Friday, March 18, 2011

Using PR and Social Media

By Vonnie Faroqui
Obtaining coverage in media publications (TV, radio, podcasts, online video, newspapers, magazines, online news sites, blogs, etc.) is every author's goal for spread the word about their book. PR coverage is free, third-party validation, which often results in more credibility for you and your book. So how does one secure coverage in these publications and media, and how can social media help?

If you have been reluctant to launch yourself into the Tweet-o-sphere, here is another reason to get yourself out there.

Social media is not just a way for you to spread the word about your activities or book release. It is a way to connect with what the social media gurus call "influencers."

An influencer: is someone who is connected with and able to influence the public through the media, such as a journalist, reporter or blogger.

Many journalists, reporters, and bloggers make themselves available on Twitter. Oh, it's true, I promise, and using Twitter is a great way to introduce yourself to them.

First you have to find them and one way to do this is to look for influential blogs (use blog search engines like Technorati), subscribe to them, and start following their authors on Twitter. Another way is to start following journalists who target our industry. Then start tweeting with them, but don't oversell yourself or your book. Get to know their work and site themes first and make sure that you have something to offer them before making your approach. Develop relationships by tweeting about an article of theirs that you enjoyed or by asking a question. (You can also use the comment section on a blog in much the same way.)

The web and social media give access to a whole slew of influencers with which you can easily interact and develop relationships. Building relationships and networking through social media connects you with these influencers who have the ability to place stories about you and your book in front of the reading public.
Vonnie Faroqui is WITS’s marketing assistant in charge of helping authors with online book promotion such as arranging virtual book tours and writing book reviews, author bios, media kits, and sell sheets. She also provides project management for online book publicity campaigns and virtual blog tours. As the WITS Podcast coordinator, Vonnie schedules guests interviews for our writing show, creates promotional pieces to feature authors on our blog, writes articles and media releases, and serves as one of our podcast hosts.

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