Marketing a book is a multifaceted process that encompasses everything from traditional media pitching and brand partnerships to Facebook ads and speaking engagements. In our new “Smart Marketing” series, the BenBella Marketing Department will share insights into hot topics in marketing and publicity and practical strategies authors can put into practice.
By Alisa Fleming, author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook and Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook
For many bloggers, brand relationships are merely about sponsorships. But for years, I’ve enjoyed cultivating relationships with brands on many levels. And having two books gives me even more reason to make connections.
When you publish a book, you officially enter the product world. You now have something tangible to sell. And while you might think of your product selection as small potatoes compared to that large potato chip brand, your reach is very valuable to them. And now, their reach is valuable to you.
Easy Ways to Cross-Promote with Brands
Get creative! There are hundreds of ways that you can promote with brands. These are just a few basic ideas:
- Giveaways: Pair your book with their products for an enticing giveaway on your platform, theirs, or both!
- Social Media: Share their product on your social media in exchange for a share of your book on their platforms.
- Newsletters: Mention and link up to their product in your newsletter, and have them do the same with your book.
- Event Representation: Offer to rep their brand at an event in exchange for sharing some space for your own promotions.
The Pillars of Brand-Book Partnerships
Cross-Promotion: Make Sure Everyone is on the Same Page
Be prepared. Some brands and PR reps will assume “cross-promotion” means you share their product on all of your platforms for free. Cross-promotion means you promote each other’s products together. Politely make this clear to avoid confusion and expectations.
Monetization: Shift Your Sights to Long-Term Goals
Using your platform for unpaid cross-promotion can seem conflicting for some bloggers. But it does open up a door for developing relationships with brands that might be looking for places to spend their advertising dollars in the future. And like them, you are now in the product world where instant monetary satisfaction isn’t the norm. Instead, the goal is to promote your brand to help bolster long-term sales and revenues. You’re not just a blogger anymore, you are also an author!
Relation: Understanding Their Needs Too
This isn’t just about you. A brand might love you so much that they give your book a shout out, but I wouldn’t expect much more than that. Like you, they have limited time and products to promote, so it needs to be worth their while. But before you approach them, evaluate what you are comfortable with doing. It can be very easy to over-extend yourself, so set some limits on what you can offer in trade. Then evaluate the brand and get a feel for what a fair cross-promotion might look like to them. If they aren’t receptive at first, ask how you can make it work for them.
Finding the Right Fits
What brands should you reach out to? There are the obvious fits. If writing a multicooker cookbook, for example, you might connect with Instant Pot or another small appliance maker. Or you can reach out to brands that make key ingredients for your recipes. And I recommend contacting the brands that you already work with. It’s always easier to start with someone who you know.
But don’t be afraid to think outside of the box. Write down the characteristics of your perfect customer. Where do they shop? What do they buy? What do they search for online? You might be surprised by some unique ideas.
Just be sure to remember that whoever you approach will most likely expect reciprocation. If the product isn’t a fit for your readers, see if there is another way you can help them, or move onto the next brand. There are so many great companies who are just waiting to partner with you.
Alisa Fleming is the author of Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook and Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook. She is also the founder of Go Dairy Free, the largest dairy-free website, and enjoys bringing the dairy-free world together, from brands to readers.