A bottom-line definition: Getting in front of other people’s audience, with their host‘s recommendation, and invite them to join yours.
Let’s break that down:
Getting in front of other people’s audience – people go to stores and online storefronts to shop, they go to get entertained, they go to get educated and inspired. The places they go to online usually require a login, which has an email address. And people return to those spaces because they know they can find more entertainment, education, and inspiration there. They want stuff they can buy – so they can get entertained, educated, inspired.
Now, these places your books sit all run ads to ensure their visitors buy more stuff there. And many places will gladly let you pay for your own ads that get you in front of their audience. But that condition has loopholes. Ads don’t get you anything but sales. Ads don’t mean that the platform is actually recommending you. Meanwhile, the volume of ads out there have trained people what to expect, how to react. They see through the crummy ads. They are more discerning than ever before.
So you want someone to present you to their audience …with their recommendation – you’re looking for someone they trust to be their tour guide or host when they come looking to be entertained, educated, inspired. Some one they trust – who recommends you. The best examples of this are getting guest media interviews, such as podcasts and guest blog posts, as well as book blogger reviews. Poor examples of these (lowest end of the scale) are social media of any kind and paid advertising. No real valuable recommendation there.
Yes, I know this runs against all “conventional wisdom”. How much do you trust any newsstand magazine ad you see? Or “sponsored ads” online? How about affiliate links?
You get the host for that particular audience to recommend you, to vouch for you. Because you’re helping them be a good host – providing exactly what their audience is looking for. You give away something valuable and in return, you get recommended to a new audience.
Then you…invite them to join yours. That host’s audience has email addresses. So you give them a gift (download) in exchange for joining your mailing list.