A Cheat Sheet for First-Time Authors
According to Fauzia Burke, an established expert on digital marketing and publicity, it’s often this “Phase 2″—the marketing process—that discourages people from writing the book in the first place. But if you’re one of them, you shouldn’t let fear of the unknown stop you.
“The good news is that building a strong brand and marketing your book is not beyond your reach,” says Burke, keynote speaker at the Second Annual Business Writers Conference and author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors: A Step-by-Step Guide (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2016, ISBN: 978-1-62656-785-6, $16.95). “It’s just a matter of learning how and doing it. Thanks to the Internet, anyone who is willing to do the research and who has the discipline to keep sending out carefully targeted marketing messages can capture readers and eventually turn them into buyers.”
The conference—which will take place April 19-21, 2017, in Birmingham, Alabama—is expected to attract 100 executives, service professionals, and entrepreneurs from an array of industries seeking to network and learn best practices from some of the most accomplished experts in business book publishing.
Burke’s keynote will focus on new digital tools business book authors can use to make their social media marketing easier and more effective. Here is a sneak peek at some of the kinds of advice she offers:
1. Know your audience.
“Understanding your readers will help you devise the best digital marketing strategy for you. Online marketing is customized and personalized. It is essential for you to know your audience so you can find them and serve them best,” Burke explains. “You should know your readers’ age group, gender, interests, which social media outlets they use, and where they hang out online. The more you know your audience, the better your marketing will be.”
2. Get a professional website.
“Your website is the only place online where you are in total control. No one else can change the rules like they can on other social media sites. Other social media platforms don’t cancel out the need for a website because your website is where you call the shots,” Burke attests. If you are on only social media sites, you are always playing another person’s game. You don’t want your online presence to be in the hands of someone else.
3. Be selective.
Choose one or two social media platforms to start. Don’t feel like you have to do the next shiny thing online or keep up with all social media platforms. Just start conversing with your audience by selecting a platform where you think you will find your readers. You can always adjust accordingly as you build your community.
You can’t be a bullhorn. You have to go for engagement. You want people to talk on your page. “Don’t get wooed by big numbers. You want a smaller community that’s engaged as opposed to a large audience that’s not engaged. Look at ways to engage the audience you do have,” Burke states. “Take very good care of the people who have given you their permission to talk with them—whether that’s through a newsletter, blog, or on Facebook. Give them your best.”
5. Put your reader first.
When you are creating content to connect with your community, always filter your content through a lens of your reader. Burke suggests asking yourself some questions: “How are you serving your reader? What value are you providing? What problem are you solving? Look at your engagement and see what people are sharing. Be natural but ask yourself: What is my audience telling me?When the content you create solves a problem your audience has, that’s when you authentically build lasting relationships.”
6. Think marathon and not sprint.
“It’s okay if your marketing efforts don’t immediately go viral. Be consistent in creating a buzz about your brand and book by communicating daily on your social media sites,” Burke explains. “Think big picture, because carving out your niche, creating a presence, and building a following takes time.” Write down the goal for writing your book and read it for inspiration when things get hard.
7. Follow the data.
Internet publicity is customized. “Everything you do online has a digital footprint and analytics. Take a step back and assess what you need to do by following the data. Measure what works and what doesn’t and adapt accordingly,” Burke advises. Now you can spend your time on the things that are most effective for your brand and not what worked for someone else.
8. Tap into your professional and personal networks.
Consider reaching out to people individually to create buzz and spread the word about your upcoming book. “You might think a blanket email will do the trick, but a one-on-one grassroots effort will be more effective in the long-term for connection, social shares, testimonials, and sales of your book,” Burke assures.
If you haven’t written one word yet, so much the better. It’s never too early to kick-start the marketing process.
“As soon as you have an idea for your book, you should start marketing,” says Burke. “Start sharpening your message and communicating with your future buyers now, and you’ll become a familiar and trusted voice. You’re laying the groundwork for their buying your book—maybe even becoming a client or customer—even if these things happen well into the future.”
Fauzia Burke is the founder and president of FSB Associates, one of the first firms to specialize in digital branding and online publicity for books. Founded in 1995, FSB Associates has successfully launched more than 2,000 online book publicity campaigns. Burke has worked on books by Alan Alda, Sue Grafton, Brian Tracy, Ken Blanchard, Tom Rath, Philip Kotler, James M. Kouzes, Barry Z. Posner, Joel Peterson, Joe Pantoliano, Marina Keegan, Kathy Freston, Deepak Chopra, and many others. For more information, please visit www.fsbassociates.com.
The Business Writers Conference is an immersion experience that provides you with access to the experts, resources, and inspiration to learn how the book-writing process works and how to develop books and articles efficiently. Attendees will have access to keynote presentations, breakout sessions, and hands-on workshops.