Is Anyone Listening? Eight Tips to Help you Market in the Age of New Media
In the past month or so I've had numerous conversations with authors that I either met at conferences or am coaching asking me why nothing they're doing is working. Have you ever felt like that? If you have, you aren't alone. There seems to be an epidemic of "black hole marketing" going around. What's black hole marketing? Simple. It's when you feel like all your marketing efforts are going down a black hole and vanishing into the ether.
So it seems like just when you got a handle on the old rules of media, the rules keep changing. It's true. The digital age has brought with it a tsunami of information. Let's face it, with so much data, news, and emails coming at us most of us feel like we're trying to drink from a water hose. I've seen a lot of change in the ten (plus) years we've been marketing books but nothing like what's transpired in the last 18 months. The old marketing rule of 7 is now 70 and your 15 minutes of fame has shrunk to 15 seconds. Do you remember the shootings in upstate New York where 14 people were killed? How much time did the media spend on it, do you even remember any of the details? See what I mean? Fifteen seconds. We flit through stories like we zip through email. Delete, delete, delete, archive, and on and on.
Why is this? Well first off, there are so many ways to make news these days. You can be on Twitter and start a rampage on some topic and suddenly Katie Couric is reporting on you on the evening news. You can write something on a blog that gets everyone's attention. So many new ways to drive media mean that the media window is shrinking. All you have to do is run a search on Twitter using #teaparty or #amazonfail and see what I mean. Rapid and furious conversation around both of these topics, all of them generating a buzz in less than an hour of posting.
With all of these increased ways to get our news, it also means that the marketing "Rule of 7" is now around 70. An old marketing adage suggested that it takes 7 exposures to your book, message, or product to hook a new consumer. Now, with all of the things that we consume on a daily basis, the rule is considerably larger. Is it 70 exactly? I don't know. But it's certainly well beyond the seven exposures.
1) Relationships: these days it's all about relationships. Sure, marketing has always been built on relationships but it's more important than ever especially when it comes to bloggers. The blogging community continues to be looked down upon; believe it or not, they are considered by many to be second-rate journalists when in fact, their blogs are sometimes more popular than your local paper.
2) Never Swap Horses Mid-race: when things don't go well it's tempting to switch ideas, tracks, or angles. If you're not sure that you're doing everything right then hire someone (even on an hourly basis) who can come in and offer some objective feedback. If you've done that and you're still not seeing results don't change horses just to get ahead. This will only set you back and put you in a space of starting from scratch, because when you switch horses mid-race, that's exactly what you're doing.
3) Do a lot of the right thing: when we talk about the rule of 70, you know that means you need to do more of what you're already doing. So focus in on 3-4 key areas and saturate those. Get on Twitter, start blogging, do whatever you have to in a concentrated, focused fashion.
4) Pay to play, it's here: more and more TV stations are turning to a paid format, meaning that if you have enough cash, you can get on the air. I'm not kidding. This is a frightening turn of events, but it's reality. When I was in the Phoenix area I found out that many of the shows there are already doing this. Phoenix is considered a Top 10 market so if you're not in a big market it may not have hit you, but likely it will and probably before the end of this year. Why is this important? Because if you're ever asked to spend some dough on a show, you'll know why. Also, that's what makes the Internet so great: it's free. If you're ready to have your own TV show, why not turn to YouTube? You'll get a much farther reach!
5) Real voices: be real or be gone. Save the sales talk and jargon for your ad copy and be real when you're blogging, pitching yourself or on an interview. The world is gravitating to real, genuine voices. You won't impress anyone but mom with your $5 words.
6) Everyone is a journalist: as we saw with the Amazon mess, everyone is a journalist. If you have a blog that you're dedicated to and that's getting traffic and ranking, you could report on something that others pick up and, in some cases, you could end up being on the evening news. The reins of the media have now been dispersed to anyone who has access to Twitter and a blog. Why is this important? Because when you get yourself out there never assume that just because whomever you're pitching or has featured you isn't tied to the Wall Street Journal that they don't bear significant weight in their market. Get to know your community, respect them, pitch to them, and treat them no differently than if you were pitching major media.
7) Sources don't matter: when a story first breaks on a site like Twitter, sources are often misquoted and inaccurate. This is just the nature of instant news, it takes a while to catch up. What's the point? The point is if you can be a source and jump on a story that's being discussed online, you can get coverage.
8) Get your story out there quickly: remember that 15 seconds of fame? It's very true and very much why you need to get out there quickly. In fact with all the news coming at us, I've seen stories dissipate in an afternoon. If you have an angle, don't wait till it's "perfect" - get it out as soon as possible.
9) Don't spread yourself too thin: if you're thinking back to point #3 and going "Wow, I guess I need to get a few more social networking sites," hold that thought. When I talk about doing more I don't mean getting more, I mean doing more with what you already have. Don't fragment yourself. Focus is so key now, especially with so much stuff coming at us at one time. Stay crisp, focused, and on message, and don't just grab onto everything because it feels like you're "doing something."
10) Focus, focus, focus: I mentioned this in point #9 but it bears repeating. Keep your message focused and on point. It's ok to have a lot of angles, but keep them sharp and clear. People (and especially the media) have much less time than they ever did, if you can't capture their attention quickly you'll lose them, possibly forever.
The new media is changing on an almost daily basis. Today's lone blogger could be tomorrow's Huffington Post and tomorrow's local print newspaper could be turned into an online subscription format (as many papers have). It's not harder to get media; in fact, with so many stories and so many ways to get your news, the choices can seem endless. That's why aside from abiding by some of the new rules I've outlined here, you want to have a plan as well. Planning your strategy and then realizing that a few core areas of focus are key to success can help turn a so-so campaign into a wow-'em program.
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