In a recent conversation with a successful entrepreneur and author, a question came up regarding contacts with media across the country. The author’s premise was that this was the most important thing in building an audience for her book. Media contacts are certainly a key component to garnering exposure for a book, author, or business for that matter, however just as the publishing industry is experiencing a great shift, so is the media landscape.
Contacts can certainly help get interviews on major national news networks and articles in publications, however another variable of the equation is audience engagement. Traditional media is largely a passive action in nature. We watch TV, flip channels, but don’t engage in a dialogue. It’s largely one way communication.
Social media is changing the landscape by engaging audiences and inviting them to take part in the discussion. We recently promoted the book Stan’s Leap by Tom Duerig, which is set on Henderson Island part of a small group of islands in the South Pacific called the Pitcairn Islands. During the course of Tom’s campaign we were able to increase audience engagement to double digit growth in a very short time using social media. It also lead to a request for a signed copy of the book by an individual who was living on one of the islands near the Henderson islands. Furthermore the author and prospective reader shared an exchange of ideas about other must reads that relate to the islands.
Apply, the example above to your own life in this way. How much more likely are you to buy a product that a friend has recommended versus just seeing a news excerpt about the same product on television or in print? Consider this, in the 2009 U.S. Demographics and Buying Behaviors Annual Review conducted by Bowker and Publishers Weekly, “recommended by a friend”was one of the top eight reasons people purchase books.
Social media is a key component to developing and engaging prospective readers and turning them into fans who recommend your book to their friends. Don’t discount media contacts that can lead to national exposure, this certainly builds awareness for your book. But don’t make it so important that you miss out on a media that is proving to be extremely powerful in the promotion of ideas, books and building relationships.
Critical to your success as an author is an integrated approach to media. This approach leverages the power of traditional media to reach a mass audience with the power of social media that engages prospective readers. Through this combination, you will entice readers to become some of your most avid promoters.