As we’ve previously discussed, creating content is one of the best ways to generate buzz around you and your book. While content can center around any type of discussion, one great technique to make it salient to readers—and the media outlets you or your publicist are pitching—is to make your content relevant to the national conversation.
For the last year or so, the national conversation has swirled around sexism, racism, xenophobia, dehumanization, immigration, and other related issues. These topics are relevant now and will likely be relevant for quite some time. You can latch onto a specific movement if there’s one going on at the time, like #MeToo or #TimesUp, or you can just talk about the issue.
When you create a content piece about a controversial issue, it’s important to establish yourself as an expert. Talking about your personal experience or research shows that you are knowledgeable on the subject. If the topic is not personally relevant nor related to something you’ve researched, you probably should find another topic. Make sure to give opinions or draw conclusions—not just regurgitate what’s already out there.
Another way to know what’s relevant in the national conversation is to pay attention to the news. Last month, Kate Spade committed suicide, bringing the issues of suicide and depression once again to the forefront of the national consciousness. If you struggle with depression, have a protagonist who does, volunteer for the national suicide hotline, mourned the loss of someone to suicide, or studied abnormal psychology, you can position yourself as an expert. Your perspective is not universal, but it is relevant, and your piece will contribute to the conversation.
You can also reverse this process. Think about all the things that are relevant to you. What are you passionate about? What field do you work in? What did you study? What life experiences do you have that may be relevant to the general population? What issues are brought up in your writing? Having this list in your head (or on paper, or in a note on your phone…) will remind you whenever one of these topics come up that you have something to say about it.
There are also all sorts of holidays and awareness weeks/months dedicated to different issues. These you can prepare for in advance, pitching your ideas well ahead of time. Want to talk about issues related to the LGBT community? June is a great time for that. Is your memoir about struggling with breast cancer? Prepare pieces for October. Do you, someone you love, or a character in your book have Down Syndrome? Coordinate your piece to go up on World Down Syndrome Day in March.
If your life, expertise, or writing are in any way relevant to what is going on in our world, writing about it exponentially increases your chances of getting covered. This technique will continue to work long after pub day, bringing publicity back to your book whenever a relevant issue comes to light again.