Do you want to learn how to sell your book using publicity? If you have already tried to get publicity, you may have found it difficult to land opportunities. Or found that any publicity you did get didn't actually help to sell your book.
In this post, I am going to show you a different way to approach publicity. This will allow you to secure more opportunities and grow your readership at the same time.
Ready to dive in? Let's do it.
What is publicity?
When I say publicity, I am not talking about the New York Times or chatting on a sofa to Oprah. What I'm talking about is something a little less exciting, but way more effective.
According to Oxford Dictionaries, ‘publicity is notice or attention given to someone or something by the media'. Media is ‘the main means of mass communication, broadcasting, publishing and the internet, regarded collectively'. That means small blogs and podcasts are media, as well as huge media corporations.
If you've read my previous posts on identifying target readers and thought about where they're hanging out – the blogs they're reading, the podcasts they're listening to, the social media channels they're using – then you are ready to do some outreach.
So, what is outreach? This is where you pitch yourself to be a guest on someone else's blog or podcast. You can get in front of their audience, including your target readers. This can be very effective in getting you more publicity for your book and your brand.
Growing your author platform and learning how to sell your book is all about improving your visibility and your discoverability. By getting yourself on other people's blogs and podcasts it will help to spread the word about you and your book.
FREE Pitch Template
Stop overthinking your pitches & start getting publicity!
The first thing to do is research blogs and podcasts where you think your target readers are hanging out. The easiest thing to do is plug a topic idea into Google and put the words ‘guest blog' at the end of it.
You might want to pitch writing blogs, in which case you might put in ‘writing advice guest blog'. Keep in mind that if you write for writing blogs, you may only get writers signing up for your list. So, you may choose to pitch something different. Think about the themes and hooks in your book. Is there an overlap with other interests you have identified your target readers have? Plug that topic idea into Google, with the words ‘guest post' or ‘contributor' or ‘contribute an article'. There are a few different phrases that you can use to try to find blogs that accept guest posts.
You can do the same thing for podcasts. You can search podcasts using Google; type your topic idea + ‘podcast guest'. You can also use the Apple Podcasts app. Open up the Podcasts app and browse in there to find podcasts that you think might be a good fit.
All you're trying to do at this point is find blogs and podcasts with an overlap with your target audience. You're looking for blogs and podcasts that cover topics you think your readers will find interesting or useful. Sure, there are going to be readers of those blogs and listeners of those podcasts who are not interested in your books. But, if you think there's a good chance that some them might like your book, it is worth pitching yourself as a guest.
Once you have found a few outlets that you think could be a good fit, you want to pitch yourself as a guest. This doesn't need to be scary or intimidating. It's very simple.
First, look on the blog or the podcast website for contributor guidelines. If they have guidelines that tell you how to submit a guest post, or how to submit yourself as a guest on the podcast, then follow those. That's important. If you don't follow their guidelines you're likely to get rejected. If they don't have any guidelines, then you can send a quick pitch email.
To help you with this and so you don't overthink it, download my free pitch template. Tailor it to your own needs and then send it off to get yourself a spot on those blogs and podcasts.
Once you've got yourself accepted on a blog or a podcast, the next thing to do is to provide valuable content.
It's important to remember you're not there only to grow your mailing list or to sell your book. You are there to provide valuable content for the audience. That is what a blog or a podcast host is looking for. They're interested in what you can do for their audience. So, make sure you pitch a strong idea and then deliver on that idea.
Grow your email list
Giving value on the blog or the podcast is great, it's important to do, but you do want something in return. What you can get back is an email address. That would be your payment for providing great value for the audience and will eventually allow you to sell your book.
Write a strong contributor bio for any blogs and include a link to your reader magnet. Make it clear what someone will get and what the benefit is if they sign up for your list, rather than telling them to sign up for updates. Make sure when you send them to your website, you send them to a landing page for that opt-in. Don't send them to your homepage because they will get distracted. They will look at a blog post or they'll look around and they won't sign up. You need to send them to a landing page for your email list and get them on your list.
If you're doing a podcast interview, then you should rehearse something to say at the end of the interview. Quite often, the host will ask where people can find you online or where can they learn more about you. Practise what you will say to let people know about your reader magnet and what they will get if they join your list. It's helpful if you have a simple link so that they can remember it if they are not at a computer.
Nurture new subscribers
Once you've got somebody new on your email list, it's important to nurture them. You need to look after them. Continue to email your new subscribers often after you have sent your reader magnet.
I recommend setting up a series of 5-7 emails that go out once someone joins your list. These can introduce them to your writing and let them know a little bit more about you. You can also ask them questions so you can get to know them as well and start building that relationship.
What you don't want to do is get someone to join your list, send out your freebie and then that's it. If they don't hear from you for weeks on end they'll forget why they signed up. You need to keep nurturing them, keep them engaged and curious about you. That will ensure it's very clear in their mind who you are when you send an email.
Also as part of that nurture process and series of emails, let subscribers know about your books. You are doing all this work, all this outreach, for a reason. It is to grow your audience, but it is also to sell your book. So, don't be afraid to let your subscribers know that your book exists.
If someone has signed up and is engaging with your emails, they will be happy to hear about your books. They'll be keen to go and check those out and hopefully buy them as well.
Get your pitch template
I am a big believer in outreach as a way to let more people know that you and your books exist. It's an effective way of growing your mailing list and audience and is how to sell your books too.
Outreach is ideal if you're not keen on advertising or if you don't have much budget for it. Or if you prefer to grow an audience of people that you can have a deeper relationship with, this is perfect for you.
Don't forget to download your free pitch template to get started. I can't wait to see some of your guest posts or listen to your podcast interviews!