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Archive for August, 2011

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How are reviews, publicity and cross-promotion different?

Obtaining reviews (or really any type of publicity - newspaper articles, radio interviews, online chats or blog carnivals, etc.) is not the same as cross promotion. They are done for somewhat different reasons. Yes, they both are done to increase sales, but the audience and approach for each are different.

I think cross-promotion also goes beyond listings on other websites (link exchanges) and commenting on each others blogs about your products.

I define cross promotion much more broadly. I’ll take my own book as an example (www.roadtripdream.com). When the book first came out, I tried to come up with a list of COMPLIMENTARY businesses to mine - businesses who did different things than I did, but who might have a common interest with me in "cross promoting" each others businesses. Some of the companies that I came up with included AAA (mentioned often in the book), RVIA (the GoRVing people), MyTripJournal.com, PleasureWay (the maker of the RV we used on our trip), Good Sam Club and a couple of others. Shoot big, right?

These are what I consider to be long term sales. In other words, you can’t just call up one of these companies with an idea and walk away with a sale. RVIA I worked on for three years before we became national spokespeople for them and toured the country on their behalf doing media interviews, talking to people at the national AARP Life@50+ convention and, yes, mentioning and selling our book as our credential of authority.

With PleasureWay and subsequently RoadTrek, I never was able to implement my idea with them - giving talks in their retail dealers locations with the book as a gift for coming to hear the talk about RVing in a PleasureWay. A great way, I thought for them to build a list of potential buyers.But not everything works out along the way.

We traveled for AAA-Oregon for two years doing talks and promoting our book and AAA. For The Good Sam Club, I co-wrote a technology column with Dan Parlow of MyTripJournal for two years. He and I also did cross promotion on both our websites - I was the featured travel story for over a year - and he and I did joint RV shows where we both spoke separately on our areas of expertise and shared a booth - I sold my book and he showed how the MyTripJournal website recorded that trip. My map, his website and my book - great cross promotion. We both sold a lot at those events.

So, you see, cross promotion can go way beyond just simple links - it can lead to all kinds of opportunities if you are just a little creative and very patient. Almost every book has opportunities like these lurking inside the author’s imagination - if only you thought about it in a way that would help both businesses - not just you, but them also. The old WIIFM theory reigns true - What’s In It For ME!

Each of these opportunities eventually led to other interviews, articles, web links, sales to other points of distribution (ie Camping World, Traviler Life, etc.) and all kinds of fun things along the way.

So what businesses are complimentary to your book and how could you pitch a cross promotion with them? I’m sure if you think about it, you can come up with some great ideas.

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"And I thought after 40 years of writing, I could write a sales letter... WRONG! Carol White's letter went beyond my imagination and into the sales stratosphere. Thanks, Carol! " -- AD Walker