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Digital Media vs. Traditional Media for Book Publicity

When planning their book publicity, many authors stumble over which media outlets are the best choices for them. It’s easy to be mesmerized by big name brands in traditional media that offer the illusion of reach, while overlooking digital media. You’ve grown up with many of these names—ABC, NPR, USA Today, People magazine, and the… [Read More]

Digital media vs traditional for book publicity by Chris Well for BookWorks.com

When planning their book publicity, many authors stumble over which media outlets are the best choices for them. It’s easy to be mesmerized by big name brands in traditional media that offer the illusion of reach, while overlooking digital media.

You’ve grown up with many of these names—ABC, NPR, USA Today, People magazine, and the like. After all, these are media companies that have built huge audiences.

Getting in front of those audiences should equal lots of new people to buy your book, right? Well, not necessarily.Digital media vs traditional for book publicity by Chris Well for BookWorks.com

Just because you get in front of people doesn’t mean you’ll get the results you expect. (Ever hear of Pets.com? They advertised during the Super Bowl—literally the biggest TV audience in the world—and went out of business before the end of that same year.)

Of course, pursuing these upstarts doesn’t always mean you’re trading away audience size. For example, Vix is a video media brand with 70 million social followers and a reach of more than 1.4 billion views every month.

If you look to digital media as opposed to traditional options, there are many opportunities that would be a better fit for your needs as an author. In fact, I’ve got a list of reasons these digital opportunities should be part of your promotional plans…

6 REASONS DIGITAL MEDIA IS BETTER THAN TRADITIONAL MEDIA

#1 – Digital Media is Easier to Share

Traditional media is often created to be disposable. A radio interview, TV segment, or profile in that publication may turn out to be a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it event. I was recently interviewed by a radio station. Once the talk went out over the airwaves, it was gone. I have no evidence that interview ever happened.Digital media vs traditional for book publicity by Chris Well for BookWorks.com

But for media that’s native to digital formats, that content is almost always online and/or on-demand. And they’re always thinking about how to get more people to share their content, so that profile of you will include buttons to share through social platforms and email. When sharing is as easy as the click of a button, that can greatly multiply the number of people who see or read that interview.

#2 – Digital Media Offers More Opportunities

Once upon a time, the few media outlets that existed were under the control of those rich enough to own a broadcast tower, a printing press, or a network. In those days, getting into the media was like trying to get into a castle: You had to travel a long way, get across the moat, talk your way past the guard, and hope for an audience with the king or queen.

Another factor to consider is that traditional media has a limited number of slots available. Whether they’re slicing up the hours of the week or figuring out their page count, they’re at the mercy of available resources.

With the explosion of digital media, everything has opened up. Today, you have more access and more opportunity than at any time in human history: There are more media outlets than ever before, and the technology has made it exponentially easier to contact decision makers directly.

#3 – Digital Media Makes It Easier to Target Better Audiences

The old media business model is only sustainable with a large, homogenized audience. The race for more eyeballs means they’re building an audience with a much broader demographic than you want.Digital media vs traditional for book publicity by Chris Well for BookWorks.com

More than one author has discovered that facetime in front of a general audience led to relatively few book sales. Whatever the genre of your book, it’s likely that you’re writing about something specific, which would appeal especially to the people who already care about your category or subject.

If you share your expertise in front of a general audience, you’re fighting two uphill battles:

  • Most of that audience has zero interest in you, they’re just waiting for the next thing.
  • The majority of that audience just has the TV on in the background or is just flipping through that publication while they wait for the doctor to call their name.Digital media vs traditional for book publicity by Chris Well for BookWorks.com

But digital media is nimble enough to reach a more focused audience. Sure, that may mean a smaller number of people—thousands, instead of tens of thousands—but that group of people is more targeted and engaged. If the members of that audience are genuinely interested in your topic, they’ll be much more likely to follow up with you as a result of that appearance.

#4 – Digital Media Often Works Faster

Digital media vs traditional for book publicity by Chris Well for BookWorks.comTraditional media have two calendars. The editorial calendar helps them keep track of the content that will go inside their episodes or issues. The production calendar is how they schedule and plan out all the production stages before it becomes a finished product in the hands of the audience.

Depending on how those calendars are laid out, traditional media is often working weeks or months ahead of the actual publication date. Granted, live broadcast has the ability to go straight to air, but on the other end of the scale are magazines that already have their 2019 editorial calendar figured out.Digital media vs traditional for book publicity by Chris Well for BookWorks.com

Compared to traditional media, digital media can cut down those production cycles significantly. Don’t misunderstand—they still have calendars. But because of the nature of digital and online media, they often have a shorter turnaround time between when you first contact them and when you might appear in that podcast episode or on that website.

#5 – Digital Media Improves Your Rank in Search Results

When people Google your topic, how quickly do they see your name or your book? One of the primary factors in how Google recommends search results is by the number—and quality—of sites that link to your author website. While a newspaper or broadcast appearance can get you in front of eyeballs, that doesn’t necessarily include a direct link to your author website.

But for digital media, linking to your author website is usually part of the deal. SEO experts will tell you that, in some ways, linking to your website helps them as much as it helps you—so it’s in everybody’s best interest for them to do it.

Each time you get another link from a relevant media website, that’s going to improve your standing with Google.

#6 Digital Media Is Easier to Leverage for More Media Coverage

Every time you have a media hit—a news blurb, a mention on a blog, an interview, a feature or profile, etc.—it makes it easier for you to get that next media appearance.

First, because you can leverage that attention. With digital media appearances, it’s easy to add a link or embed a file on the media page of your author website.Digital media vs traditional for book publicity by Chris Well for BookWorks.com

As you reach out to more media contacts, when they look at your media page they’ll see evidence that you’ve done this before. When other media have already approved you—better still, when they can click on the link or the embedded file and experience that media appearance themselves—that gives them more confidence to invite you in front of their own audience.

But second—and don’t make the mistake of discounting this point—people who work in the media can be in the audience, too. You have no idea who’s out there watching or listening or reading.

When a media pro sees a great guest, they may think, “I want to book that guest, too.” Over my years working in the media, there have been times I had no idea someone existed until I saw them in someone else’s media—and then reached out because I wanted to interview them as well.

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO NOW?

In this article, (see my other posts on media publicity here) I shared several reasons that digital media can get you better results than traditional media. What digital brands do you follow? Which ones serve the audience you want to reach? Please share in the comments below!


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