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The New PR: Turning Fans Into Evangelists

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December 27,2011

By Penny C. Sansevieri, Adjunct Instructor NYU & CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc.

Twelve years ago it was unclear whether blogs would make a dent in news and communication. Back then, if you wanted to get your idea out you had to market to radio, TV, and print publications, otherwise your message would die quietly. Today, online and social media have practically replaced the nightly news.

So many channels have opened up to help us market. And while this is good news, there is a downside to this social media world. We have a LOT of news. Some is just wasteful white noise and much of it, we ignore. Now, the challenge is no longer can you get someone’s attention, but can you keep it long enough to get him or her interested in what you are selling? It’s not a challenge everyone is up for and that’s OK. But if you want to get noticed and sell books here’s how to do it:

Say something new: Don’t just repeat what everyone else is saying, offer your perspective, your viewpoint. Now, there’s a caveat to this: if you are teaching to the masses, your clients will need to hear a message several times before they get it. Sometimes repetition is good. But if you’re just repeating what someone else is saying with no new spin or twist on it, then it’s just boring.

No one cares what you say: Truth be told, no one cares what you tell them. What people care about is what their friends say, who their friends recommend. You must be so compelling, interesting or funny that people want to tell other people about you. A survey done by Edelman Digital noted that fewer than one in three people trust marketing messages. Scary, isn’t it?

Give consumers what they want: Remember, it’s not about you; it’s about your consumers. Leave your ego at the door. People want valuable insights, access to information and free stuff. Now if the thought of free makes you shiver, here’s an article showing you how to monetize “free”.

Numbers matter: We’re a society that pays attention to the numbers we see on Twitter and Facebook. If you are promoting yourself and only have 10 followers on Twitter, you might want to think about how this looks. Consumers like what other consumers like and the numbers associated with these sites often determine how “likable” you are. Bigger numbers get consumer (and media) interest. Just remember, getting these folks and keeping them depends on you. Be good or be gone.

Do stuff people will love: Getting people to love you is easy. This is why I talk so much about giving away information. I am always stunned by how many authors tell me they love our newsletter (The Book Marketing Expert) or our Huffington Post articles. Give people what they want without conditions and they will love you for it.

Do stuff people will hate: Not everyone will love what you say and that’s OK. When I wrote “Why Some Authors FailI thought everyone would hate that piece. Some people did, and that’s OK. If everyone loves you you’re doing something wrong.

Make random connections: Not all of your contacts or connections need to make sense. Make random connections. For instance, every couple of weeks email or message someone following you on Facebook and ask them if they like the information you provide and what you can do better. You may not always like the answer but I can guarantee it will show you their interests and hot buttons. Our best information comes from our audience. I’ve known authors who developed an entire book based solely on audience questions. Ask!

Stay on top of current trends: Staying on top of current trends can seem like a time waster. It’s not. Sign up for Google alerts and trends in your area of expertise. You’ll get news items on your topic funneled to you. This will help you gather ideas on new topics to blog on. If you can tie a hot topic into your specialty you can really drive interest to your content. Why? If it’s trending in Google, the searches for this item are high, meaning a larger volume of potential customers who can find your message.

While being mentioned in the news is great, that alone won’t ring the cash register. You have to get in front of enough people in a very interesting and unique way. You have to get them to fall in love with your message so much that they’ll talk about you, Tweet about you, and tell all their friends to go buy your book. It’s all about getting your community so enamored with your message that contacts become evangelists. 

Sites mentioned in this article:

http://www.google.com/trends

http://www.google.com/insights/search/

Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. Follow on Twitter @Bookgal.

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