Byte the Book member Nicole Johnston is a Freelance Communications, Policy and Writing Consultant. Here she offers authors some tips on how to get their message through the digital ‘noise’.
We live in exciting times. Never before has there been such a lot of opportunities to communicate with so many. The digital technology revolution that’s occurred over recent decades has been astounding. Perhaps most relevant to authors is social media and its capacity to connect huge numbers of people, to cross geographical and even cultural boundaries and to permit the sharing of information and content almost instantaneously. This is all literally at our fingertips.
However, with every silver lining there can be a cloud. The potential cloud for those of us trying to take advantage of this massive increase in the capacity to communicate is to wade through the scams, spam and rubbish in mega quantities existing alongside the gems. Those we want to communicate with face the same challenges.
Five tips for authors:
- Target your audience. Unless you have specifically decided to go out to the general public this is critical. Identify your audience, the people you want to speak to, and what they will want to hear from you. None of your connections want to be copied into your general marketing posts.
- Be clear and consistent. Nobody appreciates long, rambling marketing pieces. Tell them what they want to know clearly and consistently. Then get to the bit where you tell them what you’d like them to do. Some call it a call to action. If you want your audience to read it – say that! If you want them to buy it – say that. If you want them to represent it – say that!
- Use simple language. The last decade has seen a strong push for simple English for good reasons. You have about eight seconds to capture their interest. They are not going to spend time trying to decipher what you are trying to say. Your use of language might be terribly clever but none of us want our readers to feel stupid.
- Make it real. This is where authors have the advantage. We know people want stories they can relate to or that resonate with them. Make it professional and slick if that’s the image you are trying to portray but humanise it. A simple way to do this is to discuss your motivations for the piece you are sending out. It often connects you with your readers in a way that facts and figures won’t. A health warning here – don’t make it up! With so much rubbish out there in the ether, people can see ‘fake’ from a mile off and it will instantly put them off.
- Make it stand out. Are you funny? Have you had unusual experiences or a unique upbringing? If it’s appropriate to use, it could help you catch your readers’ attention. Controversy works as well however not everyone agrees that all publicity is good publicity. You don’t want to do damage to your reputation or brand.
If you want some help making this happen a communications person will be able to help.
For more information on Nicole or to contact her direct, have a look at her Byte the Book Hub entry here.