A native of Colorado, Mrs. Yolanda M. Johnson-Bryant, aka That Literary Lady, currently resides in the Piedmont Triad area of North Carolina, with her husband. Mrs. Bryant is a published author, freelance writer, novelist, editor, ghostwriter and a literary, marketing and entrepreneurial consultant and advocate. She is the founder and owner of LW Media Group, Bryant Consulting and That Literary Lady. She is a columnist for Examiner.com, EzineArticles.com and other literary venues. Mrs. Johnson-Bryant is a member of The Nussbaum Entrepreneurial Center, Women of Leadership and Learning (WELL Women) and Toastmasters. She is also a member of Junior Achievement, the Women’s Resource Center of Greensboro, the Volunteer Center of Greensboro and other community organizations. Visit her at www.yolandamjohnson.com, www.lwmediagroup.com, www.bryantconsultingonline.com, and www.thatliterarylady.com
Baby, You’re a Star
“I told two friends about Faberge organic shampoo with true wheat germ and honey, and they told two friends, and so on and so on and so on.” I love that commercial from the 1980s because it expresses the power of word of mouth marketing. The creative team of this commercial knew what publicity means. They knew using a catchy marketing tool to publicize their product was the way to go to get the word out about the then famous hair product. In addition, there was a second message in this advertisement. To see if you can tell what the second message was click here for a YouTube video. Did you figure it out? Word of mouth marketing and publicity! She told one friend, and so on and so on. A big mouth will go a long way. Why not use it for your publicity?
Last month I talked about the importance and components of a marketing plan. This month I’d like to focus on the importance and components of a publicity plan. What’s the difference between a marketing and publicity plan? I’m glad you asked.
A marketing plan, much like a business plan, is a blueprint that you would complete prior to the completion of your project—and although you do think of publicity avenues before and during a project, a publicity plan is the action at you will take to get the word out about your project. In cases where a writer is looking for an investor to front money for their project, a marketing plan is usually needed; however, a publicity plan may or may not be.
Simply put, a marketing plan looks at the big picture that can include publicity; however, publicity is a plan that can stand alone and will include media and marketing venues that will get your project in front of consumers to convince them to purchase your product.
You could look at a publicity plan as a branding and marketing resume. It’s a braggadocios, if you will, way of presenting yourself and your product. A publicity plan is often confused with a marketing plan, and this is okay in many cases because they are quite similar, but remember, a publicity plan is only part of a marketing plan and can stand alone as an advertising plan.
When completing a publicity plan, some components of the marketing plan come into play. For instance, promotional materials: Where will you display those posters, flyers and other print ads that you and your printer created? Will you showcase them in a bookstore? A restaurant, library, school, social venue, or other local companies?
Let’s talk about the media for a moment. In your marketing plan, you indicated that you will use various sources of the media to market your work and conjure up publicity for yourself. Which media venues will you use?
Will you utilize your local television station or radio station? Why not? Here in Greensboro, many of our local news stations have an early morning or early afternoon segment that features local talent, products, or services. Check with your area television stations about being on their local segments
What about your favorite radio station? Contact your local radio station to find out how to be interviewed by one of their radio personalities and how you can be on one of their shows. Many radio venues are available and several of them are right in your backyard.
Have you thought about online options? Start your own YouTube, uStream, or ooVoo channel and make a series of videos. Create your own podcast using sources like iTunes, Blog Talk Radio, or Podbean.
Never under estimate the power of newspaper ads and press releases. With the advance of technology, newspaper readership has dramatically declined; however, don’t forget those who still love the feel of newspaper in their hands and can find your advertisement in their papers.
Now more than ever it is easy to send a press release. There are pay services and there are free services. Ah, there’s my favorite word. FREE. Among some of the free press release services are Free Press Release, PR Log, and 24-7 Press Release. I’ve listed below other free PR sites that were published by Mashable.
Another thing to include in your publicity plan is a press kit. Keep it simple but not overly so. Include either a color or black-and-white eight-by-twelve glossy headshot, along with an eight-by-twelve photo of each of your book covers. It is a good idea to include a short synopsis of each title as well as a fact sheet. We’ll talk more about fact sheets in a future column.
For a physical press kit, include any appearances you’ve made in the media. State the venue, date, subject, and if possible a link to the resource. If you are creating an online press kit, include mp3 links to any radio interviews or links to any video or television interviews you may have conducted. If you have written any articles, include the titles, the date written, and a link to the site where it can be found. It is also a good idea to include four- and five-star reviews in your kit. Although we writers appreciate both good and bad reviews, you should include only good reviews in your press kit.
Finally, create a thirty-second sales pitch of you, your work, products, and services. If you are in a networking or interviewing atmosphere, you’ll have a short time to grab someone’s attention. I’ve included some resources on how to master your thirty-second speech. Thirty seconds may not seem like a lot of time to you, but to someone who is extremely busy or extremely bored, thirty seconds may seem like a lifetime.
I hope these tips will help as you create your marketing and publicity plans. Take these tips and add more—compile your publicity plan and use it as a plan of action. When promoting yourself, each point in this publicity plan should not go untouched.