MARKETING MATTERS: Can You Hear Me Now?

Kathleen Y'Barbo

Blogger:  Kathleen Y’Barbo

Location:  The Woodlands, Texas PR Office

Weather: Soggy and 60s

For the past few weeks, I’ve enjoyed the spirited discussion on branding, and I hope you have as well. While there will probably never be a consensus on the issue, I think all would agree that at the heart of branding is the relationship between author and reader. So the question of the day is: Do traditional publicity methods such as radio and television interviews reach readers?

Almost every time I meet with a prospective PR client, the conversation turns toward interviews. Which radio and television stations will I be targeting? How many on-air interviews can the author expect? And the one every publicist dreads (and has heard over and over): Can you guarantee I’ll be interviewed?

I’ll take that last question first. Publicity is, by its nature, dependent on the whims of media and the timing of events. So, no, I can’t guarantee results from PR attempts. No publicist can. Nor can we guarantee that publicity will generate sales.

Given that there are no guarantees, where are the efforts paying off the most? Early research into social media shows that the greatest bang for the buck, so to speak, comes in using the Internet to connect authors with readers. Why? Readers are seeking out other readers online in greater numbers. They are also seeking out authors.

But what of those tried-and-true media interviews? Do they reach readers? I recently sat in on a discussion of this with in-the-know marketing folks. The consensus was that while a spot on Oprah or Good Morning America will likely cause a spike in sales, a radio interview isn’t going to do much for sales.

Truthfully, how many of you have run out and purchased a book, especially a novel, because you heard an interview with an author on the radio? A radio listener is not, by virtue of definition, a shopper. However, a person on the Internet is a mouse click away from a myriad of purchasing opportunities, especially if an author has made his or her website shopper friendly. Thus, while interviews have their place, I believe authors need to understand that they shouldn’t be the mainstay of book marketing.

What is an author to do to reach readers? Blog tours, Facebook launch parties, and other innovative publicity moves are just the beginning of the publicity being done by media-savvy writers.

What are you doing to reach your readers?

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9 Comments

  • Nicole says:

    This is always interesting, sometimes controversial. Writers who read differ from just readers. There are avid readers who select books strictly by word-of-mouth from friends or book clubs and who don’t even own a computer (which is getting a bit more rare these days). And there are readers who host authors on their blogs and, as a result, follow their interviews on radio, PODcasts, etc.
    Writers who read understand the necessity for publicity, their own marketing to generate sales, etc. But do they listen to other writers’ interviews, or read those interviews that don’t pertain to their associates or favorite authors?
    I’m probably the exception, but the overselling of novels bugs me. Every tweet, every Facebook post, every everything promotes the novel(s), and it just gets old. For me.
    I guess it comes down to perspective. In the bigger picture, is my novel so important that I have to shove it down people’s throats? No. No matter hwo profound it might be, there’s got to be a more meaningful way to get the message out there.
    Sorry if I’ve offended anyone here.

  • It’s the old “which came first, the great content or the marketing plan,” right, Kathleen?

    I was just reading how important video is for promoting to the online audience and I’m preparing to implement it into my online promos. We know video is fun & engaging, but when you’re competing in a huge market, such as Christian fiction, your book’s blog tour posts might not make it to page one of Google (unless one of your tour stops is already ranking high). However, video, (especially via YouTube since it gets preferential treatment from its big brother Google), often gets posted at the top of the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Because fewer people create video promos, there is less competition and you can often rank well and, therefore, get noticed quicker.

    You mentioned Facebook. That is big deal today. FB consistently ranks third (after Google & Yahoo!) in total web traffic. But many people don’t realize that only the “Pages” part of FB are indexed by Google, so if you’re using a “group” instead of a fan “page” for your book launch party, it won’t get the search responses from outside the realm of Facebook.

    I dodged the branding bullet for a long time but the more I learn about this crazy online marketing stuff, the more niched I become. Thanks for your post!

  • I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve bought a book I’ve found out about on radio and TV. Usually they are nonfiction books, but a few times they were fiction books. But then, I have a serious issue with books.

    Here’s the key for me–who is doing the recommendation? The last book I bought was recommended on Dave Ramsey’s TV show and called Find Your Strongest Life by Marcus Buckingham. It has this really cool quiz for women to take and I adore that sort of thing. (I added it to my blog.)

    What is really funny is that my husband (who hates it that I have books) actually was the one who caught the book title/author and told me, so I could go look it up. Being able to google the test, then find the book online was also key. I started on Dave Ramsey’s web site and didn’t find it. So my next step was to google it.

  • Susan Heim says:

    I agree with you wholeheartedly. I’ve never seen a significant impact on sales from radio interviews. Often, listeners are in the car and don’t write down the title. Once the interview’s over, it’s out of their mind. But with the Internet, they can order the book immediately or, at the very least, save it so they can return to it. Authors need to become savvy marketers on the Internet and make full use of Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and more.

  • Jessica says:

    I definitely think the internet is a great source. Radios and tv… no. Interesting post!

  • NikoleHahn says:

    I have jumped on the plane of social networking and have logged in my hours. Twitter has increased my readership as have reading blogs and commenting upon them. I read my stats on my main page and figure out what the readers are most interested in. Though I keep my facebook limited to friends, family, and a few select others.

  • Linda Rue says:

    I would like to know how you all keep on top of your job, raise kids, take care of hubby, animals, house and write the next best seller AND check your Facebook, Tweets, blogs AND those blogs, like this one, (my favorite, by the way) AND your personal e-mail, church ministries and yard work! Now we have to market our writing, speak at retreats, be active in a writing group and in all of this, put Jesus first! I could really use some streamlining! I’m up by 5:00am and fall into bed at 11:00pm just to do it all over again. For me, I’ve decided to cut it down to Books & Such, Hope Clark and Randy Ingermanson, Grace Fox and Michael Hyatt, Facebook and my email. Whew…..but….now I wonder….who’s words of wisdom am I going to miss! On top of which, I’m changing agents, trying to write more columns and do mag work and finish my novel before Jan 01. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, right? LOL! I need a 40 hour day! God Bless!

  • outlet says:

    Blogs Very informative article. Ive found your blog via Yahoo and I?m really glad about the information you provide in your posts. Thank You for sharing this very informative article Regards

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