For this week’s Wiley Wednesday, we have the opportunity to have a chat with Casey Lynn, of Casey Lynn Marketing & Media Services. Casey helps authors to market themselves and to navigate the new reality of self-promotion. Casey has kindly consented to answer some questions for us.
WR: First off, what IS a marketing/promo plan?
CL: Before we start, let’s lay out some definitions. “Marketing” comprises all the actions you take to connect a product or service (for writers, a book) with an audience. “Advertising” is any paid method of marketing, like buying a Facebook Ad or space in the Romantic Times magazine. “Promotion” is everything you do to promote yourself, your brand, and your product/service, like teaching classes, guest blogging, or being active on social media. Marketing is an umbrella term that includes both advertising and promotion, with neither one being necessarily more effective or better than the other. So, a marketing plan just is a way to formalize your goals and methods of reaching the target audience for your product/service. The most powerful aspect of it a marketing plan is putting it on paper (or on the computer, of course). This makes the plan not only more real, but holds you accountable for defining and reaching those goals. Remember–your goals need to start with your audience. What are their needs? How does your product/service fulfill an unmet need? If you take this approach–giving something they can use rather than foisting something upon them–you are more likely to form connections with your audience. And those connections are what turn the casual reader a dedicated fan, or a client into someone who will passionately refer your services to others.
WR: What should I include in my plan?
CL: Above anything else, give yourself measurable goals with a given time frame. A marketing plan is for accountability and a structured plan of attack, yes, but beyond that it can act as a test of how effectively you are promoting and advertising yourself. For example, if your goal is “I want to increase my twitter followers,” then adding one person could be considered a success. But have you reached your true goals and your audience? Probably not. On the other hand, if your goal is “I want to gain ten new twitter followers a week–not spam bots. On average, five will be follow-backs from relevant new tweeters that I follow, and the other five will be people with whom I interact using hashtags.” That is a measurable goal in two ways: One, you have a quantifiable number (ten) and two, you have a time limit (one week). Therefore, you could set up a spreadsheet to track your progress by week. That way, you can see if there are any positive correlations between promotional actions you take (like participating in a hashtag-based twitter chat) and meeting or exceeding your goals.
Some things to include in your plan: Targeted audiences (as specific as you can make them), Audience needs and desires, ways of reaching audience (where they spend time online, what resources they read and trust, etc), and tangible actions you can take to connect with this audience. Will you do guest posts? Pay for advertising on a certain website? Connect with them via social networking groups? I’d also suggest finding a way to chart out your actions and their results, so you can constantly evaluate your plan to make it more efficient.
WR: Where can I go for more information to do it myself?
CL: Before you run out and buy every book your Barnes & Noble has on marketing, promotions, and social media, check out the internet first. A slew of amazing blogs provide quality content–and it’s free. I have an ever-growing blogroll of places to pick up information, all gathered on my resource page, here. Or you can check out my marketing and social media blogrolls via Google Reader.
When you find a blog that provides information you can use, add it to your RSS (Really Simple Syndication) reader. For more information on what RSS is, and how to set up a reader, go here. By doing this, you can aggregate all the new blog posts into one site, like Google Reader, and read all the updated posts in an efficient manner–it’s almost like a customized newspaper.
Finally, experiment with the different marketing techniques you encounter. Eventually, you’ll build up a personalized list of methods and tools that put your product/service in front of the best audience.
WR: Where can I go to get help if I need it?
CL: I’m always happy to answer questions (via e-mail to CaseyLynnMMS AT gmail DOT com or via twitter @CaseyLynnMMS), and on most of those blogs you’ve added to your RSS (because you’ve already done that, right?), you can ask a post-related question in the comments section and a bevy of readers will help you out. I can’t guarantee that all their advice will be equally effective, but they will give you a starting point. Also, because marketing it NOT a science–it is trial and error, for the most part–ask your fellow authors. Many will be able to point you in a good direction. If not the right one, they’ll at least get you closer to the answers you need.
We are grateful to Casey for her time and information. Be sure to check her out at Casey Lynn Marketing & Media Services and remember – your success is in your hands!