Monday, November 11, 2013

Making the Most of Online Publicity

Just a few short years ago, publicity was fleeting.

Having been in this industry for more decades than I care to admit, I well remember booking radio interviews during drive time - because if potential readers weren't listening at that very moment, we lost them.

I remember carefully analyzing television news interviews to determine whether morning, noon or evening segments were most beneficial, based on the demographics of the audience listening at that particular time.

Newspapers seemed to provide more exposure because at least readers could find the advertisement or article about the author and the book after the day it was published - if they still had the newspaper.

Magazines were considered a boon because they remained on the store shelves for an entire month.

Today Drake Valley Press' first line of marketing involves virtual book tours. Yet, some authors seem to treat them as if they, also, are fleeting. They are not: they can be permanent and as such, they should be used and reused.

For example, we recently booked an author on a high-profile blog. She never visited the blog. Never mentioned it online. Just let it lie there like an orphan, expecting it to get up and grow by itself. When it didn't, she complained about our selection.

So let's take a lesson from this.

When the author is interviewed on a blog, the very least he or she can do is visit the blog. Leave a comment, letting visitors know you'll be happy to answer questions. Then check back and answer them.

Tweet about the exposure with a link to the blog. And don't assume that the blog is only good for one day. It won't magically disappear at midnight. It's still there - and the author can continue to get mileage out of it by continuing to tweet about it.

Did the author believe they said something of importance? Then tweet about it. Try different times of the day, different days of the week. Audiences vary and we've found new readers of some very old posts.

Prefer Facebook? Post about the blog. Ask your Facebook friends for their opinion or feedback. Think of ways to get your friends and followers to talk about it, debate it, discuss it.

You're a Pinterest fanatic? Find pictures of things you envision in your book - and tie it to your interview. You mentioned a scene with a murder weapon? Find one online and pin it. You mentioned a particular city? Pin pictures of it. Or ask your followers to pin pictures. Anything to keep the dialog and interest going.

One of our authors was asked in a guest interview which actor she'd like to see play the role of her main character. Realizing the actor was probably on Twitter, she looked him up - and found him. (Watch for the check mark beside the celebrity's name; it shows you're dealing with the official account and not a fan's version.) When the blog posted, she tweeted about it - and mentioned the actor by Twitter name. He picked it up, retweeted it and within two hours, the book sold over four hundred copies.

Don't assume that the number of comments equals the number of people who read the blog. Most visitors are lurkers; they read but they don't comment. It isn't unusual to get more than 200 visitors on a blog that has only 3 or 4 comments. One blog we used this summer received over 1,000 hits, though only a dozen comments were left.

The same strategy can be applied to the author's own blog. If the subject was worth writing about, it's worth tweeting, Facebooking, pinning or using other social media to highlight. And remember: it has no expiration date. Keep mentioning it, long after it has initially posted.

Do you have any blog strategies you'd like to share? Leave us a comment below!

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