Last time I covered how to use a podcast to promote a product. Today, I’m going to focus strictly on promoting books and music with your podcast. Those are also products, of course, but there are unique challenges with artistic content. There are also unique opportunities.
Over a seven year period, I wrote eleven books, over two dozen short stories, and hundreds of blog posts. When I wasn’t writing, I was promoting. Sometime promotion requires more writing. Blog posts for mine as well as others’ blogs took considerable time and effort. Sometimes it was writing, recording, and editing a podcast. Sometimes it was social networking. In fact, a lot of the time was social networking peppered throughout the day. Some of the promotion was in-person events like books signings or genre conventions.
I put aside time to write fiction because endless marketing can easily overwhelm anyone. It’s a full time job on its own. I’ll be covering time management in your marketing plan in a future article.
Unique Challenges for Artists
The amount of information that crosses cyberspace every second is staggering. It’s extremely difficult to be seen or heard above the din. This is especially challenging for artists. In our culture, art is considered more or less a luxury. It’s something people enjoy, but not something they need to physically survive. I mean, we all need art and beauty to enjoy life, but we don’t need it to survive.
With so many people on a tight budget, art is one of the first things cut. After all, they can get unlimited entertainment on Netflix for less than $8/mo. A novel for the same price or more doesn’t give them the same hours of entertainment. Plus, there is actual effort involved in reading, and people are tired after work. They just want to veg.
Enjoying music is effortless, but an MP3 album doesn't give the variety. They can listen to it over and over again, but they’re the same songs every time.
Health information and services rank higher in the consumer’s priorities than a new novel. After all, they have a stack of unread novels on their nightstand as it is. It would be silly to buy another one.
It’s very challenging for an emerging artist to be seen and to be heard.
Podcasting fiction is a great way to generate interest in your writing. Perform a short story or poetry as part of your podcast. If you write romance, have guest romance authors and discuss relationship issues and strategies. Those will be interesting to your audience aside from your own work. If you write mystery or horror, discuss how forensic science helps capture murderers. Do a series on the characteristics of a sociopath and how to spot them. Share the research behind your latest book with the world. Then, one a week, read a chapter of your book or a short story. Give them a taste of your voice. Your audience will find you.
If you’re a musician, same thing goes. Give them guest musicians and live performances. Give them a song, talk about your process, discover new artists together. Cross promotion is GOLD. Promote someone else, and they might promote you. Your audience will come to trust you because you’re not talking about me me me me all the time. Present yourself as genuinely interested in music, new artists, and the entertainment of your listeners.
When it’s not all about self-promotion, you self-promote just by being who you are and doing what you do. Be sure to mention that at the beginning and end of every podcast who you are and what you do. Mention your latest book or CD and where to find it.
Share your voice, and your audience will find you.
Blog tours are one of the greatest ways to promote your podcast and your art. Although this could work for any product, I find it works especially well for authors and musicians. I’ll talk more about how your blog will be the hub of your online presence in a few weeks. For now, let’s look at the basic steps to going on a blog tour.
A blog tour is like a traditional book or music tour, only you never leave your house. It’s far less money. In fact, it’s usually free, unless you are offering free product through a contest. Here’s how to do it:
- Research popular blogs in your genre of music or literature. Ensure they’re active blogs with comments beneath most posts.
- Make a list in descending order of your top choices down. Get at least 20 on the list.
- Choose a week or two for your blog tour, at least two months in advance. Mark those dates out on your calendar.
- Contact the bloggers from the top down. Be professional in your email. Tell them who you are and that you’re planning a blog tour. Ask if you could visit their blog, and give them a choice between two or three dates.
- Once you have a week or two’s worth of dates set, start writing/planning your content. Mention it on social networks, your blog, and your podcast. You might even create a podcast promo and ask other podcasters to run it.
- Two weeks before the tour starts, invite your Facebook friends/fans to the formal event. Create a web banner and display it on your blog/website. Write and/or record the content for the tour.
- Go on tour and have a great time! You can write short articles, if you’d like, but mostly you will offer an entire episode of your podcasted fiction or songs. Consider recording specific content just for the tour. On your own site, remind your audience where in cyberspace you'll be today. Remember, cross promotion is GOLD!
Come to think of it, you could even go on a Podcast Tour! Follow the above steps with podcasts instead of blogs. Perform on another podcast. Send in your recorded content and conduct an interview via phone.
All are excellent opportunities to get your voice out to more people. Bloggers are always looking for new, engaging content. Most will be happy to oblige your request for this reason alone. It is a lot of work to come up with new content. You’re giving them a break while exposing more people to your art.
Next up… Promoting your Podcast with Twitter.