Archive for April, 2017

7 Steps to Successful Book Promotion

Friday, April 28th, 2017

Successful Book Promotion

If you’ve always thought you have a book in you, this marketing blog post is for you because writing the book is only half the equation. Successful book promotion is what will get your words into people’s hands.

As a former Barnes & Noble community relations manager, I have ten years of experience working with authors and promoting books. And in my current agency role, I have a fair amount of knowledge in current marketing strategies and tactics. Still, even for me, successful book promotion is a big topic. In April, I was interviewed by Dr. Judith Briles in her weekly podcast for her company, AuthorU. Judith works with and educates authors on successful book promotion and helps them get their book from concept to distribution. She interviewed me to gain some insights on how authors can promote their books more effectively. (You can click here to download the segment.) If you’re more visual, here are some takeaways from our talk:

The 7 Steps to Successful Book Promotion

(In the podcast, I talk about five steps, but there’s actually seven when you add in writing the book and understanding your book’s unique value proposition.)

1. Write a Book Worth Reading

Successful book promotion starts with a book worth reading. Just because you can self-publish, doesn’t mean you get to cut corners and write dreck. Write the best book you can write. Get a good editor to help you hone your story. And always keep your reader in mind when you’re writing. Will they find this useful? Entertaining? Enlightening? Ultimately, you are writing for them, not yourself. If you’re writing a book for yourself, that’s called a journal.

2. Research The Book Market

Man Doing Research

Part of writing the best book you can write comes down to researching what is currently available in the marketplace and what’s already been written on the topic (Or if you’re writing fiction, what’s been written in the genre). See what traditional publishers deem print-worthy and what readers find read-worthy and learn from them.

3. Define Your Target Market

Who is going to read your book? Who will find it interesting and a must-read? Is it stay-at-home moms? Electricians? Mystery lovers? Make sure the market is big enough and that it is also reachable. There may be a fair number of albino salmon fishermen in the world, but how are you going to reach them? Also, if your material is so niche as to only appeal to a very limited audience, say that of you and your mother, it’s probably not really a book worth writing.

4. Understand Your Unique Value Proposition

Your unique value proposition (UVP) is comprised of two things. First, what is different about your book? Second, what is special about you as the author of it? Your UVP has to be part of your promotional messaging. For example, if you are a zoologist and your book’s protagonist is a zookeeper, you offer readers an informed point of view on zoos and zoo employees that is unique. Further, your UVP outlines how your book is distinct from what’s already available in the market. For example, your book is the first with a zookeeper as crime fighting super sleuth who uses his animals to help him solve crimes.

5. Craft a Strategy

Once you’ve written the book, you are no longer, as Judith Briles says, the Chief Writing Officer. Now you are the Chief Marketing Officer, and you must market your book. Unlike the movie, Field of Dreams, where if you build it, they will come, no one will read your book until you promote it. Successful book promotion requires effort.

Assuming you’ve written a good book, done your market research, designated your target market, and realized your unique value proposition, now it’s time to craft a strategy. Your strategy statement covers the who, what, and why of your book promotion. For example, “I will tell avid mystery readers, zoo supporters, and animal lovers (who) that my book features a one-of-a-kind crime fighting team of a zookeeper and his animals that will delight their imaginations (what) because it’s written by a zoologist who trains bears in his spare time” (why). The statement says who the target market is, what are they going to get, and why the writer and the book is unique.

6. Choose Tactics

Digital Marketing

Tactics are the delivery method for your strategy. And this is where most authors make their mistakes. They choose tactics first before doing any of the previous steps I’ve outlined. They’ll decide even before they have finished the book that they’re going to promote it on Facebook–or a book tour or flyers or with whatever they feel most comfortable.

Selecting your delivery channels is one of the last things you do. If you’ve done the previous steps correctly, your tactics will practically choose themselves when you factor in your budget.

Tactics can be digital or traditional. Traditional methods are TV, radio, print, live readings, snail mail, conventions and conferences, and media relations. Digital methods are websites, videos, podcasts, webinars, pay-per-click advertising, email campaigns, social media, and marketing automation. (Digital tactics are always evolving, so this is a partial list.) Your budget will largely shape your choices as different tactics come with varying price tags. TV, radio, print and pay-per-click advertising are generally the most costly. Keep in mind that each approach has a time price tag as well. If you know that blogging and social media are the best tactics given your audience, message, and budget, you have to allot time in your schedule to create the content to feed these channels.

7. Measure Your Efforts

Whatever tactics you choose, you must measure the results. Successful book promotion requires learning what’s working and what’s not and adjusting your efforts accordingly. You don’t want to spend precious time and money on things that aren’t garnering sales. Find what works and keep doing it.

Download the podcast for more specific information on things I’ve seen authors do well and things you should never do to promote your book.

If you want to learn how to get media coverage for your book, I’ll be speaking for AuthorU on Saturday, May 6th in Denver on how to leverage the media to sell more books. You can register for the event here.

Finally, if you are an author who doesn’t want to become a marketing expert, contact FiG Advertising and we’ll handle your book promotion for you.

April Fools’ Day Ad Hoaxes

Wednesday, April 26th, 2017

Advertising doesn’t have to be serious. In fact, every year April Fools’ Day ad hoaxes allow advertisers the opportunity to have a bit of fun with their brand. This April Fools’ day, marketers couldn’t resist being goofy, deceptive, and downright hilarious in order to showcase their brands. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite April Fools’ ads from this year.

Best April Fools’ Day Ad Hoaxes

Google Play

We humans love our games and apps, but what about entertainment for our furry friends? Introducing Google Play for Pets, an answer to the question of, “What does my dog/cat/turtle really do when I’m not home?” This hilarious ad features apps catered specifically towards pets, complete with their own special section on the Google Play store.


If you want all the taste of a Big Mac without the big size, McDonald’s Micro Mac is the burger for you. The advertisement begins like a typical Mickey D’s ad, with a close-up shot of the juicy burger with melted cheese nestled inside the classic sesame seed bun. But once the camera zooms out, it’s clear this burger is no regular Big Mac.


Lexus’ Lane Valet ad pokes fun at one of our biggest commuting annoyances: Left-lane stragglers. With the simple touch of a button, those slow-driving left-lane hogs are transported out of your way, so you can continue living life in the fast lane.

Tough Mudder

In the running for one of the most entertaining and adorable April Fools’ ads of 2017, Tough Mudder’s “Puppy Mudder” ad makes us almost want to participate in a Tough Mudder. Almost. The ad showcases the extreme obstacles featured on the course, but with puppies.

USA Swimming

The new fragrance of the U.S. swim team is here, complete with blood, sweat, and bleach. Eau de Chlôrine aims to encapsulate the smell of poolside success, and we must say, it’s pretty convincing. “We worked with our fragrance scientists to capture the smell of success, which is a little different for everyone,” says Matt Farrell, chief innovation officer for USA Swimming. “For us, Eau de Chlôrine embodies that indescribable feeling you get when you dive into the pool for the first time.” A similarly comical website accompanies the ad, making this one of the year’s best April Fools’ ad campaigns.

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PR, Crisis Communication & Repairing United’s Brand

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

Google Advertising

By now, most people have heard of the United Airlines incident that occurred earlier this week. A paying customer was dragged off a United flight by officers when he refused to leave an overbooked flight. The graphic video, which shows the bloodied man being dragged down the airplane aisle, went viral instantly, creating a frenzy on social media and for reporters. While CEO Oscar Munoz vowed “This will never happen again”, many remain critical considering his initial controversial apologies. But what impact will this event have on United’s reputation and brand? While some PR crises have minimal push back on long-term financial performance, this specific incident may have serious consequences for UA’s business outcomes and reputation say brand experts. Business Insider depicts what has happened to United’s stock price since the incident , pointing out that as of Wednesday, April 12, UA’s stock’s lowest price was -4.3% below the open, resulting in a loss of $1 billion. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns 9% of all outstanding shares of United Continental Holdings Inc., and is estimated to lose up to $87 million because of the incident.

PR: Repairing the Damage

Many brand experts are speaking out about how much damage the airline has done to its brand, with most coming to the conclusion that United has a long way to go in order to repair the damage that was caused by the recent incident. Most large companies will face a PR crisis at some point or another. But United took a PR crisis and turned it into a total disaster. Matt Rizzetta, CEO of North 6th Agency believes United now needs to focus on customers who state they’ll never fly united again as well as those who are staying loyal to the company. He states:

“If the initial reaction on social media and at office water coolers is any indication, United has already lost a significant group of customers. Right now, United would be best served to approach its communications strategy into two customer retention buckets; one for customers that are still remaining loyal to the brand, and one for customers that claim they are never coming back to the brand. For the first bucket, it’s all about quick and swift communication that reinforces United’s values and shows immediate differentiation from the competition. The second bucket is a long-term strategy that will require a more personalized approach and can only be rebuilt over time.”

I would add that there’s a third bucket, China. As the doctor who was attacked was originally reported to be Chinese, people in China reacted fervently. A Chinese student in the UK began circulating a petition against the transportation giant with the hashtag #ChineseLivesMatter. And, Weibo, China’s Twitter equivalent, had over 85 million posts referencing the incident by late afternoon on Tuesday. (The incident happened on Sunday.) China is a huge market and a PR strategy that is sensitive to the Asian culture is the third imperative in this mix.

Many communications and PR experts share similar sentiments, but all agree that United has a long way to go in terms of repairing the damage done to its brand.

For more marketing and advertising insight, make sure to follow FiG Advertising on Facebook.

Earned Media and The Fake News Effect

Friday, April 7th, 2017

Google Advertising

Traditionally, one of the most respected marketing assets to attain is earned media. Stories about your product or service appearing in the mainstream media are valuable because the unpaid endorsements are coming from an unbiased third party. Not to be confused with an advertorial, the earned media placement is a genuine shout out from a journalist who sees your product or service as worth writing about.

So what happens when fake news becomes a thing, and it diminishes consumers’ trust in the media in general? This year, fake news was one of the main themes at Europe’s Advertising Week . A study conducted in the UK found a significant decrease in trust of mainstream media, which not only hurts the media companies but also potentially damages the brands which advertise through these media giants.

The Consumer’s Growing Mistrust of The Media

While the UK undoubtedly struggles with this problem, it is an even bigger problem in US marketing and advertising practices. Over the past year, 47% of consumers have been concerned that a story they read may be fake, with 75% of those people losing trust in the media source from which the story came. The survey conducted by Network Research was comprised of over 1,000 adults ranging in age from 18 to 74 and proved that general trust in the media declined to 32% of people, with this number increasing to 38% for those in the 18-to-34-year range. For marketers who spend time pitching journalists for earned media placements, this could be very bad news.

Earned Media and Combatting Fake News

In the ever-increasing age of misguided information, advertisers and marketers need to be vigilant in their efforts to combat fake news. You may say that as an advertiser, it’s not really your responsibility; it’s the media outlet’s concern. In essence, it is, but it’s the advertisers who have the leverage to demand investigations. In March, the News Media Association (NMA) suggested “urgent investigation” into Facebook, Google, and other digital advertisers to fight back against fake news. Dominic Carter, chief commercial officer at News UK believes the answer to solving the fake-news crises lies in the relationship between brands and media agencies. Brands must assert social media distributors, such as “the likes of YouTube and Facebook, and the credibility of the source [of the material] their ad is being placed on. It is the responsibility of those people to make sure that doesn’t happen, which [is in their] control.”

Great Brand Content Wins Over Fake News

Besides asking for media platforms to initiate better fact checking, brands themselves need to have authentic engagement with their audiences. Research conducted by Network Research regarding brand advertising revealed that 77% of those surveyed agreed that familiar brands are a trustworthy source of information, and 77% of people find content created by a familiar brand more trustworthy than information shared by friends on social media (67%). Abby Carvasso, managing director of advertising at Bauer Media says, “Not all content is the same, not all attention is equal either – If you have a deeper brand engagement, you are more likely to get a better recall of that brand message.”

From these studies and statements given by experts in the industry, it is clear that brands and media distributors will have to work hand-in-hand in order to combat fake-news and ultimately increase consumer’s trust in advertising content.