Beyond the Bookstore, Back in Action
Last year I wrote a blog titled, Beyond the Bookstore, where I focused on the opportunity to partner with local businesses. Let’s face it: COVID-19, like rain on sidewalk chalk, washed away any semblance of a marketing and platform-building plan we had come to know.
One year later the opportunities, like the tulips at my local tulip farm, are abundant and plentiful. They are ripe, ready for the picking.
I’m certain I’m not the only one who has emerged from my home with doors and heart wide open. A self-professed introvert with extroverted tendencies, I find myself combing Facebook for events each week. I’m eager and raring to go, to be among my community. I’m beyond ready to branch out, constantly on the lookout for a new adventure.
Have you seen it?
Our audiences are following this same trend. Ministries want to be with those they minister to and the ones who support their efforts. Churches are busting down the doors with gatherings, Bible studies, small groups, youth events, you name it. Neighborhoods are hosting block parties, multifamily yard sales, bonfires, and barbecues. Open markets are popping up like Jiffy Pop Popcorn bursting to perfection on the stove.
Have you experienced it?
Sports are back. Who doesn’t like a good ballgame? Let’s cheer for the home team, their opponents, the referees, coaches, and mascots. Hot dog stands, ice cream trucks, taco Tuesdays are all back. Picnics, festivals, and marathons summon us like the watering hole of days gone by.
Have you felt it?
As we pour from our homes, have you sensed a feeling of anticipation? COVID-19 provided many of us the opportunity to assess our target audience, to hone our messages, to reinforce our marketing efforts, to grow our platforms and digital imprints. What great opportunities COVID-19 has brought us. We’ve created buzz, encouraged interest, showed up on video without makeup. Some of us have even gone so far as to show off our dance moves on TikTok. We’ve nurtured anticipation within our own sphere of influence.
Have you heard it?
Opportunity is calling. Businesses in our communities, especially small local ones, are on the hunt for ways to lure customers in from the outdoors. Libraries are quietly jumpstarting events like story time, workshops, meet the author, and ask the expert.
Are you back in action?
Pick up the phone. Do you remember the consignment shop mentioned in my article last year? I was shopping there last week and when the owner realized I was in his store, he hollered out, “We have world famous children’s author, Suzanne Kuhn, in the house.” They’ve sold out of my books. Guess what I will be delivering this week? And guess who will be scheduling another book signing? And, no, I’m not world famous—I’m not famous at all. But because I partnered with them during COVID-19 and they have become my fans, my audience.
Have you figured out what I’ve done?
As you’ve been reading, I’ve been planting ideas of different types of gatherings and events that provide each of us opportunity. Let me just list a few.
- Multifamily yard sale. Set up a book table, and sell books. Have flyers highlighting your topics and speaking expertise. Have free lemonade served by cute kids. Give your neighbors and tag-sale seekers a reason to stop by your table and discover you.
- Sporting events. Many are looking for a local “celebrity” to open the event in prayer, sing the national anthem, serve in the concession stands. All of which create goodwill for you within your community, offering you discoverability outside your immediate circle, and most important, provide you more discoverability.
- Church gathering and ministry events. These types of events provide opportunity for prayer, singing, and concessions but also teaching, leading, and serving in ministry-specific roles.
Discoverability, discoverability, discoverability. Opportunity upon opportunity. I’m excited! Are you?
Let’s get back in action.
It’s time to take our messages of hope, transformation, healing, and story entertainment to the streets. We need to share our message of the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection. Let’s go where our communities are gathering. Let’s be brave and bold and meet our neighbors at festivals, markets, and ballgames.
He told them: “The harvest is abundant, but the workers are few. Therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest. Luke 10:2 HCBS
Where are you going to begin harvesting the field of opportunity and discoverability? Won’t you join me in being one of the workers being sent out into His harvest?
Suzanne Kuhn (a.k.a SuzyQ) is Chief Creative Officer for Iron Stream Media and Founder of Brookstone Creative Group & Brookstone Publishing Group. She is passionate about helping creatives hone their message, create great content, develop high impact strategies, and publish books they can be proud of. Suzanne brings more than 30 years of industry experience including publishing, marketing, retail, and working with New York Times Best Selling authors. She truly believes in the power of spoken and written words and their ability to transform lives. Suzanne’s mission is to help creatives pursue and fulfill their God-given purpose.