What follows is a guest post from a PR professional–and a friend of mine. I’ve known Cash Graner since college and, as I embark upon my author career and try to learn the ways of book marketing and promotion, I’ve found her pep talks, promotional tips, and “unsolicited advice,” as she puts it, uplifting and buoying.
I hope it does the same for you.
When sitting down to compile a few promotional tips, I was ecstatic. Not only because it’s something that I love to share, but I consider it an honor to have Jen trust me enough to deliver some advice to her wonderful followers.
With recent events and knowing the world is becoming more turbulent, I wanted to take this opportunity to applaud you for investing in your passion and pursuing your goals within the realm of writing. Many people live to dream, but very few take the right steps to live their dream.
Therefore, while you may or may not be where you want to be today, with every breath you take and every day you live, you can lay another brick towards the path of your dream.
5 Ways to Promote Yourself as the Rockstar You Already Are!
1. First and foremost, be clear on what image, what message, what “thing” you want to promote
Secondly, ask yourself: who is the audience you’re trying to reach? Is it parents who may be interested in buying new children’s books? Is it women who are interested in reading romance novels?
The reason this matters is the way you promote yourself may differ, depending on your target audience. For instance, if you’re a budding author who writes erotica, chances are you won’t be networking at a child’s book fair.
Your promotional efforts need an ROI that justifies the time and energy exerted. Therefore, you must be clear. After you have reached clarity, you need to set up metrics and a timeline to continually evaluate your progress and tweak things that do or do not have work.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, nor was it built by a single person. It was built by thousands. Could it be built by one person? Maybe.
If that person lived forever and never slept.
However, it wouldn’t be fun and it would take a shit-ton of time. Therefore, instead of building your empire by yourself, build your network, and leverage your network to be an army of roman builders. In turn, you can help them…while they will help you.
Always seek to serve first and 9 times out of 10, you’ll establish a loyal network of ambassadors to sell your idea/book/message/etc.
How you network is an entirely different topic, but I suggest the following:
Google networking events and come armed with cards. Find 3 people you’re genuinely interested in connecting with and ask them to meet for coffee. After you get their card, email them within 24-48 hours, then send an invite.
The math on this is simple – if you go to a networking event every week for one month and schedule 3 coffees, you’ll have connected with 12 people. Those 12 people are now your brand ambassadors to their network.
Even if those 12 people only have 5 friends each, you’ll have reached 60 people by word-of-mouth. If you can do this 50 weeks out of the year, you’ll have reached 3,000 people. Now, this is assuming you make a great impression, play nice, and offer to help them.
Knowing you would only be the best you can be? I think 3,000 people is a low estimate.
3. Focus on the positive
Everyone hears negativity every day. It’s exhausting.
Does it feel great to tell the world how horrible someone was to you? Sure. But it’s useless to your potential fanbase.
Use your social power for good and only post things which are true to you and promote you in a positive light.
Now, if your brand is super dark… that may be a different story.
4. You vs. I
Always seek to serve others. Countless times, I have increased my business by asking people at the end of a conversation, “Is there anything I can help you with?”
Usually, the person says no. But almost always, they express gratitude that I asked.
And when they do ask for help, try your hardest to help them–or offer to introduce them to someone who can help better. The goal is to create a winning solution for them, whether you do the heavy lifting or not.
The reward will be immense and you will have gained a loyal fan/friend.
5. Be fearless and fail forward
Seek out those who you aspire to be like and ask how they achieved their level of success. Call the people who scare you and ask to learn from them.
If you fail, publish your failure to inspire others to learn from your mistake (just choose a “good” mistake; a teachable moment).
People love genuine people, and in a world of fake teeth, hair, and tans, you’ll get further by remaining humble and honest.
Which leads me to number 6.
Wait, I know. You only expected 5.
Consider this a bonus…
6. Always expect everything you put out for the world to see and hear to come back to you
Therefore, always, always, always promote yourself knowing that what you say and do can come back to haunt you.
Think of Amanda Bynes. I loved her movies, but they aren’t the first thing I think of when her name is mentioned.
And if something does come back to bite you in the booty? Own it. Everyone will eventually find out the truth and most likely will respect your honesty even if they disagreed with your action.
Cash Graner is a public relations and marketing professional. Prior to working in PR and marketing, she worked in business development for a Fortune 1000 company. She has had the privilege to support an Olympic trainer, acclaimed artists and musicians, non-profit, and small businesses alike to promote and take them to the next level.
You can find her at cashgraner.com.