My wife and I recently discovered a wonderful and touching book: Oogy - The Dog Only a Family Could Love. It was a complete accident how my wife and I randomly found Oogy's book in a local Barnes & Noble.
The author, Larry Levin, describes how he and his family fell in love with Oogy and learned about his horrific life as a bait dog in an illegal dogfighting operation. If you're an animal and dog lover like I am, you will love this book and fall in love with Oogy just as Mr. Levin's family did. Oogy's remarkable story is one of redemption and how we can all find love, inspiration, and hope after enduring significant tragedy.
I want others to discover this great book and experience the joy it brought me. So I started thinking, how are Mr. Levin and Hatchette Book Group (the book's publishers)leveraging social media as part of the overall marketing strategy? After doing some Google searches, I learned they are using different social media channels (i.e., YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter) as part of a traditional book tour where Mr. Levin and Oogy make personal appearances at bookstores and various animal protection events in the Philadelphia area.
So here are my quick thoughts on the current use (and maybe some potential future use) of social media to build public awareness of the book, Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love ...
Tip #1: Create an Oogy the Book YouTube Channel
I love how Mr. Levin and the publishers are consistently using this YouTube video to promote the book. We get to meet and hear Mr. Levin talk about Oogy, and he shares pictures of Oogy with Mr. Levin's family. The video has currently racked up ~38,000 views!
Video is such a great online medium that I suggest Mr. Levin and the publishers create their own YouTube Channel (i.e., Oogy The Dog or Oogy The Book) and build a big video library showing:
* Mr. Levin speak during the promotional tour or animal protection awareness events
* Impromptu interviews with attendees of these events (i.e., what do they love about Oogy?)
* Oogy affectionately interacting with children and other dogs at these events
The Oogy Facebook Fan Page has lots of great pictures showing how much children love seeing and petting Oogy. But, wouldn't it be great to see this interaction captured on video?
The book describes in great detail Oogy's affectionate and loving nature, and I think seeing these behaviors in video would have a huge impact for people who can't travel to a Philadelphia-area event to meet Oogy and Mr. Levin. Oogy and Mr. Levin's ability to travel to other parts of the U.S. are limited because Oogy associates being placed in a crate with having his ear torn off. This means any promotional appearances beyond reasonable driving distance of the Philadelphia area (i.e., the Midwest and West Coast) are highly unlikely.
I think giving people "virtual access" to Oogy via videos would expand "the reach" currently limited by where Mr. Levin and Oogy can drive to.
Tip #2: Publish an Oogy Blog to Improve His Google Search Rankings
Blogging still continues to be the Number 1 way to improve your online presence and increase your Google search engine results pages (i.e., SERPs). The creative content Mr. Levin could publish in a blog are limitless, and the search engine optimization rewards (i.e., SEO) would be huge. In addition, I did a quick search on the name "Larry Levin" and it appears there's already another "Larry Levin" who has already built a large and visible online presence through his own online activities. So, publishing the blog provides Oogy another channel for increasing his Google Search Rankings through other keywords (i.e., illegal dogfighting, animal rights, animal protection) beyond his author's name.
One of the best articles I've read explaining the Google Ranking benefits of blogging is from Social Media Examiner: The Fastest Way to Increase Your Google Ranking by Jim Lodico. The article explains the two important things a blog does when you incorporate one into a website:
1. A blog adds naturally occuring, keyword-rich pages
2. A blog increases the potential for incoming links from high-quality websites
Blog Posts Increase Your Number of Indexed Pages in Google. Over the course of a year, let's say Mr. Levin publishes two (2) blog posts per month (so roughly 24 pages per year). That investment of time is already significant because the average small business website includes anywhere from 10-20 static web pages. By maintaining the blog and with each new blog post, Oogy gets a new indexed page in Google. The analogy that the Social Media Examiner article provides is that every new indexed page in Google is like buying a ticket in a lottery. The more tickets you hold, the better chance of winning the top spot in the Google Search Engine Rankings. That's the big difference between websites that remain static versus those that are more dynamic (e.g., keep adding new web pages for indexing by publishing blog posts).
Blog Posts Increase Your Chances for High Authority Incoming Links. Google rewards websites receiving large numbers of incoming links. More importantly, Google highly rewards websites receiving incoming links from high authority websites such as the New York Times, USA Today, or other high-ranking blogs. What if an Oogy blog post received an incoming link from a news story from one of these news outlets or from a high-ranking blogger who writes about animal protection and animal rights? Essentially, Oogy's Google Search Rankings would skyrocket.
Tip #3: A Blog Gives Oogy an On-Line Home Base With Digital Flexibility
Scott Monty recently wrote a great blog post titled: "We'll Always Have Blogging." Even though Scott's article focuses on the benefits of corporate blogging, his key points are highly applicable to things Mr. Levin and his publishers could do in promoting Oogy online.
A Blog Can Give Oogy an Integrated, Online Home Base. Oogy already has his own Facebook and Twitter pages. This is great how Mr. Levin and his publishers are leveraging popular social media channels. But, a blog could further increase Oogy's online visibility by providing an online home base integrating all of Oogy's social media channels (i.e., YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter). "Sharing widgets" on each blog post can make it easy for readers to promote Oogy's blog posts through a channel of their choice. Most of all, an integrated home base and an integrated content plan will allow Oogy's story and content to spread wherever his current fans or new fans happen to search for it.
Blogs Provide Long-Form Content and Context That Twitter and Facebook Can't. When it comes to telling a story (and providing that story's overall context), nothing online can match a blog. Oogy's story, the people who saved him, and the joy and love he brought these same people are very moving. And, you can't express those ideas / feelings in a tweet of 140 characters or less. As Scott's article points out, marketing is about storytelling (and a blog would convey Oogy's story outstandingly).
Oogy's Blog Could Host a Variety of Content. Blogs can support a wide variety of content (i.e., text, videos, photos , or a combination of all of the above). This variety of choices gives Mr. Levin and his publishers multiple ways to deliver content about Oogy:
* Videos: Oogy with children and other dogs; Interviews of book event attendees; Interviews of other key people in the book who were touched by Oogy
* Text: Excerpts from the book; Observations or thoughts from a recent book event; Dates of upcoming events where Oogy and Mr. Levin will be appearing; Guest posts by other authors greatly impacted by Oogy (i.e., members of the Ardmore Animal Hospital who saved Oogy or Mr. Levin's sons)
* Photos: Pictures from book signings; Pictures of Oogy with Mr. Levin's family that didn't make it in the book.
Like so many other fans of this book, I simply can't get enough Oogy! In my opinion, integrating social media strategy (especially a blog) as part of the current traditional book promotional tour could increase Oogy's current popularity to a new level. I want more people to learn about Oogy's gentle soul and the incredible story behind the team of people who saved him, and the significant impact he's had on these people's lives.