Posts Tagged ‘publicity’

Best Marketing Options for Authors

Thursday, March 7th, 2013

By Fauzia Burke

As authors, you know there are a lot of marketing options for promoting your book these days. There’s publicity, advertising and of course social media, but before you invest your money and time, it is important to know the benefits and challenges of the three types of marketing options (commonly known as Owned, Paid and Earned media by us marketing geeks).

  • Owned is media you as an author control. It includes your website/s, social networks, blogs, videos, etc.
  • Paid is media that is bought. It includes ads: print, broadcast and online (banner and search).
  • Earned is media that is gained through good publicity.

If your goal is CREDIBILITY, publicity wins as the best option. Reviews and interviews will do more for your reputation than any other form of media.

  • Owned: Your content usually has less credibility. We have a joke in our office about such content. We call it the “Aren’t we great? Don’t you agree” content. Although content marketing is growing in importance and has many benefits, credibility is perhaps not the biggest advantage here.
  • Paid: Advertising has similar issues with credibility. Although a well produced ad, placed in a well-suited media outlet will increase brand awareness, it is still not the same as credibility.
  • Earned: Publicity is the most credible form of media. As marketer Seth Godin says, “publicity is the act of getting ink.” Publicity is getting media sources to talk about you, your book and/or business. Publicity is often viewed as more credible because when readers see editorial coverage they know it was not bought (although some Amazon reviews can be bought now. Here’s a blog I wrote about that: Fake Reviews are Worse than Bad Ones). 

Book reviews online and off are more credible than ads and lead to more buying decisions. Most people cite recommendations as the number one reason they buy a book.

However, if you are looking to CONTROL the message, your best bet is paid advertising. It can, however, get expensive.

  • Owned: Your content gives you absolute control over messaging and timing but not over reach. You can’t control how many people will see your blog or video, but you can post it at the time of your choosing. It’s important to have a content strategy and know all the elements of your digital plan, because if you don’t invest in your career and brand, no one else will either.
  • Paid: Advertising is exposure you pay for. Whether it is coverage on TV, radio, newspaper, magazine or online, you control the messaging, reach and timing. You may even pay for a premium location, such as the inside front or back cover of a magazine. You do have tighter controls with advertising because you know precisely what you are paying for and when your ads will run.
  • Earned: Publicity is coverage you hope to receive from media outlets. You can improve your chances by understanding the timing and having a good media angle, but you can’t “make” something happen (publicists do a lot of praying). With publicity, the process is more fluid. A publicist with well-established media relationships can most likely guarantee you some coverage. You can not determine where it will run, when it will run, how long your coverage will be or exactly what that coverage will say.

You can control the TIMING of both owned and paid media. Publicity (earned) is tricky to line up perfectly, but good publicists know how to manage the timing of reviews and features.

  • Owned: Your content gives you the most control over timing. Depending on your marketing plan, you may release an effective piece of content timed with the release of  your new book.
  • Paid: Advertising gives you tremendous control over timing. You can take advantage of breaking news and can scale advertising quickly (as long as you can afford it). You can plan the launch of your book to gain exposure on a particular day and for multiple days.
  • Earned: Publicity is most challenging here as there is little control over timing. While you can pay for ads to run as long as you want, editorial coverage doesn’t run twice. You can, however, get editorial coverage from multiple media outlets and sources around pub date but it is not guaranteed.

The final decision often comes down to COST. Of course the most cost effective option is to create excellent “media” of your own. It is not free, however, as it takes a great deal of your time.

  • Owned: Sure uploading content to your blog, YouTube, Slideshare or social networks like Facebook and Twitter may all be free, creating that content is anything but free. Developing content on a daily basis takes time, creativity, energy and most of all a good plan.
  • Paid: Advertising is of course the most expensive option. The opportunity to control the message, timing and outlet comes with a hefty price tag, but if you are trying to reach a specific audience on a specific day with a specific message, no other form of media will give you that control.
  • Earned: Publicity is also referred to as free and it is absolutely not free. Understanding the needs of the media and having contacts with them requires very specific skill set and today the work is more labor intensive and time consuming than ever. The better your publicity team, the more their time and expertise will cost. Here’s another blog to read: 6 Steps for Finding the Best PR Firm for You & Your Book

The best marketing plans typically include a mixture of all three types of media. As long as you understand the difference between them, you can find the right mix for you and your book.

© 2013 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

6 Steps for Finding the Best PR Firm for You & Your Book

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

By Fauzia Burke

Most authors know that a public relations effort for their book is essential for their success. In order to have a campaign to promote their book comprehensively, many look to augment their publisher’s efforts by hiring a PR agency. But how do you choose the right PR firm for your book? Here are six steps to help make that choice easier:

Step 1: Needs and Goals

Before you begin your search, think about your PR goals. What is it that you want? Do you want to be on TV? Do you want reviews in newspapers? Or, do you want to build exposure online? Whom do you want to reach? Do you know your target demographic? How long do you want to work with a PR agency? Do you want to work with a PR agency for a one-time book or project or for multiple projects longer term? Once you identify your goals, you’ll be able to find an agency that can help you achieve them.

Step 2: Referrals

Your search should always start by asking your agent, publisher or fellow authors for referrals of people they have worked with so you can have some names to begin the process. You can compare and contrast the agencies you have, and find the right fit for you. You can also work the process backward and find a successful book that’s in the same realm as your book, and find out what PR firm that author used.

Step 3: Web Research

Look up the agency online. Check out their website and social networks as well as their current and past projects and testimonials. Find out how long they have been in business and what types of people they work with. In our connected age, it’s easy to do your homework ahead of time to be able to narrow down your list based on your research. It’s 2012 so make sure the agency you select is connected in the social media world — Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. If they are connected digitally, they will be able to help promote and advice you in the social media space.

Step 4: First Contact

Begin contacting several firms to pick the one that is right for you. Collect information on prices, timeline and availability. Find out more about their area of specialty and expertise. Make sure your book is the type of book the PR agency tends to work with and promote. Now you can narrow your list further.

Step 5: Interview

Once you’ve narrowed down your list based on your budget, goals and timing, you should set up an interview with each PR firm by phone or in-person. A good firm will want to talk with you as well to make sure the fit is perfect. They should also encourage you to talk with other PR firms. Before you schedule the interview, give the firm the opportunity to learn about your book so you can hear their ideas and decide if you like what you are hearing. Ask questions just as if you are interviewing someone for a job. Find out the publications and media outlets where they have built relationships. Remember a good PR agency should have an established network of media contacts. Make sure the agency you are talking to understands your brand. You can even request a preliminary proposal of how they would go about publicizing your book. Good PR agencies have strong track records.

Step 6: The Final Decision

The most important part of your decision process should really be your instincts. It’s all about knowing and liking the PR agency you are going to work with, because if you don’t like the person initially, you will most likely be dissatisfied in the long run. Did you establish rapport upon initial contact? During the interview phase, which firm stood out? What agency do you like, respect and trust the most? In the end, go with your gut, and you will make the best decision for you and your book.

Along with results, a good PR agency should give you valuable information for building your brand and to amplify the exposure you are getting. In the end, it is all about the collaboration so pick your team carefully.

© 2012 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For online publicity, book publishing and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke. To talk with FSB and ask your book publicity questions, please join us on Facebook.

10 Skills to Thrive in PR Learned from Reality TV

Wednesday, September 5th, 2012

I have a confession to make. My guilty pleasure is reality competition shows like Project Runaway, Top Chef and Amazing Race. I know I am not alone because all these shows have seen years of success and ratings. Recently, I thought working in PR is a lot like being a candidate in a reality competition: same pressures, same deadlines, same high expectations. I also noticed that there are some common skills between the candidates who do well in these shows and the ones who are successful in PR.

Here’s my take on the skills you need to be successful in PR and reality TV:

1. Be open to new ideas — Be a constant student and be open to discovering new ways of doing things. PR is always evolving and you should be too.

2. Initiative — Do more than what was asked of you. Not only will your initiative be appreciated by colleagues and clients, you will be setting a leadership example for those around you.

3. Teamwork — If you are a team player, you probably have the right attitude. You can’t be a component of a team if your only focus is to grab the limelight for yourself. Instead, be a team player by talking less, listening more and encouraging each member of your team to play up their strengths.

4. Time management — If you are late to work, late to a meeting or late with a project, you are saying a few things about yourself that are unfavorable. For one, you are saying you aren’t personally accountable or reliable and that’s not good. Two, you are saying that you don’t respect someone else’s time, also not good. Meeting deadlines is ultimately an issue of respect and trust — two things that are essential in PR.

5. Respect for others — Respect other people’s thoughts, ideas, insights and feedback and they, in turn, will respect yours.

6. Humility – Humility makes you likable and that’s helpful in any work environment. Remember PR is like fashion, “one day you’re in and the next day you’re out.”

7. Resilience – Resilience is all about sailing through the highs and the lows with a clear head and the ability to learn quickly from missteps. PR is full of highs and lows and there is nothing you can do to control that, but you can develop an attitude of resilience to get through the rough days. A healthy dose of optimism doesn’t hurt either.

8. Organization – You can’t survive in PR if you are not organized. A good rule to follow is to plan your next day before the current day ends. Tackle big priorities early in the day. Write everything down — on your electronic calendar or in a planner. Stay on top of everything. Best way to deal with the stress of PR is to stay organized. Here’s a blog I wrote that might help too: PR is Stressful, But You Don’t Have to be a Stress Monster.

9. Hard work – You can’t be a stranger to hard work if you want to work in PR. Roll up your sleeves and dive in. View each day as a blank slate and work as hard as you can — even on the days you don’t feel like it.

10. Curiosity — A curious mind indicates that you have a healthy attitude and the ability to incorporate new ideas — even when they are not your own.

A select few reality TV Shows aren’t without merit, but don’t tell my husband or he’ll roll his eyes at you too. Next time you watch a reality competition show, notice the traits of the best candidates. They may be more helpful than you thought in predicting your success in PR.

© 2012 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For digital publicity and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke.

PR Is Stressful, But You Don’t Have to be a Stress Monster

Monday, August 27th, 2012

I have seen PR people stressed out, screaming, sending emails in all caps, and worse. A new study puts public relations as number seven on the top 10 most stressful professions. As a public relations executive, of course I have days that are stressful, but I don’t think that has to make the entire profession stressful. Some of our industry’s drama may be self-induced. According to a recent article by Rob Biesenbach, some people take a “perverse pride in how stressed out they are,” as if people think their level of stress determines their importance — or the importance of their careers. It doesn’t have to be that way. I love my job. I know it’s important. I find joy in doing it well . . . but unless I am risking my life or the lives of others, my job cannot be that stressful.

If you want to move away from stressed out mode and alleviate some of the stress from your PR job, try incorporating some of these strategies.

Plan Ahead

Lack of planning or not anticipating the needs of reporters — especially tight deadlines — can turn into an emergency. Communicate often with your clients, and then communicate more. Understand publishing cycles, and prepare ahead of time by having client quotes ready. Get graphics and other media converted in all formats so you don’t lose an opportunity because of delay. Confirm the clients schedule so you can reach them quickly. Make sure all contact information is in a central place so others can step in and help if you can’t be immediately reached.

Realize publicity is not advertising

You are not paying a media outlet to promote your product or client. Basically, you are begging them to work on a story idea with you. If your story idea is good and you have targeted the right person, the chances are good that you can get a placement. If a reporter is not interested, has recently covered a similar story or her editor has chosen to go in another direction, there may not be much you can do. That is the reality of PR. Our clients pay us for our time, our expertise in knowing which stories have legs and our contacts. Unfortunately, this can make for the perfect recipe of miscommunication. If you can communicate honestly with your clients, things will be less stressful. Don’t over-promise. Even if your BFF is the producer for The Daily Show, you can’t guarantee an appearance for your client. Set reasonable expectations so your client is not disappointed.

Touch base often

Regular updates and reports keep everyone on the same page. If you are honest with your clients, they’ll respect your efforts. I tell my staff that communicating when things are not going as expected is critically important. Recruit your clients to help when things are falling flat or the reception is lukewarm. They may have great ideas to turn things around.

Keep Your Promises

One thing I hear often is that publicists don’t do what they said they would. In a job without guaranteed results, it is crucial that your clients trust your efforts. The best way to do that is to keep your promises — every one of them. If you say you’ll call in 10 minutes, do it. If you have a phone conference, never be late (or only once). Send reports on time and like clockwork. Be dependable, reliable and trustworthy.

Select Clients Carefully

Don’t fake it until you make it in this profession. It is important to pick projects based on your passion to promote them, and not by the money. Working on projects that you care about, makes begging and bothering editors, (oops, I meant following up, worthwhile.) Working on projects that don’t speak to you personally will make you feel like a fake. Fake communication is stressful and ineffective.

Relax, Breathe, and Smile

Sometimes things don’t go as planned or expected and during those times you just have to go with the flow. Remember to: Relax, Breathe, and Smile. A little perspective is a good thing. We’re not saving lives here.

Nothing you do will make your job completely stress-free, but it also does not have to be the seventh most stressful job in the world. Publicity can be a lot of fun, and when done with integrity, enthusiasm and honesty, it also can be respected.

© 2012 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Author Bio
Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For digital publicity and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke.

12 Ways to Build Your Brand and Promote Your Book on Twitter

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012

An author recently reached out to me via email and said, “I’ve been tweeting for a couple of weeks and don’t see a change in my Amazon ranking. What am I doing wrong?” I told him, “Nothing. Twitter is just not an instant fix. It takes a long time to build a community in social media.” That’s the honest truth, but there are still ways to make sure the time you spend on Twitter is as productive as possible.

You know the Twitter basics, right? You tweet. You retweet. You write Tweets in 140 characters or less. You keep your tweets short to encourage retweets and you aren’t confused by the terms or symbols of #hashtags or @Mentions. So what else? What’s next? Instead of giving you more of the basics, here are 12 ways to be more strategic about your time on Twitter.

  1. Help other people. This tip usually comes easily to authors and experts because they have been giving advice for years. Twitter just allows you to give it to a larger audience. Ever hear that if you help other people get what they want, you will get what you want? It’s true. Whenever you have any interaction, start with the intention to give more value than you receive.
  2. Tweet quotes. Your nonfiction book is filled with little tips of value, and I bet your novel is full of perfect little sentences. Share them on Twitter daily. Remember to keep them short (120 characters) so people can add a comment and retweet!
  3. Be polite. It may sound time-consuming, but it’s worth it. Every time someone retweets your tweets, thank them. You will create conversations and ultimately create relationships.
  4. Decide who you want to create relationships with and begin a conversation. Many of my clients find themselves talking to whomever reaches out to them. Instead you can be more proactive and make a list of the people you want to get to know. Whether it’s other experts in your space or media professionals, twitter is a great way to learn from others. Initiate contact by retweeting the content of others to help support and promote them and foster a good relationship. Remember not to spam people on Twitter or ask them to follow you or to retweet you.
  5. Post links to helpful articles, resources, tips and other books you enjoy. One of the best ways to become known as an expert is to be on top of the trends in your industry. Share tips from others, as well as articles and resources that consistently brand you in your area of expertise. Remember to stay in your lane. Don’t tweet things that are irrelevant to your brand.
  6. Host a book giveaway. There are so many ways to create contests on Facebook and Twitter. Free giveaways are often shared, so your followers will help promote your book for you.
  7. Study the competition. Twitter is an open forum for you to study other people who might be in your field of expertise. See what they are doing and what’s working for them and modify those tips for yourself to help market your book.
  8. Maximize your Twitter bio. Your Twitter bio is only 160 characters. Use the space wisely and provide a link to your Website or book. Be straightforward yet descriptive about your expertise and include your book title if you have room.
  9. Use the 4:1 rule. While celebrities might tweet hints about their relationships on Twitter and others might tweet a photo of their dinner, you will be missing a big opportunity if you only use Twitter to share bits of personal info. Instead, make sure most of your tweets provide definite value. For every few tweets that are helpful or provide value, write only one tweet that’s promotional about your book.
  10. Enlist raving fans (or family and friends) to help you promote your book. When people love your book, ask them to tweet about it using a hashtag of the title of your book so it trends in the Twitter world. Retweet those tweets from your fans on your Twitter feed.
  11. Do a YouTube video for your book. You know how you watch movie trailers before you head out to the movies? You want to know what you are going to watch before you head to the movies and buy that ticket. The same goes for your book. Create a promotional trailer of your book by reading some excerpts or discussing the main concept of your book. Once you finish, tweet it.
  12. Host a Twitter chat. Promote your expertise by hosting a Tweet chat. Come up with a short hashtag you can encourage your Twitter followers to use during the hour of your Tweet chat. Your Tweet chat can be a Q & A about your book, or you can take questions from followers for an hour at a designated time that you promote on Twitter.

As you work to market your book and become known as an expert in your niche, don’t forget to use Twitter to build your personal brand. More importantly, don’t expect instant success. Pace yourself and enjoy the journey. Let me know if you have any questions. Good luck.

© 2012 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.

Fauzia Burke is the Founder and President of FSB Associates, a digital publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. For digital publicity and social media news, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke.

Publishers Looking to Amplify eBook Marketing

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

Our new Amplify e-book marketing program is off to a running start. Publishers are realizing that e-book publicity is going to have to play by different rules than those traditionally found in paper book campaigns. Why? Walk into a bookstore and you’re practically tripping over new releases placed strategically on tables and shelves for all to see.  E-books on the other hand aren’t availed the same service online where millions of titles vie for attention.  The hit-and-run campaigns publishers are used to are short-term events for paper books that won’t cut it with e-books and now with brick-and-mortar booksellers against the ropes, book publicity faces a whole new challenge and importance.

FSB’s Amplify marketing program focuses on turning a short-term event into an extended engagement that increases a book and author’s online visibility. By grouping similar e-books together and promoting them over a six month period, campaigns are amped by boosting their volume, duration, and networking communities. Early adopters of the Amplify program are spearheading the online book publicity movement and among them are publishers such as F&W Media, TOR BooksVanguard Press (Perseus), and Reader’s Digest Trade Publishing.

F&W Media is currently featuring a line of crime novels under the brand, F&W Crime, whose titles seen below are a good example of what makes up a typical Amplify program lineup. By promoting individual books as part of a whole, each title benefits from the support of other titles, the publisher, and FSB’s 16 years of experience, personal relationships with online media outlets, and a far-reaching social media network that includes a team of Twitter support.

Screams & Whispers by Randall Peffer

Young Cape Cod public defender and commercial fisherman Michael Decastro ventures to Saigon with his father to come to the aid of his long-lost client and love-interest Tuki Aparecio, who is in a fight of her life with a mysterious dragon lady from Indochina’s underworld. Screams & Whispers from FW Crime is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Untouchable by Scott O’Connor

A year has passed since Lucy Darby’s unexpected death, leaving her husband David and son Whitley to mend the gaping hole in their lives. The Kid hasn’t spoken since his mother’s death, and only communicates through a collection of notebooks. Untouchable from FW Crime is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

County Line by Bill Cameron

When the steadfast Ruby Jane Whittaker drops out of sight, dogged ex-cop Skin Kadash sets out to discover what drove the woman he loves to leave her life behind. Skin and Peter cross the country on a desperate journey deep into Ruby Jane’s haunted past — and toward an explosive confrontation. County Line from FW Crime is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Liquid Smoke by Jeff Shelby

Private eye Noah Braddock has found peace in his relationship with Detective Liz Santangelo and has called a tentative truce with his alcoholic mother, Carolina. So when lawyer Darcy Gill demands that he look into a death row case, he’s more interested in catching some waves. Darcy then plays her trump card: the man scheduled to die is the father Noah never knew. Liquid Smoke from FW Crime is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Twitter Tip: How to Organize with Lists

Friday, August 5th, 2011

by Ken Ishii

It’s no secret that online social networking is an efficient way to spread news fast and far. Great news for authors. And among social networks out there, Twitter has proven itself a powerful vehicle able to drive users to both familiar and new communities with little effort.

If you don’t have one yet, you should really open a Twitter account quickly before you lose a golden username to someone too quick to the draw. Already a member? Then you’ll most likely enjoy how useful Twitter lists can be.

If you’re familiar with the ins and outs of Twitter, then you probably maintain a regular stream of tweets, amassed a robust network of like-minded users, and made a habit out of lending a hand by retweeting others. With that, you probably realized how hard it is to keep track of users that relentlessly enter your network.

Like any social gathering, you’ll always find a few folks that seem to linger in the spotlight a bit too long. Twitter being no exception, you’re bound to be surrounded by virtual soapbox speakers unless you manage your tweet listening skills. So how does one handle those overly-ambitious users that drown your Twitter fellows into oblivion? You could just stop following the post-happy users altogether, but then you’ll be burning a bridge you might need to cross when time comes to promote your work. A less antagonistic approach would be to simply avert your attention away from the noisemakers. Creating lists offers a friendly solution that won’t cause tears when users find out who stopped following them on Twitter. With Twitter lists, those chatterboxes can keep their seats at the party, but you’ll get to choose which table to join.

So let’s get started. To make your own lists, visit and log in to your Twitter account. You say you rather use Hootsuite? We do too, but we’ll get to that right after this.

After logging in, you’ll be taken to your Home screen. Right above the news stream on the left are several tabs including one labeled, “Lists.” Click it, and a drop-down menu will appear where the option, “Create a list,” can be found. Think about all the categories you’ll want to get updates from regularly and then decide how many lists you want to create. Again, it might help to imagine a party with tables of different groups.

I need to throw a bit of caution out there when creating lists. With public lists, the list name, description, and users you add to the list will be visible to everyone on Twitter. You can specify lists as private to keep them hidden from other users, but keep in mind, lists make great sharing resources that others might find helpful.

Next you’ll need to add people to your lists. Search for new or familiar Twitter users and find the drop-down menu on his or her profile to add them to a list.

You can add a user to more than one list if you wish or you can create a new list right on the spot if you think of any new categories.

Over time, users might find social media management tools such as Hootsuite necessary to organize and enhance their networking experience. If you’re one of these people, you’ll be relieved to know that you don’t have to go to the main Twitter site to put together a list. There are several ways to create a list on Hootsuite. The method I like is to simply click the “Add Stream” button in the upper left-hand corner just below the tabs.

In the window that pops up, click on the Lists tab to reveal the required entry fields. If you have multiple Twitter accounts, select the profile you want your new list assigned to. On the third line, click the “Create a new list” option and then name your list. Select whether you want to make your list public or private, click “Create Stream,” and you’re done!

If you already have a list created or subscribe to a list you want to add new users to, just click on the user’s Twitter profile picture and click on the “Add To List” button in the profile box that appears. Next, select the list you want to add the user to from the drop-down menu and, within seconds, the user’s tweets will be included in the stream of messages filtered by the list.

With lists in place, Twitter comes alive with customized channels you can surf to find whatever suits your mood. You can create lists consisting of general news outlets, industry experts, valuable followers, competitors, family members, friends, favorite stores, or find other creative uses for lists to enhance your tweeting experience. If you’re looking for pre-made lists or recommended Twitter users, you can browse a Twitter list directory to save you some legwork or even get yourself on a public list.

Don’t feel like you need lists right now? Maybe it’s time to go and follow more tweeps? You can start with our FSB home team on Twitter!

It Takes a Village to Promote a Book

Wednesday, July 6th, 2011

by Fauzia Burke

“Markets are conversations,” said the authors of The Cluetrain Manifesto and it is still the number one thesis on their Web site. Social media allows you to have those conversations. When I wrote a Blog on Huffington Post called “It’s 2010: You Really Need to be on Facebook”, I was shocked by the response. In fact, Donna Fenn, author of Upstarts wrote on her Bnet blog that judging by the response, you’d think that I had asked people to walk around naked. It is surprising that anyone could still deny the benefits of social media for marketing.

Today’s marketing is truly about conversations. So if you are going to spend the time and money marketing a product or service, you should think “will this start, maintain, or enhance the conversation?” Will this get people talking, will they take it to their twitter feeds and Facebook pages? Will they forward, post, or retweet this?

I have found that it is seldom that one big hit that results in conversations. You need a lot of attention, some big, some small, all moving the conversation forward. If you compare hits to the old formula that big is best, then the smaller blogs have little impact. But if your goal is to truly broaden the scope of the discussion, you need lots of people talking on lots of different Web sites and blogs.

Even a feature on Web sites like CNN.com or Oprah.com does not guarantee instant increases to your Web site traffic or book sales. In fact, these days even a Today Show appearance is no guarantee. However, I believe a sustained effort to keep people talking results in speaking engagements, paid blog posts (yes there is such a thing), interview opportunities, more fans on your Facebook page, more traffic on your site, increased sales, and a recognition and expansion of “brand YOU.”

Selling books is almost always the first goal of every author, however if you chat with them a bit they’ll say things like, “I want to help people,” “I know my book will make a difference,” “I want to make sure people know what is really going on,” “I want to make people laugh,” “I want to entertain my readers” or “I envision a world where people love what they do and if they read my book they would.” I often take on projects based on these secondary goals, the goals that speak to the truth of the person and the importance of the book. These are the goals that are worth talking about.

As a marketer, I can’t ever get people to talk about the author’s first goal. Not once has a reviewer said, “Please buy this book because the author would like to have a bestseller.” However, those secondary goals have always started conversations and sparked interests and led to interviews and discussions.

Many of the bloggers we work with post their reviews on multiple blogs and Web sites like Twitter, Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, Ning, Library Thing, Facebook, and more, all of which increase the search visibility of the book and author. In that way, those reviews or features are all fluid and viral. They do not stay where they are created. They often take flight and have a much broader life than just the traffic on their own blogs.

Search results, conversations and virality are most important in today’s connected market place, and they are achieved by a broad spectrum of coverage, not just the sites that get the most hits.

So as of today, think about the real reason you wrote the book, the reason why only you could have written it, think about those secondary goals, and then get on with the business of starting conversations.

What do you think it takes to promote a book these days? Please share your comments. Thanks.

12 Social Media Tools for Publicity

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

by Fauzia Burke

The explosion of social media in the last few years has brought with it a whole slew of social media applications and tools designed to help publicists deliver and monitor better results. As I have written before, I think social media has been a huge help for publicity. However, choosing the tools is important in helping you save time and be effective. I’ve compiled a list of 12 tools that lighten the social media workload at FSB, and I hope you find them helpful as well.

Blog Searches:

Blogpulse: You can search for a URL, name or topic. I think it gives good results for a given topic, even though I’m not always crazy about the results. However, every now and then I find things here that are missed by Google or Google alerts.

Google Blog Search: This is the most thorough blog searching tool around. You can find blogs for any topic.

Technorati: This is a great site of blogs by topic and ranking. Very helpful.

Digital Presence Assessment and Management:

Addictomatic: This site is very helpful in gauging a digital footprint as it searches the web for latest news, blog posts, videos and images. A cool element is that you can customize the dashboard by simply dragging the boxes around.

Hootsuite: We use Hootsuite in the office and even pay for the pro version. I think it is an excellent program that we find more reliable than Tweetdeck. You can manage several accounts and schedule posts for Twitter and Facebook.

How Socialable: This site gives you an evaluation of your brand’s visibility. It’s not great for personal brands, but a good tool for big brands, like your company.

Klout: One of the most popular Twitter popularity tools, Klout measures influence rather than just followers.

Social Mention: This site allows you to search an author, company or topic across the Web. You can get results from 100 social media sites in one place. My favorite part is that it gives you sentiment (positive, neutral or negative) of the mentions all over the Web, along with top keywords and top hashtags. It’s handy.

TweetReach: This is one of my favorite sites. It allows you to search a topic, author, handle or name and see how many people were reached by those Tweets. You can also see who sent the Tweets and how many followers they have. Very helpful for publicists looking for influencers.

TwitterCounter: I love this site. It allows you to see the Twitter stats for any handle. You can see if the trend is for gaining followers or losing them. Also shows you how many Tweets are made everyday by any handle. Good for research and for monitoring the success of your company feeds.

Topic Search:

Google Trends: If you are working on a news topic, this is an excellent source as it gives you insights into the traffic and geographic visit patterns.

Twazzup: This site allows you to filter news from live Twitter content. It’s good to see trending topics and influencers for a given subject. Better for topic than an author’s name.

Having a social media platform for communicating is extremely important for the success of your publicity campaigns. The majority of the tools presented in this list can make communicating your messages on target and easy to manage/track. I invite you to choose the ones that help make your social media experience more productive and better still, enjoyable. Do you have a favorite tool not on this list?

For the latest on web publicity, social media news, and personal branding, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke.

8 Ways to Develop Better Relationships with Bloggers

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

By Fauzia Burke

When authors come to me and say, “I want to reach book bloggers or mommy bloggers,” I often have to tell them that bloggers have very specific tastes. More specific than you probably realize. For example, when reaching out to mommy bloggers, it is really important to know the age of their kids. Pitching a YA novel to a mommy blogger with a baby won’t get you far. Pitching a Sci-Fi novel to a blogger that loves historical romance won’t work either. Sending a WWII book to a blogger that covers the Civil War will make for a cranky blogger, and sending a press release to the wrong person may actually get you blacklisted.

So here are some tips to help you develop better relationships with bloggers.

Know Their Beat

The best piece of advice to any publicist trying to build a relationship with bloggers is to build it through mutual respect, trust, and consistency. Make sure you know the blogger’s focus and area of interest.

Search For Blogs

If you are looking for bloggers, try AlltopTechnorati, or Google Blogsearch. Another interesting but time-consuming site is called Listorious; it helps you search for people and lists on Twitter.

At FSB, we have also set up a directory where book bloggers are listed by category. Each book blogger has registered and submitted the information themselves and others are welcome to join the blogger directory. The directory is available for free to everyone – bloggers and publicists alike.

Value of Bloggers

It’s good to know the traffic of blogs, but don’t dismiss bloggers with less traffic. It is important to look at the “full reach” of a blogger. Sometimes blog features from smaller blogs can generate more chatter on social networks. It’s a good idea to follow them on Twitter and “Like” them on Facebook to check out their social networks. Some bloggers post reviews on multiple sites so they can be more valuable for that reason alone. Remember also, that placements on niche sites (with less traffic) can sometimes be more effective than placements on a large general interest site.

There isn’t a consistent way to get traffic information for every type of blog. However, here are a few tips: You can always see the number of people that are subscribed to an RSS feed (usually listed on each blog web site); another way is to use a web tool like Compete or Alexa, but unfortunately these tools don’t keep traffic for all blogs; and lastly you could always check out a blog’s advertising info or media kit.

Make Things Easier

Understanding the needs of bloggers will help you work with them. Make note of the type of coverage they have. Do they like to interview authors, review books, do raffles or post guest blogs? Then make sure you send them the materials they need in a timely fashion.

Because bloggers need quality content often, we have set up a web site just for bloggers called FSB Media. Bloggers can request review copies plus “grab” quality content from published authors. We make sure we have permission already in place so bloggers can feature the content on their site with ease.

Approach Bloggers One At A Time

Every time I say that, people either roll their eyes in disbelief or try to sell me on the benefits of mail merge. Here’s the honest truth: you are better off reaching out to 50 bloggers one at a time than 500 via mail merge. You’ll actually get better results. Is it time consuming and labor intensive? You bet. Is it worth it? Yes!

Don’t Push

Without follow-up nothing will come of your pitching, so you need to find time to follow up and develop skills in asking without being pushy or rude. Every good publicist needs to master the delicate art of begging.

Represent Good Content

Don’t send out press releases, articles, or op-eds that are not written well. Make sure the content that leaves your hands always looks professional and does not have spelling or grammatical mistakes.

There are a few endorsements from bloggers on our site, and I read them as market research for this piece. Many of them noted that being consistent and professional is important to them.

Perfect Your Publicity Database

All of these tips are good and fine, but unless you make some changes to your contact database, these tips will be difficult to implement. At FSB, we have several fields in our custom-designed database that help us develop relationships with bloggers.  We record when the contact was added, by whom, and any notes about their likes and dislikes. We also keep track of all the books sent to every blogger and which ones featured our books. This practice allows us to learn more about the blogger with every interaction and only send them the books he/she would be inclined to cover.

I hope these tips help you develop better long-term relationships with bloggers. A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog on The Huffington Post called Book Bloggers Rock! where I thanked them for their hard work and dedication to books and authors. I stand by that idea and encourage publicists and publishers to change internal publicity systems to develop an ongoing dialogue and relationship with bloggers.

For the latest on web publicity, social media news, and personal branding, follow Fauzia on Twitter: @FauziaBurke.