Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Using PR and Advertising to Grow Your Writing Career, Part 2

In yesterday's post here at the Blood-Red Pencil, I talked about how writers can use PR to grow their writing career.

Today, we're moving on to advertising, a totally different beast.

As mentioned yesterday, PR tends to have a long-term goal in mind, that of building a relationship with its public so that the public grows to trust the company, to have loyalty with that company. In the end of all that relationship building, the company hopes that the relationship is strong enough that the public will buy their wares, support their causes, etc.

Buy Now image by Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Buy me now!
Advertising typically has a short-term goal in mind. You are attempting to lure your audience into buying your products/services or support your causes NOW, not later.

Being able to communicate in a concise way the availability and benefits of your products is vital in advertising. What is your product? Why does your audience need this product? What can this product deliver that no one else can? How will your audience feel after partaking in your product?

In advertising and marketing, the acronym AIDA is often used.

AIDA means
  • Attention (or Attract) – Using powerful, engaging words and/or pictures to quickly grab audience’s attention
  • Interest – After grabbing the attention of your audience, here, you need to keep their attention and make them interested in your full message. How do you focus on your audience’s needs to keep them interested?
  • Desire – Desire may sound like Interest, but here, you want to focus on FEATURES & BENEFITS. What does your product/service feature and how do these features connect with benefits to the audience?
  • Action – What do you want your audience to do? Don’t leave this vague. Let them remember your product/service, the slogan, and what they should do: BUY… GIVE… DONATE… etc.

Because a major goal of advertising is to get your audience to buy your product or service, you want to make sure you think about AIDA as you develop your advertising activities.

Some of those activities include
  • developing flyers for your products;
  • buying radio, TV, print, and online ads and/or commercials;
  • creating and/or buying Web banners;
  • designing a shopping cart for easy purchase;
  • creating infomercials on your products;
  • encouraging current fans to create customer-generated advertising; and
  • using email and mobile devices to advertise products.

Again, the purpose of activities such as these is to seduce your audience with the awesome benefits of your product(s) so that they will run, not walk, to buy your product NOW.

What PR and advertising activities have been successful in your writing career? Share them below!

Shon Bacon is an author, editor, and educator, whose biggest joys are writing and helping others develop their craft. She has published both creatively and academically and interviews women writers on her popular blog ChickLitGurrl: high on LATTES & WRITING. You can learn more about Shon's writings at her author website, and you can get information about her editorial services at CLG Entertainment.


  1. This is an extremely valuable two-part post, especially for one not at all in tune with advertising (or PR). Thank you, thank you, thank you! Both parts are keepers!

  2. The most effective marketing I've seen so far involves being part of a group of authors in the same genre (like cozy mysteries) where all members cross promote. Mysteries have a unique built-in customer base, so does romance. The other genres have to work harder. Sci-Fi is one of the least read. By working together, doing tours together, going to related conferences, and book festivals together seems to have more impact that one lone voice. Societies such as Mystery Writers of America and Romance Writers of America do a lot to help promote books in their genre, in their journals, online sites, and social media outlets.

    1. I love that marketing idea, Diana. Key is getting a group of people who are active and on board with the activities involved.

  3. Okay ... I'm going to have to get serious here for a moment: The most effective element to advertising is follow-up ... McDonald's ads aren't effective because they're good ... they're effective because they are relentless ... which is why I suck at advertising ... it makes me tired.

    1. You're right, Christopher. One key element to advertising is to constantly be visible.

    2. I agree with you, Christopher. Advertising is a definite CONSTANT. It doesn't stop.

  4. Great posts, Shon. I will admit that this part of the writing business is my weak point. These tips are most helpful.

    1. Thank you, Maryann! I have to admit that I'm working on developing these skills more. I SO need to... and so do authors in general.

  5. It used to be that book signings were great advertisements, but now I publish for kindle, and that's a different ball game. The more online presence, the better, so readers and even other authors notice you. Yahoo groups are still useful for authors to get the word out and and promote their books on other sites.

    1. This is so true, Morgan. You know, it's been a while since I've heard about Yahoo Groups. Be interested in knowing which groups are popular ones to connect with.


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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