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Digital Integration

September 15, 2021– Our theme is continuing education for authors this month and today, we’re talking about Integrating Press Releases with Social Media. Here’s what I learned while studying Crafting Viral and Contagious Content at Wharton Business School; let’s dig in:

I know what you’re thinking…press releases in this day and age? Yes. But let me explain:

Even though we aren’t only dealing with news outlets, radio stations, and newspaper journalists, press release distribution is still important. Influencers, bloggers, e-zine authors, editors, and online publications are essential in getting the word out about your books.

Social media is a great way to engage with your audience, be used as a public relations medium, and are relatively cost-effective when it comes to comparison pricing in traditional advertising. Have you ever heard of a Snap-Chat model? Yes, this is a real thing, and they’re pulling in over six figures a year (sometimes a month, sometimes per post). Social media has now surpassed all forms of advertising when engaging and interacting with your audience. It’s got a personal approach behind it, and there are ways to integrate it with press releases. Here’s how:

  • Brand Recognition-building brand recognition is the main goal for all businesses. Getting your name in front of an audience is essential to your success and brings you publicity at an extremely low or even free cost. Posts like your participation in community events, people seen with your book, or a link to a podcast or article you’ve been featured in are excellent tools for building your brand. Adding your social media to your press release where your images are linked will help build your brand quickly and effectively. Essentially, people will go ‘down the rabbit hole.’
  • Driving Traffic- Driving traffic to your website is imperative to your success. Online press releases will have a link to your website and social media where people can learn more about your products, what you do, why you do it, and the story behind the story.
  • Improve Rankings- When you send out a digital press release with inbound links to your site, you improve your site and social media rankings, not only by acquiring new followers/customers, but Google also heavily celebrates rich content by moving your site up their search list. Your visibility on preferred search terms will also increase especially if you include keywords in your press releases.
  • In the News- Journalists who write about you, bloggers and podcasters who interview you, and radio stations who have you on as guests boost your credibility and extend your reach. Adding all of the places you’ve been featured to your press release will encourage others to check out your work, the articles, and links.
  • Announcements/Events- Putting out a digital press release that lets the media, the public, your readers, and everyone else know where you are and what you’re doing (e.g., a book signing, vendor at a street festival etc.) while announcing your product is the most traditional use of press releases (especially when announcing a new book).

Top Tips:

  • Bloggers– Using them as a distribution channel is a genius way to get the word out. Identify the appropriate bloggers and other influencers and get them to post your news. The best way to do this is to email them (or email them a link to your press release) to see if they would share your article with their readers. You’re pitching them your book so give them all the info they require to share. Also, mention why your press release would be a good fit for their blog. E.g., A mental health for kids blog that shares your press release for your new book on emotions and techniques for kids to cope.
  • Content Matters– Interest level, content, tone and engagement are keys to a compelling press release and getting people to share. When going digital, keep it to 400 words or less!
  • Use Hashtags and Key Words– As usual, hashtags and keywords matter. Be sure that keywords and tags are included in your press release’s headline or first paragraph, and use some of your primary search terms.

Education in this space is so important as the world is digitally moving at a breakneck speed, and you don’t want to get left behind!

 

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They Buy You First

July 7, 2021– We’re a week into our theme this month, all about Public Speaking for Authors! I love this topic not only because of its importance but also because of how practical it is. When it comes down to brass tacks, authors need to employ many different methods to get themselves and their work in front of their readers. Our biggest problem as authors is obscurity; if people don’t know who we are or what we’ve written, how can they possibly buy our books? Here’s the thing, people buy YOU first, then they buy your books. There’s no understating the importance of connecting with your audience, and that’s why today, we’re going to talk about in-store book signings.

You may not think that an in-store book signing has anything to do with public speaking, but you couldn’t be more off base! They go hand in hand. Every single time you’re in front of the public promoting your book in any way, shape, or form, you’re practicing the art of public speaking. Yes, you can be speaking to one person at a time or a group of people, but it’s all fish from the same kettle.

Here are three tips to help you connect with your audience at your book signing:

  1. Be authentic. There’s nothing worse than watching someone be who they’re not. Authenticity is the key to every area of our lives, and folks can see right through people who try to fake things. Don’t try to be what you think people want you to be. Be who you are, embrace your wonderful/unique qualities, and let your light shine. When at your signing, tell people what you love most about being an author, tell them what the hardest part is, tell them the challenges and triumphs you’ve overcome in your writing life. Be real.
  2. Tell your story. People love to know why you do what you do and how you got there. They like to feel like insiders with insider information. They want to know why you wrote your book and if it’s based on anyone in your real life. The more that you can give them, the more special they feel. Talk to them about what got you started as an author, which characters you connect with in your book, and what you’re working on next. EVERYTHING is about relationship building, and public speaking is a great way to do that, no matter the size of the audience.
  3. It’s all about energy. There’s a particular person who works at the Starbucks that I go to, and I only frequent that location because they’re there. Their attitude is unmatched, they love what they do, and it shows, and they are so upbeat and enthusiastic that I can’t help but feel the same way after they give me my coffee. Their happiness and energy are contagious. When you’re at your book signing, remember that people can feel your energy even before you open your mouth to speak. They can see your demeanour, they can tell if you’re in a bad mood, and they notice if you’re less than excited about being there. How would you feel if you walked into a bookstore and saw that the author was there sitting behind a table and not even lifting their head to acknowledge you because they were on their phone or reading a book to pass the time? (Yes, this is a real example, and I’ve seen it a hundred times). You would think, “What the heck are they doing here?” “Why are they wasting their time?” “Is that an employee?”  We all have crappy days, and some are worse than others, but it’s important to remember that you’re an author, and you get the opportunity to speak to people about your passion! You’ve got the best job in the world, and you’ve created something out of thin air and turned it into physical form. That sounds like magic to me!

The point is that people buy YOU first, and then they buy your book; make a connection and, quite possibly, some new friends!