Friday, February 8, 2013

The Buzz, or Advertising Word Of Mouth by Roz Denny Fox

The buzz is quite simply, word of mouth advertising. Word of mouth is the holy grail of marketing, the most valuable currency in today’s advertising. I’m sure there are loads of books that have skyrocketed to the top of the best seller lists courtesy of the “buzz”. Three I can readily think of are: The Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon, The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown, and more recently, Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. We can probably agree the only thing these books have in common is their phenomenal sales, owed in large part to readers spreading the word about the book’s likeability to other readers.
So the question every writer should ask themselves is what sparks irrepressible enthusiasm about one book over another?
In general book lovers love to talk about what they like or dislike about any given book, almost as much as they like reading them.  Considering the number of “good” books published each month, why then do such a slim few catapult to the top of the marketplace courtesy of the “buzz”?  If writers knew they’d be writing blockbusters all the time.  How does it work, and can you create it yourself?
You need to determine what about a certain book sends you out to buy a copy based on what other readers say.  The commonality as I see it, the books must be edgy, yet have an earthy realism that heightens reader excitement and tension.  Can anyone do that?
Andy Sernovitz, author of “Word Of Mouth Marketing” says yes if you understand how to employ the 5 T’s.  Topics: give people a reason to talk.  Talkers: Gather people who will talk about you.  Tools: Determine what helps to spread the message faster and farther. Take Part: Join the conversation; reply to feedback. Tracking: Measure and understand what exactly people are saying in order to improve your product.
Okay, Andy is talking about how to sell a service, or widgets. Our products are books. But his ideas are sound. Nobody talks about a boring product, a boring ad, or a boring book. Recording labels developed the use of what they call “street teams” or super fans who help sell records. Dedicated fans spread the word about a singer or musician’s work. Digital media gives an artist quicker means of reaching fans.  They employ “refer-a-friend” sections on social media, and suggest creating a fun name for your street team. Reward street team members with genuine thanks and sometimes little perks. While we can all strive to write a story worthy of being talked about, any author can use social media to help word-of-mouth along. That’s what we’re doing here with our blogs. We’re trying to create a buzz for Harlequin Heartwarming books by reaching readers who are talkers. Readers who like our stories, remember our names, and pass on what they like. We’re already building our street team, so thanks a lot.

14 comments:

  1. Great post Roz. Getting the buzz out about our books is important and can be fun. Being involved with social media sure helps. The points you made are right on.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Roz! What a helpful post. I loved your inclusion of Andy Sernovitz's strategies and it makes great sense! Social media is now the best way to spread word of mouth and, like you said, we need to harness that as much as possible to build awareness for the terrific line we are creating! I'm on board for the Heartwarming Street Team!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, I love those "Five T"s -- and the fact that you still put Writing A Good Book as the keystone of everything else.

    This is wonderful advice; thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  4. The music industry does this far more effectively than writers seem to do. I'm not sure why. It could be the age of the average person out looking for new tunes by their favorite singers. Peoples teams who have been phenomenal are Lady Gaga with her little monsters, and Justin Beber---well, that I think is due to his followers. I'm still reading on Andy Sernovitz's book. He does talk about writers making use of good reviewers starting on Amazon and spreading the word elsewhere.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You're right--getting buzz about your book is invaluable. Thanks for the great advice!

    ReplyDelete
  6. This topic comes up every time you get one or more authors in a room. (My current heroine just asked me where her Street Team was? She's a bit pushy.)

    I think it's tough to be as engaged as you probably should be since most of the authors I know are basically introverts who are more comfortable chatting with imaginary characters than real people. And, I, for one, need 3-4 more hours in my day to handle my social media tasks.

    Thanks for inviting me to your blog, Roz. Love it. And congrats to all of the Heartwarming Authors. Happy sales!!!

    Deb

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent tips, Roz. I love the '5 Ts'.

      It's a challenge to take off my writer's hat and focus on marketing. Steep learning curve, but something everyone must tackle.

      Delete
    2. Deb, and Suz, and Muriel, you are all right about how difficult it is to write and market. Younger writers are much better at tooting their own horn, because as mom's we did a better job of telling our daughters it was okay to do that. I still find it hard to be in a group of non-writers where the marketing is fertile---to even let anyone know I write, have a book out or coming out. But I'm vowing to try to do better.

      Delete
  7. Hi, Roz! What good information and sound advice! Even at 68 years old I have trouble making the transition from old-school woman who was very loved but basically taught that it was rude to try to shine - to a self-promoter. My method of getting a buzz is to pray that someone will like my book and tell someone else. I think I have to work harder!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi Roz,
    I like your distillation of those three disparate big-sellers: 'edgy, yet have an earthy realism.'

    I'm thinking musicians might do better exactly because they do perform and are right there with their fans in a way writers hunched over the desk won't be. Live music is exciting, motivating their 'teams.' To help find her niche, Lady Gaga made an early public push in favor of gay rights and the gay community supports her, fervently.

    A lot to think about!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laura, you are right about the music arena being easier for word of mouth marketing, because teens and tweens are the biggest buyers of modern artists.And they're on social media 12 hours a day. I remember Lady Gaga building her "little monsters" as she calls them. She has a gazillion adoring fans in that group. I know they had T shirts saying they were her little monsters. It is a lot to think about. And a lot to do on top of writing a book worthy of getting buzz.

      Delete
  9. Most excellent. Roz and I will be putting Heartwarming books in the hands of readers at the upcoming Arizona Festival of Books. So, Heartwarmers if you have any bookmarkers are giveaways send them our way.

    Great post.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks, Roz, for the great advice. Love the 5 T's. I'll have to remember that. I like nothing better than to talk about books. Good luck with the Heartwarming books. (love that name)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Wow, this is some great advice. I need to find that book and take some notes. I'll admit that as the date of my book being published draws near, I'm feeling overwhelmed with how to market it, get it out there and start a buzz. There seems to be more that I don't know than what I do.

    I could definitely use more hours in my day, but unfortunately we only have the gift of 24.

    ReplyDelete