A friend and I were brainstorming recently about how to expand her network so she has a stronger when she introduces a new course. We talked about a few different options, but my favorite approach, I said, is to leverage someone else’s network.
Because many of her friends have influence with people the course is designed to help, I suggested she start by asking those friends to help spread the word. It’s a quick and easy way to begin moving forward.
But piggybacking onto someone else’s platform can – and should – involve far more than asking friends for support. The process is all about cross-promotion and collaboration.
How to leverage someone else’s network
It’s a smart strategy if you want to sell more books or other products, build an email list, or increase your social media follower count.
Here are eight ways to use the power of someone else’s network to reach your book marketing goals.
1. Do an Instagram takeover.
With an Instagram takeover, you literally take over someone’s Instagram account, posting your content instead of theirs. Create Instagram Stories and posts, or go live.
Keep in mind that this needs to be a mutually beneficial opportunity. Your host – perhaps another author in your genre – wants to know that you:
- Have an engaged audience that you’ll bring with you
- Will deliver quality, relevant content
- Will promote the takeover to your network
Keep the momentum going by arranging for your host to take over your account the following week.
2. Propose a newsletter swap.
A newsletter swap is a smart way to leverage someone else’s network while building relationships with others who reach your ideal readers.
With a newsletter swap, you and the influencer agree to promote each other’s books, programs, or products in your email newsletters.
I’ve got the how-to details in “How to do an author newsletter swap.”
3. Be a podcast guest.
Being any kind of guest is a great way to expand your reach, but I consider a podcast interview to be one of the easiest. Just show up and talk about something you know a lot about.
You’ll want to be thoughtful about what you say, of course. I always recommend working to communicate two or three key messages when you’re interviewed. Write them down ahead of time, and find ways to work each in at least once during the conversation.
Be sure to read “Message development: Know what you want to say and how to say it” first.
Support the podcast by promoting your appearance to your network so this is a win-win for all – you reach the podcast’s audience, but you also introduce your connections to the podcaster and their show.
4. Guest blog.
If you been hanging around here with me for a while, you know I’m a fan of guest blogging for several reasons.
When you write an article for someone else’s site, you’re providing an opportunity for your ideal readers to sample your writing.
In addition, your host will most likely include a link to your book on Amazon or another retail site as part of your short guest blogger bio. (Learn the other reasons I love guest blogging in “4 reasons to embrace guest blogging.”)
Be careful to deliver a quality article that you’ve edited and carefully proofread. This isn’t an opportunity to “phone it in.” This should be a showpiece, not something you did so you could cross it off a list.
Get tips for being the best guest blogger ever in my free Guest Blogging Cheat Sheet.
5. Speak at a virtual or in-person summit.
I do this once or twice a year, and I’m increasingly particular about the events I speak at so that I can maximize my time and reach.
I like to speak at events featuring other presenters who I’m fairly confident will promote the event to their networks.
When all speakers share summit news with their followers, everyone benefits. When they don’t, people in their networks aren’t exposed to helpful presentations and speakers, and other presenters don’t expand their reach and influence.
Speaking at a summit and offering free downloadable tips to attendees is one of the best ways I have for building my email list.
I usually create a new advice-packed “lead magnet” related to my presentation topic and require people to provide their email address to download it. They get bonus how-to information and my free, weekly, book marketing newsletter, and I can help more authors with articles like this one.
6. Bring well-connected people to your audience.
Do you have a blog or a podcast? Do you love using Facebook or Instagram Live? Invite influencers and others who share your audience to be your guest.
This helps you create quality content your followers will appreciate while your guest brings their audience to you, even while they’re connecting with yours.
Expand the impact by providing your guests with event text and images they can use to promote their guest appearances both before and after the events.
7. Get publicity.
Publicity – news media exposure – is the OG of audience leveraging.
Pre-social media, using publicity strategies to reach news outlets’ readers, viewers, and listeners was one of the only ways you could piggyback onto another’s platform.
Why should you work to reach audiences served by newspapers, magazines, radio and TV stations, and content sites? Publicity will help you:
- Get discovered
- Be seen as an authority and expert
- Sell more books
- Appeal to libraries and bookstores
- Expand your platform
Because I’m a national award-winning former publicist, I’ve written about publicity quite a bit on this site. Scroll through the articles here, and be sure to register for my author publicity course, “Get Quoted: A Journalist’s Strategies for Using HARO to Snag Book Publicity.”
8. Propose a joint venture.
The dictionary defines a joint venture as “a commercial enterprise undertaken jointly by two or more parties which otherwise retain their distinct identities.”
For us, it’s a mutually beneficial arrangement where you partner equally with someone else to achieve a common goal.
Let’s go back to my friend’s situation. If her course is designed for people like you – my audience – she could propose that I host a free training with her that teaches something helpful and previews the course.
We agree that in exchange for access to my audience, we will split the income she earns from course registrations generated by our joint event. She expands her reach, I provide you with useful free training, and we’ve both earned something in the process.
That’s a solid joint venture.
Which of these options works for you?
You’re better suited to some of these than others, right? If you don’t have a blog or podcast, you won’t be inviting people to write for you and you won’t be interviewing them on air.
But if you’re killing it on Instagram, a takeover there might become your new best tactic. Love talking about the writing craft or your book’s topic? Look into being a podcast guest.
It doesn’t matter how many of these you’re willing to explore. What matters is that you pick at least one – just one – and learn how to make it happen. You’ll move in the right direction – forward!
Which of these works best for you already? Which one are you going to try now? Please tell us in a comment.