With vast changes in book marketing, book publicity for self-help/personal growth books has shifted away from mainstream media. As mainstream media has retrenched due to budget constraints and shifting audience attention, Internet radio has stepped into the breach as an influential medium for reaching buyers. Coupled with broadcast radio, which still allots some time to authors in selected pockets, radio has zoomed forward as a way to drive books and digital offerings.
Publishers and authors are turning to Internet radio for promotion when:
- They have a new book to launch or a wish to revitalize older books/second editions.
- The title has been under-exposed in the mainstream marketplace and needs to find a more targeted audience.
- They are seeking to build a following for an author or brand that goes beyond just the sale of one book.
But the question often asked is whether Internet radio will sell books. As a 35-year publicist and author, I did a blended broadcast/Internet radio media tour for my most recent book, Practical Conscious Creation: Daily Techniques to Manifest Your Desires, and tracked sales via Book Scan, using my Amazon.com Author Central gateway. It was great fun to see the direct correlation between radio shows and book sales increases, but more importantly, it validated that Internet radio does have the power to sell.
I believe Internet radio is such a great medium for authors because:
- Authors generally have up to one hour to deliver and share their message. That’s plenty of time to offer valuable information, engage the audience, and sell.
- Authors encounter a highly-targeted audience that already has a predisposition to the product.
- The host may have read the book and will help sell it, urging the audience to buy and offering reasons why. That is rare in broadcast radio.
- Authors can introduce and sell everything in their funnel. They can drive people to teleseminars, coaching programs and other offerings.
- Authors can drive their opt-in with a free enticement or offer and use the resulting list to sell books.
- The host may promote the interview via e-mail and social networking, and may even post a link to the book sales page on the website or within the announcement e-mail.
- The content is ever-green, and new listeners will find it on websites, where it resides post-broadcast as a podcast.
- Internet bookers and hosts are not as picky when it comes to self-published work or content from smaller independent publishers.
- Internet hosts are hungry for content and are easy to book, and they don’t care whether the book is new, as long as the content has value to the listener.
- You can saturate a specific market by booking many interviews within a key subject segment.
- While there are shows such as those on BlogTalk radio that draw smaller numbers, most established hosts have built a substantial audience, and syndicate content to iTunes and other web platforms. Most viable shows capture a minimum audience of 2,000, and some Internet radio shows have aggregate audiences in the hundreds of thousands or more.
- While book sales are a primary goal, for many authors the real incentive is to change lives and to influence listeners. Aggregate Internet radio provides that in a major way.
- Internet radio hosts are often coaches and entrepreneurs in their own right. On many occasions they can offer more than just a media platform, helping authors to create a speaking engagement in their city or offering revenue-generating teleseminar opportunities. An astute author can see ways to engage these hosts beyond the initial interviews.
- Authors can build their own network of shows to which they can return on a regular basis. An engaging speaker will receive many return invitations.
How to get started at taking advantage of the rise of radio for a book launch or re-launch.
- Write a strong pitch letter to concisely explain the topic and the benefit to listeners. It must have a compelling subject line starting with “Guest for Your Show…”
- If you have friends, associates, or affiliates who have radio shows or podcasts, reach out to them first with this compelling pitch—verbally or in writing.
- Focus on the target topic and research prospective hosts on BlogTalk, VoiceAmerica, and other networks that host shows in your genre. The listings on the networks will give you only limited information, so you’ll need to search out the host’s personal business e-mail address or phone number.
- If you attends events, you may connect with other authors who have radio shows. Take their cards and follow up.
- Google “your subject + radio show,” or just “your subject + radio.”
- If you have a limited amount of time, focus on the larger Internet networks, check the Alexa and other ratings for show websites with the highest traffic, and wrap the larger Internet shows around a selection of broadcast shows.
- Keep in mind that many Internet show hosts have only one to four shows a month (unlike broadcast producers, who often fill spots five days a week), so Internet hosts and producers book well in advance. Start early, but realize you may be booking a slot three months from now.
- Keep an updated database of shows, so you can easily and effectively outreach the next time.
- Call back your highest-priority shows and leave a concise version of your pitch letter in your voicemail.
- Hire a publicist or media-relations specialist who can incorporate Internet radio in the campaign.
The ideal book campaign encompasses a breadth of media, but if budget is limited, a mix of broadcast and Internet radio (often alongside a few selected priority print and TV targets) is an excellent alternative.
Jackie Lapin’s Conscious Media Relations creates radio media tours especially for authors, speakers, and coaches by offering them to an exclusive list of more than 2,600 radio hosts who seek interviews with transformational leaders. SPAWN members receive pricing! For more information go to www.consciousmediarelations.com.