Monday, November 29, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
If you talk to any author, they will tell you that writing their book was the easy part – compared to marketing it and getting folks to buy it!
You can go to any bookstore and get a book on how to publish your book or do a Google search on book publishing. (I recommend Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual – he’s been called the guru of self-publishing). You can even get a good editor to help you with your rough manuscript. If you really don’t want to do that much work and want to get your book out fast, you can go to “iuniverse.com” or “lulu.com” and have books produced as you needed. This is called Print-On-Demand (POD) – great for first time authors; they take your word document and turn it into a book. Kinko's is even in the book producing game.
The production of a book is now pretty common. That’s why we see so many people doing books.
But are the books selling? After the books are back from the printer/publisher – the real work begins. It’s time to promote and sell your book. You have just opened up a business. Like any new business, you need a business plan plus extensive knowledge of the field you’re in and good advisors. A standard statistic you need to know according to book industry sources: there are over 150,000 new books published every year. And typically we see the same roster of authors on the New York Times Best-Seller’s list.
As a book publicist for over ten years in the Christian literary field, I see what flys and what fizzles. Before you embark on this costly venture (prepare to spend at least $2,500 up to $10,000 for editing, production and promotion), I would like to share with you what I’ve learned on what makes a best-seller:
1. Title – is it griping, interesting? Would one know what it’s about without reading anything else?
2. Cover – people do judge a book by its cover. Make sure it has enough punch to stand out on the shelves among the thousands of other books. Is it clean, neat and crisp – yet interesting? Hire a professional!
3. Endorsements – what others say about you is key. Who these people are is even more important. Pull together the “best words from the best people.” It will pre-sell your book before you even open your mouth.
4. Writer’s credentials – do you have anything else with your byline? Do you blog? Do you have an audience that actually likes what you write?
5. Knowledge of the Market the book will reach – and the author’s reputation in that market. The author must create a market for himself by really addressing the needs of that market, knowing that market and communicating the right message to that market.
6. Timing – in relation to other events going on in the world/society. Are there movies, songs or talk shows that are bringing up the subject you have discussed in your book? Do you read the newspaper regularly and respond with Opinion Editorials when they are discussing “your” platform/topic?
7. Advertising – targeting the right message to the right media at the right time. Consistently!
8. Media coverage – publicity. The frosting on the cake. Getting on radio, TV and in newspapers and magazine and Ezines. Consistently (with advertising too).
9. Distribution – If you want to be a best-seller you have to have your book available. Make sure you sign up with a distributor or wholesaler so it is accessible to bookstores. (Amazon is not national distribution…it is a website) Best-sellers are sold in real bookstores and they only order from distributors or wholesales. (See Sally Stuart’s Christian Writers Market Guide for distributors to approach. Note: You must have a press kit and solid marketing plan for them to consider you).
10. Word of Mouth – The best advertising. The more “buzz” you have about your book the better. How do you get people talking about your book? By engaging in their culture and creating messages in their media. Be relentless in your goal to be a “best-seller” – and it will happen if you commit to the publicity process and pray for favor.
Monday, November 8, 2010
Five Types of Story Pitches to Get the Media’s Attention
There are basically five types of stories the media loves to publish for the readers or share with the listeners/viewers. In order to get free publicity for your business or brand – you have to think like a producer, publisher or reporter.
So here are the 5 most frequently written news stories in print or broadcast media:
1. The Rags to Riches Story. Everyone loves these type of stories. So inspirational and people love pulling for the underdog and seeing them rise up to be “top dog.” Any time you can show “overcoming” obstacles in a pitch – that’s a good thing. The more dramatic the story – the better. Think about Tyler Perry. He is a media darling because he was once broke now he is rich.
2. The Outrageous Story. Something that will make people story in listen in a really busy world. Some type of event or incident that is so unusual that would make people go, “WOW.” The media loves sensational. Give it to them – especially in the headline of your pitch sheet. But no false claims or exaggerations. They will check you out – and if you have found out that you have “stretched” the truth or changed some facts, you can count on never contacting that journalist or producer again. You will be black balled.
3. The Controversy Story. This is an story that everyone has a strong opinion about and you feed one side and get “buzz” going. The controversy story is good when you are seeking exposure for say a novel that deals with this topic. You want to get people talking and by pitching the issue as a “devil’s advocate” you stir up readership/listeners/viewers.
4. The Celebrity Story. Anytime you can hook a movie star or rock star to a story or an event – you got a winner. Our society is celebrity driven. A brand name is worth more than money because it cuts through the clutter and gets seen, heard and celebrated. A good book to read on this subject is “Celebrity Leverage” by Jordan McAley.
5. The Piggy-Back Story. This is plugging into what they media is already buzzing about. Learn to be a “news junkie” so you know when you can capitalize on HOT stories. If they are talking about the World Series or the latest policy – try to pitch your story to fit with that. The more you be an added resource and offer a different perspective on an issue that is “hot” – the more the media will feature you. Once you’re in there, you can tailor your message to fit your agenda – but only after you have helped the reporter/producer out first!
Pam Perry, is a PR coach, social media strategist, chief visionary at Ministry Marketing Solutions Inc. in Farmington, Mich.
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Wednesday, November 3, 2010
This post is reblogged from Brian Solis (author of ENGAGE! and PR 2.0) from FastCompany.com
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What may sound like buzz words or mere hype, is actually the beginning of the end of business as usual. Welcome to the rise of the social consumer and a new era of social commerce. Look at the picture above and think about how physical and online stores can integrate the social graph into the shopping experience right now. The possibilities are limitless and we can introduce everything today.
From online to offline to online again, social consumers are checking into businesses, fusing online and offline engagement and influencing behavior and decisions in the process. These increasingly important acts of social exchanges are gaining in value and delivering benefits for both sides. As a result, social consumers now expect to be rewarded for their role in the socialization of your brand ... and rightly so.
Rumors are already swirling that the recently launched Facebook Places geo-location service will soon encourage businesses to offer deals in exchange for check-ins.
In a recent experiment, Gap offered visitors 25% off purchases in store, simply for checking-in. Gap executives realized that offering 25% off of merchandise was still profitable and also a small investment to make in social advertising via word of mouth, which extended from FourSquare to Twitter to Facebook to blogs and eventually traditional media. Yes, the same company that realized the negative effects of social media when it tried to introduce a new logo without consulting the social consumer, also learned how to motivate them to take positive action. A separate offer entitled The BlackMagic Event offered Facebook and Twitter users 25% as well as a free pair of jeans to the first 50 people who showed up in each location.
At a minimum, businesses are starting to realize that checking-in, Tweeting, Liking, and sharing are forms of social currency as well as a personal endorsement. Recognition is the least that a business can do to attract and incentivize social consumers. Introducing special offers and rewards is how we amplify these lucrative endorsements, extend brand reach and transform businesses into social objects where everyday people contribute to ongoing presence in social streams. The benefits are not only mutual, they are empowering.
Social Currency Shapes Experiences and Decisions
As discussed earlier in the series, F-Commerce, check-ins, updates, etc. are just the beginning in a rapidly evolving era of social commerce. New services such as Shopkick, introduce real-world incentives to recognize and encourage checking-in and might well represent the future for location-based marketing overall. Using mobile phones, consumers can check-in to a store to initially earn "Kickbucks." In addition, consumers are urged to scan barcodes to increase points and also learn about special deals. The service also uses special audio transmitters that can help determine where in the store the consumer is at any moment, to lure them toward exclusive offers and promotions simply by walking around.
Experiences shape experiences. In many ways, what we purchase is also symbolic of who we are and when we combine the allure of social media. It seems almost natural to share our purchases and experiences with friends who define our social graph online and in real life.
Not only are consumers broadcasting their location, but they're now willingly sharing their purchases as well.
I recently hosted Philip Kaplan, founder of Blippy, for a interesting discussion on (R)evolution where we explored the increasing volume of purchases broadcasting to the social Web. Indeed, a new genre of applications convert transactions into social objects with services such as Blippy, Swipely, and others, enabling users to connect their credit cards or e-tail accounts to their social streams.
For example, in Blippy, a purchase made on Amazon is introduced into the Blippy stream where followers can comment, review products, and share experiences. Uber users also syndicate their Blippy updates to Twitter and Facebook, sparking conversations around purchases and products across the social Web. But it isn't just emerging companies who are facilitating the syndication of transaction in social media, major financial organizations are experimenting with social influence and commerce as well.
As my good Lisa Grimm pointed out, Social Currency by American Express. Social Currency is a free iPhone app built on the Foursquare platform that lets users keep a wish list, share photos of purchases, and comment on friends activities, syndicating content to Foursquare and Twitter. Launched as a complement to Currency, its portal for providing financial advice for young professionals, American Express is placing transactions and intentions at the center of social networking, encouraging interaction and ultimately action through the social effect.
But, why would someone broadcast their purchases to the social Web you ask?
I have a theory ...
When a brand does its job right, it creates an emotional connection. The affinity it engenders contributes to who we are as individuals and how others perceive us. In the social web, sharing our purchases and experiences serve as social objects which are essentially catalysts for sparking conversations. At the center of this discussion is the product. Experiences, impressions, and perceptions cast bridges that link us together. As the conversation unfolds, the hub connects the product to individuals who not only respond, but also consume, where information directly or indirectly influences behavior and opinion. This form of subconscious empowerment seemingly build confidence according to some new research.
As social capital factors into the equation, these conversations represent touchpoints where positive experiences take the shape of endorsements and ultimately c0ntribute to the overall branding process.
Creating a Persona Through Actions and Words
A recent study out of The University of Minnesota demonstrates something that sociologists have long believed, our favorite brands contribute to who we are. Services such as Blippy or Social Currency actually contribute to the cycle of social maturation and lend to the idea that brands not only rub off on self-perception, but sharing these transactions help to fortify this vision we have of ourselves. The Journal of Consumer Research published the study, "Got to Get You Into My Life: Do Brand Personalities Rub Off on Consumers?" which makes a strong case for establishing the intangible relationship a brand may have with its consumer.
Authors Deborah Roedder John and Ji Kyung Park of The University of Minnesota set out to answer critical question, that is actually paramount in social media, "Why are brands such as Cartier, Harley-Davidson, and Nike so well-liked by consumers? One of the reasons is that they have appealing personalities."
As part of their research, women were given bags to carry around a local mall for an hour. Several were given Victoria's Secret bags, while others toted plain pink shopping bags. The study surfaced an interesting connection. Those women who carried Victoria's Secret bags felt more feminine, glamorous, and good-looking. On the contrary, those with the pink shopping bags felt indifferent.
These studies represent a harbinger of the importance of personal relationships and how they're fostered in brand experiences. Businesses must bring their companies and products to life. As other studies show, social networking is incredibly emotional. As I wrote in a recent post, "Once More With Feeling," some experiments show that as we Tweet, our levels of oxytocin rise.
As brands become more social and in turn, as experiences are socialized, the ability to forge emotional connections is instrumental in cultivating community development, loyalty, and advocacy.
Everything starts with intentions. Brands must now define the pillars of character, mission, purpose, and persona in order to foster desired engagements and outcomes. No brand is an island and we must now build bridges in order to connect our value proposition to customers and the people who influence them. The socialization of commerce begins with recognition of the social consumer and an understanding of what inspires them. It's then our responsibility to earn attention and establish relevance within their communities in order to also make them our own.
Reprinted from BrianSolis.com
Brian Solis is the author of Engage and is one of most provocative thought leaders and published authors in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis's research and ideas have influenced the effects of emerging media on the convergence of marketing, communications, and publishing. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSolis and at BrianSolis.com.
The Dawn of the Social Consumer | Fast Company
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