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Branding and Marketing Lessons From Publishing a Book

Monday, July 7th, 2014
Branding and Marketing Lessons From Publishing a Book Lauren Skidmore BurrellesLuce Fresh Ideas What is Hidden Public Relations PR Marketing Branding

Image posted with permission from Lauren Skidmore

by Lauren Skidmore*

You’ve written a book. Great! But that’s only the start of publishing. Even if you do public relations or marketing as a day job, marketing your own debut book can feel like shouting into a void, especially when you don’t have a built-in audience from a large publisher to do half of the work for you. My debut novel was released a month ago, but the work that went into marketing it began long before that. Here are three quick tips on how to jump start getting that book into the hands of readers.

Create an Online Presence

People need to be able to find you. The general recommendations are to pick two or three social media platforms to do, and then do them well. An author website is a must, even if it’s just a simple landing page – you can always expand it later, and you’ll be glad when you’ve claimed your domain name early.

Facebook and Twitter are also strongly recommended, but it also depends on which platforms your target demographic use. With a young adult fantasy novel, I split most of my time between Twitter and Tumblr because that’s where many of my readers are (and it’s where I have the most fun). I also use a Facebook page and my blog for big announcements so readers can always quickly find out what’s new with me.

Build an Audience

When I pitched my novel to potential publishers, one of the things they wanted to know was how many followers I already had online. As a hobby, I had a Tumblr with over 4,000 followers at the time – that’s 4,000 potential readers right there! Publishers don’t like to take risks, and if they see you already have thousands of potential buyers, that’s one more mark in your favor. Again, pick the place that works best for you. It doesn’t really matter whether you do this through blogging, Twitter, or elsewhere, just get that follower count high.

You also want to hold on to your audience, and newsletters are great for that. People can sign up and get updates right in their inboxes. I suggest only sending these newsletters when you have big announcements, such as a book release or promotions, and definitely no more than once a month so you don’t spam your readers. MailChimp and Constant Contact are two popular tools for creating your own newsletters, and if you’re under 2,000 subscribers, MailChimp is free!

Brand Yourself

What will people associate with your name as an author? For non-fiction writers, you should establish yourself as some sort of authority or expert in your field. You can write guest blog posts or maintain your own blog, participate in social media or forum discussions, or whatever you can think of to put your name out there.

For fiction writers, it’s a little different, although doing any of the above certainly won’t hurt. You’ll want to define your genre, as well as what you’re bringing that’s new. For example, my novel was essentially pitched to publishers as a Cinderella retelling in which Cinderella has to rescue the prince.

Genre? Fairy Tale Retelling. What’s different? Role reversal. My target audience knows right away if this was something they’d be interested in, as well as what makes it different from every other retelling.

The good news about doing all this early is that the groundwork will already be done when your release date is here, and you can hit the ground running on your next novel.  Because in the end, the best thing you can do is keep writing and keep releasing new material. Your books will begin to advertise for you as they take up more shelf space and loyal readers return to see what else you have in store.

***

Lauren Skidmore author What is Hidden BurrellesLuce Broadcast Public Relations PR MarketingLauren Skidmore is the Broadcast Keyperson at BurrellesLuce by day and writes by night. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English Teaching and double minors in Teaching English as a Second Language and Japanese. After graduating, she lived and taught in Japan for a year before returning to the United States where she spends far too much time on computers and the internet. What is Hidden is her first novel.

How Do I Monitor Content Behind the Paywall?

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
flickr user Horia Varlan under CC BY license

flickr user Horia Varlan under CC BY license

With the financial struggles of news organizations and the proliferation of free online content, paywalls are becoming commonplace. But how are you going to see all your coverage once all publications go paywall? As publishers have found new ways of monetizing their content, if you can’t get behind the paywall, it’s trickier to fully monitor your media mentions. As a monitoring service with licensing agreements, we are comprehensive and don’t face the legal woes and challenges of some aggregations services.

The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA) has even devised a new initiative to ensure companies are properly accessing content, and in case anyone thought the industry wasn’t taking this seriously, they’re even offering anonymous rewards of up to $1 million to those who report illegal use of content.

But how are public relations practitioners supposed to get a comprehensive picture of their media coverage if they can’t see what’s behind the paywall?

Enlist a media monitoring service that has licensing agreements with publishers.

Services like BurrellesLuce that have a turnkey copyright compliance program ensure users see the full picture of their coverage by providing content from behind the paywall that other services can’t access. To name just one example, our agreement with The New York Times means that our users are the only ones seeing all channels of their content. We have long supported publishers by ensuring fair use, via royalty fees, of their content within the public relations community.

Why is it so important that PR pros choose a service with licensing agreements? Because you want service you can count on, both in knowing that the provider can alert you to all content about your organization and that you don’t have unnecessary liability exposure. You also don’t want to leave yourself or your organization vulnerable to legal action for distributing content without proper licenses (review our post about what you need to know about copyright compliance for more on how).

It’s also important to choose a service with licensing agreements because public relations relies heavily on the media to help get out messages, reach an audience, and tell a story. For all of our talk of community, each time we copy and use an article without consideration for the author or fair use, are we being true to our cause, or are we being pirates?

How has your organization dealt with licensing and compliance, and what further steps are being taken to ensure compliance?

Four Key Findings from the 2014 Top Media Outlets List

Tuesday, March 18th, 2014
by flickr user Sean MacEntee under CC BY license

by flickr user Sean MacEntee under CC BY license

What’s the most circulated newspaper? What are the most visited blogs and social media sites? Every year, BurrellesLuce publishes its Top Media Outlets list to show the leading traditional and social media outlets in the U.S. according to circulation, visits, authority, market share, or DMA. Below are the four most notable things we learned from the latest Top Media Outlets list, which was published last week.

Want a copy? It’s free –  download it here.

USA Today takes the top newspaper spot

USA Today displaced The Wall Street Journal as the daily paper with the highest circulation. USA Today made a huge leap, gaining over 1 million subscriptions since our last Top Media Outlets List in June 2013. That large spike may be attributed to the paper’s digital editions, which were not reported last year. However, those digital editions are free of charge, and USA Today reported lower circulation revenue in the third quarter due to hotels moving from paper subscriptions to digital ones.

Blogs are gaining ground – especially BuzzFeed

Though The Huffington Post and BuzzFeed retained their number one and two slots respectively, Buzzfeed narrowed the gap significantly; in November 2013, BuzzFeed had its biggest month ever with 130 million unique visitors, which they attribute in part to Facebook’s algorithm change. Interestingly, every single top blog increased in Technorati Authority, so while marketers may bemoan that the algorithm changes hide their organization’s page updates, the bright side may be that it’s driving more traffic to content.

Google Plus is rising, but it’s still behind

Google Plus had a big year, and it jumped from number seven to number four on this latest Top Media Outlets list, displacing Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Yahoo Answers. That’s a big step for a social network still described as a ghost town. But it’s still below Twitter, and virtually light years away from Facebook and YouTube, social networks numbers one and two respectively. And while some researchers are predicting Facebook’s demise, it still posted an increase in visits share.

Instagram made it to the list

The most notable addition to the top social networks list is that of Instagram, which didn’t make it into the top ten on our last list. The photo-based social media site is not only popular with dedicated selfie takers, but it’s also becoming more of a marketing tool, so it might be time for brands and marketers to consider optimizing and leveraging Instagram.

Click here to download the 2014 Top Media Outlets list.

This Week’s Shot of Fresh: International Intellectual Property, SCOTUS to Rule on Broadcast Copyright, and Building Brand You

Friday, March 14th, 2014
flicr user wwarby under CC BY license

flicr user wwarby under CC BY license

Shot of Fresh is our weekly roundup of Fresh Ideas content.

U.S. Copyright Compliance Eyes Asia-Pacific

Enforcing copyrights and intellectual property protections isn’t just a domestic issue – it’s an international one. The Trans-Pacific Partnerships is a push to close the gaps on international property that could strengthen U.S. copyright protections in 12 countries.

Broadcast Copyright Case Headed to Supreme Court

Not just another hot news misappropriation case – this one deals with broadcast and it’s going all the way to the Supreme Court next month. Hold onto your copyrights, folks; SCOTUS’s decision could make for a bumpy ride.

Building Your Personal Brand

You aren’t just you anymore – you’re your own brand, so you’d better start promoting yourself like one. Tressa Robbins has excellent tips from St. Louis PRSA’s Career Development Day.

Jargonology Episode 8: Ninjargon

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

When I attended the PRSA International Conference in Philadelphia last October, I was not even two months into my time here at BurrellesLuce, and just over three months out of my job as a magazine editor in Beijing. Attending a lot of those conference sessions – informative thought they were – left me a little unclear as to what the speaker had been talking about: Scale? Big data? Social media ROI? To my newcomer ears, industry jargon sounded like just that – jargon.

Yada yada yada, Jargonology was born. In every industry jargon, while meaningful internally, sounds ridiculous externally. So we decided if you can’t beat ‘em, coin ‘em.

Which brings us, of course, to today’s season finale of Jargonology and this week’s word: ninjargon. Take a 30-second break, put your feet up, and enjoy the newest word to add to your jargon jar.

Most influenzers and advocados seek to become master ninjargons, however when they fail they end up becoming over-emojinative, require high rates of hashtagectomies, and/or causing severe cases of ringage exacerbated by socialocity. Ninjargons are found in high concentrations in narcissystems.

Got a new Jargonology concoction? Leave a comment or tweet us at @BurrellesLuce

See this on our YouTube channel

Cabinsketch font by fontsquirrel

Transcript

Jargonology with BurrellesLuce.

Today’s word is ninjargon. One who uses industry jargon in so stealthy a manner that its use goes almost unnoticed. Ninjargon.

How would one use that in a sentence? Like this:

The keynote speaker was such a ninjargon that I didn’t even notice my ringage flaring up. Ninjargon.

Jargonology: If you can’t beat ’em, coin ’em.