There is nothing that irritates me more than getting pitched by new authors who have never contacted me before but want me to review their books or interview them on my blog. I didn’t realize how much it annoyed me until I wrote a long comment about it on Sydney Owen’s recent blog post about why companies and brands should pay more attention to Gen Y. (Which is awesome. The post, I mean, not my comment.) Then I got another request (aka spammy press release) and tweeted a mini-rant. So I decided to expound on my thoughts in a blog post, because I think authors really do want publicity and have no idea how to ask bloggers to help them out in a genuine, non-spammy way. So this is for you, authors.
There’s a right way and a wrong way
Bottom line: there is a right and wrong way to go about getting publicity from bloggers, and old media tactics won’t help new authors cut deals because the motivations of these two groups are inherently different. Here is a quick explanation of why, and what you should do instead of asking for a review or interview:
Old media writes because they love to and get a paycheck for their efforts. New media writes because they love to, and get an ego-boost for their efforts.
What’s on the blogger’s mind
I am not getting paid to write about you. So when you ask me to review your book, I think:
- Writing an extra blog post about a book I don’t know much about is work.
- Looking up this author on Google is a lot of work.
- Trying to decipher this stodgy press release is a LOT of work.
- Actually having to read the book to figure out if it’s relevant to my audience is TOO MUCH work.
Instead: feed my ego, and you get publicity for your book. Write for me and my blog instead. Don’t talk about you in your emails, pitches, and press releases. Tell me what’s in it for me. Take a load off my shoulders and make it easy for me to give you a plug. Read my whole blog and find the topic I missed, that you are an expert in. Give first, and I’ll be much more open to giving back, tweeting, and supporting you.
Old media cares about credentials. New media cares about community.
No, I will not interview you. Honestly, few people in my audience want to read about you because you a stranger to them. If they did, they would watch the Today Show instead of read my blog, right?
And why should I interview you, anyway? You are a writer looking for an audience; I am a writer who already has an audience.
Instead: why don’t you interview me? I know it sounds unconventional, with you being published and everything. But look, my audience just doesn’t care about you yet, and if I write about you they will see you as an ad on my blog – an interruption to their regularly scheduled programming. They do care about me though. And if you interview me, I send traffic to your site, you become part of my blog’s community, and the community supports one another, so they might buy your book.
Old media is looking for a story. New media is looking for exposure.
As a blogger, I am not looking for blog post ideas. I write because I have too many ideas and nobody in my real life wants to listen to me talk all day. I want my ideas heard.
Therein lies a fundamental difference between my content and old media’s content. Old media wants to cover topics that pay; I want more exposure for my ideas. Just like you actually. And just like you, I am not in the business of exposing other people’s ideas, unless they relate to mine. So really, we’re in the same boat.
Instead: expose me. Can you send traffic to my site? Can you give me contacts, help me network up, or get my blog traditional publicity? Can you write about me in your next book? These are all good trades for me, and make me more interested in a mutually beneficial partnership.
Old media has rules, and a code of ethics. New media does not.
I realize all of these things I’m mentioning actually take time on the part of the author (beyond spamming everyone with your press releases). True publicity in new media consists of community building, content creation, and forging real relationships.
But maybe you don’t have time for that. That’s cool. What’s not cool is when you try to mooch off of me and all the time I’ve spent doing these things.
Instead: buy an ad on my blog, pay me to do a (disclosed) review post for you, or work out some sort of money trade. The solution to most problems can be summed up with LBH (learn, beg, or hire). So when learning and begging don’t work, break out your wallet.
Bloggers: Do you like getting pitched with press releases? Share your thoughts in the comments section.
Authors: I consult solopreneurs like you on how to use social media for events like a book launch. I can help you if you are an author and not sure how to approach new media.