Friday, October 7, 2016

Book Marketing Lessons From The Front Page

Does the news media reflect the world as is – or does it dictate and shape what it wants people to believe should be the news.  It would seem it's both once you sit through a new Broadway revival, Front Page.

This play stars some big names – Nathan Lane, John Goodman, and Roger Sterling to name a few.  It takes place in a bygone era where every town in America had competing newspapers, each putting out multiple editions daily, and when the newspaper was powerful in driving the discussion of the day – before T.V. or the Internet even existed.  That would’ve been the time period I would have thrived best in.

The play is a comedy and in between the laughter, you realize just how the media is influenced and corrupted by those it covers and how those it covers are manipulated by and influenced by media coverage.  It seems they each blackmail one another for greater career gains or financial payoffs.  The media may appear to search for the truth, but it also writes a truth that it believes will sell papers and get ad revenue up.  The politicians that it covers will do whatever it takes to cover their dirty tracks and seek to use the media to their advantage whenever possible.

Maybe not much has changed since the early 20th century.

One of the interesting side stories to the play was the character of journalist-turning-ad man, played by Mad Men’s Roger Sterling.  He plans to leave the low-paying newspaper business for a high-paying advertising job.  But he gets sucked into pursuing one final scoop that could change his career trajectory.  This story line shows the heart and drive of a writer and journalist, but it easily shows how the same skills can be applied not to uncover and share a truth but in the case of advertising, to promote an alternate truth and to persuade others to act in contradiction to other facts.

Book marketers are like the news media in certain respects.  Each seeks to put forth a version of the truth that’s bought by the public.  Each uses words to manipulate the mindset and emotional framework of others.  Both look to get others to believe in their message, as if each has cornered the market on truth.

Book promoters need to think like the media – and to appeal to their values, views, needs, and desires.  Feed them stories they agree with.  Show them why something deserves their attention.  Report the facts in a way that tells a story they can believe in and support.  Ad men, marketers, and promoters are very much like the journalist who wants to write about the world and reshape it in the process.

The Front Page could make headlines on Broadway.  It also can reveal valuable insights into how things become news.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. 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 2016 ©.

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