This interview was made possible by our friends at Guidant Financial:
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Dana Kaye received her B.A. in Fiction Writing from Columbia College Chicago. After college, she worked as a freelance writer and book critic. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times, Time Out Chicago, Crimespree Magazine, Windy City Times, Bitch Magazine, and on GapersBlock.com. This experience has been crucial to her publicity career: she has the contacts and necessary industry insight to form pertinent, widespread media campaigns.
Dana is known for her innovative ideas and knowledge of current trends. Her Twitter and Facebook strategies were showcased in USA Today. In addition to traditional media placement, she has arranged corporate partnerships, non-traditional speaking engagements, and grassroots marketing strategies for her clients.
Kaye Publicity is a boutique publicity company specializing in publishing and entertainment.
MO: What inspired your decision to specialize in publishing and entertainment?
Dana: What else was I supposed to do with a Fiction Writing degree? What I loved most about being a book critic was being able to recommend good books and highlight authors readers may have never heard of otherwise. Book publicity was a natural transition.
MO: Can you provide some recent examples of how you’ve thought outside of the box to optimize media coverage and name recognition for your clients?
Dana: My first client came to me because she wanted to get her book trailer sponsored. Her protagonist is an ultra marathon runner, so I approached running companies and Sugoi running apparel got on board. They gave my client clothes to wear in the book trailer, they posted the video on their consumer website, and they gave out books to their top accounts. This effort helped shape my company brand.
MO: How do you stay ahead of new media trends? Are there any trends that you’re currently excited about that you think our readers should be paying attention to or taking advantage of?
Dana: I read a lot of tech and marketing websites and blogs. When there’s a new website or form of social media, I spend some time playing around with it and trying to figure out how to use it for my authors. I find that most PR or publishing companies have a “wait and see” attitude. My goal is to figure it out before everyone else does.
Right now, I’m waiting for an invite to Riffle, a new social media site for books. I’ve also been playing around with Facebook’s promoted posts and I’m surprised at how well it’s working.
MO: Can you provide our readers with some tips on how to improve their social media strategies?
Dana: Every time you post, you should ask yourself, “How does this help my brand?” If you don’t have an answer, then don’t post it. There are four types of post: promotional, professional, personal, and interaction. You want to have a mix of all three and not rely too heavily on one. I’ve addressed this in more detail on my blog.
MO: What’s the biggest professional risk you’ve ever taken and how did it turn out?
Dana: Honestly? I don’t think anything I do is risky. Most people would say starting a company in 2009, at the height of a recession was a risk, but I never thought of it that way. Most of my campaigns consist of efforts that have never been tried before: new social media strategies, grassroots promotions, events outside bookstores, etc. At best, they boost sales and garner media attention. At worst, they fail. People may say it’s risky, but I think it’s more risky to rely on old-school methods and hope that they work.
MO: What advice would you provide a promising novelist who is shopping around for a PR company?
Dana: Find the publicist that complements your personality. I’m a good publicist, but I’m not a good publicist for every author. If you want traditional media placement, no social media, weekly conference calls and media summaries, and a corporate approach, I am not your person.
Also, make sure to get referrals from authors they’ve worked with. Unfortunately, there are a lot of hacks out there, so if the PR company can’t provide at least 3 positive references, it’s a bad sign.