SERIES: Big Brand Marketing Tips for Authors -Step 1

Big Budgets

Ever wonder if the strategies that work for big brands like Coca Cola or Nike could work for you as you strive to brand yourself in the world of publishing? With deep pockets like the big boys, it would be easy to brand yourself to the world! I can imagine you just rubbing your hands together in glee thinking of how you’re going to market yourself with a $23 million budget at your fingertips.

*Slap Slap*

Wake up! Enough fantasizing already.

Even if you’re on all the best-seller lists, I doubt that any publishing company would toss around $23 million as a publicity campaign, but if they did, power-to-ya! Now scram. This blog series is for the rest of us working on a shoe-string or no string budget marketing/advertising/PR campaign.

First of all, the reason why I am qualified to give this little “chat” is because at my blessed dayjob (really, I like my job) I am a senior manager in the marketing department for the #2 brand in our category. I’m not going to reveal what that brand is, BUT, let’s just say that it’s sold at all the major and minor retailers across the nation, like Walmart, Target, Walgreens, CVS, etc. So, I kinda know what I’m talking about. And I say “kinda” because it’s an ever growing and changing spectrum of success and until we’re #1, I say “kinda.” =)

Lesson #1: KEY INFLUENCERS

Influencers = Noun. The capacity or power of persons or things to be a compelling force on or produce effects on the actions, behavior, opinions, etc., of others.

How the Brands Do it: One of the important first steps in any social media and public relations campaign is to determine your category’s (or genre’s) key influencers. People that you already (or should) depend on for new information and who influence large crowds of people…preferably to buy your book.

Typically, Brands would pay an agency to do the work for us, someone like Traackr (No – that’s not a typo). They are a company that specializes in the algorithyms that not only find key players in the field, but determine the relevance to your brand (YOU).

It is a great service, but it’s extremely expensive and not something the typical aspiring writer or newbie published author can afford (i.e. our program started off at $10,000).

So why did I torture you by telling you about something you can’t afford?

I’m just explaining how Big Brands do it…we cheat a bit. If you have the time, energy, and a good network, you can do it yourself. I have put together a short list of key influencers in the Romance Genre – namely Book Reviewers. Other categories to look for would be Key Agents, Key Publishers, etc. But for the sake of this blog, we’re talking about Book Reviewers.

Below is a chart of some key influencers in the Book Reviewers Romance Genre. PLEASE NOTE: This is by no means a complete list of all the book reviewers. To make life easier, I simply went by their Google Ranking and stopped at a certain point. So don’t get mad at me if I left someone off, it was unintentional, as I do not have time to list every single book reviewer.

After I chart their Google information – I check out their web address and type it into Alexa.com to see how it ranks in US traffic. Since it’s comparing all the websites published in America – which is an obscene number of websites, the rankings that these book reviewers show is phenomenal. The rest is easy to fill out. PLEASE NOTE: The number of fans or followers an entity has is NOT the most important factor in determining the influence level of a book reviewer.

Why? Because many people want to keep their interests private. So they may visit a Facebook Page often but NOTE click “like” to be a fan because they don’t want their mother/brother/kids/coworkers to know that they like a particular brand/musician/service.

That’s why it’s important that you create a chart (like mine below) and then add more information. Most of these can be found right off of Alexa.com when you get the details for the website that you are researching.

– Relevance (they define it on Alexa)

– Number of Sites linking in

– Demographic of visitors, etc.

Once you have this information – add it to the chart. NEXT TIME, I’ll tell you what to DO with your list of key influencers. STAY TUNED!

Key Influencers Example

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