Customer story with Dr. LaTracey McDonald
If you have a clever initiative and are on the lookout for some out-of-the-box marketing ideas for your publishing company, Dr. LaTracey McDonald, founder of Black Authors Rock, LLC, has a lot of tips in store for you.
For Dr. LaTracey, Black Authors Rock is more than just a publishing firm. It’s a well-rounded community that gives Black writers and artists the support they need to thrive, excel, and share their success. As the founder, Dr. LaTracey racy ensures that her community is supportive, inclusive, and a safe space for the Black community – qualities that are also evident in her marketing efforts.
We had a conversation with Dr. LaTracey cy about her work and how she promotes Black Authors Rock.
Hi, Dr. LaTracey racy! Can you start by telling us what Black Authors Rock is and how it came to be?
Black Authors Rock is a full service coaching, consulting, and publishing company, as well as a bookstore. It was founded in 2018.
Prior to founding Black Authors Rock, I owned another publishing company and I was very successful in that business.
One of the things I observed when I was running that business was that Black authors received very little support.
This was because there was no community that taught Black authors how to support one another in a positive and informative way. So I created exactly what I felt was missing – a support community for Black authors.
How large is your organization and how many customers does Black Authors Rock have?
We are currently working with over 5,000 individuals. We have our online community on Facebook, and we also have our membership, which is a paid option within our community. Finally, we have clients that are in our bookstore. So we have several different pillars within the company.
That’s amazing! How do you get people to work with you?
When someone comes to us with a published book or an idea for a book, we help them hone their ideas and provide them assistance with marketing and promotion.
If a person says, “Well, I have a book project and I want to publish it,” we assist them from start to finish. Everything from writing and coaching, to publishing marketing, and creating multiple streams of income.
Demonstrate that you support your clients
What are some of the biggest challenges that you’ve faced?
The biggest issue we face is getting people to realize that they deserve the assistance, and that it’s okay to pay for the help that you need. Culturally, a lot of people are not taught to invest in themselves. And success can be scary.
Once we deal with the mindset, we move on to the money and the marketing. So it’s a process that we have to go through, but I’m excited to be able to see other writers and authors succeed.
How do you help people realize that they need, and deserve, your assistance?
I meet them right where they are. I let them know that they’re not alone. The process starts from where they want it to start. I help them see the overall vision, sort of like a mental blueprint. My team continues to cheer for them every step of the way. And we make them realize that we’re all in this together.
What are your primary marketing approaches?
We use three main methods of marketing: social media, relationship building, and constant communication. The latter two are just strategies we use to retain engagement on our social media.
What social media platforms do you use?
Facebook and Instagram are the ones that we use the most. We’re also trying out TikTok and Pinterest. But our primary following is on Facebook. We have several Facebook pages and groups. And there are well over 5,000 followers on our main Facebook community.
Maintain an active presence on Facebook
Can you tell me about your Facebook marketing?
Yes, first we have the Black Authors Rock community. A lot of people hear the title and they think it’s just for established Black authors. Well, it isn’t. It is for those who aspire to be authors, as well as those who have written books, and those who support Black literary efforts. So it doesn’t matter what your culture or race is. As long as you respect and support the literary efforts of Black authors, we’re happy to help.
This main community provides grants, community resources, book giveaways, support in sales, tips, book sharing, branding resources, and so much more.
We also have the Black Authors Rock bookstore, which is another entity on Facebook. We have our bookstore in Biloxi, MS, as well as an online Facebook page for it. It showcases our books, and focuses on the authors who wrote them.
3. Create a wide variety of content to keep followers engaged
What kind of posts do you create for social media?
I develop a variety of posts because I think you need to create a lot of different types of content to grab people’s attention. For example, we had our gala back in December and used the event to take a lot of photos and videos. These grab attention in different ways because some people love the posters and photos we post. But a video often grabs attention for a longer period of time. Which is why I think it’s important to post both still posts and videos to get different kinds of engagement.
I found out about PosterMyWall when I opened our brick and mortar bookstore. A client that came by to purchase a book mentioned your site.
PosterMyWall has helped me figure out different ways to be creative. It gave me the freedom to create graphics based off of any weird or out-of- the- box idea that I have.
I love the versatility within PosterMyWall. I love the fact that I don’t have to keep everything the same, but can still stay on brand by using the right colors and fonts.
I also believe in inclusive marketing.Making sure to include people and businesses on our feed that can benefit from the exposure.
Be inclusive with your marketing efforts
How do you make your marketing inclusive?
We believe in collaborating, not competing. Even though we are a full service coaching, consulting, and publishing firm as well as a bookstore, that doesn’t stop us from working with others that do the exact same thing.
We routinely partner up with other publishers, authors, speakers, and YouTubers. We make flyers with PosterMyWall to promote these collaborations, so that people see that we’re partnering, not competing. When people see the graphics, they get excited because they see how we’re working together.
When I looked at your Facebook page, the colors black, green, and red really stood out, particularly in your logo. Is there any significance behind those colors?
We originally had our logo created back in 2019. We selected black, red, and green because they are the Pan-African colors, a color scheme that represents African art.
I believe colors can be used to convey messages and stand out, which is what our logo does. I like to incorporate significant colors everywhere. Even my hair is red.
Leverage seasonal events to promote your business
What type of content do you add to your social media posts?
I make graphics for everything. This includes promoting published books by our authors, promoting the authors themselves, marketing our bookstore, advertising events, and so much more. Additionally, I post about any important events or holidays coming up.
We’ve worked on a lot of content for March Madness and Women’s Day recently. And of course, we amp up our social media graphics during Black History Month. But my goal is to expand our presence beyond that as well.
Do you do a lot of seasonal promotion?
Yes, we do a lot of seasonal promotion. I love the fact that there’s always something seasonal to reference. For instance, a lot of people took advantage of the 22/02/2022 event. I forgot about it. But that doesn’t mean I can’t still use it. So I planned an “Oops, did you forget to take advantage of the 222 special?” offer with an extended special deal for the weekend.
Do you end up using a lot of the same content for every platform you use? Or are you looking to engage different audiences on all three?
I like to engage different audiences through my content, and I teach my clients to use different content for different platforms too. I like to have different topics for Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram.
Use offline promotion tactics to increase your reach
Have you ever used any offline promotion tactics, like brochures or flyers?
Please tell us more about the magazine.
Last year, we held our very first literary gala and awards dinner. One of the local photographers wanted us to do a rendition of “My Black is beautiful”, which is a campaign showing pictures of all different shades of Black women. When we shot the photo back in October, I converted it into a magazine cover. I made some of the graphics on PosterMyWall and other applications that featured many of our accomplished Black women. It was a 50-page magazine. It was phenomenal. The picture was shared all over the world, by us and by other people. And it also spotlighted our authors, and helped promote their work.
What do you have in mind for the future of Black Authors Rock?
Moving forward, I would love to enhance our magazine and expand on our advertising strategy. I would especially like to use PosterMyWall to create more videos and other graphics to express my ideas. I also want to expand and add members to our team so that we can help more people.
Alright, thank you for joining us, Dr. LaTracey. We wish you the best of luck with Black Authors Rock.
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Senior editor at PosterMyWall.