Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Oprah, Schmoprah

I was asked today to advise a small business owner who wanted to be a guest on Oprah. My task was to explain how she could do that.

Does she market a consumer product targeting the women who are watching Oprah? No. She's in a business-to-business field; her customers and prospects are small business owners. You know they're not watching Oprah and I know they're not watching Oprah, but I got the impression that this business owner didn't give a moment's thought to her target audience and Oprah's existing audience.

The Call of Oprah is just too irresistible. Well Oprah, schmoprah. A lot of business owners, experts, authors -- you name it -- want to be on Oprah. But what's the point of spending countless hours and thousands of dollars working to make it to the couch next to the revered talk show host if your target audience isn't watching her?

Here's one of the secrets to generating the kind of publicity that will boost your business: You have to get in front of your target audience to reach them. It's really that simple. What do they read, watch, or listen to? Are they online? Do they watch the morning network news programs? Are they newspaper or magazine readers? Do they shun traditional media? Find out where they're getting their information, then figure out how to become part of that information flow. But don't just set your sights on Oprah because she's so powerful. She has no power with people who tune her out.


Anonymous said...

This Spring, a book I co authored is going to be published and whenever anyone hears the title, they say, Oh, You'll be on Oprah with that. She's become the gold standard. But I couldn't agree with you more. Our book, Keep working girlfriend: navigating the workplace with autoimmune disease - isn't targetted to women who have time to watch Oprah (I know I don't!). But I think most of us think in Oprah terms because it's "there". I can't figure out -- how to figure out what my target refers to. And I think that 's the toughie for many of us who want to reach our audience.Rosalind Joffe

Sandra Beckwith said...

Hi Rosalind,

Because of that "auto immune disease" qualifier, I think your book is too specific for a show like Oprah's.

As for figuring out your target audience -- yes, it's for working women with auto immune diseases (I'm your target -- I have 2!) -- so start out as narrowly as possible and move outward from there. For example, think in terms of the specific diseases you cover in the book and find the support groups helping the women who have each and every one of them. I have celiac disease, for example, and there are several national organizations addressing that disease via informational Web sites. Get into their newsletters.

Do that with all of the diseases you cover, then start moving outward from there to, say, women's health publications and Web sites. Then from there, to women's magazines and the living sections of daily newspapers. And so on.

But start with those audiences where your messages will resonate the most -- and that's with the individuals who have the diseases addressed in your book. (I say that, of course, w/out knowing anything more about your book than the title!)

Finally, consider subscribing to my free book publicity e-zine at www.buildbookbuzz.com if you don't. It might give you some ideas.

Good luck!

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Professional Support Network for Writers
Prolific Writer of Romantic Fiction