Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
Recently I had two different companies come to the house for some home interior improvements. Both of these men pulled out their iPads and showed me samples of different designs to choose from. All I could think was: What did people do before iPads? And, how did we even get by growing up without iPhones in our hands? Change happens so fast that sometimes we forget what life was like before.
I have an old rotary phone out in the garage, and I keep it because it’s funny. A rotary phone used to be a staple of every house and now it’s a funny, bulky, outdated thing that kids today don’t even recognize. With technology changing at warp speed, we have to change with it, or we get left behind. Some stuff might be old-school cool, but some things are just outdated.
As a publicist, if I propose a book marketing and publicity strategy for authors with outdated practices, I lose credibility. Staying on the cutting edge of trends means knowing when it’s time to dump outdated strategies that don’t work and jump in with current trends that do.
So let’s take a look at what you might want to leave behind (kind of like those rotary phones), and what online marketing trends you might want to follow.
1. Give that outdated website a fresh makeover. Is your site cluttered and confusing? Does it look old school? Your website is your home base for all that you do online, so you want it to be up to date and professional. Make sure your site has a clear call-to-action so viewers know how to connect with you online and how to purchase your book. Update your website so your online presence reflects well on your personal brand.
Another crucial component these days is making sure your site is mobile-friendly. If you’re not sure, Google has a free tool to give it a test.
2. Enhance your media tour with a Twitter chat, webinar or live video. Meeting people face-to-face on a book tour is an invaluable opportunity to form relationships and build your community. And today you can enhance that tour by being available online. Whether you do a Twitter chat, webinar, live video on Facebook or a podcast interview, you can reach people so much more easily today.
You’ve probably watched live videos on Facebook already. They don’t take much time to do, and they allow people near and far to connect with you on a more personal level. You can talk about your book, share a story from it, or answer questions from your community.
3. Skip the press releases and media kits in favor of creating real relationships. I remember when I spent a good part of my time crafting an impactful press release. But now, press releases are definitely outdated. Our digital age is one of connection and accessibility—a blanket pitch to all media in the form of a press release is not only ineffective; it’s a sign you are behind the times. Same goes for media kits. All the information that used to go into creating a media kit can now easily be accessed online—bios, media appearances, company background information and FAQs.
Even in our tech-saturated world, it’s more current to reach out and form relationships with people individually and write personalized emails. Yes, it does take more time, but the effort is worthwhile.
4. Stand up and show up. Today’s readers want to know you. Even if you have an unfavorable opinion of social media, it’s in your best interest to join the conversation and develop an online presence. To make you more comfortable with the idea, think of your online presence as just another way of having a conversation with your readers. For people to take an interest in your book, more often than not they need to know you, and to do that they have to be able to find you online. (Think Google! Does your name pop up with a search?)
Start with a website. Then try a big social media platform with a Facebook business page. Soon your name will pop right up in a Google search. If you want your readers to show up for you, you’ll need to show up for them.
5. Forget trying to be well-rounded. The age of generalists is over. What is your core strength? Become a recognized authority in your field and own your area of expertise. So forget the idea of becoming well-rounded or appealing to everyone. If you build your social authority in a specific niche, you will be more successful.
One last piece of advice: one thing that will never be outdated with online marketing is being authentic. Don’t try to be anyone else. Lead with who you are, and double down on what works for you.
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