Research for Book Publicity and Marketing Campaigns

Our Q&A continues this week with question #3.

As a quick reminder, I hear from lots of authors who want to embrace book marketing and publicity. I thought it would be fun to take some time and answer those questions, so let’s continue:

What type of research is needed for publicity and marketing campaigns?

We have  touched on research previously, but let’s dive in a little deeper. There are two areas of research you should be prepared to do: Research on what makes your book unique, and research on media outlets.

Research on what makes you unique

We’ll use an example: Let’s say someone has a book about purpose. It’s a great, timely topic, but it is a very crowded marketplace now, with Simon Sinek as the best-known expert on the subject, and hundreds of others speaking and writing on the same topic. We don’t hear so much about them, but Simon stands out.

If you want to break through the noise on this or whatever your topic is, you need to present how you and your book are different in a unique and compelling way. You’ve heard me preach about this before because it’s fundamental and a huge part of positioning: How are you unique? What makes your book different from all the other books out there on the subject?

If you don’t know what makes your book unique, then that’s where the research begins. Go investigate every book you can find on your topic and map out how each book and author is positioned. Once you know that, you can begin to figure out what exactly it is that you bring to the table that no one else does.

This is what a great publicist does. She or he figures out how to differentiate you and your book from all the other noise. If you can do this in an interesting and compelling way that makes people want to stop and listen, I guarantee you’re going to get coverage.

Bottom line: Before you even go out to pitch media, you have to make sure you have a hook that is unique and different and will likely grab them.

Research on media outlets

Now that you know the hook you can use in your pitch, we are up to the point where we identify the right outlets to target. More research is required. Last week I touched on this when I spoke about how to pitch media. If you missed it or want a reminder, you can read it here.

The good news is that a publicist who has worked in your genre before already has a list of warm media contacts they’ve worked with, so they aren’t going in cold, and can probably make some good things happen fairly quickly. Going in cold is always more difficult but still possible. Media databases are helpful because very often the person you most need to approach is not listed on the outlet’s website. Why? Because they are getting overwhelmed with pitches already, so why would they make their contact information public only to receive more pitches?

To reach these people, you have to get crafty. I have a program with all the specifics on how to do that, so if you’re interested, let me know. There isn’t room here, but I want you to know it’s available.

One powerful strategy is to become a news junkie. I understand many are trying to limit their exposure to the news, but when you want to publicise and market your book, you’re going to have to research the national conversation so you know if you can contribute. If your topic is more niche, then you need to be reading the niche publications and outlets so you can see if you have a valid voice for them.

When you uncover outlets that are congruent with your message, the next step is to research how they cover the topic and what they’ve covered recently. If they just covered your topic last week, then it may be awhile before they want to do it again. You can either wait and approach them a few months down the road, or approach them with another idea.

When you pitch them, you want to sound like you have done your research into their publication and you know what you’re talking about. Refer to another story of theirs that you read, or comment on the outlet and what their direction seems to be. Ask a clarifying question that shows you are really involved in what they’re about. ALl of this helps to show them that you’ve paid attention to them and are more likely to understand what they are looking for.

We live in a world where everyone can see what everyone else is doing. In this environment there is no excuse for approaching an editor, producer, content manager, or journalist without doing the research first, because the information is there. Doing your research sets you head and shoulders above the rest, because many simply won’t take the time.

Be exceptional. I know you are, and if you need help, well, you know where to find me.

To your success!


P.S. Do you have a question about book marketing and publicity? Send it to me here and we’ll add it to our Savvy Sunday News Q&A. You may find your answer in an upcoming issue. You find a Savvy Sunday subscribe form below.

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