Special Report: The Brand's the Thing
Stephen Koenig—currently the vice president of ecommerce in the HarperCollins Christian Publishing Division and previously a senior vice president at Interweave—has seen great success building niche-specific brands for general interest publishers over the years.
"I think the key is for publishers to build their brands by creating content of their own around the content niches they serve with their books. This can be done either through disciplined curation, re-use and marketing of their existing book content, or through the creation of additional content like blogs, newsletters, white papers, etc. that then also promote the books in the publisher's catalog. It has to be authentic, though."
While at Interweave, Koenig oversaw the company's ecommerce division. During his time with the company, they built their brand by establishing digital communities based on their niche crafting topics—knitting, beading, quilting, etc. In each of these communities, Interweave—the company—was represented by no more than a logo in the corner of a web site. The brand built was not Interweave. The brand was the community.
Interweave's knitting audience grew underneath the KnittingDaily brand—with strongholds at a blog (knittingdaily.com with 150,000 unique visitors per month), on Facebook (with 50,000 members and 5,000 current conversations), on Twitter (with 4,000 followers), on Pinterest (with 1,960 followers), and so on. Interweave collected knitters from around the web and built an interested, engaged and enthusiastic community of knitters under the—now very valuable—KnittingDaily brand. This community is now the perfect sales—and promotional—channel for the company's knitting books and content.
Interweave's branding efforts, however, don't stop at knitting. They've built 10 such communities: BeadingDaily, QuiltingDaily, CrochetMe, SewDaily, SpinningDaily and so on.
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