Marketing and publicity

As we are now a month away from Christmas I am starting to try and ramp up the marketing and publicity of my book “unbreakable Bond”, to try and benefit from the extra retail spending that is going on.

I have a very small marketing budget and no marketing team for my book, so it’s just about me working hard and using the money wisely. I want to make sure that I get the most out of the fund that I have and get a great return on investment.

Free publicity

The first thing I am trying to do is get free publicity. This involves me emailing countless media outlets in the hope that one will pick it up and feature a piece on my book. After every piece of media there has been about my book, I have noticed a rise in sales so I feel it is worth investing my time in writing countless emails. I know most will come to nothing but that time investment is worth it for the one that does.

Next thing I am trying to do is to get dementia websites and member organisations to feature and talk about my book. This involves a lot of speculative emailing again, as well as sending copies of my book to these organisations in the hope they feature something on the book. This has worked quite well so far with a handful of dementia websites featuring the book. The brilliant thing about doing this is that it gives the book more credence when a respected dementia organisation talks about it, as it is like an endorsement.

Promotion

I try as much as I can to promote it for free online, posting links to buy the book on websites and posting about it on social media as often as I can. The great thing about this method is you never know who is reading what on social media and with the right people liking, commenting on or sharing something I post, it can help expand my audience greatly and get in front of people I wouldn’t have been able to reach without it.

The next plunge this month is to do paid for advertising on Facebook. I haven’t done this before, so I am bit cautious about how much to invest and how to tailor the advertising but I am excited to see how it goes. I think social media is such an important an accessible market now, that I need to have a good presence to get the book noticed.

My mission through all of this is just to get the book in as many hands as possible. For all those out there plugging away promoting something they have created, I salute you and for anyone with some money in their account I would ask you kindly to follow this link and buy the book.

http://www.unbreakablebond.co.uk/#!grab-a-copy/cqh1

 

 

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Blessings in disguise

This week the Church of England have taken over the headlines here in the UK, after leading cinemas refused to screen a commercial they had made featuring the Lord’s Prayer.

The advert that they submitted can be seen here:

There were no complaints made from the general public about the advert and the rules set out by the Committee of Advertising Practice only urge advertisers to avoid causing offence and inciting hatred, they do not say that something of a religious nature cannot be shown.

A lot of us will no doubt be going to the cinema over the Christmas period to see the new blockbusters like Star Wars, so it was a great advertising idea by the Church of England to capitalize on this market. I think that churches need to use media and interact with culture to reach people in the modern world we live in, so will always support initiatives like this as I want to see more things like this. I want to see the media taken over on all levels.

I think he big cinema chains scored a huge own-goal by banning this advert. From a business perspective they gave away income and lost future potential business from the Church of England. After doing this they also gave the Church of England a million times more publicity than they would have got, if the advert hadn’t been banned. The biggest marketing and publicity companies would be giving themselves the biggest high fives if they managed to get the publicity that this advert has received but it wasn’t a marketing company, it was a church.

The big chain cinemas could face a backlash for this action as by some media outlets they are being seen as not allowing freedom of speech. People will continue to go and see films, don’t get me wrong, but peoples view of certain chains of cinemas could change considerably.

In the UK, the media is telling us that we are becoming less of a Christian nation. The uproar about this advert being banned gives me hope and I think shows that although church attendance maybe down or the number of people who call themselves Christian maybe down, underneath these numbers I think there is still a lot of support for the church and Christian faith in the UK.

The timing of all of this in the run up to advent and Christmas is brilliant for the church and Christianity. The cinemas did not think this through at all but I hope through this incident that it will encourage more people to think of Christ this Christmas.

Getting your name out there

If you want to be noticed and recognised for something you do, you have to be prepared to put the work in. Unless you are out there telling the world about what it is you are doing, people aren’t going to know what you are doing and how good you are at something.

Taking notice

You could have created the best product, the best piece of art, the best company, the best charity, the best sports team etc. but just because something is good, it doesn’t mean people are going to take notice.

It’s like with my book at the moment. Unless I get out there and promote it – no one is going to know about it. With my book, the more people that know about it, the more lives it has the chance to impact. Something being great isn’t going to change and impact lives, it’s people knowing about it that is going to change lives.

Being the best self-promoter

Once you have a great reputation, people will get to know about you and your work through word of mouth but until you have that platform you have to be brave and be the biggest self-promoter on the planet. If you want something to take off you can’t be shy. You have to be prepared for people to laugh in your face, to criticize and to not want to listen. You can’t have too much pride, you have to keep moving, keep smiling and above everything believe in yourself.

I am constantly emailing people, ringing people and tweeting people to try and get the word out there. I am trying to make connections with influencers in the marketplace and get them on board. I am trying to get endorsements, features in publications and opportunities to speak at events. These are the key ways I have to drive this book forward. I’m not going to get that good review or endorsement that propels the book forward without going out there and finding it.

Right audience

Your life can change just by getting yourself in front of the right audience; so don’t stop until you find it. To get yourself ahead of the competition you have to be prepared to work harder, do more and think in different ways to your competition. The marketplace is very crowded so getting yourself noticed is harder than ever these days, so you have to be prepared to work harder than ever.

Set yourself goals and targets for the work you want to have done to promote yourself this week and stick to it. Remember being good at something or having something good is only one part of the battle. It’s time to start thinking of self-promotion as a positive thing and to stop letting it be the thing that stops us from getting to where we want to be.

The best marketing is free

Over the last couple of months I have been doing something I have always wanted to do and that is working for a Professional Wrestling company. It has only been as a volunteer but I have had an absolutely awesome time doing it. The company is called Plymouth Wrestling Association and they are a fantastic group of guys.

I felt really passionately about helping a local promotion out as I want to see more quality live wrestling happening in my local area and I want more people in my area to get in to wrestling. I may not have the ability or the desire to become a performer myself but I have skills in media, PR and communications so I was determined to use those skills to help them. So many people these days either hire their own marketing staff or outsource to a marketing company but me personally I would prefer to see those funds used to improve the product and the company, not to market it.

Unfulfilled promises

When you have something you want to advertise it is tricky to know where to begin. It is so easy for companies to plough money in to advertisements, gaining email addresses for leads etc. etc. etc. but in many cases these will not lead to increased business at anywhere near the rate of investment splashed out. There are too many media organisations making promises to businesses that they can’t keep and sadly too many people getting suckered in by them.

There are so many ways to get attention to your product or business that don’t cost a single penny, which so many people are not exploiting. The best return on investment is when you see increased business from doing something that cost you nothing. So before you think about investing in marketing, why not invest some time and energy in activities that don’t cost anything and see what response you get.

Think creatively

At Plymouth Wrestling Association we had to think a bit creatively this week but because of a bit of creativity we have had a daily feature on the biggest commercial radio station in the area on their breakfast show, we have a slot on the local BBC this Saturday the day before the big show and we are all over social media and the internet. All of this activity has led to us nearing a sell out of tickets before doors open which is an incredible achievement.

Your audience has never been closer and easier to get in direct contact with so lets use these opportunities. Why pay someone to do something you can do yourself. At the end of the day that is what marketing is, I don’t know of many people on this planet who don’t have the ability to let someone else know about something.

Ideas

You don’t need to be a marketing guru to have a good idea of how to get the word out. Ideas aren’t linked to experience or intelligence. So if you are trying to promote something stop and think to yourself, who are your audience? Where are your audience? And how can I reach them?

There is nothing more rewarding than seeing your own hard work pay off and if your willing to work hard at marketing your product you will see the rewards.

The Netflix effect

When it comes to selling products in this day and age, I think the most important things are – where you sell them, how you package them and timing of their release.

A key example of this is Netflix. Over the last year they have purchased many different TV series and made them available for subscribers to view. The thing with many of the shows they have made available is that most of them were panned by the critics and not picked up by any of the major channels here in the UK at least. When they had their run on TV, not many people were talking about them and not many people were kept interested enough to watch the entire runs of these shows.

Stamp of approval

There is this strange thing that is happening with these shows and how we consume media. It seems by Netflix deciding to air them, that this is a big stamp of approval and just because of being on this platform, people now want to watch them. One trailer from Netflix and we are all rushing to add the series to our watchlist. Some how having every episode available for us to watch when we want to, makes a show more appealing than watching them every week on the TV or recording them on your Sky+ or TiVo.

I have to admit to also falling in to this trap, as last night I added the TV series ‘Gotham’ to my watchlist after seeing a trailer for it. When the series was on TV I had no interest in it whatsoever but now because it is on Netflix and has a cool trailer I am looking forward to getting round to watch it.

For many new shows getting on Netflix is now more important than getting on TV and now production companies, who thought they had got the most exposure and money out of their series that they were going to get, have a new platform to try and get more out of what they produced.

Brand

Netflix is a prime example of how in todays world your brand is sometimes more important than what you are selling or what you have in your store. If you have a product to sell, putting it on the right platform can mean more to the success of the product than all the work and investment you put in to making it.

What is perceived as ‘cool’ or ‘in’ changes at a very quick rate these days, so when you get to that point you have to cash in fast, as if you don’t you can miss your chance of making the most of your product. When your product or company are popular your priority above anything else should be doing everything to make sure that this lasts for as long as possible. If what you are selling isn’t ‘cool’ or ‘in’ keep working on how you are selling it and how you are packaging it, keep making changes on these sides until you are positioned where you want to be.

What Netflix proves is that as an audience we are more influenced by packaging than we ever have been before. I think in a way that is a sad comment on today’s world but as a company you should be cashing in on this, as even if your product isn’t the best, if you can get people believing it is great, then you will be successful.

Are we falling for it?

This week many people around the world have been talking about Madonna’s fall during her performance at The Brit awards. The Brit awards are a yearly event in the UK, which recognises musical talent from across the globe, with a host of different award categories. The nominees for these awards are normally in the main from the Pop music scene.

If you haven’t heard about Madonna’s fall you can read more about it in a news story here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-31633349

I haven’t watched the Brits for years and it was only the morning after that I found out about Madonna’s fall. This incident has got people around the world talking, in countries that this event wasn’t shown and in places that have never heard of the Brit awards. Through a few split seconds of something that didn’t look like it was suppose to happen, the audience for the event became global.

Manufacturing situations

In the wake of the event some people are now speculating whether this fall was actually a planned event by either Madonna herself, the Brit Awards or both. Both have past form with controversy when it comes to awards shows. For the Brits we had the moment when Jarvis Cocker went wondering on stage during Michael Jackson singing ‘Earthsong’ in the 90s and with Madonna we had the MTV VMA’s in the early 2000s when she kissed Britney Spears.

I wouldn’t put it past any of those involved to have manufactured the situation but I do think there is a growing trend now with anything that goes viral or gets widespread attention like this, that everyone wants to question the authenticity of it. When something makes headlines there are people that don’t buy in to it and want to discredit it, so in the aftermath we see videos and blogs popping up online of people explaining what really was going on and trying to show evidence to back up their claim.

The news has changed

We now live in a world of 24 hour news where these news companies need more and more stories to cover, so editorial control isn’t as selective and with so much competition, each news company wants to be the first to break a story. Couple this with the rise of PR, marketing and creative companies whose job it is to get brands and celebrities in to the news and on the face of it, this looks like a bad mix. With social media and information so available to the masses these companies have to work even harder to come up with stunts and news stories that people won’t question, to get hype for what they are promoting. These companies need to move with changing audiences and find creative ideas that have never been done before to get our attention, which I believe will mean we are always questioning the authenticity of what we are seeing.

So back to Madonna and the Brits, for many years people have questioned how relevant each are. I don’t know what the viewing figures for The Brits have been in recent years or the sales figures for Madonna but a stunt like this, if it was preplanned has got everyone talking about them again. The great thing about it is regardless of whether it was planned or not people are still debating the authenticity of it today so people are still talking about them and they are getting even more publicity.

A new world

I think this new news world we live in has made a skeptical audience and this audience now has the power to research the news. People want to catch the news out and don’t just take what they see at face value. I think on the whole the news has turned more in to entertainment than reporting of facts, entertainment that we can join in with and help mold. In todays world its not just the news that gets us talking, it’s the news that covers things we are talking about.

I think the way the video of Madonna falling went viral asks this important question for TV programmes and events – Is social media reaction more important than actual viewership?

Why are we all suckers for labels and branding?

I was watching a TV show with my wife the other day, which got me thinking. On the show, the two presenters would go to the kitchen of a family and change all their food and groceries for a week, to encourage them to eat well for less. This would mean getting rid of a lot of branded goods and replacing them with cheaper and healthier alternatives. All the items they replaced, they gave to the family covered in white labels, so the family had no idea what brand they were eating. Then at the end of the week the presenters came back to see what the family liked and didn’t like, to see if they could save them money on their weekly shop and get them eating healthier.

Below is a link to details about the programme in question:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0520lz9

Now it doesn’t take a genius to work out that home brands and non branded products are cheaper than the heavily branded and marketed products, but what shocked me, was home much healthier some of the home brands and non branded products were. For a fraction of the price, many items were at least as healthier or in a lot of cases healthier.

Power

The power of brands, marketing and advertising means that no matter how much information, reporting and science there is out there about products, that sadly the brands will always be purchased in high volumes. In a world, which I think is information hungry, and with more information out there than ever before you wouldn’t think that brands would have the same power, but yet they still seem to have it. Even when we know that the reason we are attracted to brands is because of their packaging and marketing, we still choose to switch off the logical part of our brain and buy the brand.

As a world we need to be looking at the back of packets & boxes and not the front! One of the reasons why companies spend so much on advertising and branding is so that you don’t look at the back first! If supermarkets displayed items on their shelves back to front I am sure our buying habits would change a lot. As the important information is on the back, I think it is a case of out of sight, out of mind for many of us, which is not the best philosophy to have, when so much of our health is dictated by what we eat.

Branding is everywhere

I think we need to not buy in to the packaging and exterior of something and if we did this across all areas of our lives, I think we would be better off. Branding is everywhere now, from companies to individuals. It’s not just big companies and celebrities that market themselves now, it’s your local business and your regular day folk like you and I that are doing it too.

We need to be a world that looks deeper at a persons or organisations quality and not just what people are saying about them. Don’t be fooled in to believing what other people want you to believe. Take the time to search for the truth and not opinions. Find out what matters to you and make sure you are getting what you want or need from the people and companies around you.

Selling happens everyday

Everyday someone is selling something to you. You might not know it’s happening, you might not be buying anything but someone will be trying to influence the way you think about something. Some people are trying to consciously change your thoughts and opinions, whilst others are doing it to you without even knowing that they are. Lets try to be aware of it and let’s try to make sure we make the best decisions that we can, in all aspects of our lives.

The goal of businesses is to make as much money as possible, the goal of people who brand themselves is to get good jobs, good contacts and good money. Your goal should be to make the best decisions you can, based on the best information and experience you can find.