Monday, May 26, 2014

Pay Attention, I’m Naked!

Hey, I got you to read this. That’s part one in the battle for getting others to discover you in a media landscape filled with message saturation and competition for your eyes and wallet. To win over others, you need a strong email subject line, a catchy blog post heading, or a witty tweet.

The company I serve as the chief marketing officer of, Media Connect, is the nation’s leading book publicity firm with a successful track record for over 50 years. For the upcoming annual event, Book Expo America, where tens of thousands of publishing industry insiders gather, we created an ad for The Show Daily, a trade publication put out by Publishers Weekly. Many of the  attendees, which includes literary agents, authors and publishers, look at this publication at the event. The question our company faced was: What should be in the ad?

We didn’t want a ton of text, even though we had great things to share—testimonials, awards, best-selling clients, and terrific media hits.

We weren’t going to lead with a sale or discounted prices. We are not a commodity. We provide a quality service at a reasonable price.

We weren’t promoting a particular source or book, for we are a full-service publicity firm with experienced savvy managers and a well-trained and passionate staff. We promote books of all genres and authors of all sizes.

So, what should the ad say?

We came up with the idea that we just need a big visual to get people’s attention—and then the rest of the ad should simply explain what we do. Show a logo and have contact information.
That’s it.

The search was on for an image that undeniably would draw people in. We searched thousands of images from clip art to high-end stock photography. We didn’t know exactly what we wanted, but knew we’d recognize it once we saw it.

Then, there it was. A middle-aged man kissing a slobbery English bulldog. People love animals, particularly dogs. The man had a funny, eye-popping expression and the dog looked playfully irresistible. Done deal.

We tested it around the office and found almost unanimous appeal. It fit our purpose—to get people to pick our ad out amid the clutter and content vomit. Plus, the image gives you a chuckle and a warm, likeable feel. Publicists, with their gritty persistence, are often seen as bulldogs. Never mind that I have one at home, a scrunched up purebred named Daisy.

The initial headline below the image said: “We know how to get your attention—and the media’s!” We then changed it to one about how relationships come in all sizes. The ad copy was just a few lines. Short and sweet. We hope we showed and said enough for people to take an action step, which is to go to our website where anyone will find detailed information and hopefully be impressed enough to take another step: Contact us.

People mistakenly think an ad has to win you over and make the sale on the spot. All it needs to do is make you want to continue the conversation. The ad should invite you in and tease you, like a miniskirt worn on a first date. You’re not getting married just yet, but you have garnered enough interest for a second date.

Keep this in mind when you promote, market, or advertise your book. Sometimes it takes multiple steps to earn a sale or get a media placement, but it starts with an attention-grabbing statement or image. And if you like, go adopt a bulldog and exploit its cuteness for your gain.

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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