Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Thinking Outside the Blog

Why blog? It's a lot of work, and it's time-consuming, even for professional writers and those who just love to write. So why do it?

Because one blog entry -- if you think outside the blog -- can get your message all over cyberspace (and, by extension, all over the globe) just about instantly. Could that benefit your book promotion campaign?

Are you serious?

Here's an example of how it can work.

A client, Gary David Goldberg, recently wrote a blog entry called "WWAKD (What Would Alex Keaton Do)" He posted it on his personal blog on his Web site. His site, which is new, is already building a very respectable following and helping to promote his new book, Sit, Ubu, Sit: How I went from Brooklyn to Hollywood with the Same Woman, the Same Dog, and a Lot Less Hair .

The article is about how the fictional character, Alex P. Keaton of "Family Ties," might vote in the upcoming presidential election, and I think it's insightful and witty and compassionate and touching (and I'd expect no less from its author).

Because I believe in the power of "thinking outside the blog," I pitched the article as an op-ed piece to various media contacts at the same time as Goldberg uploaded it to his Web site.

The New York Times asked for (and received) permission to publish the article in their own political blog called Campaign Stops. The Times posted the article on the evening of March 3, and the next morning, there was a hyperlink to the story on the home page (with a vintage file photograph of Michael J. Fox dressed to play the role of Alex P. Keaton). As of this writing, the story has elicted 196 readers' comments on the New York Times' blog (which run the gamut, by the way, from "Who is Alex Keaton? I’ve never heard of him before" to "To see a picture of Alex P. Keaton on the New York Times is worth this article alone").

On an inspired hunch, I Googled the phrase "What Would Alex Keaton Do" this morning and found that the following Web sites -- many of which you'll recognize -- have linked to the NYT blog:
Wilshire and Washington
North American Patriot
Suburban Correspondent
Intermedia Outdoors Forums
Abram’s Nickels
Democratic Underground
Red Blue America blog

And I've begun the process of submitting a press release I drafted about how Alex Keaton might vote, and the fact that the New York Times cares about the topic, all over the Web. The release has already appeared in Google News along with a photo of the Sit, Ubu, Sit book cover.

Also, about a dozen newspapers (including one of the major dailies) from coast to coast have asked for an author's photo in anticipation of publishing the article -- both on their Web sites and in their real-world newspapers.

All that media coverage has come from one really great, well-conceived, and well-written blog entry. Granted, the blog entry was written by Gary David Goldberg, who has been a household name in many TV-watching households for more than two decades, so you might ask what Gary's success in promoting his article has to do with the exposure your blog entry is likely to receive.

Well, okay. You can say, "Forget it. No one cares about my blog entry. I'll upload it to my Web site and move on. Let's think of some more realistic book promotion strategies, please."

Or you can think outside the blog.

And who knows what might happen?

It's your choice.