Live events and in-person appearances can be fantastic for selling books and growing your author brand. There really is no better way to truly connect with readers. So if live events are your primary book marketing strategy, what do you do when they're suddenly wiped from your calendar? Now is the time to embrace online publicity, and I have three tips to help you do just that.
I have spoken with several authors recently who've told me that their book marketing took a nose dive in 2020 due to so many live events – speaking gigs, book festivals and author signings – being canceled due to COVID-19. Fortunately, there is light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine rollout, but it's still unlikely that we will see too many live author events until much later in the year. So what can you do until then?
I encourage you to seek online publicity opportunities, and here are my top three tips to help you do just that.
1. Brainstorm story ideas and outlets
The first thing you need to do is brainstorm story ideas and outlets where you can pitch those story ideas. So what blogs or podcasts are you going to go after? For more help with this, go back and read my previous post, Book Publicity Calendar 2021. And that will help you get started. Now, remember you don't need to go after the biggest outlets. They can be very difficult to get into, and it's much more effective to go after some small outlets, get some experience under your belt, before you go for those bigger ones.
The main thing to keep in mind is that you're going after outlets where you expect some of your target readers to be hanging out. Now, the audience doesn't have to be made up of only your target readers. There could be a wide range of people listening to the podcast or reading the blog. But if you feel certain that some of them might be interested in your book, then it is worth pitching a story idea.
Selena Soo's publicity calendar for 2021 includes 179 story ideas and hooks and dates to help you get started with ideas of what to pitch. You can download your copy right here.
2. Send a great pitch
My second tip is to send a great pitch. It's important that you put some time and effort into your pitch. First, you want to do some research, so that you're familiar with the kinds of topics that the blog or the podcast has already covered. You also want to find a way of making a connection with the hosts. When you reach out to them you can personalize your email a little and really connect with them, so that they're more interested in listening to your ideas.
You also want to make sure that they haven't recently covered the topic that you are pitching. So do your research and listen to the last few podcast episodes or read the last few blog posts to make sure you're not pitching something they've just done. Also make sure that you are familiar with the tone of the blog or the podcast, the kind of things they like to talk about that their audience is particularly interested in, to make sure that you are pitching the right story ideas.
Again, to help you with your pitches, Selena Soo's publicity calendar includes three important pitch must-haves to ensure your pitch doesn't end up in the trash folder.
The key thing to remember about your pitch is that you want to keep it short and to the point. Don't waffle on for ages about you. Remember it's about them and their audience. They want to know, what is your idea? What is it that you can deliver for their audience? What problem can you solve? Or what story can you tell that would be entertaining or interesting for them?
That's all they're interested in. You don't need to be an expert. You don't need to go on for ages about all your credentials. They just want to know what is the idea? What is it going to deliver for their audience? And why are you the best person to write it? That's pretty much all you need to include in your pitch.
3. What to do with media exposure
Now my final tip is what to do when you get that media exposure. When you attend live events, your primary objective might be to sell as many books as possible, and that's okay. When you're getting online media opportunities, your aim shouldn't necessarily be to sell your book. Instead, you want to be talking about your reader magnet. You want to be getting people back to your mailing list.
So make sure in your author bio at the end of the blog, or when you get to talk a little bit about yourself and where people can find you at the end of the podcast, make sure you talk about your reader magnet and you include the link to it. That is going to be your payment for appearing on the blog or podcast. And that is your primary objective. You want to get people to that link, get them to your reader magnet, get them on the mailing list.
Once they're on your mailing list, then you can nurture them, and you can start to talk to them about your books, and they can become loyal readers, loyal fans of your work.
Get your Publicity Calendar!
So it's not too late to get your 2021 publicity calendar from my friend Selena Soo. Selena is one of the most connected people I know. She is an incredible media and publicity strategist, so you can learn an awful lot from her. And she has put the work into this calendar – 179 story ideas that you can use to pitch the media and get so much media attention for your books in 2021, plus:
Smart ways to tackle sensitive & timely issues so that your pitches can make a bigger impact.
The 3 things your pitch must have to avoid the tragic trash folder and score major media coverage.
How to become a productivity machine by planning your content and pitches in advance, giving you more time… and more success!
Download your copy, and let’s commit to a year of inspired action!