Saturday, October 04, 2014

Memories, Your Videos and Making Some Moolah



 

Memories lead to memories lead to, yeah, something I'd like to remind you about. In this case, I was answering questions for an online interview to promote the SouthernUtah Book Expo and I mentioned my high school newspaper and yearbook and recalled that getting sponsorship ads for those things was as vital to their being as the photos, writing, and layout of those parts of high school life we all value.

That reminded me that authors can do the same kind of thing with their Web sites, their marketing materials and, yes, even their books. I am a sometimes actor and occasionally I notice how carefully a director will place a picture on a wall or a can of Coke on the table in the shot he's taking. That's placement advertising and we—as consumers of both the Coke and the ad itself—hardly notice. It's subliminal. It's natural to see them there. And besides, this country lauds capitalism and monetary independence. In fact, many metaphorically wave the flags of commerce in our politics (though some suddenly become shy about doing so for their own books!)

Just as I'm thinking about that, I ran across a related article in the business section of the LA Times. Of course! It's about product placement in videos and how it's growing. And how it's making some smart video companies and producers some really big dollars. Why am I not surprised? Here's why. The Love Boat, the TV series from several decades ago, was one giant product placement sitcom! This kind of marketing is not new—nor is it unacceptable.

For any author to do it and make large quantities of money requires an audience (we authors call it a platform). But it can be done on a small scale—perhaps out of the goodness of your heart or perhaps in trade with other authors who are out there making videos and otherwise promoting and building their platforms like crazy.

The video entrepreneurs featured in that article remind others that audience is "more important than any brand deal." They say that if they love a product it feels good to do something with it commercially.

Some advice for successful product inclusion:

  1. Don't interrupt the story (the arc or thread) with an "unrelated product message." I'd extend that and say at its best it should never feel like an interruption at all.
  2. A product or its logo might work best if it doesn't appear until half way through the video. If you should decide to use an actual ad, put it at the end of the video (or end of a book) because if a person has hung in long enough to see that final frame, they probably will be more open to a product than if it's flashed up front where it might discourage a person from watching at all.
  3. Try a title card. Entrepreneurs McLaughlin and Link Neal use product placement well into their cat video and then a brand name "title card" at the end. I'm thinking even the title card could add something more than just an ad. Perhaps it could look like a cross-stitched "Kitty Snoozing" sign hanging from a doorknob. It could be designed with Friskies colors, a logo, and little kitty-food-can tassels hanging from the corners. The question now is, what would the title card on your video look like—beyond just your bookcover image and a Web site address.
In past articles for this newsletter, I've also mentioned that when the ad is both pertinent to the story being told and also offers something special—something that will help with a career, project, or pocketbook—that can only make it more satisfying for everyone.

So what are the guidelines for success—whether it is a paid-for project, a bartered one, or from the goodness of your heart?

  1. Passion
  2. Appropriateness
  3. Perceived Benefit
  4. A Promotion Partner so you can share both real expenses and the time it takes to promote it.

On that latter point, one of my subscribers, Reno Lovison, once made a slide-show video for me without even asking. He sent it to me as a gift with suggestions of how I might promote it. It was an interesting turn around because his own promotional materials and video business were the product placements within the ad he made for me. Talk about partnerships! His Web site is http://authorsbroadcast.com/ and if you look at the books on his Web site, you'll also see the cover of one of my retail books for which he made a more traditional sales video several years ago (and which I still use in multiple spots on my Web site).

If you'd like to read more check the LA Times story by Madeline O'Leary, Tuesday, July 29, Business Section (B3).

Happy Writing, Editing, and Promoting,

Carolyn
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  Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor .

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