Monday, 14 January 2008

Marketing and Advertising Books

Marketing and advertising are topics on my mind recently. I have a small hypnotherapy practice that I'd like to turn into a larger one, and a self-published book about to come out.

This involves a bit of a mental shift for me, since for years I've despised marketing and advertising. What I'm discovering is that marketing and advertising people are not all empty-headed, annoying liars after all; it's just 99% of them giving the rest a bad name.

I've got some books from the library to help me, and here are some brief reviews.

Promoting Your Podcast: The Ultimate Guide to Building an Audience of Raving Fans by Jason Van Orden is one of those rare "how-to" books that is almost pure gold from beginning to end - the over-the-top claim in the subtitle is not entirely unjustified. It's packed with useful tips and knowledge, step-by-step instructions and ideas. Of course, because it's a printed book and podcasting is an online medium, even though it was published in 2006 it's already becoming a little out of date - a few of the sites he mentions have changed or disappeared, and I'm sure more will do so as time goes on. But apart from the specific guidance for how to use particular sites, there is also a lot of good advice on podcasting per se, which will remain relevant for a long time. I'm podcasting my novel City of Masks as a promotional tool, and wouldn't be doing so anything like as effectively if I hadn't read this book.

Pair that up with What No One Ever Tells You About Blogging and Podcasting: Real-Life Advice from 101 People Who Successfully Leverage the Power of the Blogosphere by Ted Demopoulos. Again, packed with good stuff - Demopoulos interviewed over a hundred people who are using blogs for business, and there's some excellent advice here (along with a little bit that you can probably take with grains of salt). It's led me to start yet another blog, Living Skillfully, on my hypnotherapy website, with the aim of increasing traffic and connecting more directly with my potential clients (as well as sharing useful tips, ideas and news about mind-body work, health and self-improvement, naturally). He covers business uses for blogs and podcasts, planning, making money and promoting and tracking your stats.

One tip I picked up from both these books: use Feedburner. It's a free service that provides all kinds of tracking and additional promotion resources for your blog or podcast feed.

I dipped into The Design of Things to Come: How Ordinary People Create Extraordinary Products, but it's written by marketing academics - which is to say, a lot of it is empty of actual meaning when translated into English, and much of the rest is unsupported guesswork.

Simultaneously confirming my prejudices about the advertising industry and helping me with practical ways to get people to know about my products and services is Madscam by George Parker, an advertising creative who has no time for the "big dumb agencies" which hang out on Madison Avenue, wasting the money of large corporates. His blogs Adscam and AdHurl, at a casual glance, are just vulgar abuse being heaped on advertising agencies, but his book is a lot more useful. Not only does it (amusingly) give examples of what big corporates and their ad agencies do wrong, but it tells you how to do it right, how to plan and implement an advertising strategy that will be cost-effective and will help you build your business. I'm looking forward to putting the advice into practice.


Anonymous said...

Hi Mike,

Thanks for your comments on my book!

I can second a recommendations for Jason's Promoting your Podcast as well.

Mike Reeves-McMillan said...

See? See? This guy knows the blogosphere. I had my post up for less than eight hours before he commented on it.

Clearly, you should get his book.