Grow Your Audience In Spite of a Pandemic

The coronavirus has upended our world. Almost everyone across the country – and even the world – is now facing “Shelter in Place” restrictions to limit the spread of the virus. Most businesses are taking a significant financial hit.

Grow Your Audience with Radio and Podcast Interviews

As an author, you can still grow the audience for your books—right from your home—during this pandemic. The good news is life has not ground to a complete halt. While where we go in public has been restricted, where we go on the Internet is still wide open.

Online radio and podcasts are still open for business. These shows are still interviewing people. Since radio and podcasts are all recorded over the phone or the Internet, there is fear of spreading the virus. So, the shows go on.

People are still listening to radio and podcasts, and may even be listening more because they have more time to do so, as their leisure activities are restricted. Being a guest on radio shows and podcasts is a great way to grow your audience.

As an author stuck at home, you can spend time securing radio and podcast interviews. And conduct them right from your home over your phone or computer.

After all, people need to hear a message of hope during this difficult time. As a Christian author, you have that message.

Christian Indie Publishing AssociationIf you are not sure how to go about securing interviews on podcasts and radio shows, I suggest that you join Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA). We are running a Coronavirus Special during the month of April.

The Membership fee has been reduced to $75. With your membership fee, you will have access to the following:

  1. List of over 100 Radio and Podcast Shows actively interviewing authors – with host names and contact information. The value of this list alone is worth more than your Membership fee.
  2. Reference Guides on:
    • Creating an Author Media Kit
    • How to Pitch the Media for a Guest Interview
    • Tips for a Successful Media Interview

Being interviewed on a radio show or podcast is one of the best ways to grow your audience and expose more people to your books. Take advantage of your “Shelter in Place” time to grow your audience. It will pay off.

Related Posts:
Are You Pursuing Radio Exposure?
Are You Leaning into Your Authority?
Do You Want to Sell More Books?

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Photo courtesy of Christina Morillo.

You Have Seconds to Make a Good Impression

Whether we think we do or not, we judge stuff all the time. Studies show that we decide within the first four to eight seconds of meeting someone what we think of that person.

The same is true for you and your books. When viewing your book cover, your website, or any of your marketing material, readers will immediately be drawn to your book or turned away.

You have seconds to make a good impression

In a recent study, researchers from the University of Houston recorded the electrical brain activity from 431 gallery visitors last year as they explored an exhibit of works by conceptual artist Dario Robleto at the Menil Collection, near downtown Houston. The results were remarkable.

The study found that the brain is quick to judge. Shown an artwork for the first time, be it a landscape painting, a portrait or an abstract rendering of almost any style, people usually make a snap judgment of its aesthetic appeal. Brain-wave recordings suggest that the neural calculation takes 200 to 330 milliseconds, about as long as a photo flash.

This research suggests that when people view creative work, they know right away whether they like it or not. Your book’s cover is a piece of artwork.  People will make a snap judgment of its aesthetic appeal. This quick decision will determine whether they pause to learn more about your book or move on to the next image or book.

Marekting Designs

Recently, I consulted with a new ministry that is opening its doors in a couple months. The ministry was putting together a brochure about their services.

The prototype I was shown was a trifold brochure that looked like it was from the 1990s. I pointed this out to the ministry and suggested that they use a newer design of a card stock two-sided flyer that is more modern. I knew that many people viewing the trifold brochure would be put off simply by the dated design.

The same is true for books, website, and marketing material. Technology is rapidly changing. With these changes, the design of book covers, websites, and marketing materials is also evolving.

To be most effective and make a good first impression, make sure that all your marketing designs are modern. Remember, no matter how great your message or brilliant your book, you must hook people in the first initial seconds of exposure to win them over.

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Photos courtesy of Ryan McGuire and FreePik.

Are You Giving Up Too Soon?

At Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA), we recently received this notice from a Member:

I got two email notices and a postcard, but I still kept forgetting to renew my membership until today. Life gets past me sometimes.

Life Gets Past Me

Stop for just a moment and take note of this message.

This individual wanted to renew his membership in Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA). He was a repeat customer who knows and likes the benefits of membership.

Yet, he still failed to act in a timely fashion even with multiple reminders to act. He stated in his message that “Life gets past me sometimes.”

Contemplate this for a moment.

If this individual, who was motivated to act, needed multiple reminders to remember to act, how many more times do people who are less motivated need to be reminded?

Often it takes exposure over time with multiple reminders before people act. The same is true for buying your books. Many may hear about your book for months or even years before they finally decide to buy and read it.

We are all busy. We are all inundated with more information than we can handle.

Back in the 1940s—long before neuroimaging confirmed it—Edgar Dale, an American Educator, developed the Cone of Experience, which predicts how much people remember. Dale thought that people retain:

  • 10 percent of what they READ
  • 20 percent of what they HEAR
  • 30 percent of what they SEE
  • 50 percent of what they SEE and HEAR
  • 70 percent of what they SAY and WRITE
  • 90 percent of what they DO.

Edgar Dale Cone of Experience

This means that you can reliably predict:

  • Only 10% of people who READ about your book will remember it.
  • Only 20% of people who HEAR about your book will remember it.
  • Only 30% of people who SEE your book will remember it.

To increase this percentages, you need repeat exposure. Each time a person is exposed to your book, the more likely it is they will remember it and act to buy it.

Don’t get discouraged. Don’t give up. Persistence is required in marketing.

Related Posts:
Persuasion In an Age of Information Overload
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Photo courtesy of Flood G.

Is Your Text Causing Cognitive Overload?

I have a confession. I know that podcasts are extremely popular. However, I have not been able to bring myself to jump on board.

I rarely listen to podcasts. I am a very busy person (as are many Americans). In my opinion, podcasts just take too long to serve the “meat.”

Is your text causing cognitive overload?

If I want information on a topic, I find reading easier. With reading, I can scan an article or web page and find the important information I am looking for. With a podcast, I am locked in to listening until the meat is finally dished out—which is usually most of the way through the podcast.

I am not alone in scanning or skimming when reading to find information. Research shows that 79% of people scan a web page, while only 16% read word-for-word. Interestingly, another study found that people scan email newsletters similar to web pages.

Too much information results in cognitive overload. Today, we have more information in front of us than ever before in the history of the world. As a result, we can easily become overloaded with information, causing our brain to not work as efficiently.

In an effort to reduce our cognitive load, we scan information. This results in more efficient processing of that information by the brain.

Is your text scannable?

Reading a book is different from reading web copy, marketing copy, or emails. When people choose to read a book, they are making the choice to read word-for-word. When people seek specific information, they scan to find what they are looking for.

To engage more people, it is important that all your marketing material can be scanned easily so that your important points stand out. Marketing material includes:

  • Blog posts
  • Website copy
  • Book descriptions
  • Book back cover copy
  • Author bios
  • Online and print advertisements
  • Author media sheets

Text becomes more scannable when it is broken up. In your marketing text, don’t use big blocks of text like you do in a book. Instead, focus on breaking up the text as follows:

  • Use headings and subheadings.
  • Pull out points and make them a bullet list.
  • Keep your paragraphs short.
  • Highlight keywords.
  • Put your most important point first.

A good rule of thumb is that your marketing materials should contain half the word count (or less) then when writing conventionally.

Armed with this information, I suggest that you revisit your marketing material to ensure that it is not causing cognitive overload.

Related Posts:
Two Strategies for Creating Effective Marketing Messages
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Photo courtesy of Silviarita and Geralt.

Are You Leaning into Your Authority?

One of the best ways to be seen as an authority in a subject is by writing an excellent book on the topic. So, once you publish a book on a given topic, people perceive you as an expert.

Leaning into Authority

In fact, research from The Visible Expert by Hinge Marketing shows that books deliver the highest overall impact for building visibility and authority. This research shows that books have a greater impact on perceived authority on a given topic than:

  • keynote addresses
  • company websites
  • blogs and articles

As an author, you can parlay your authority on your topic to gain more visibility for your book and to help people improve their lives. The perceived authority you possess allows you to speak on your book’s subject to numerous audiences via:

  • Podcasts
  • Radio
  • Television
  • Journalists
  • Articles
  • Speaking engagements

The media will interview you because you are an author. Magazines and websites will print your articles because you are an author. Event coordinators will book you to speak because you are an author.

The question to ask yourself is: Am I leaning into this authority? In other words, are you taking advantage of the opportunities that being an author brings?

man speaking

You wrote a book because you had something to say on your book’s topic. Your desire was that what you had to share would impact and change people. Now that your book is published, you can use your author authority to continue to influence people.

Lean into your authority and seek opportunities to share. Where can you find these opportunities? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Use the Christian Writers Market Guide to find magazines accepting articles on your topic.
  2. Find resources for guest blog posts in my book, Your Guide to Marketing Christian Books.
  3. Become a Member of Christian Indie Publishing Association (CIPA) and use our big list of podcast and radio shows interviewing authors to secure media exposure.
  4. Attend a Christian Writers Conference and gather ideas and resources from the workshops and attendees.
  5. Step out of your comfort zone and contact local organizations about speaking—churches, senior centers, schools, libraries, local clubs (e.g. Lions Club and Rotary), etc.

There are so many possibilities for leaning into your authority for more exposure and influence. Make a list, then get to work.

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You Are More than an Author
Are You Sharing Your Story?
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