It’s funny…the more our society focuses on the Internet, the more niche print books you tend to see. Sounds counter intuitive, but the Long Tail has created opportunities in book publishing that were never before imaginable.
Since we have the ability to target the slimmest of customer segments, more companies are developing content to serve those niches and drive revenues. Yes, even books. From Amazon.com to LuLu, publishing has become easier from both a production and promotion standpoint.
This was one of the reasons why Newt Barrett and I launched our book Get Content. Get Customers., which revolves around the philosophy and execution of content marketing. We believed that we could develop a content marketing book, without a major publisher, that could get traction through the use of social media and the Internet. And we were right. (Note: Last month, Newt and I sold the book rights to McGraw-Hill. The marketing of the book was the major reason we were approached with this opportunity – that, and hopefully the fact that it’s a good book had something to do with it.)
We didn’t do everything perfect, but we did a lot right, and there are others out there doing some amazing things. Below are six social media and online keys to promoting a book for yourself or your business.
NOTE: Remember, this is not a traditional book launch. Thinking differently is the key.
1. It Starts with Relationships
This is less of a “way” than a philosophy. The key to your online promotion success is having lots of conversations with lots of people online. Then, those people have more conversations and presto, you have a successful book launch.
Your online relationships need to be in place before you launch your book. Trying to create a movement at the same time you are trying to find influential business colleagues is difficult at best.
Get and stay active online by using social networking and communication tools such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and FriendFeed. Each one will give you the opportunity to grow your network and find your place.
But it’s not enough to just join…you have to do two things: get active and have something to say.
Look at it like this – if you are having a one-on-one conversation with someone and all you do is talk about yourself and how wonderful you are, how long will that relationship last? Same thing goes for anything online. The more valuable information you communicate, the more people want to hang around you.
By doing this, you will build your base of followers that will make everything else on this list possible.
2. Why a Blog is so Important
First off, the blog can be where you actually start and finish the book. A good portion of the chapters for our book originally came from popular posts from my blog. The same goes for authors like Seth Godin or Rohit Bhargava, both of whom have used their blogs to develop and promote their books.
But, the bigger point is that you need consistent, relevant and valuable content to continually communicate to your followers/colleagues from point #1. Nothing does that better or easier than a blog. I know with 100% certainty that I couldn’t have launched the book without the blog – in terms of both creating and cultivating a following.
Content marketing works because a valuable piece of content delivered to people who want it is still the best marketing on the planet. It positions you as a trusted content resource. Once you become a trusted resource, anything from a marketing perspective is possible. Possibly no one does that better than Seth.
3. Viral Marketing and the eBook
Before Launching “The New Rules”, David created an ebook entitled The New Rules of PR that has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. By giving away this wonderful and free piece of content, David was setting the groundwork for the explosion of his best-selling book.
Newt and I flat out stole the same concept with the release of our free eBook, Get Content. Get Customers. We gave it away for free, placed it on LuLu, and promoted it on our blogs. We actually used much of the feedback we received about the eBook as part of the printed book. It’s almost like sending a rough draft out to the world and seeing what sticks.
It really could have been anything…an article series, a white paper, a video, etc. But we’ve found, as David has shown, that an eBook serves as a good preview of the book, and is easy enough for people to link to and pass around.
4. Don’t Wait for Your Prospects to Find You
Yes, you should have a destination site that people can visit to get your information. That could be a website or a blog. That said, you can’t expect everyone to find you by getting to YOUR site.
There are plenty of sites that you need to leverage all that great content you are creating in anticipation of your book launch.
Use sites like Digg.com, SmallBusinessBrief and Junta42 to upload links and abstracts to your content. Get active in StumbleUpon. Upload to Facebook. Promote on Twitter. Upload full articles to MarcomProfessional.com.
Of course, the sites depend on who your target is (each industry has their own targeted content sites). You may also consider creating your own Squidoo page as I have. Guest blog as much as possible at relevant sites (bloggers are always looking to do Q&A’s or guest blogs). Place articles on sites such as EzineArticles.
Also, don’t forget to get involved in other communities that can help people find you as a resource. Those include Yahoo! Answers, LinkedIn Questions and posting reviews on Amazon.com.
The point is that you want to create as many highways into your site as possible (what Hubspot calls Inbound Marketing) and be everywhere that makes sense with your target audience. Yes, it takes time, but done right, there may be no better way to market.
5. Building a Community First
Seth Godin’s release of his latest book, Tribes, was simply amazing.
Seth created an invitation-only community site called Triiibes.com, where leaders and students could learn and be inspired (the site uses Ning.com technology). Seth called for the movement initially on his blog, which is how I found out about it.
Seth did all the right things. In exchange for putting a little skin in the game (buying the book), Seth gave you access to people who really cared about marketing. He also made it a limited proposition, made it viral (email to a friend), and made it easy to join.
The Triiibes.com community is pretty vibrant, and I check it out when I can.
Seth built a community of fans who are all working to promote Seth’s book. By just getting a few passionate people involved in the beginning, Seth created something bigger than the book.
Something to aspire to…
6. Leverage Others to Organize a Movement
I can’t tell you how impressed I am with Drew McLellan and Gavin Heaton. Drew and Gavin were the masterminds behind Age of Conversation 2, a book I recently co-authored with 236 others from 15 countries.
This was not a book project, this was a major social movement that Drew and Gavin worked to perfection for the second time (I wasn’t a part of the first book).
How do you get others to believe in something as much as you? Make them a part of the process.
What does that mean for your book experience? Whatever it is, if done right, you’ll create something that transcends the book, which is what Drew and Gavin have done.
And these six strategies just touch upon what can be done in this ever-changing online climate. There is one constant though – none of this will work without the creation of valuable, consistent and compelling content. If you have that, you just need to find ways to get people to engage in that content. The six points above will help – go out and find more…