I agree that marketing poetry can be an expensive and endeavor with low return on investment. That said, I see a lot of my poet clients embarking on personal branding campaigns that eventually produce significant fruit.
In fact, as a publicist I see the same problem occurring with all sorts of self published as well as mainstream published books.
I believe that it can be done. It is not hopeless. It is challenging and it does take skill, excellence, and devotion.
So here’s some ideas and a strategy about how to create an online presence that generates interest, and ultimately sales. Many of my clients do this as they work with me on the publicity. In fact, when this online strategy is coupled with targeted publicity, and judicious integrated marketing offline, the best results are always forthcoming.
Here’s my recommendations on what to do online.
You have to be willing to post some of your best poetry (or content no matter what you write or create) so that people see what you write, and enjoy it so much that they get interested in buying everything you have for sale.
This is the formula for professional branding that I also advocate with problem solving tips articles, humor, music and other creative works.
Offer a little of your very, very best work. Shine. Sparkle. Dazzle people. Amaze people. Make them sweat, make them cry, make them laugh.
But whatever you do, do it very quickly. You only have between 10 to 20 seconds to hook them and no more than 3 minutes to convince them totally.
It’s like people get to see the tip of the iceberg and it’s so good and intriguing, they develop a desire for more.
It’s like finding a diamond in the rough, or seeing a glint in the dirt and grabbing it and finding out it’s a gemstone.
The key is to post something so good and timely to the right needy people that you really trigger their interest.
The copy you select is crucial. One warning – don’t sell. Help or entertain or educate the people you can help, entertain or educate the most.
You have to engage them meaningfully and that is the only way this technique will work.
This means you have to select a truly remarkable piece of your writing and then you have to carefully select where you get it placed.
If you haven’t read my article on how to create these magic words, then you might want to read The Magic of Business sometime. Here’s a link to it: http://www.directcontactpr.com/free-articles/article.src?ID=105
Once you have some proven magic words, then you have to be strategic about where you place these little nuggets.
You can do this online using search engine tools. But you can’t just post them anywhere. You have to find the right places and opportunities.
What you need to do is think about targeting. What do people read, watch and listen to when they are in the right mood and are receptive to a suggestion?
I do this with prime media when we target media for news releases. We go through this same process only we target newspapers, magazines and trade press, news services and syndicates, radio and TV stations and shows, freelance writers, and the Internet media counterparts to all the above.
You do the same thing online with the different types of online publishing and search technologies that are available. Of course, you have to find them first.
This requires you to study, strategize and decide what to write and who to target very carefully.
I’ll illustrate with one simple example. Let’s say you write a poem about overcoming the challenges associated with breast cancer.
If you write a poem for breast cancer patients, then in front of breast cancer patients is where you want to be.
So think about your most important key words and select one:
For this example (I’m sending this to my breast cancer author clients of course), I’ll use the key words: breast cancer support.
You have to make use of the specialized search engines. So look for specialized search engines that will bring you to the right web sites and other online technologies and groups. What you are looking to make use of is:
Regular search engines: Web sites where cancer patients and their support networks hang out.
Photo search engines; the best photo sites about breast cancer
Audio search engines: the best audio sites about breast cancer
Video search engines: the best video sites about breast cancer
Blog search engines: Bloggers who write on breast cancer
Forum search engines: Forums that focus on and talk about breast cancer
Newsletter and ezine search engines: Health / cancer news letters and ezines about breast cancer
Association search engines: cancer and health associations about breast cancer
Podcast search engines: podcasts about dealing with breast cancer
Social networking search engines: sites from breast cancer
Yes there are specialized search engines that focus on just these technologies and you can access them and use them if you learn how.
Not every site you discover will meet your needs in terms of quality and visibility, but you can identify the ones that are significant and valuable to you.
For each valuable site you discover, you take a one to one approach, study it carefully, find the contact in-road or access point to the owner or editors, and craft a pitch designed to offer your content for publication or use the way they are accustomed to publishing it.
If you embark on a plan that allows you to hit five per day, then at the end of thirty days you’ll have contacted 150 online media. If even half these take you up on your pitch, then you’ll be on 75 sites.
And if you maintain that for a year, then you’ll be on 900 hand selected relevant sites by the end of the year.
That’s just for one key word: breast cancer support.
Now do some key word rotation switch to breast cancer information, help, guidance, counseling, mentoring, and so on.
When you have a key word NOUN, couple it with keyword VERBS or ACTIONS. I call this the SOAP method, where S = subject words O = Object words A = action words and P = process words
Create powerful keyword combinations by using SOAP.
For each subject word think of the synonyms and related key words.
Now create a key word chart and launch your search for the right web sites.
Then you systematically rotate words one at a time.
You can even do this geographically using the same key words and Google maps.
Go to Google maps and enter the words breast cancer support plus a location like “breast cancer support Atlanta, GA”
The map that results yields businesses, names, addresses, phone numbers and even web sites.
Now rotate to a new location and search again.
Now you may ask where to you find all the specialized search engines.
I have a patent on a search engine tool which I’ve made available for many months now that’s free. It’s still there for you to use:
Search Word Pro operates like a channel changer for search engines.. Enter a search word and then you can send it to over 60 different search engines in all the categories described above and more.
BTW, you can easily use this to design and deploy your own blog tour. There are PR firms out there that will do the same blog tour for you and charge $10,000 for getting you on to 100 top blog sites. No kidding.
So if you want to make use of this and do it yourself, I’ve just shared with you how to do it.