We hear about media and influencers in book publicity all the time. Although it may be obvious by now, it’s still important to make sure we understand the definition. What exactly is an influencer?
An influencer is an individual who has established credibility, expertise, and a significant following in a particular niche or industry. Influencers have the power to impact the opinions, behaviors, and purchasing decisions of their followers based on their expertise, authenticity, and ability to engage with their audience.
In the context of book publicity, influencers are individuals who have built a strong online presence and following around book-related content. They may include book bloggers, bookstagrammers (Instagram users who focus on books), booktubers (YouTubers who create book-related content), podcast hosts, or social media personalities who actively discuss, review, and recommend books to their audiences. We love it when the right influencers recommend our books!
They often have a dedicated and engaged community of followers who trust their recommendations and value their opinions. Their reach and influence can be harnessed by authors and publishers to promote books and generate awareness among their target readership. By collaborating with influencers, authors can tap into their existing platforms and engage with their audience in a more organic and authentic way.
So how do we capture the attention and support of relevant influencers? Here are a few ideas to get you going or keep you engaged in it:
First, Identify the Right Influencers: This seems obvious, but it is the place to begin. Identify influencers who align with your book’s genre, target audience, and overall theme. Look for influencers who have an engaged following, actively discuss books or related topics, and have a presence on platforms that resonate with your target readership.
Research and Engage: This is where many authors become impatient, but it is a critical part of the process. Just as you need to study appropriate journalists, you must identify and research potential influencers. Familiarize yourself with their content, interests, and engagement with their audience. Follow their social media accounts, subscribe to their blogs or newsletters, and engage with their content genuinely by commenting, sharing, or liking their posts. Yes, it takes time. And, yes, it is what works.
Build Authentic Relationships: If you’ve been reading this blog for sometime now, you know I’m not wild about the word “authentic.” I think it is completely overused, but sometimes there is no other word to take its place. However, the idea is that influencer outreach is most effective when it’s based on genuine relationships. Take the time to establish connections with influencers by engaging with their content regularly and offering meaningful comments or insights. Avoid generic or spammy messages. Instead, show your appreciation for their work and demonstrate your understanding of their interests. Yes, this takes time. And, yes, it is what works.
Personalized Outreach: When you’re ready to reach out, craft personalized messages to each influencer. Highlight why you believe your book would resonate with their audience and share specific reasons why you appreciate their content. Be concise, friendly, and professional in your approach. Personalizing your outreach demonstrates that you’ve done your research and are genuinely interested in collaborating. It’s also important to show that your outreach is not all about you, it is about them. As with media, so it is with influencers. Yes, this takes time. And, yes, it is what works.
Offer Value: Influencers are more likely to engage with you if you provide value to their audience. Offer them a free copy of your book for review or consideration, or propose an exclusive interview or guest post opportunity. Consider any unique angles or tie-ins with their content that could make your book more appealing to their followers. Show that you understand how the collaboration can benefit both parties. Be sure to share how you can help expand their reach too, by sharing with your networks. Offer value.
Follow Up: If you don’t receive an immediate response, don’t be discouraged. Influencers receive numerous requests, so it’s essential to follow up politely if you haven’t heard back after a reasonable period. Keep your follow-up concise and reiterate your interest in collaborating. If you can add anything else, this is the time to do it. Perhaps there is another angle or additional value you can bring to the table. Following up is always essential, but personally it isn’t enough to say, “Hey, have you had a chance to look at this?” Rather, offer something even better. Yes, this takes time.
Foster Long-Term Relationships: Building relationships with influencers can extend beyond the book launch. If an influencer supports your book, be sure to thank them and maintain the connection. Engage with their future content, provide updates on your writing journey or future projects, and consider offering support or collaborations when appropriate. I can’t underscore the importance of this enough. It’s like any relationship. You must continue to nurture it.
Influencers have become a driving force in the digital age, shaping consumer behavior and influencing purchasing decisions in the world of books. By leveraging their power, authors and publishers can tap into their established credibility and engaged audience to generate buzz, reach new readers, and increase book sales. The key to successful influencer outreach lies in building authentic relationships, offering value to both the influencer and their followers, and fostering long-term connections. By working together with influencers, authors can amplify their reach, connect with their target audience, and create a lasting impact in the ever-evolving world of publishing.
To your success!
P.S. Learn more about reaching influencers and other media in The Book Publicity Master Course through the Nonfiction Authors Association, presented by yours truly. I would love to have you join me. You can learn more about it here.
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