Welcome to BRB, everyone! My guest today is unique for several reasons: she's an aspiring YA author, she's a member of the writer's group I attend, and she's someone I admire for her natural aptitude towards critiquing. She has always maintained a logical, unbiased perspective whenever we critique as group, which everyone knows can be a daunting task. It’s hard enough to share ideas in front of other authors then ask for honest feedback. We, as authors, can be a sensitive bunch, only seeking the kindest of words because our egos are on the line. But when someone can give an opinion and do so politely without offending, and everyone listens, that is a gift. Thanks for stopping by today, Tiana. It is wonderful to have you at BRB!
7 Things I Learned from the World’s Best Marketers
By Tiana Warner
The Art of Marketing conference in Vancouver featured Seth Godin, Nancy Duarte, Mitch Joel, John Jantsch, BrianWong, Keith Ferrazzi, and big-name sponsors like Microsoft and CBC. When you register, they might as well hook you up to an IV drip of pure wisdom. The speakers offered expert insight to the current and future state of marketing – knowledge as essential to the author as it is to the startup tech company.
Below are 7 essential takeaways from the conference, and my thoughts on applying them to the book industry.
1. Find a specific audience
The idea of targeting the mass market is about as contemporary as mullets and shoulder pads. The key to modern marketing is finding a niche.
Seth Godin said the bell curve is melting, such that more people are falling outside of the normal range than inside. Target the ones outside of the normal range (technical term: the weird people).
What’s your niche? Zombie romance? Identify your exact audience. Then go forth and find your loyal followers. It does you no good to wait for the perfect reader to come to you. Hit up the place your ideal reader hangs out – both online and in the real world.
2. Build a network
Effective marketing isn’t about throwing your message at anyone and everyone. It’s about building emotional connections with the right people. Create deep, loyal relationships with readers by genuinely caring about them. Be real, be vulnerable.
With those deep relationships in place, your web will start to build itself. It’s Metcalfe’s Law: readers will tell others about your book if they like it, and the value of your network will blow up like a marshmallow in a microwave.
Building your network also means connecting with other authors (hi there!) and anyone who can help you market. Make a list of people you’d like to connect with. It might feel fake to approach someone and say, “hey, I think it’s important we build our relationship.” It’s not. Being intentional about building a relationship doesn’t make it fake. So get out there and network.
3. Lead a tribe
People naturally want to be in a tribe; i.e., a group with a common purpose. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I have one word for you: Belieber.
Find your tribe. They key word here is find. Find, not create. You don’t need to invent a subculture – you just need to show up to lead it. Someone must become the leader of a tribe, and that someone can be you.
Then lead with generosity, intimacy, candour, and accountability.
4. Earn trust
Build relationships on both a professional and personal level. Earn your market’s trust, because once people trust you, they’ll listen to you.
This involves marketing only to people whowant to be marketed to. Don’t invade space and privacy. It seems obvious: the most effective way to sell a book is to offer it to someone who is looking for a book to read.
John Jantsch talked about The Marketing Hourglass: Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, Refer. Remember that order. Remember that trust comes before buy.
5. Ditch the ads
The internet wasn’t designed for ads like TV, radio, and magazines were. People pay millions of dollars a year to remove ads from their apps and web browsers.
Marketing is no longer about ads. It’s about adding value to peoples’ lives with content. (Unique content for your niche! Remember to avoid that “normal range,” or you’ll find your content competing against Charlie Bit My Finger.)
Seth Godin said one of his early books on the internet was a failure because he saw the internet and tried to make a book. Yahoo!, on the other hand, saw the internet and made a search engine. We must think in terms of what works now, and not attempt to mould it into something we’re just comfortable with.
6. Be generous
Every speaker talked about generosity. People don't want to connect with a selfish person. Give away copies, offer valuable content, reward your advocates. Bake cookies.
Would your followers miss you if you didn't show up tomorrow? The answer should be yes. Offering valuable content is key for your website, blog, and social media platforms.
Be generous without expecting or asking for anything in return. Generosity is the foundation of a strong following.
7. Resonate through story
So how do you create valuable content? Nancy Duarte talked about the power of using the rules of a story to connect with your audience on an emotional level. Yes, we've all written a story, and that's why we're here, but consider applying these rules to blog posts, presentations, and whatever other content you write.
Write content using a 3-act structure. Establish what’s “at stake” for the audience (your protagonist), and ensure they emerge transformed. You are the intervening mentor who helps the hero overcome challenges. Let your passion show, draw from a range of emotions, and use rhetoric. And if your middle act lags, consider killing someone off.
Well, maybe not all story rules apply, but the point is that people identify more with brands that offer a human connection. Story is the best way to create meaning around a brand.
A few additional notes that I couldn’t bring myself to leave out:
● My favourite thought of the day came from Seth Godin: “If failure is not an option, neither is success. The guy who invented the ship also invented the shipwreck.”
● Fear is an indication that you're onto something good. Use it as fuel.
● The future is about connecting the physical world to the online world.
● We shouldn’t try to stand out of the crowd. The crowd will make us change who we are. The way to stand out is to avoid the crowd altogether.
● We live in a one-screen world, where the screen in front of us is the only one that matters. Develop a unified marketing strategy (not one for web, one for mobile, one for tablet…)
Marketing has rapidly evolved since the dawn of the internet. What worked in TV ads and magazines twenty years ago is not the best approach today. What else do you see as the new face of marketing? How do you plan to use The Art of Marketing to boost your writing career?