Get paid to promote your book or video? Here’s how…

Get-Paid-To-PromoteAs a fairly new author, I’ve been exploring a myriad of ways to promote my book Shoot To Sell: Make Money Producing Special Interest Videos. As I’m doing this, I have found some interesting promotional outlets and many of them would work well for promoting videos too! Here is an article by Sandra Beckwith of www.buildbookbuzz.com on an opportunity I hadn’t heard of before and one that I know you’ll find helpful. Read on…

Get Paid to Promote your Book (or Video)

Most authors spend money to promote their books, but some get paid to do it. They’re media spokespersons, hired by companies and organizations to add credibility to a consumer product or service being promoted through a publicity campaign. They are topic experts who have the credentials to back their expertise. And they are paid $2,000 to $3,000 per day to help a company meet its communications objectives by sharing key message points through media interviews, while receiving impressive free media exposure for their books.

The role of a media spokesperson: A media spokesperson has a contract with an organization to fulfill specific obligations, which can range from participating in a satellite media tour to appearing on national or local television talk shows, or doing print or electronic interviews by phone. All of this happens within a designated time frame and for a predetermined fee.

For example, the Soap & Detergent Association (SDA) and its public relations agency recently developed a survey that would generate newsworthy results. The topic was housework: Who’s doing it in American homes, men or women? Not surprisingly, the survey revealed that even women who work outside the home are still doing far more than half the housework, and it’s causing tension among couples.

The SDA could have quoted a staff member in a press release announcing the findings to the media, but this individual would not be qualified to explain the survey results. So the SDA looked elsewhere for a spokesperson to do newsworthy interviews…and found me. As the author of Why Can’t a Man Be More Like a Woman?, a humorous look at what makes men different from women, I write and speak about the lighter side of gender differences. I have the credentials to explain the survey results, offer tips on how women can get more help around the house and suggest to men simple, easy steps they can take to help more without first getting a domestic engineering degree.

Through it’s public relations firm, the SDA contracted with me for three months for a range of media-related services, including traveling to New York City and other locations for in-person

In addition, I received valuable on-camera practice from a professional media trainer who helped me link my anecdotes and experiences to the client’s key message points. My goal, after all, was not to just talk about the survey findings. It was to share specific SDA messages with the public.

How to find spokesperson assignments: Usually, they find you when a publicist searches bookstores for relevant titles or the Internet for your topic. Some companies rely on organizations such as Spokespersons Plus, which specializes in finding qualified experts. Spokespersons Plus works much like an executive recruiter. The client calls the firm and describes the type of individual it needs; owner Deborah Durham searches her database to identify pre-qualified potential matches. If the right person isn’t in her system, she looks elsewhere for the perfect match.

Typically, the spokesperson candidate supplies the client company with materials that verify topic knowledge (your book) and media experience. A videotape with television interviews – even from local talk or news programs – helps the client assess not only your level of interview experience, but your personality, as well. You can be taught how to improve your interview skills, but your inherent demeanor – relaxed, uptight or professorial – can’t (and shouldn’t) be changed for an assignment.

You can also contact companies marketing consumer products or services with a logical connection to your topic and offer your services as a spokesperson. But have a publicity campaign idea in mind before making the call so it’s clear why they might benefit from working with you. Contact Spokespersons Plus, too, but only if you can outline several possible consumer product connections with your topic in a brief note to deb@spokespersons.com.

How a spokesperson is paid: Spokesperson fees vary and are calculated in different ways. Some contracts are based on a day rate while others have fee amounts assigned to specific tasks. Travel days usually earn half the individual’s day rate; travel expenses are reimbursed. Media spokesperson work requires many skills – including an ability to hold your own with hyperactive morning drive time radio personalities – so it’s not for everyone. But if you believe you’re destined to banter with Matt on “The Today Show” and haven’t snagged that interview on your own, consider seeking a spokesperson assignment and letting the pros secure it for you. Then all you’ll have to worry about is what to wear!

Sandra Beckwith offers a free book publicity and promotion e-zine at www.buildbookbuzz.com and teaches the “Book Publicity 101: How to Build Book Buzz” e-course.

What You Need to Do NOW For a Great Christmas Shopping Season For Your Video Sales

Holiday-Marketing-Prep
29% of people will be holiday shopping WAY BEFORE Halloween…Will you be ready?

Have you seen them yet? They are out there. I just came across them yesterday when I was shopping for a summer top.

I’m talking about Christmas decorations and merchandise in the stores!

Wait, wasn’t Labor Day just a few weeks ago? Halloween is more than a month away too! Doesn’t it seem that retailers start earlier and earlier to set up for Christmas sales? Why do they do that?

Because it’s never to early to start planning for the holidays because people do it too!

Case in point, about a week and a half ago I had an order for an entire collection of books and DVDs we sell on one of our websites! Christmas is a more than 3  months away but she noted on the order form she wanted to get started early – and take advantage of the deal I was offering. (Smart woman!)

On that website we begin our holiday email campaigns the beginning of September. We have created a well thought out and organized holiday marketing campaign we’ve been working on since July. This year it was even more important that we do so early because for the bulk of the shopping season (Mid-October-November) we’ll be on an extended speaking tour, out of state. And we can’t afford to miss those sales!

One key to success in email marketing is the same as advertising – repetition, repetition, repetition. You need to get in front of your customers at least 6 to 7 times before you may make a purchase. In the world of email, that number has probably increased to 20 or so. You have to realize that many of your email recipients won’t open your first email, or your second or third, but somewhere along the line they’ll open it and perhaps respond. Others will either respond, delete it or unsubscribe.

So if your video or other products would be perfect for Christmas gifts, then what are you waiting for? Your competitors have had their plans in the works for weeks now. Need a few ideas to help get you started with your planning?

  • Sit down today with your calendar and plan out your email content and the frequency of your emails to your list. Start emailing your list at least once a week starting NOW. I use Excel to keep track of the dates I plan on sending and the topic. To come up with topic ideas, be creative and look at what is happening in your industry. These emails shouldn’t just be selling your video, they should be giving value too. For example, do you sell Yoga videos? Come up with emails that give  tips for dealing with holiday stress. We sell a video called Those Captivating Cacti and send out emails not only on cactus care but also on Christmas cacti, giving cacti as presents, tools for cacti gardening…you get the picture.
  • Sign up with an email marketing service such as the one we use, Constant Contact or AWeber. Or if you use a shopping cart like MarketersChoice, the one we use, you are able to email your list and customers from within that. DO NOT use your personal email account for mass emails or will likely get banned. Not only do these services deal with larger lists, they also make it easier to import and organize your prospect and customer lists, set up all your emails at one time and give you statistics or reports.
  • Send your email consistently but keep an eye out for list fatigue. There is a lot of extra competition at this time of year, and a lot more clutter in the in-box, so you may have to make multiple efforts just to get noticed. Notice which subject lines are getting the most opens and which email topics are getting the best responses. Using a service like your shopping cart or Constant Contact will give you reports on those rates.
  • As your holiday sales start picking up, you’re going to be too busy to craft enticing email messages. So do that now and use the autoresponder system in AWeber, Constant Contact or your shopping cart that allows you to upload all of your messages now and set them for later delivery dates. As you find which emails perform better, you can go back in and make changes to future emails to improve response rates and deliver what your list is wanting.
  • Invest in a toll-free customer service phone number. (We use and recommend RingCentral.) Some shoppers are leery of purchasing online and during the holiday rush they are concerned that their gifts won’t arrive on time. Phone service has gotten incredibly cheap, but I still recommend a toll-free number. A toll-free number is inexpensive and it sends the message that you are a large company and are willing to spend the extra dime to support your customers. An added advantage is that if you work out of your home, a service like RingCentral can be set to only ring through during the hours you wish…if there is a call, you’ll get an email. That way you have more control and won’t get woken up in the wee hours in the morning. It also will forward to my cell phone which is perfect when I’m on my speaking tours.
  • Look at your shipping service and be sure to let your list knows about holiday mailing deadlines. Make sure you give yourself a few days buffer. We usually include holiday shipping deadlines in all of our emails throughout the holiday season. This is also an incentive for customers to make a buying decision early and not put it off. Shipping deadline reminders are also good topics for emails.
  • If you can, segment your mailing list based on what your customers purchased last year so you can personalize holiday gift suggestions. We segment ours into past customers and new prospects and you may segment yours further. Here’s where having more than one product or title is a good thing. If you only have one title, consider complementary items you can offer to your list and sign up to be affiliates of retail outlets that offer those. For example, if you are an Amazon Associate, there are many items you can promote that would interest your customer who buys your DVD. We do this with our car detailing DVD…customers who buy that will also need car wash supplies.
  • Include a “count down” in each and every email so shoppers know the shipping deadline for their holiday purchases.
  • Add tracking codes in your emails (done through services such as Constant Contact or your shopping cart) and take excellent notes of all the activities and outcomes of your holiday campaign to make it that much easier next year. Do this while it is fresh in your mind. Use a spreadsheet to keep track of each email’s response rate and effectiveness. Constant Contact and Marketer’s Choice saves all my old emails with these statistics so now all I have to do is go back to a similar one, copy and tweak it, then resend this year.

Creating a holiday email campaign requires some planning – so get started now! Expect to spend at least several hours designing your plan, crafting and testing each individual message. Once the holidays are in full swing, you’ll be glad you did!

7 Reasons Why You Want Images On Your Website

Website images are just as important as video on your website. Invest in some great photography to keep visitors on your site longer and coming back for more!

Think your website images aren’t as important as video? Although videos have become important elements in your websites, don’t let the popularity and lure of videos blind you to the enduring power of great photographs and well written captions.

Here are 7 reasons you want to include photos in your websites:

1) A dull, drab site doesn’t entice.

You’ll want to include images that will capture your visitors’ interest, illustrate your services, products and message and arouse them to take action: i.e., opting in to your list, buying your product, shopping at your store, etc. We’ve all become accustomed to visually stimulating websites, so you have to strive for visual excellence.

2) Video is a powerful tool but sometimes your visitor doesn’t have the time to watch it.

What I love about photographs is that a good one can tell a story in one shot. With a two sentence caption, it tells a story that can be consumed in la few seconds. Right after I roughed out this post, I had a comment come in on this photograph I had posted in Facebook.

“I love the fact…you love photography, like I do and in addition to that you are creative with the posts that accompany your photos.”

3) When you do include captions, you can put your tags and keywords in there as well for more SEO juice.

4) Another wonderful thing about photographs, images and illustrations on the web is that they are easy to use and don’t take up much bandwidth.

Photos should be optimized for web delivery so that they are served quickly, but this process is simpler and faster than optimizing videos. You have no browser viewing issues with photos like you do with video, i.e., iPhones and iPads can’t view Flash files.

5) Additionally, showcasing photos that capture you and your business in the best light go a long way toward establishing your brand.

6) Google knows people like to look at images and will reward you with a higher page rank for providing this kind of content.

Although computers don’t read pixels, they do read the image title so make sure you include your keywords and tags in the name of your images. I am surprised at how many people overlook this one simple Google-friendly way of getting more keywords onto their site.

7) Photographs are a great way to deliver links, which Google likes.

Add valid links to your photos whenever you can. Most people are used to images taking them places and will expect your image to link to more information. If they click and just your image opens up, they may get confused and frustrated. If you aren’t going to link this photo anywhere within your site or another site, make sure your image won’t be clickable to avoid a possible visitor frustration.

Have you come across some great use of images on a website you’d like to share? Or do you have a clever, enticing way you have included photographs on yours? Leave your comment below!