This is the second in my series on essential types of author website content to ensure a positive response from the media. Read Part One to learn how to present basic information about yourself and your book(s).
As we mentioned in the previous article, an author’s website should have five (5) types of information to help people like me to promote them to my audience. This content is also important for booksellers, librarians, event planners, publishing professionals, and even readers, i.e. sales!.
When visitors get more value out of visiting your website, you’re more likely to hear from them. But how can they contact you if they don’t know how?
Over my years working in the media, there have been occasions where I was at an author’s website and wanted to contact him or her. Maybe I needed a quote. Maybe I wanted to set up a full interview.
But if I get to your author website and it’s difficult—or impossible—to reach you, it’s not my job to figure it out. I’m on a deadline. I’ll just move on to another author’s website.
If you want influencers to elevate you in front of their audiences, then you need to make it easy for them to do that.
Must-Have Author Website Content: Contact Info
If somebody goes to the trouble of finding your author website, they should know how to follow up. How can the media request an interview? For that matter, what if a website visitor has questions about your book? Wants you to speak at a conference? Or invite you to talk to their book club?
You need to make it easy to contact you. What are the best ways to do that? Here are a few options…
You can embed a contact form on your website. They fill it out and click “send,” and you receive an email. This protects your private contact information, but still gives them a way to reach out.
These kinds of forms can be as basic—or complicated—as you want. (Don’t go crazy.) You can format them with your branding and colors, and set them to zip you a notification as soon as someone fills it out and clicks the button.
If you know how, you can embed the form right inside a page of your website. In a pinch, you can link to the form online and send folks over to fill it out.
Email, Phone, or Mailing Address
If possible, it’s also great to include a more personal way for the media and other interested parties to reach you. This can include your email address, a phone number, or a mailing address.
However, you don’t have to share any of these. And do not post any private information that you’re uncomfortable sharing. (Once it’s online, assume it will be seen by strangers.)
To protect your privacy, here are some simple alternatives…
Set up an alternate email address
If you want them to email you—but don’t want to share your private email address—you can set up a free email address with Gmail. (For that matter, you can create multiple Gmail addresses.)
To sign up for Gmail, create a Google Account. That username and password give you access to Gmail, plus other helpful tools like Google Drive, Google Forms, and Google Voice.
Set up an alternate phone number
If you want them to call you—but don’t want to share your private phone number—you can set up a free phone number (and voicemail) with Google Voice. You can access it on your desktop or through smart devices, and you’re allowed to link your number to any phone number you want.
Set up an alternate mailing address
If you want to offer a mailing address—without sharing your home address—you can set up a mailbox. This can mean a P.O Box at your local post office, or even getting a new “street address” at your local UPS Store.
Of course, it will cost you some money to set up a mailbox. It’s rare you’ll ever need it for media purposes, so don’t feel like you need to invest in one.
If you have social media profiles that you frequent, you can also share links to them. The media might click through to these pages to see what you’ve posted there, which will add to their overall impression of you.
But don’t feel pressured to be everywhere. You only need to be where your audience is.
A Few Tips:
Only link to profiles that are up-to-date. The profile photo should be your current author photo—the same one that you use across your profiles for brand consistency. The content at that social profile should be reasonably fresh. (It helps if it’s relevant to your area of expertise.)
Only point to accounts you check frequently. Some may try to contact you through one of these profiles. But if you send them to a profile that you never check, you might never see their message. You don’t want to miss out on a great opportunity because you sent them to an abandoned inbox.
Only link to profiles that represent your author brand. If you have, say, two Instagram accounts—one focused on your author brand, and one where you share photos of your cats—just point us to the “author” account. We can find cat photos, thank you, we don’t need your help for that.
How Social Media Fits into Your Publicity Strategy (Social Media Just for Writers)
Not as Simple as "If You Build It, They Will Come"
It’s not enough to post your contact information and then wait for the offers to pour in. Remember, your author website content doesn’t create your publicity—you still need to reach out to generate any attention.
But when you make it easy for website visitors to contact you, that raises the odds of that visit turning into an opportunity to promote your book. So don't make it difficult to get in touch with you!
(Part Two of a Three-Part Series.)
NEXT TIME: Show us that you know your stuff! In the final article in the series, we’ll talk about your media materials and your authority content.
How does your author website allow folks to contact you? Which of these methods do you use now—or are planning to try? Let us know in the comments below!
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