Posted on November 2, 2012 by Dan Blank
There is so much noise out there. Tweets, status updates, emails, blog posts, comments, pins, and the like. So I have been considering how I ensure I can help out those I respect and admire. That, if a colleague or friend has a new book out, a great newsletter, a new product or course: how can I REALLY help spread the word? My conclusion:
A TWEET IS NOT ENOUGH
And I think this related to the offline world in this way:
IF I BELIEVE IN A CAUSE, PUTTING A BUMPER STICKER ON MY CAR IS NOT ENOUGH SUPPORT TO TRULY MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Yes, a Tweet is nice. A bumper sticker is nice. They are very much appreciated. But do they take ENOUGH action? Do they focus on having a powerful intended effect? Or, do they sometimes come off as a well-meaning token effort? I want my support to be measured in action. In results, not intentions.
So today, I want to review different ways that I can promote the work of someone I respect in a world that is full of a very low signal to noise ratio.
To frame the conversation, here are some examples of some folks I respect, whose message or services I would like to spread:
- Britta Alexander’s services helping writers publish their books.
- Jane Friedman’s incredible blog post about how publishers should better serve authors.
- Christina Rosalie’s new book: A Field Guide to Now.
- The services of the web designers & developers at Spruce.it, who I loved working with earlier in the year.
There are so many others I could add to this list!
How do you spread the word about books you love? Services that have wowed you? Articles that made you rethink something important? How do you promote the people BEHIND these creations in a consistent and meaningful way?
So this is what I have come up with so far in terms or actions I can take:
PUT MYSELF IN THEIR SHOES
Really empathize with what their goals are and what they need to achieve them. That if I know someone has a fledgling business, I know how tenuous that can be, how every little “win” can just make their day. So how can I deliver two more days like that this month for them? Or four days!?
Sometimes, when speaking about the creative arts and ventures built upon passion, we don’t talk about money enough. That a writer needs to support their family. That an entrepreneur has lots of risk and overhead, and even sleepless nights. That financial support means that they can sleep better, support their family, and make positive proactive decisions to grow in a meaningful way. That yes, growing someone’s revenue streams can increase their ability to create art or great writing. That it may allow them to take MORE creative risks.
So when I empathize with a writer who has a new book out; a colleague who offers services; or a journalist reporting on something, I want to really analyze the resources they need to support their work. That a writer needs sales, not just “exposure.” They need momentum. They need a team out there working on their behalf.
THE “ASK” IS CRITICAL
It is not enough to just say “Congratulations on your new book Christina!” on Twitter. I need to make the ‘ask,’ actually encouraging people to buy her book, watch the trailer, attend a reading, or subscribe to her newsletter. I need to provide the context, ensuring people know WHY they may like this book.
This is hard. As a business owner, I am super sensitive about the distinction of sharing my passion for what I do working with writers, and anything that has a price tag on it. People react differently when a price tag is involved. And I think sometimes we shy away from the “ask” because we expend less social capital. There is a difference in me saying these two things on Twitter:
- Loved Christina Rosalie’s new book A Field Guide to Now. Thanks @Christina_write!
- If you want to lead a more meaningful creative life, check out A Field Guide to Now by @Christina_write. Check it out ChristinaRosalie.com
I want to be more mindful to ensure my mentions allow people to take an ACTION.
I don’t want to pat myself on the back for sending a single Tweet supporting Christina or Jane or someone else I respect. Because if I send that Tweet at 4pm on a Tuesday, maybe only a tiny percentage of my followers actually see it. Maybe the single Tweet doesn’t communicate the passion I feel about this person and their work. I need to think strategically about how I can spread their message and promote their work consistently over time.
For example: how can I share the news about someone’s book consistently over time without saying the same thing again and again? Some ideas:
- Interview him or her
- Post an excerpt
- Review it on Amazon and Goodreads
- See if I can help host a book tour date in NJ or NY
- Share his or her book trailer on Facebook
- Tweet about him often, but use different Tweets each time. Some overtly endorsing the book, other times sharing a great quote from it, or promoting his or her own blog posts or Tweets. Be mindful to not to be promotional, but meaningful.
- Think of who else has an audience that would appreciate this book. Reach out to them via email and encourage them to interview with author, or host part of their blog tour, etc.
- Buy books and send them to those I know who would appreciate it, especially if those people may connect with others who would like it.
- Are there organizations that I am involved with who would want to partner with this author or even consider bulk sales? Reach out to them.
Realistically, in a single month, I could spread the word in 5 different ways, 20 different times.
ASK THE PERSON HOW I CAN BE MOST STRATEGICALLY USEFUL TO THEM
I don’t want to assume that I know someone’s goals, and what they value most in their career. Maybe they are more focused on getting blog subscribers, or spreading the word about an appearance, or a blog tour, or selling a book. Reach out and ASK THEM what matters most. Don’t do this get credit for spreading the word, do so to ensure that my efforts are laser targeted on what matters most. Again: this is about effect, not intention.
As I was writing this post, I saw a similar one from Nilofer that explores this same topic in a slightly different way: How To Support An Author. Well worth the read.
I would love to hear your thoughts on how to support those you respect.