Monday, September 8, 2008

Someone at Thomas Nelson is Going to Read This

Someone at Thomas Nelson Publishers is going to read this blog post and I’m not even going to tell them about it. Granted, that is something of a bold statement when you consider how obscure this blog is, but it is true. The Internet has evolved to the point that we can target specific groups of people with accuracy and we can do it without inundating people’s inboxes with SPAM. Obviously, this could have huge marketing potential if we could use it to get our ideas and our products before potential customers while allowing them to think they chose to view the information.

How it Works

A few days ago, Michael Hyatt posted the article Defending Your Brand Online. In that article, he mentioned things that are necessary to head off damaging comments that appear on the Web. One of the things he suggests is to monitor the conversation. Conventional wisdom tells us to load our websites with keywords related to our products and hope that people are looking for what we are selling. That doesn’t allow us to offer products the customer hasn’t considered, but when potential customers are monitoring what people are saying about them we can target them by talking about the customer rather than about our product.

You will notice that I have mentioned Thomas Nelson Publishers more than once in this post. I will mention Thomas Nelson again before I am done. This is to increase the likelihood that someone at Thomas Nelson will find this post. If I really wanted to get noticed, I would rant about what a terrible publisher Thomas Nelson is, but as an author, they really are one of my potential customers and it is never a good idea talk bad about the customer. It would be better to find one of their better products and offer high praise for the work Thomas Nelson does.

No Silver Bullet

Even though I am reasonably certain this post will attract someone from Thomas Nelson Publishers and their CEO, Michael Hyatt, might be one of the people who wander through, I am just as certain that whoever sees this post is not going to take an extensive look at my work and decide to offer me contract. The fact is that anyone from Thomas Nelson who has read this far is more interested in what I might be saying about Thomas Nelson or in how Thomas Nelson can reach their own customers.

We must look for common ground where the customer’s goals and our goals intersect. Thomas Nelson is looking for great authors, but they have plenty to choose from and they aren’t likely to start perusing author blogs in the hope that they will find a diamond in the rough. They have a process for evaluating authors and it is in their best interest to stick to that process.

Suppose we turn it around and look at what Thomas Nelson can do to reach their customers. Let’s suppose they have a book about managing church finances. There may be some church treasurers that will go looking for a book like that, but many won’t. Church pastors, who are another potential audience, may not even realize they need to book until they see it. What Thomas Nelson or the book’s author can do is to start blogging about church pastors. This is a case where they could talk directly about church finances, but they might also blog about what pastors are doing to achieve church growth. If they provide a link to the church finance book, a pastor focused on church growth may discover that he also wants to learn about church finances.