Originally published by Smith Publicity, Jan. 29, 2015
My heart sank as I sat in a boardroom for almost four hours while the CEO, after arriving late, was pulled away, repeatedly, to answer phone calls. Meanwhile, the company president attempted to fill in by explaining the promotion they planned to launch at all of their store locations. However, it took the ad designer, the general manager, another consultant, and myself—a contracted writer and new media specialist—a good twenty minutes to attempt to pull out the very basic “who, what, where, when and whys” of the event to simply write a press release, let alone stage an entire media campaign. These questions, we were told, could be answered by phoning and emailing a handful of other people, who, I’d come to learn, either had no knowledge of what was happening, had been given misinformation, or were simply too busy to answer my inquiry.
Getting Rid of Silos
The scenario above applies to missteps that often occur within any marketing campaign, whether it’s books, services, speaking engagements, etc. In this case, we lost valuable time and the company spent three times more than necessary in contracting fees because, within the company, there were silos. The hand didn’t know what the proverbial foot was doing, and sometimes, the hand and the foot happened to be doing the exact same thing.
When planning a marketing and publicity campaign for your book, make sure that all your team members know the big picture and are willing to collaborate. For example, if you’re hiring a writer to develop content for your website, the information going on those pages needs to be shared with the publicist writing your press release and preparing media pitches on your behalf. Your social media specialist needs to know when the publicist is sharing those pitches with the media to time when that same information can be shared across Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and wherever else you have an online presence. If your “team” consists of only you and your publicist, you still need to work closely with him or her to time your content and campaign. Consider creating an editorial calendar to manage the information flow.
People who should be in the loop …
- Your publicist
- Your marketing and advertising team
- Your social media specialist
- Your web content writer
- Your events planner
- Contacts at venues where you are appearing
- Any other company with whom you are collaborating
Leveraging and Repurposing Content: Where are all the places I can share this content?This is the question to ask whenever you write anything related to your book or your industry. This is also the question to ask whenever a reporter publishes an article about you, or interviews you for television or radio.
Where content can be shared…
- Your website
- Your blog
- Your newsletter
- As a press release
- As a feature article
- On Facebook, LinkedIn (personal, business and/or groups pages), Twitter, Google+, Pinterest (with link backs to your website), Goodreads/Shelfari, Amazon author page, etc.
- In print and online ads
- On event boards (when applicable)
1) Blasting a single message across all social media platforms in a scheduled post is not recommended. Search engines not only prefer real-time engagement, but they are looking for fresh content. Additionally, the content management system for each site is different, and if your message is not tailored to each platform, it will get truncated. Therefore, edit the content to fit the platform where you are sharing.
2) After you’ve gone through an entire publicity campaign and have interviews and reviews as a result of what you’ve sent out to the media, circle back and repeat this process by “re-sharing” the information being published about you as it comes in. It is the social media version of a persuasive speech: Give them the message; repeat what you just said, and close by summarizing it a third time.
Reminder: If these content-sharing tasks are delegated among several people, make sure the team meets semi-regularly via phone, in person, or on Skype to ensure that everyone is informed and that your campaign is timed properly. For example, if a social media post drives people to your website for more information about an event, that event information needs to be there and up to date.
Falling in Love With Social Media: Who are all the people I can share this information with?
While your publicist will be targeting editors, reporters, producers, book reviewers and anyone and everyone within your industry or genre, others on your team should be sharing relevant information with fans, potential readers, and those who you may have participated in a book-signing event. This involves not only posting to social media, but making sure that post reaches your target audience. It can be time consuming, so you’d better be prepared to love social media—or contract someone who is. The plus side is that social media is one of the least expensive forms of advertising, and can be one of the most effective.
There are four wonderful tools for tying your information together and getting the brand (that would be you, the author) out to the public, extending that social media reach as far as possible. They are:
- Hash tags
If you gave a reading or led a presentation, tag the host’s business page on Facebook and Twitter. You’re not only likely to have your post shared with their list, but you’re also giving props to them on your page. Use hash tags that relate to the topic in which you are posting. Also, work with your marketing team to create a brand tag with the goal of tracking where you’re being talking about and helping you to show up on news feeds related to your genre/topic. If your publisher announces your book release on their Facebook page, share it on yours; do the same by re-tweeting on Twitter. If you had a great article published three years ago online, and you write a new, related, article today, make a reference to the other by linking to it. This does more than just get your message out, it helps you with online ranking as well. If you’re unfamiliar with these tools, ask your social media specialist for assistance.
Wrapping Things Up…
The message is, essentially, this: Gather your team. Make sure everyone is informed about your campaign strategy.
Map out your editorial calendar to stay organized. Leverage your content by sharing across multiple platforms; keep sharing and don’t give up. It may take several months before you start seeing a return on your efforts, but it will be worth it.