Connect With Your Customers Through Video: A Q&A with Suzie Sisoler, HarperCollins’ director of online consumer marketing.
HarperCollins Publishers’ new in-house broadcast studio—developed and built in the company’s Manhattan offices earlier this year—regularly produces promotional videos featuring its authors. The objective: To create video content to help generate excitement for hundreds of new HarperCollins book titles each year. Thanks to positive consumer response to the videos, the publishing house has an ongoing appetite for producing this type of content—one that it is quickly feeding.
Last month, Book Business Extra spoke with Marisa Benedetto, executive producer of the broadcast studio, and Ana Maria Allessi, vice president and publisher of HarperMedia, about how the videos are created (http://www.BookBusinessMag.com/story/story.bsp?sid=108713&var=story). In this edition, Suzie Sisoler, director of online consumer marketing at HarperCollins, discusses how her team uses this new marketing content. By partnering with social-networking sites, teaming up with bloggers and providing content to niche fan sites, Sisoler says video simply connects with consumers.
Book Business Extra: On what type of Web sites and blogs have the videos been most effective?
Suzie Sisoler: It really depends on the book and the audience we’re trying to reach. Consumers can find these videos in a number of ways. We always have [the videos] on our site. You’ll see a video for a particular title on [that title’s] page of our site …. We host the videos on YouTube and other video sites, too. …It helps us for consumers to find [a video] and for the consumer to go on and forward it to friends. There are also niche sites we work with. It really just depends on the audience. We want to get as many eyeballs on it as possible. We’ve also found ways for publicity opportunities. We’ll offer it to retailers and to the media. The nice thing about videos is that they’re available when the consumer wants to watch it. It may be a month or two down the line, but it keeps the property out there.
Extra: Why do video now?
Sisoler: I think video, in general across the Web, has grown as many more people have gotten broadband Internet. Now, consumers expect to have some kind of visual along with the text. It’s added content, so it’s a benefit for these other sties and for our own site to host these videos. People like to watch TV. [The author videos are] another means of reaching out to them. But it’s all about increased broadband penetration across the board.
Extra: What type of reader response have you received so far?
Sisoler: The response has been [that] people are excited about books coming out. They’ve said “This is great.” …
Extra: Do these videos help to build the relationship between reader and author?
Sisoler: We’re looking at incorporating questions from readers [in the videos] moving forward. That way, you have this connection with consumers communicating with authors. An author can’t visit every single city in the country while on a tour. Having them on video kind of helps us solve that problem. If you were someone in a part of the country that the author won’t be visiting, you can still see the author via the computer.
Extra: How important is it to team up with social-networking sites?
Sisoler: We have partnerships with MySpace. … In terms of video, we of course have a lot of profile pages out there. We make sure the video gets posted there so that it reaches the community directly. Because we’ve hosted on YouTube and MySpace, [readers are] able to imbed the videos on their own sites and blogs. It’s important because you’re providing them with a tool to show their point of view and share their interest. They can say, “Oh, look—this author has a video.” There’s great word-of-mouth potential. We try to make sure that there’s a mention of our URL so that we drive traffic back to our Web site.
Extra: How do you measure the success of the videos? What type of metrics are you using? Is it book sales? Number of views?
Sisoler: Actually, we’re still working to determine metrics of the success of the videos we’re creating. I can’t answer that straight out. They’re still looking at it.
Extra: What other types of new online marketing tools have you recently been using?
Sisoler: There’s so much fun going on, but it goes back to finding what’s the right connection for the audience you’re trying to reach when we’re dealing with the online sphere. There’s the video. We have podcasts, online chats and interactions with social-networking sites. We’re creating games for properties and working with sites to develop games. The online world is great. There are so many possibilities. And there’s so much stuff happening all the time.