Brilliant PR

A couple weeks ago, I learned that the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) here in Chicago had a new roommate: Kate. Kate won a contest to spend a month in the museum, along with a bunch of other prizes. Once she gets out, she’ll also get $10,000. All she has to do is blog, tweet, and make videos about her experience. This includes meeting guests, living in the museum for a month (she’s not allowed to leave), helping out with various things in the museum, and she has an all-access pass to wander around the museum whenever she pleases (which I thought might be a little creepy at night…but maybe the Field Museum would be creepier. It has mummies).

Anyway, I think this is a brilliant PR idea by MSI. Kate’s like their very own advocate, teaching people about science through her videos and sharing behind-the-scenes info about the museum and its exhibits on her blog. She gets a lot of views on her videos, comments on her blog, and you can tell that people definitely want to go visit the museum now to see her and to check out the cool exhibits she tells them about. Even I want to go visit again! I’m pretty sure that’s the museum’s purpose in having this whole contest. It’s a fantastic way to raise awareness about the museum and to get people excited about it.

It helps that they picked Kate to win because she definitely has the personality for the part. She actually reminds me of one of my friends from college who also happens to be named Kate. Funny.

Now, I’m not sure how this would translate into the book/publishing world (since I work at Tyndale). But I think it clearly shows the power of having even just one person who is an advocate for your brand. People are interested and most of all, they’re taking action. They’re interacting with Kate, she’s responding to tweets and comments, people are coming to the museum to visit, Kate gets the experience of a lifetime–it’s a win-win situation for everyone.

In terms of book publicity, this would probably be a more corporate thing–like a Tyndale Teammate (not the greatest name, but that’s all I could come up with right now). Maybe we’d pick the TT from a contest to be our advocate for the year. You’d receive free copies of Tyndale books, which you would review on a special blog and talk about on Twitter. You’d get to interview some of our authors and post them online (maybe even do one of those video chat interviews). You could maybe even help out with some book signings or follow along on a book tour. Maybe even attend a trade show or two and help out in the Tyndale booth. And you’d always have to wear the same orange shirt like Kate at MSI does (just kidding). People get excited about things when they see how passionate others are about them. We need someone like that (besides us) for our books.

What do you think? How do you think this Month at the Museum idea could translate into book publicity?

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  1. #1 by C.J. Darlington on November 2, 2010 - 5:41 pm

    Well, I raise my hand to volunteer to spend a week at Tyndale! I would blog, tweet and FB my little heart out for you. I could sleep in the warehouse (or maybe Karen Watson would let me put a cot in her office). I am only half kidding about this idea. 🙂

    • #2 by Christy on November 2, 2010 - 9:36 pm

      Thanks, CJ! I know you’d do a great job if that ever DID happen. 🙂

  2. #3 by Preston Cain on November 3, 2010 - 2:36 am

    That sounds like a great idea! What would the person get beyond the average blogger though? I think that was the key, it was unusual and something that the average Joe couldn’t dream of doing. What would they do to make it a unique experience?

    • #4 by Christy on November 3, 2010 - 8:30 am

      Good point, Preston. I’m not exactly sure what it would or could look like, but maybe some of the things I mentioned like being able to go on book tours with bigger authors, maybe it’d include helping out with various elements of publishing (like giving input on the design of a book cover). But the unique experience question is one I’m still thinking about too.

  3. #5 by huiiiii on November 8, 2010 - 12:30 pm

    this is cool! one of my friends actually works at the field museum and has “overnights” with elementary students, etc. it’s just part of her job! i like your TT idea. and maybe the person you choose can have his/her niche. for example, someone can be a sports fanatic and help publicize your books more extensively than you guys can (because, after all, you guys have full-time jobs that pull you in various directions). your TT can email sports anchormen at various tv studios (these guys are always looking for new unique stories) and build excitement for the book/author. i like your ideas!!
    p.s. how did you make that “friends” section on the right side of your blog??

    • #6 by Christy on November 9, 2010 - 10:07 am

      That’s really cool about your friend! Those are some good TT ideas too. We haven’t quite talked about this, but I think it’s something to think about for the future.

      For the “Friends” section, it’s one of my links. So if you go to your dashboard, under links, you can add a new one and create a category for them. I made a “Friends” category and just add blog links under that.

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