Monday, January 20, 2020

Developing a Winning Marketing Campaign: 3 True Accounts

by Karen Whiting @KarenHWhiting

Christian Authors Network (CAN) awarded the first CAN Crown Marketing Gold Awards to three recipients, each in a different marketing category (visual, web, and broadcast marketing). I recently interviewed each to glean ideas on what makes a great marketing campaign with tips on  improving your promotion efforts.

Campaign that Started Local (Visual Media)

Adria started planning live events about four months before the release of her book The Joy Box Journal. She had attended marketing workshops at the Blue Ridge Christian Writers Conference and hired Monica Schmelter as a speaking and media coach. 

Adria asked one of her favorite places, Chick-fil-A if they would hold a book launch. The manager spoke with the franchise owner and met with her within days. They had wanted to hold a Ladies Night for years out and thought this provided the perfect opportunity for the community. They wanted to include a few vendors. Adria brainstormed with the managers and they invited other small businesses to participate. She sold 200 copies at the event. Her own story and those she shares in the book touch people’s hearts and lives, so she sells well when at speaking venues.

Her live events garnered other speaking opportunities and helped her land TV appearances. She shares links on her website She loves combining media appearances with events when she travels. She’s found locations willing to host her through posting on Facebook, contacting friends who live where she will be speaking, and searching online.

Adria started a weekly interview with people to share their stories of finding joy in hardships. She’s planning zoom events like a recipe exchange and sharing tips. As ever, she prays for God to guide her. She also carries her book with her at all times to be ready for any opportunity God shows her.

Lessons to Apply: Be courageous, approach businesses, and share your needs. 

Campaign and the Little Blog that Went Viral (Web)

Carla Hoch, a martial arts specialist, served on a panel of writers at Realm Makers Writers Conference. Carla taught a class on fight scenes at the conference and then at her local fiction writing group. Carla then became a fight scene editor with an editing agency. She also started her blog Soon she signed a book contract with Writer’s Digest for her book Fight Write. Her blog is blog #11 in the alphabetical WD list of Best Websites for Writers. Carla Her blog took off when Writer’s Digest (WD) featured Carla and her blog in their magazine and one post went viral with more than 20,000 hits. taught at the national WD conferences in Sacramento and New York city. She then started her popular Fight Write podcast.

To continue marketing, she promotes her blog and podcast. Friends and experts advised her and helped her with the technology to do a podcast and blog. She welcomes criticism as that improved her writing and speaking. To fuel the podcasts she reaches out to writers for questions and seeks out experts. She did a podcast of cleaning up a real crime scene after asking a local crime and trauma scene cleaning company.

Carla feels that she’s not good at marketing, but has God put her in the right places at the right times. Even as a contest winner, she accepted feedback from judges to change the look of her web site. The response to the new look has been great. She is revamping her blog into a website with instructional videos.

Apply Carla’s wisdom: Ask for help, learn from critiques, accept opportunities, and trust God.

Campaign Quiz that Grabbed Attention (Broadcast)

Dr. Saundra Dalton Smith started thinking about marketing as she wrote her book Sacred Rest She included a quiz in the book and then she used it on her website to for lead capture where readers receive weekly information from Saundra.

When the book didn’t take off as hoped, Saundra persisted with faith in her book and hired Hollywood Media Coaching and implemented a quiz on her web site she had planned to do. That landed her TV interviews including Daystar, Cornerstone TV, Marilyn Hickey Show, The Happy Hour Podcast with Jamie Ivey, God-Centered Mom Podcast, Atlanta Live, Moody Chicago. It worked best to always share the URL and to invite people to take the free quiz. Her email list from that grew to 25,000. Media appearances led to speaking invitations with TEDxAtlanta inviting Dr. Dalton-Smith to be the opening speaker at their 2019 event and speaking at the 2020 World Happiness Summit. She also developed a podcast that is now supported by sponsors.

Also never stopping the marketing. Do things as you think of them. Saundra bought her website name as soon as she had the idea before she created the actual quiz.  Saundra now pitches media specific niches to focus on problems members face, learn more about reaching her audience on social media, and writes articles.

Lessons to Apply: Be persistent and keep building the platform! Invest in a pro if you need help.

Each winner had a starting point and built the marketing around it. Each one persists, studies marketing, seeks help, and continues to work at marketing, especially in what they consider their sweet spot. 


Karen Whiting ( is an international speaker, former television host of Puppets on Parade, certified writing and marketing coach, and award-winning author of twenty-six books for women, children, and families. Her newest book, 52 Weekly Devotions for Families Called to Serve, uses stories, activities, and chat prompts to help families develop servant hearts and foster strong bonds in families who have members serving the community, nation, or world.

She has a heart to grow tomorrow’s wholesome families today. She has written more than seven hundred articles for more than sixty publications and loves to let creativity splash over the pages of what she writes. She writes for Leading Hearts and Connect with Karen on Twitter @KarenHWhiting, Pinterest KarenWhiting, and FB KarenHWhiting


  1. Karen, thank you for the valuable information.

  2. Karen,

    Thank you for these insights and case studies. In each case, the author was active in the process--and didn't only lean on her publisher or someone else. PT Barnum said, "Without promotion, something terrible happens: nothing." Persistence and consistency will pay off but no author knows when. Like the writing, the marketing takes work for every author and I appreciate your piece.

    Get a FREE copy of the 11th Publishing Myth

  3. Great examples to follow! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Way beyond my expertise, and really, desires. But hooray for these!