when they’re searching for the kind of information that your book includes.

Julie Anne: Exactly. That’s the key to why people feel sleazy or dirty or very uncomfortable with marketing themselves or their book: they feel like it has to be push marketing.

Joan: Exactly, yeah.

Julie Anne: “I have to advertise.” But when you say “position yourself” and you set yourself up so that other people come to you, it’s completely natural and it feels good and it’s helping people the way that you intended to help them with your book.

Market Your Expertise, Not Only Your Book

Joan: That’s correct. The reason I think people feel lazy is because they hate what they see a lot of other authors doing. What do most authors do? You and I have seen it all the time on social media—”buy my book, buy my book, buy my book.” We are so sick to death about hearing “buy my book,” and they don’t want to do that. My advice is don’t market only your book. Market your expertise. That’s a big mistake I see so many authors making. They want to sell the book when they should be selling their expertise, too, within a particular niche or within a particular topic.

Julie Anne: Now, how does that apply if it’s fiction?

Joan: Let’s say you’ve written a Civil War romance novel. You can position yourself as a romance expert as well as a Civil War expert because I’m assuming that before you’ve written your novel you’ve done a lot of research on the Civil War to make sure that the book is historically accurate.

Julie Anne: Exactly. I don’t know about a romance expert, but maybe a romance genre expert. [Laughs]

Joan: Right, right, or whatever. That’s where so many authors drop the ball. They’re concerned only about the book being the end product when they fail to understand that the product is really what’s in their heads. Also, expertise is not only about what you know that’s in your head. It’s about what you do with that knowledge.

Julie Anne: Exactly.

Joan: Do you speak? Do you write? Do you create products? Are you a mentor? Are you a coach? Do you podcast? Do you lead Meetup groups? Are you the moderator for a LinkedIn group? All those are things that experts do.

Create Publicity for Topics Tied to Your Book 

Julie Anne: Even if you’re a comedy writer and you do stand-up comedy, all you do is entertain. Sometimes fiction writers will say, “All I’m doing is entertaining with this book. It’s just supposed to be enjoyable and fun.” That’s OK! Your book is still a product, but it’s not the only product that you’re ever going to produce if you plan to make this a career or if you plan to make money from this book. It’s got to be something bigger than the book.

So when we’re talking publicity, we’re talking bigger—and this is probably going to lead into another strategy, I think—you’re trying to get media attention and you focus only on the one book. Sometimes that cannot hit as well as if it’s something that’s a greater expertise or a greater topic that the book happens to help with.

Joan: Exactly. So many authors are pushing themselves as authors. Authors are a dime a dozen. They’re everywhere. I mean, the free tools online have made it so easy for everybody and their mother to be an author. There are millions more authors today than there ever were. I recommend you differentiate yourself by first being an expert and you pitch yourself that way: “Oh, by the way, I happen to be an expert who’s just written a book.”

Julie Anne: Absolutely. All right, let’s get into the next strategy. We’ve got target market, make sure you know who you’re talking to, what’s the next thing that authors should be able to use to promote your books?

Joan: Gosh, I’m going to go back to the topic of expertise and to do things that experts do, because I don’t think we’ve spent enough time on that. A lot of people think, “Well, I’m not an expert, I’m not the person who knows the most about my topic in the world.” You don’t have to be. Expertise has many levels of expertise.

The Various Levels of Expertise

Joan: I want to take some time to talk about this because a lot of authors feel sleazy trying to position themselves as experts. Let’s go to the bottom rung of the ladder of expertise.

What is an expert at the bottom rung of the ladder? It’s somebody who can talk extemporaneously about a topic and answer questions about it—let’s say for 30 minutes. Like if you were going to go out to lunch with five people and they were to throw questions at you about your topic, you should be able to answer those questions.

Then the next highest rung of the ladder would be somebody who cannot only answer questions on the topic, but who maybe teaches about the topic. There are various levels all the way up to the top of the ladder and that would be an expert who has a long track record of being at the top of their field.

They’re frequently sought out by the media, they’re sought out to do interviews like I’m doing right now with you, with podcasters, journalists and bloggers. They write for other publications. They have patents and trademarks and copyrights.

Expertise: Not Just What You Know But What You Do

Remember that expertise is not only what’s in your head, it’s about what you do. Here are some simple things that authors can do to start to build that resume of being an expert.

Go on to LinkedIn and join some LinkedIn groups that include your target market. Don’t only join author groups on LinkedIn. So many of these authors concentrate on author groups and they’re all marketing their books to each other. Go find your target market on LinkedIn and join LinkedIn groups where your target market is hanging out and answer their questions within the groups.

Throw out questions of your own. Share tips and valuable information. You can also start your own group on LinkedIn. You might start a Meetup group in your community, especially if you’re marketing locally. Anybody can start a Meetup group.

We’re talking on a podcast right now. Start podcasting. Start blogging. Even if you don’t want to start a blog, you can still pitch guest blog posts to other bloggers and write not about your book but about your area of expertise: “Oh by the way, I’ve written a book and here are five tips that I’ve excerpted from it.”

Julie Anne: Right. If you’re putting your expertise out there, they’re going to naturally be curious about what’s in your book, especially if you’re giving really great value. You’re helping people, answering their questions, and you sound like you know what you’re talking about because you’re setting up that expert status.

Of course they want to find out what’s in your book because it’s going to be even better and more in-depth. That’s how people think to themselves, “Oh, I need to read their book.” Not because you said, “Buy my book,” or “Hey, check out this free book, it’s 99 cents on Amazon,” or something. It’s because you have presented yourself as an expert, just like Joan said.

This is pull marketing, where you’re setting yourself up as an expert and they’re coming to you and they’re going, “Oh we need to read your book, I need to find out more about this topic and since I can’t talk to you in person, I can read your book about it.”

Why You Should Join Many LinkedIn Groups

Joan: That’s right. If you go to LinkedIn, it’s astonishing how many groups are on LinkedIn. I’m going to give your authors a really good tip. LinkedIn lets you join a maximum of 50 groups. I recommend that you join about 47 or 48 groups on LinkedIn and that will give you the option of joining two or three more groups if you come across one later. Why join so many groups? Two reasons.

First, anybody can contact anybody else within their own group and send them a LinkedIn email message without being a first-, second- or third-degree connection.

Julie Anne: Right, exactly.

Joan: Think about that. That’s powerful!

Julie Anne: You’re connecting directly with your readers and you’re connecting directly with the people who you’ve identified as people who should be readers.

Joan: Not only that, but with influencers, too.

Julie Anne: Yeah, influencers. We want to talk about borrowing other people’s audiences. It’s one of the best ways to go out and find your target audience. Find the people who already influence those people and then find a way to get in front of them.

Joan: Right. It also makes it easier for people to find you. If you’re in 50 LinkedIn groups and somebody is searching LinkedIn Groups for someone with your expertise using keywords, your name will come up more frequently if you’re in 50 groups versus if you’re in only 5.

(Note from Joan: You can control exactly how often you receive emails notifications from each group. I recommend that if you’e in a lot of groups, choose only the five or six that are most important to you, and specify how often you want to receive notifications from each one. Turn off notifications from all the others.) 

Julie Anne: Absolutely. All right. So we’re sort of bypassing the media and going directly to the readers.

Tomorrow: How to get book publicity from newspapers, TV

See All Blog Posts in This Series

Part 1: How authors can start do-it-yourself publicity

Part 2: How to identify the target market for your book 

Part 3: How to get book publicity from newspapers, TV

Part 4: More book marketing tips for fiction and nonfiction

What journalists don’t tell you about your Author Media Kit (free training March 19)

edward vilga and belle

I’ve worked for almost four decades as a newspaper reporter, editor, freelance writer, publisher and blogger. And I know this is true:

Fact 1:

If a writer needs a few paragraphs of bio material for a story she’s writing about you, she can grab your Media Kit, highlight exactly what she needs, save it to her clipboard and insert it into her story.

Fact 2:
Journalists almost never check facts in your bio, unless they’re working on an investigative story. Does that mean you can stretch the truth? Never. It just means they rely on you tell the truth and give them enough facts so they can report on you and your book without doing a extra research.

Fact 3:

Weekly newspapers and small dailies that can’t afford to send their own photographer to your event will look in your Media Kit and see if there’s a photo they can use to accompany their story. If they find what I call an environmental photo, like the one above of author Edward Vilga and his dog, Belle, they think they’ve struck gold! They won’t hesitate to use it. And they’ll usually credit the photographer. (In this case, it’s Jonathan Pozniak.)  

Fact 4:
 
If they’re writing about your book, but not reviewing it, they usually won’t read it because they don’t have time. They’ll look through the Media Kit for a page of testimonials or “blurbs” to get a feel for how well it was received. 

Fact 5:

If journalists can’t find an easy way to contact you, they might forget about covering you. When I was up against a tight deadline in my reporter days, I had no time to thumb through the phone book looking for “Robert Smith” and learning there were 13 of them in the town I covered. It’s so much easier to just call someone else who’s readily available and easy to reach.

Make It Easy for People to Promote You

What else do journalists, bloggers, freelancers, broadcasters and others need to give you and your book publicity? Find out on Thursday, March 19, 2015, for a webinar on The Indie Author’s Guide to Creating a Killer Media Kit from 4 to 5 p.m. Eastern Time. Book publishing expert Joel Friedlander will join me for a fast-paced trip through the ideal Author Media Kit.

We’ll explain how to use and how not to use it. And we’ll introduce you to a tool I’ve created that will shave entire weeks off the tedious task of creating your own Author Media Kit from scratch.  

One lucky person who joins us for the free call will win a half hour of consulting with me, a $150 value. Register even if you’re only thinking about writing a book. Once you get started, and the closer you are to launching it, the busier you’ll be with a million other marketing tasks. That isn’t the time to figure out how to build a Media Kit.

Learn it now. Register here.

How authors can start do-it-yourself publicity

Julie Eason podcast with Jule and Joan

This edited transcript is the first in a four-part series from an interview on Jan. 12, 2015. Julie Eason asks me about how authors can do their own publicity. Prefer audio? You can listen to the podcast on iTunes or on Stitcher Radio.  Part 2 will be published here tomorrow.

Julie Anne:  Well, hello, and welcome everyone to the Successful Author Podcast. I’m Julie Anne Eason and I want to ask you a question.

Do you think your book might sell more copies and help more people if you could land an article in a major newspaper or magazine? Would a TV spot on the “Today” show or your local nightly news be useful to your career? Do you dream of getting great publicity but you can’t afford to pay for an expensive PR agency?

If so, you’re going to love today’s interview. I’m here with Joan Stewart, also known as The Publicity Hound. She’s going to share with us the best do-it-yourself publicity strategies so that you can get the media attention that you and your book deserve and need.

Joan Stewart works with business owners, nonprofits, and organizations that need free publicity in traditional and social media. For almost two decades, she’s trained and coached thousands of people on how to get free publicity that helps them establish credibility, enhance their reputation, position themselves as experts, sell more products and services, and promote their favorite causes or issues without an expensive publicist. She helps people through her live events, her online training, consulting, and The Publicity Hound Mentor Program.

Joan is the author of 10 ebooks on publicity and PR and has contributed to more than 60 other books on various publicity and business topics. 

Welcome, Joan, I’m so excited to have you on the show. Thank you for spending so much time with us today.

Joan:  Hi, Julie! It’s great to be here. Hello, authors everywhere! It’s great to be here.

Julie Anne:  All right! Let’s jump right in. First I want to start off by defining exactly what is publicity in case people don’t know. Why is it such an important skill for authors to have?

Definition of Publicity

Joan:  Publicity is the art—and it is an art—of using other people or other websites or other tools to let the world know what you’re doing. That could be to promote maybe a book signing, it could be to let the world know about problems that you can solve.

In the old days, back when I worked at a newspaper, you had to basically grovel in front of traditional media and hoped that they covered you. Now those days have changed. Traditional media has become less relevant than it used to be, because there are so many online tools and websites that help you self-promote and get the word out there to either a niche or a mass market for next to nothing.

Julie Anne:  Awesome. Is this something that every author can develop themselves?

Joan:  Yes, but you’ve got to have a strategy. You have to be willing to do the hard work. Anybody who tells you that book marketing and publicity is easy and you can only do it in 15 minutes a day, they’re lying to you. It’s very hard. So many authors don’t want to market. The authors who are in my Mentor Program and many of them who I’ve consulted with over the years feel deceitful, or they feel dishonest or even dirty when it comes to marketing.

Julie Anne:  Yeah, what’s what with that? [Laughs]

The Importance of Book Marketing 

Joan: I don’t know. I tell them, “Get over it!” Because unless you embrace marketing your book as a major task that you have to do—and I’m assuming that people do not have money to hire expensive publicists, they’re very expensive—unless you’re willing to do that, don’t bother writing a book. Unless, of course, writing a book and spending all that money writing and marketing a book is just a fun little hobby for you. Then you don’t have to market. But if it’s not a fun little hobby and you’re using it to build a platform and to promote your expertise and to attract raving fans—you’ve got to be out there constantly marketing your book, period.

Definition of Book Marketing

Julie Anne:  Marketing your book is all about letting people know why they should buy your book, but not only buy it, but what value you’re going to give to them, what you can help them with, how you can solve their problems. Nobody knows that better than you do because you wrote the book. 

Even if you’re spending thousands or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars on a publicist, that publicist doesn’t know your book as well as you do and they’re not as passionate about that book as you are. Even spending the money, even if you can afford to spend the money, it’s often, I think, a better idea for you to do your PR yourself, simply because you know the benefits of your book better than anybody else.

Joan: You bet, absolutely.

Julie Anne:  All right, so let’s get down to strategies. I love the practical strategies and the brass tacks. I know that forever, it seems that publicity, kind of like traditional publishing, sort of had this secret society shroud of mystery surrounding it and you had to have a secret handshake to get in, and you had to grovel, like you said, to hope that they would notice you. 

But that’s just not true anymore. Now there are so many ways, just like we can self-publish, that we can also self-publicize.

Let’s talk about the top three strategies that you think authors should be using to promote their books.

How to Identify the Target Market for Your Book 

Joan: Oh, there’s so many of them! I don’t even know where to start. Let me choose three very, very important ones. The first one is going to seem like a no-brainer, but it’s amazing, Julie, how many authors, have written books already—the books are already on the market—and they have no clue who their target market is for the book. 

Julie Anne:  Absolutely. 

Joan: I know this because when they work with me, that’s the first question I ask, “Who’s your target market?” Sometimes they’ll come back and say, “Well, everybody is.”

I say, “Really?”

And they say, “My Aunt Sally said she thinks everybody should read my book.”

Well, guess what? If your target market is everybody, that means you have to market to everybody and that’s impossible, as you know. Define your target market before you put one word on that document, before you write the first sentence. Identify your target market and ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Who needs my book?
  • Do they even want my book?
  • Where will they be able to find it?
  • Will they know where to look for it?
  • What makes my book different?
  • What about price, can they even afford my book?
  • How am I going to price it?
  • Does my target audience even read?

You may have a target audience that doesn’t want to read a print book or an ebook, they may prefer video or audio. The only way you know that is to ask people who are your ideal readers.

I learned this from one of my coaches, Perry Marshall. I heard him say this at a conference and it has stuck with me to this very day. He says, regardless of what you’re writing or what you’re selling, you should know your target market so well that you can wake up in the morning and write a page in their journal exactly the way they would write it. 

Julie Anne:  Exactly. People get tripped up on this whole target market thing and I think it’s because they think that they have to figure it out. They have to go out and find this target market, when in fact, where it comes from is it comes from you. Just like you get to decide who you want to sell to, you get to decide who your target market is for your book. Who do you think is going to benefit the most from this book? Who do you think you’re going to help the most? 

When you think about it that way and it’s not something you have to go find and search for, but it’s something that you create and you make up and you decide, this is my target market, it makes it a lot easier. 

Joan:  Exactly.

Tomorrow: How to identify the target market for your book

See All Blog Posts in This Series

Part 1: How authors can start do-it-yourself publicity 

Part 2: How to identify the target market for your book 

Part 3: How to get book publicity from newspapers, TV

Part 4: More book marketing tips for fiction and nonfiction

Dog Tweets–The 10 REAL Reasons Your Book Was Rejected: A Big 5 Editor Tells All

Here are my Top 10 tweets from this past week, great for retweeting! If you missed these, follow The Publicity Hound on Twitter.

twitter birdThe 10 REAL Reasons Your Book Was Rejected: A Big 5 Editor Tells All ow.ly/K7c2m via @annerallen #authormarketing

How to Add #Pinterest Descriptions to Your Images via @bethjhayden ow.ly/KcMQw #pinterest

5 Tips to Write a Winning Author Bio that Attracts Readers ow.ly/KcM9s #authormarketing

How to Use Facebook to Showcase Your Brand #Branding #Facebook ow.ly/KfJQM @PublicityHound @ivanserrano55

Top 5 #travel #blogs to follow in 2015 goo.gl/Z1VyLb via @uptourist via #sbzclub

3 reasons why you must include images in your #PressReleases: buff.ly/18g8oUh @prleads #PR @PublicityHound

Understanding #book awards and #contests via @Bookgal [INFOGRAPHIC] ow.ly/Kahvd

Google Search Algorithm Adds Mobile-Friendly Factors & App Indexing To Ranking ow.ly/K6Bo2 #google #mobilefriendly

7 Steps For Writing a Blog Post That People Will Read. #blogging ow.ly/K1aPB

IRS Completes the “Dirty Dozen” Tax Scams for 2015 ow.ly/K7LCE #taxscams #irs

 

How to Use Facebook to Showcase Your Brand

DIY Home Decorating

By Ivan Serrano

The question on the minds of Publicity Hounds and marketers minds is, “How do we keep up with all the changes in social media?”

Facebook, in particular, is notorious for making changes, without warning, that cause previously successful social media tactics to tank.

Regardless, this is part of the social media game. Social networks are going to do what makes the best business sense for them. You must be willing to accept this reality when you create your account.

That said, social media can be an incredibly effective way to promote your brand. The key is to make sure your brand delivers real value before trying to promote it.

Do the Work First

If your brand is basing its business model on a social media marketing tactic or even a social network per se, you are already skating on thin ice. Brands that don’t demonstrate solid expertise or offer great products are putting the cart before the horse.

Focusing on building an online or social media brand without first building a foundation for that brand looks like smoke with no fire.

A brand isn’t something you build with social media posts. It’s something you build because you’ve got a great product that delivers experiences that customers love. Make sure you’ve got something customers want.

If you do, and you know that your audience is on Facebook, you can use several effective strategies to gain traction with your target market without spending money on an ad.

Post What People Like to See

Images get more attention than text.

Scroll through your Facebook feed for a minute and then write down what you clicked on. If you didn’t click on anything, write down what you remember. Chances are, it was a post that had an image associated with it. Or, it was a post by someone with whom you have a strong personal relationship.

 

 

Those are the two things people want from their social media experiences: images and strong personal relationships. Of the two, images are easier, and, with the right content, can lead to stronger online relationships.

It’s Not About You

How many times has someone asked you to like their Facebook page? If you’re online even a little bit, you’ll get at least one such request every day.

The people and brands who take this approach, basically begging for likes, simply don’t get it. It isn’t about them and what they want. Building a brand is about delivering value to your audience.

The best way to deliver value is to provide memorable experiences that are more about value for the receiver than the provider. Here are some ways Facebook can be used to build a brand.

Help Others

If you have special expertise, sharing that expertise is a great way to build brand presence. If that expertise translates well into short video clips or static images, this may be your best brand-building strategy. DIY Home Decorating is a case in point.

With almost 3.5 million likes, this page is definitely a go-to source for many do-it-yourselfers. It uses its Facebook page to direct traffic to its website where it earns revenue from sponsored links.

 

 

Answer Questions

Brands are increasingly using Facebook as a platform for customer service. While about 20 percent of brands just use their Facebook pages for “push” style posts, the remaining 80 percent vary widely in the degree of engagement they promote with their audiences.

Socialbakers, a firm that measures a variety of social network activities, found in a 2014 study that brands that responded to at least 65 percent of questions from customers had audiences that were 3.4 times as engaged as brands that didn’t answer questions to that degree.

If audience engagement is one of your brand’s metrics, be open to answering questions on Facebook.

Make People Laugh

Humor is a great way to increase brand awareness without selling anything.

When you follow the 80/20 rule of social media—only 20 percent or less of social media posts should be sales oriented and 80 percent or more should be value-added and experiential—factoring humor into the mix seems like an obvious choice.

The Dollar Shave Club used humor on social media, including Facebook, to launch itself from an obscure startup to competing head-to-head with Gillette and Bic in the shaving space. 

 

Whether you are using video, cartoons, GIFs or other media to present humor, it’s a safe be that most folks will take a minute or two out of their day for a quick laugh.

Inspire People

Another popular visual element on Facebook is the inspirational quote. Regularly post inspirational quotes that resonate with your audience and your audience will look forward to them.

Don’t necessarily look to famous people or dead authors for your inspirational quotes. While these are great sources of material, and regardless of their universal appeal, much of what goes on in today’s world would seem foreign to the thinkers of yore.

Gold’s Gym does a great job of finding quotes that resonate with its audience. It’s Facebook post featuring a quote by Jean Paul, “No rest is worth anything except the rest that is earned,” was one of its most popular. Here’s another:

 

 

 

Provoke Thought

In addition to answering questions, this another great way engage with your audience. Whether you use a multiple choice vote, a fill in the blank, or ask an open-ended question, you’ll be surprised at the number of responses this method will generate.

Skittles asked a simple question: “What do you call the moment when you open a pack of Skittles?” This one post garnered over 5,000 responses. Can you really ask for more from a social media post?

Don’t Forget the Relationship

Regardless of how superficial Facebook may seem at times, people are really looking for relationships they can count on. To build an effective following on Facebook, a brand must walk a thin line between personal and professional personas. Doing this consistently by sharing content that involves and entertains them will, over time, build a solid and sustainable Facebook community.

The beauty of these techniques is that they are based on principles of social interaction, and are substantially independent of the technologies that Facebook may or may not change. While there no guarantees with social media, building communities based on proven social dynamics is the best way to avoid the ups-and-downs of this rapidly changing landscape.

 

Ivan SerranoIvan Serrano is a social media, business and finance journalist who lives in the Bay Area of California. Follow him on Google+.