I am so thankful that Sabrina agreed to help me out on my blog! Do you know the difference between ‘Publicity’ and ‘Advertising?’ I wasn’t too clear about it until I read this amazing post! Sabrina not only gives definitions of these words, she also gives valuable tips on how to get your name out there! Here is a bit about Sabrina, for those who don’t know:
Sabrina is a former literary publicist and voracious reader. She enjoys creating stories, jewelry, lotions, and tasty food! Yep, she has super powers! She published Produce, Publish, Publicize: What every writer needs to know to create an amazing product, avoid publishing traps and scams as well as increase sales … to assist writers in making good choices in publishing. Sabrina presents to writers and business groups across the nation teaching topics such as branding, building a platform, developing hooks, publicity and marketing.
Before I get to Sabrina’s article, I have some more news! Sabrina is giving away a free copy of her new release, “Jasmine: Energy Book 1″ http://www.sabrinasumsion.com/images/Cover_6_med.jpg to one of you! You can enter several ways. Post a comment for one entry. If you include your areas of expertise, education or experience, the comment is worth two entries! If you post on your facebook a link to this article, you get another entry! (Make sure to comment and tell me you posted.) If you tweet a link to this article on twitter, you get another entry. (Again, make sure to comment and tell me you posted.) Just to make things interesting, if the winner posted a link to a social media outlet, Sabrina will also mail you a homemade lotion bar! http://www.sabrinasumsion.com/index.php/do-it-yourself/36-lotion-bar-tutorial
What is publicity?
For those of you who have advanced knowledge in marketing, you know that in a strict definition, publicity is getting traditional media coverage. Traditional media coverage is an interview on the radio or television, a feature in a magazine or newspaper or a web posting about you or your product.
From my years of working with authors and changes in technology and society, I take a broader view. I consider anytime you are in front of people as publicity opportunities. Because of this, I blur the lines defining publicity. For those of you with advanced marketing knowledge, please grit your teeth and bear my line blurring. For those of you who don’t have advanced knowledge in marketing this means that I am giving a broad range of information and ideas. This broad range means I am not limiting ideas to strict publicity limits. I want you to have as many ideas and tools as possible to increase sales.
For example, if you are at a book signing and you have a random customer talk to you, this could be the optimal “micro publicity” moment. This person has the potential to tell hundreds, or thousands of people about you. They are not media in a traditional sense but they do have an audience.
I have a good friend who has over 1,000 friends on Facebook and she adds more almost each day. When she talks about a service or company on her profile, over 1,000 people see her post. Her talking about you is almost like getting an article in a local paper.
In the end, publicity is all about getting your name out. Once the public is aware you exist then you have the potential to make sales. As an author, it is very easy to get lost in the crowd. Bowkers reported that in 2010 over three million new titles were released. You must find ways to be seen in a group of over three million other book titles.
Understand first, publicity is not advertising.
If you are paying for a feature in a newspaper, magazine, radio, television or website then you are advertising. Advertising is part of a well rounded marketing plan but I always tell authors and anyone trying to gain public awareness to pursue publicity with a little more effort.
You convince more people with publicity than advertising. Consider your personal life. Are you more willing to buy something that a friend or a favorite magazine recommends or a competing product off a commercial? If you’re like most people you will try the item people recommend first. Publicity coverage gives you more credibility than an ad because the company featuring you is vetting you. With ads, everyone knows you paid for that company to say nice things.
Consider advertising when you are promoting a product or service but pursue free opportunities to spread your name whenever and wherever possible. Free is easier on your budget.
Why is publicity essential to book sales?
Like I stated before, if no one knows you have a book, how can anyone buy it? You will not sell a book to everyone who knows about it. That is just reality. Sales is a numbers game so your mission is to constantly increase the number of people aware of your product. Do this by publicizing.
As you are using traditional and micro-media opportunities in your publicity campaign, you get the opportunity to overcome the “who cares?” factor. When you work on spreading your message, you get the opportunity to help people understand why they care about you, your message and your product.
As you are planning on overcoming the “who cares?” factor, use education, enlightenment or entertainment to do so. We live in the information age. The general public is always looking to expand their knowledge so educate them about your topic. Because we have so much information available, people miss topics and awareness. Enlighten the public on your areas to overcome the “who cares?” factor. In our high-stress society, the general public loves to be entertained. If you can amuse your audience, you overcome the “who cares?” factor.
If you’re serious about getting traditional media attention, compile your list of topics you can use to educate, enlighten or entertain an audience. You can draw from your education, experience or expertise. In other words, anything you went to school for, any hobbies or tasks you have developed expertise in or anything you have experience with are topics to list. Do not limit yourself to topics in your books. Explore your entire life. Post your areas of expertise in the comments section below. I’d love to see the variety of skills you all have!