What’s New in Digital Marketing: The Inside Scoop from BookNet Canada’s Technology Forum

The BookNet Canada Technology Forum started this week. And the early message? Community is the key!

In this Publisher’s Weekly article, they talk about a presentation by digital marketing guru Mitch Joel, president of Twist Image. Here are the highlights…

  • Publishers always used to promote books to a wide audience, hoping that a small percentage of them would buy the book. The new trend is to speak to a much smaller, targeted audience.  “Social media centers on who you are getting your message out to, not how many,” the article states. In addition, there are hundreds of specialty websites and communities out there that specialize in your type of writing. For fiction writers, there are tons of book clubs and book review sites that focus on your genre. Nonfiction writers can find websites and communities that gather around the subject of the book.  Join those communities … talk to them … tailor your messages to them. It’s far cheaper (although more labor-intensive) than traditional advertising.
  • It’s important to be relevant to your audience. You may be one of the 600 friends a potential reader has on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean they’re really following you. Think about it: you have lots of “friends” on Facebook, but how many of them do you really pay attention to? In order to break into that small group that a reader actually follows, you need to provide fun, interesting, relevant information that they can enjoy or use.
  • Authors shouldn’t be afraid of social media. In his speech, Joel reported that between 75% and 85% of people who shop online  read reviews first. But many publishers and authors shy away from allowing readers to post online reviews, because they can’t control the negative comments. But maybe we all need to change our mindset. “Social media is about making your content as sharable and findable as possible,” he stressed.
  • It’s soooo important to interact with readers. There are two types of content on the web: static content (in which the author is doing the talking and the reader is doing the listening) and interactive content (a back-and-forth conversation). Patrick Brown, Goodreads director of author and publisher outreach, points out the importance of interactive content, which can include blogging, commenting on Facebook, answering reader questions online, etc… He notes that more than 750 people joined a group that allowed them to pose questions to author Margaret Atwood. That’s power!