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?