Web Publicity Grows Up, Learns the Value of Conversation

Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, co-authors of the upcoming book Trust Agents, share a few ideas for drumming up pre-publication interest in a title. Some of their suggestions are straight from the Web publicity playbook (ebook previews, blogging during the writing process), but they’re also exploring engagement through online events and workshops — two things that usually happen after publication.

I hadn’t considered this until reading Brogan’s blog post, but many social media publicity techniques aren’t particularly social. Podcasts, blog posts and Facebook groups are technologically progressive, but there’s a significant difference between a publicity update and an open invitation.

Twitter serves as an example here: The best Twitter users engage their audience through curated links, retweets, commentary and discussion. This stands in contrast to the auto-generated Twitter blasts employed by many media organizations (they’re easy to spot — look for the abrupt truncations).

Brogan’s post — and efforts from people like Seth Godin — show that Web-based publicity is following the same developmental trajectory as blogging (and Twitter, although it hasn’t reached puberty just yet). The top-down messaging that marks the early days of a Web effort eventually matures into a two-way conversation — and that’s when things get interesting.

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