If you own a publishing company, you know the importance of building a relationship with your clients based on mutual understanding. After all, these writers and creatives are trusting you to share their work with the world.
Tambeara Watkins, owner of Leaf Stone Publishing, has mastered the art of creating a fruitful and mutually beneficial relationship with the authors. Using a mix of events, workshops, and social media, she has managed to secure loyal clients and create dedicated marketing campaigns for them using PosterMyWall.
We sat down with Tambeara to find out more about her strategies to connect with existing clients and bring in new ones. Her tips will help you establish yourself as a trustworthy publishing company so that you, too, can build a loyal client base.
Hi Tambeara! Tell us a little bit about Leaf Stone Publishing.
Leaf Stone Publishing is a publishing company that I started to attract and inspire young writers. There’s so much creative talent out there, and we, as a community, need to make an effort to nurture it.
I wanted to create a space for all kinds of writers to safely and confidently share their work, knowing that their publisher has their best interests at heart. This is why I divided my company into three imprints. The first is our general publishing house, open to everyone. The second is called Watkins Christian Publishing, which is primarily for Christian community-based writers. The third is called Blue and White Press. Our target audience here is middle and high schoolers.
1. Do audience segmentation to create more fruitful relationships
Awesome. What’s the benefit of having imprints within your company dedicated solely to special groups?
It allows us to be more hands-on with our marketing, and to give each audience what it needs to make a buying decision. It also allows me to build better, more sophisticated relationships with my writers. At the same time, it encourages potential clients to reach out to me, knowing that their preferences will be heard. In short, it allows for a personalized, one-on-one relationship with the writers.
Let’s take promotional methods as an example. My company for young writers ensures that the promotions are catered specifically to young audiences, with colorful visuals and easy language. That’s how we’ve structured that particular imprint. We wouldn’t implement the same marketing strategies for our adult authors or our Christian authors.
How do the events you organize fit into your mission to connect with the writing community?
Events are great networking opportunities – writers can meet us and their fellow colleagues, talk about topics of mutual interest, and get to know each other. Our events are typically expos or speaking engagements, and the purpose is for people and potential clients to connect with each other.
2. Use networking events to connect with your audience
If someone finds you on the Internet, there’s only so much information they’ll be able to get immediately. At these events, writers who come can view our price lists, find out more about what we do, and how they can work with us.
Can you give us an example of how events build relationships?
Our last event was a networking event for our youth publishing company. We promoted it by contacting the principals of several schools in the area and asking them to send over their budding writers. These kids came with their parents who seemed pretty eager to foster their children’s writing talents. We got a lot of sign-ups primarily because we were able to use the event to get some face time with the parents, who decided that they could trust us with their kids’ writing.
These parents then also found out that we publish for adult authors as well. Anyone with a kid for a writer will likely have at least one parent with the same interest. So with this event, we were able to get parents to sign up with us as well.
How much time and energy goes into creating one of your events?
Surprisingly, not a lot. PosterMyWall makes things a lot easier because I can use it to print flyers that I can post in different places. Once you know who your target audience is, you can use good quality graphics to reel them in.
As far as organizing the event goes, since we do a lot of these, we usually have vendors and equipment like mics and chairs on hand. I also make sure our price list is displayed in different areas during the event so people don’t have to ask. I create my price lists using PosterMyWall’s price list templates and I love how they look.
3. Always leave potential clients with something to remember you by
One thing that I find really important is souvenirs – always give your guests something to remember you by. Whether that’s a T-shirt, a mug, or even a business card, something tangible that reminds people of your brand is a great way to ensure that people will reach out to you once the event is over.
We make our merchandise using the PosterMyWall poster maker. I create the design, add our logo, and then print that on the merch. Easy as pie.
4. Organize writers’ retreats to foster writing talent and to show writers that they can trust you.
Do you do a lot of writers’ workshops?
We try to organize writers’ workshops and retreats whenever we can. Because part of the mission of this company is to foster and encourage new writing talent. And it’s a great way to connect with the community and show people that you’re not just about making money – you actually care about your clients.
We do separate retreats for kids and adults. This way we can ensure that all our clients get the attention they deserve. The retreats are an exercise in collaboration, brainstorming, and using the setting and surroundings to feel inspired.
We use PosterMyWall to create the writing workbooks we use at our retreats. It doesn’t take very long, is super easy, and I can go in and make changes or updates whenever I need to.
How do you promote these workshops and retreats?
We send out emails to our existing clients and anyone else on our email list. People can sign up beforehand.
5. Use social media to start conversations and promote your events
That’s great. How do you use your social media to connect with your audience?
Social media is a great tool. We use it to promote our speaking engagements and expos. We also use it to start discussions and engage with our online community. So we’ll post something on Facebook, for instance, and then caption it with an intriguing question that people can answer in the comments.
After our events, we post photos and videos from our guests thanking people for coming and encouraging them to come to attend our next event too.
Is there a social media strategy that you think works exceptionally well?
Videos are a great way to promote. Whenever one of our writers comes out with a new book, we promote it through video. We get a ton of engagement, people share it and talk about it, and it’s super effective because it builds intrigue, which drives book sales.
Do you target your social media marketing towards specific groups or everyone in general?
I narrow down my audience and select the most relevant one for each post by using the right hashtags.
Let’s say I’m looking for young writers in Atlanta. In my post, I’ll add relevant hashtags like “#AtlantaWriters” or #YoungAuthors”. This helps me reach the people I want to reach.
Hashtags are great for community building as well. For instance, if we’re trying to sell a book about love, I’ll use the relevant hashtags to find people interested in that. Once I do, those people comment on our post or buy our book, talk to each other, and reach out to us to get more information.
What is your go-to marketing platform?
My go-to marketing platforms are Facebook and Instagram. Instagram has a younger audience while Facebook is more for my older clients and followers. Again, segmenting my audience in this way allows me to cater to it in a much more effective manner.
Is there anything else you do to connect with your clients or to make them feel like they’re part of a cohesive group?
Yes. Blue and White Press, which is our youth publishing company, has an online group called the National Association for Young Writers. The branding is deliberate to make the writers feel like they belong to an elite, exclusive group. It makes them feel inspired and more encouraged to keep writing and live up to the brand that they’re a part of.
Wonderful. Lastly, what’s next for Leaf Stone Publishing?
We aim to expand into other cities and areas so we can find more writing talent to foster. And we want to keep trying out new and innovative marketing techniques to build a strong writers’ community.
That sounds great, Tambeara. Thank you for sharing your tips, and best of luck with everything!
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Senior editor at PosterMyWall.