I always talk about one-size-fits-no-one when it comes to publicity but actually there are ideas here that can be applied whether you have written a business book, launching an online course or created a podcast. Here are the lessons I learned from launching my own book.
Personal branding photography
Sounds counter-intuitive right? Wrong. The first thing I bought to promote my book was photography and I’ll tell you why. If you are launching your own product, a book in this instance for me, you are already personally putting something of yourself out there. Great photography is invaluable and for me it meant I had an author photo on my book, I had a selection I could use for media interviews, guest articles and for podcast covers. Also, decent photography is an investment and once you spend on yourself you will want to maximise those pictures believe me.
Create a unique brand
I already had a business brand, but I wanted to refresh it and create some more workable brand colours that I could use to stamp my personality across. At the beginning of this year I overhauled my website, my presentations, newsletter template, my business documents and my social media channels to fit with my new branding. It has totally evolved over time, but an image speaks more than any words. So when I show up, people instantly recognise that it is me.
Like photography, it’s a misconception to not invest in your branding. But spending say £3k on branding over a year works out at £8 a day. A decent rebrand will last you a lot longer than that. Think of it like your clothes. You wouldn’t turn up for a presentation wearing something dishevelled that needs ironing and is faded. So dress your business nicely because people will connect with that.
Ask for help
Everyone knew I was writing a book but when I said I needed help for launch week and was very specific about what I needed help with, people were falling over themselves to get involved. I asked for podcast invites, to do Instagram/Facebook lives, to write guest posts, to do competitions. I was also very specific on the audience I wanted to reach e.g. small business, freelance, side hustle, startup and it meant the responses I got were spot on what I needed. Without spending a penny on Instagram ads I suddenly had accumulated a reach of 250,000.
I had my own stash of 250 books, it sounds a lot, but it was the cheapest way I could afford to get the wholesale and I knew I only needed to sell 100 to break even. Which meant that I could afford to giveaway copies to my contributors as a thank you and good will gesture as well as to startup founders / entrepreneurs I admired. I got to cherry pick people I really admired to receive copies as well, I didn’t just go for influencers with a reach of hundreds of thousands. I picked people who it would genuinely make a difference too.
I also had some lovely help from Kelly Pike at Folk Public Relations who specialises in book publicity. She gave me some names of journalists who write book review columns who I studied closely to see if my book was a great fit. It looks like I have secured one national off of the back of that. I also had my own startup and business contacts who I pitched to and secured guest interviews, guest columns and business founder Q&As. After pitching my clients for so long it felt weird to be putting myself forward, but the kudos of the book meant people were always interested.
I literally spoke at any event where anyone would ask me. Hands down, these have been my most lucrative opportunities. Through speaking I have secured paid-for writing gigs as an industry expert, to new business leads (currently on hold until I’m off mat leave) and other paid-for speaking opportunities. Ultimately, it drove the kind of work I wanted to do whilst running a young family and pivoting my work to work for me, one of the purposes of the book in the first place.
At every opportunity, I was prompting people to sign up to my newsletter. The conversion rate is far higher than my social media channels so for me, it was a worthwhile venture but again, you have to be consistent and the branding and free advice was all part and parcel of that. I grew my list up to 750 subscribers in one year and I was really happy with that.
Whatever it is you are launching; you need to try a few different tactics and keep consistent at them to see what really works. I wouldn’t not have thought that speaking event would be as lucrative as they are and charmingly surprised by how well the old school style of being present in real life can make a difference. I’m also far more comfortable at these now, originally even a small room would scare me. Now, I can happily stand in front of a large crowd. Guess that AS Drama qualification paid off.
If you have any other questions about promotion or PR for your own business or yourself, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Lucy’s first book Hype Yourself is a handy toolkit which is perfect for entrepreneurs, side hustles or freelancers who are looking to promote their businesses or themselves. It is packed full of insider examples, hints and tips from entrepreneurs and journalists and is supported by a stack of online resources.
It’s essentially a condensed down version of her 15-years publicity experience in a handy guide that is just £14.99 a snip of the price you’d pay for a top London agency.
About the Author
Lucy Werner is founder of The Wern, a communications consultancy for small businesses, entrepreneurs and independent brands.
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