The Why and How of an Author Media Platform

Wouldn’t it be great to write your book, get it published and have Oprah’s people call you for an interview? Or maybe 60 Minutes comes calling for an appearance on the show. Even having local media reach out would be an author’s dream come true.

Can this happen? Well… yes and no.

If you do nothing to raise awareness about your book, it’s very UNLIKELY your phone will ring off the hook.

On the other hand, when you’re proactive in your book marketing, amazing things happen. Suddenly, you can become a media darling.

Was It Luck or Hard Work?

When I think of incredible success stories of authors, Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame come to mind.

By now, it’s no secret they literally worked their butts off, took tons of risk and didn’t stop when it came to spreading the word about their first book. The rest, as they say, is history.

Yet, many aspiring authors choose to say Jack and Mark are the lucky ones. It has been said, “Luck is when opportunity and preparedness meet.” They prepared by working hard, having a vision and doing all they could to gain visibility for their book.

An area both Canfield and Hansen focused on was getting as many media interviews as possible. While most authors would settle for a few interviews over a period of months or years, Jack and Mark did interview after interview after interview.  Often several in one day, day in and day out.

One could say they were obsessed. In their case, being obsessive paid off.

In the early nineties, when the first Chicken Soup book was released, there was not the availability of media opportunities like there is today.

Visibility Rules

Not only is traditional media easier to reach for a story pitch than it was back then (due to so much information being available online) today there are other forms of media such as social media, blogs, podcast shows and Internet radio virtually any author can tap into.

It’s all about visibility in front of your sweet-spot reader. There are many great ways to gain visibility for your book. However, the sooner you work on publicity the better.

Prior to the publication date, not after, is when you need to start laying the foundation for:

  •     Interviews
  •     Book signings
  •     Speaking engagements
  •    Amazon rankings

Sooner is Better

Although most authors tend to think about publicity after the book is published, it’s essential to start sooner, much sooner.

Begin long before the actual publication date. However, even if your book has been in print for a long time, don’t let this discourage you. You can still do a lot to gain traction and visibility.

The reality is this; most authors do nothing to get maximum visibility for their book. They “hope” it somehow ends up in the hands of readers. And thus the reason why most books never make more than $100 in sales in the lifetime of the book.

Regardless of where you’re at in the lifecycle of your book, it’s never too late to look for media visibility. The more evergreen your book, the easier it is to get media interviews months, even years, after the book is published.

Additionally, the more visible you are online, the better. Media folks are always on the lookout for authors to interview and books to feature.

As an author, you knowing how to market online is a huge plus. Best part of all is this; you don’t have to be a techie to market online.

Build a Platform

Basically, a platform is where you will appear. The platform is where the author has an audience following and is seen.

The platform gives the author a ready-made potential of readers. Nowadays, this is a MUST HAVE for authors.

The bigger your platform, filled with raving fans, the more books you are likely to sell. And plaforms are all about visibility.

Build visibility on social media

The best way to get noticed by the media is to have a strong social media presence. Before taking a hit and miss approach to social media, determine where your potential readers are. For some authors, Facebook is perfect, while for others, LinkedIn is more suitable for the genre of your book.

Look for forums and social networks specific to where your market “hangs out.” For example, if your market are dentists, it’s likely Facebook is NOT going to be where you need to spend your social media time. A location like Dental Town would be a much better fit. Dental Town is an online community specific to the dental industry.

There are online communities specific to just about any industry and interest. It just takes a bit of research to find those that are a fit.

Content is King

Position your expertise with content. Content marketing is a “must do” in today’s online world of content hungry consumers. Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach tied into your overall digital marketing where you focus on the creation and distribution of valuable content to attract your “sweet spot” ideal readers and clients.

Content marketing is an ongoing process and one that requires consistent effort. For example, this article is part of my content marketing strategy. It will be distributed in specific online directories and on my blog.

As with your social media efforts, content marketing can get you noticed by the media.

Distribution to directories allows for new readers and the media to find you.

A big part of content marketing is posting on your blog. This allows for your current followers to enjoy fresh content.

Post the permalink from the blog post on social media, send an email to your email subscribers to gain even more traction for your efforts.

These two strategies should be part of your long-term positioning to get noticed by the media. To get immediate results have a plan of action that gets you the fastest results in the shortest period of time.

Identify radio and podcast shows that are a great fit for your book. A quick Google search with “radio shows + your topic” will result in lots of choices. For podcast shows, visit iTunes and do a search for shows that fit for your topic or book title.

Keep a running list of show information such as the producer, host, or bookers for the show. Most show sites will have this information available.

Pitch Perfect

Create a pitch for your book with great hooks that will spark the interest of the show contact. To pitch your idea, you can send a media release, but often a short email will work better.

When pitching your idea, keep in mind that the media is on constant overwhelm and doesn’t have time to wade through a bunch of information before getting to the heart of your message.

Get right to the point. Avoid long emails with a bunch of back story before you get to the actual pitch.

Present your idea with the audience in mind. Why will the audience be interested in what you have to say? After all, if you know what gets the audience excited, that will likely get the host, producer or booker interested.

The bottom line is this; you have to put effort into your market visibility as well as how you reach out to the media. Many authorpreneurs avoid these important steps and their book sales reflect this fact.

Make this a part of your overall business practices and you will be far ahead of those who “hope” to be discovered.

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Authors: What you need to know in dealing with the media

authorIf you’re an expert who has written a book or you are an authorpreneur, one of the most important things you can do is secure media interviews. When you’re on radio, television, podcast shows or in print, your credibility shoots up.

Interviews are a great way to reach potential readers and ultimately, more clients.

It’s important to stay extremely organized in the process. Not only do you want to keep very close track of who you’ve contacted, you want to make sure you don’t double book interviews.

Before jumping into the process of finding interview opportunities, think in terms of how you can get the most traction from your efforts. For example, you can tie your media pitches around specific occasions such as holidays.

A quick Google search will bring up lots of great information about upcoming holidays.

Stay organized

I’ve found a few great tools that allow me to stay organized and plan out my campaigns.

The first is a simple tracking form you can easily create in Word or Excel. Below is a very basic form. You can make it as simple or complex as you like, but be sure not to spend all your time in creation mode.

Media type Contact person Date contacted Topic/theme Book sent Notes

http://amzn.to/2dsY0vb

The other is a year at a glance wall calendar. In 2016 I bought a paper calendar. I really like that I can take a look at the entire year all at once. Mind you, this is simply to give me a quick glance at what’s coming up and the calendar is a nice planning tool.

Although very inexpensive, the greatest downside is durability. As long as I don’t make mistakes in what I put on the calendar, resulting in crossing out information only to scribble in something else, this calendar can work.

For 2017 I decided to go with a laminated, erasable calendar. Even though it’s more expensive, I know it will be worth it. I don’t have to worry about getting every day correct from the first time I write something down.

I got both calendars off of Amazon. Both were delivered within 48 hours of ordering and with my prime membership I didn’t have to pay shipping.

Keep on top of news

One of the simplest ways to find out what’s going on is to do a Google Alert. Google Alerts is a content change detection and notification service, offered by the search engine company Google. The service sends emails to the user when it finds new results—such as web pages, newspaper articles, blogs, or scientific research—that match the user's search term(s).

Simple to set up, go to https://www.google.com/alerts and set up your criteria for alerts.

There are plenty of alternatives to Google Alert with some of the more popular being Mention, SocialMention and TalkWalker Alerts.

The point is, you want to stay on top of what is happening in your industry.

It's important to use visibility in the most appropriate way. Here's what Authors Do to Use Visibility to Generate Revenues.

With all that’s available to virtually any expert who writes, it’s merely a matter of making the decision to do something every day to raise awareness within your market.

  • Social media marketing
  • Media releases
  • Email marketing
  • Interviews
  • Blogging
  • Guest blogging
  • Virtual book tours
  • Book website

Whatever you do, be focused and consistent.

Want more great insights on how to gain visibility? Join the Power Up for Profits Facebook group where you will find lots of great networking and idea sharing.

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The Power of Radio to Increase Your Influence

You’ve finally done it. You’ve written the book. You’ve created the information product. You’ve developed the workshop. book cover

You’ve also developed a nice promotional plan with radio being a primary way you’ll make your market aware of what you offer.

The challenge you feel is knowing how to get, and optimize, the interviews.

Here are a few key things that must be considered. You will gain more traction from any airtime you secure when you have a strong online presence.

Continually grow your online presence through social media channels, article marketing, blogging, guest blogging and other foundational steps to make it easy for people to find you through a simple Google search. The more content you have online, the easier it is for someone to Google your name and have ample opportunities to find your information.

By doing this, you can actually make the most of your radio opportunities. Recently, I was on a program sharing insights about being very visible to one’s market.  Shortly after the show aired I received an email message from a listener. She was very interested in my services.

I wasted no time hopping on the phone to have a conversation with her. Because she heard me on the show I didn’t need to ask the obvious question, “How did you hear about me?”

She actually offered this information. “I did a quick Google search and found lots of information on you. This made me realize I definitely needed to talk to you.”

Had I not had a great presence online (which I continually work on) she likely would not have been eager to contact me.

If you don’t have a strong online presence you would benefit greatly from putting daily effort into content distribution. Again, whether it be through social media channels, article marketing, blogging, guest blogging and any of the many ways to be seen online, do something daily to raise your visibility.

However, take a very targeted approach. As well, you need to diversify your efforts without spreading yourself too thin.

As you do this, also seek out opportunities to get on the air. Two excellent resources for this are Help a Reporter Out (www.helpareporter.com)  and Radio Guest List (www.radioguestlist.com).

Before submitting your information consider the following:

  • What is the theme of the show?
  • What type of guest experts are the host and/or producer looking for?
  • Who listens…who is the audience?
  • How long is the interview?
  • Are there other guest experts being interviewed?
  • Will you be required to promote your segment? If so, what is expected?

By far, radio can be one of the best ways to gain visibility and promote a book, product or speaking engagement. However, you may not be able to overtly promote.

If this is the case, the best thing you can do is develop your storytelling ability. As you are asked questions, answer with a story.

For example, if you are an expert on health and nutrition with a newly released book, you can share case studies that you have written about in your new book.

If you are a mindset expert, you can give examples about how the listeners can expand their mindset with daily meditation with a subtle mention of the meditations you’ve created in your new info product.

Let’s say you are a dog trainer and you have a video series on the three top ways to leash train a rescue dog. This is where you can direct people to your video series.

The main thing with radio is to be engaging, entertaining and relaxed. The more you are able to do this, the easier it is to mention where people can get more information about you, and makes it a natural part of the conversation.

Behind the Microphone – A Great Online Marketing Strategy

Chances are you are looking for effective online marketing strategies. The beauty of the Internet are the vast choices available for marketing and promoting to gain massive visibility. One of my favorites is Internet radio. One of the most well known platforms is Blog Talk Radio.

Radio is a fabulous medium for a number of reasons. You can reach a global market, easily position your expertise and optimize your personality.

A new favorite is podcasting.

Lots of people are extremely intimidated by the thought of going on air, but when you consider what it can open up for you, it might be time to walk through your fear. You have a message to get out to the world. When you keep this in the forefront of your thinking, speaking on the air becomes much easier. A good coach can help you address your fears, polish your presentation style, and shine. Those who are skilled at the interview process were not born that way. The more you practice, the better you get, and radio presentation is no exception.

In the past two decades I’ve been interviewed hundreds of times on radio, in teleseminars and webinars, and at conferences, but I wasn’t always comfortable about speaking in public. I was often too concerned about things being perfect, setting myself up for failure, or coming across as nervous. With time and experience these things became nonissues.

An interview is simply a conversation. The more relaxed you are, the more natural the conversation and the more you can be yourself. The more you are yourself, the more people will like you for who you are.

Radio is a great vehicle for increasing the market’s perception of you as an expert, and hosts are always in need of entertaining and informative guests. An advantage of web radio is that when your show information is posted, you gain Google ranking. And a podcast of the show can be posted on the radio-show website, so your interview can continue to attract attention for a long time. You never know how many opportunities will show up after a great interview.

I used to fear a host trying to stump me. That has proven to be an unfounded fear. There are very few Howard Stern types in the world. In most cases, a host wants you have a great interview because when you do a good job, they succeed in the audience’s ears. Rarely does a host come from an adversarial position unless what you are talking about is extremely controversial. Even when that is the case, you can still come across as professional and create an incredible opportunity for you and your business or cause.

From the Comfort of Your Home

It’s exciting that you can reach a global market from the comfort of your home. This definitely wasn’t the case years ago. And depending on your schedule you can be interviewed several times in a day.

I have had occasion to do as many as five interviews in a day from my home office. In between interviews I took my dogs for walks, worked on other projects, or just took time to regroup.

I’m not recommending you go from zero to five in a day, but just know that the number of interviews you can set up is unlimited. If you are promoting a book, an event, or a new information product, radio is a great marketing strategy.

Be a Star Radio Guest

Think on your feet when being interviewed (and when conducting an interview). Radio is a mix of news and entertainment, and though you’re not expected to act like a seasoned entertainer, you should think in terms of how to engage your audience.

Great radio guests are not easy to find. Treat a radio interview as a great opportunity, because it is. When word gets around that you do a great interview, lots more opportunities will likely show up. There were several occasions when I finished an interview and within minutes received an email requesting an interview from someone who had been listening. Here are some simple tips to help you shine:

  • Provide the information the host needs as soon as possible.
  • Prepare a short bio to send to the host.
  • Prepare a selection of questions.
  • Avoid background noise. It is essential to control the background noise during a call. Too many distractions can literally ruin your interview.
  • Avoid using jargon most people won’t understand. Unless it is a technical show, talk in basics.
  • Be brief with your answers. Practice so you know what main points to address.
  • If you are being interviewed about a book you wrote, send a physical copy of the book, but don’t expect a show host to have read your whole book, and don’t be offended when they haven’t. But you need to know your book very well, as they may ask questions about specific information in your book.
  • Use a conversational tone. Be engaging. Be entertaining.
  • When there is dead air time (silence), immediately pick up the slack. Even a short period of silence is a no-no in the radio world.
  • Invest in a media coach if you are not a seasoned show guest.
  • You are being interviewed to inform, educate, entertain, or inspire. The producer doesn’t care about anything but that. However, if you make arrangements ahead of time, you may be able to promote your product.
  • Speak clearly.
  • Pace yourself.
  • Make sure you are using a quiet location.
  • Let others in your home know you are recording a session.
  • Close doors and windows.
  • Get dogs and children out of earshot.
  • Mute all other phones within earshot.
  • Don’t check email while you are on the call.
  • After the interview, send the host a thank you card or letter.

The last point is a big one. I’ve been shocked at the number of hosts who have thanked me for sending my book ahead of time and a thank you card after the interview. Really?!?!

This is common sense. Treat your hosts with the utmost respect before, during and after your interview.

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