22 Tips for Building Communities
The rise of niche marketing in the book world has led to a new appreciation of the power of audiences to drive interest in featured authors, titles and subject areas. Publishers are discovering a variety of ways to create communities, whether by building on time-tested marketing strategies or crafting innovative online features to encourage participation and create buzz. This feature shares tips from several experts on developing audience-building strategies that work.
TIPS FROM ... Linda Leonard, Director, New Media, Random House Children’s Books
Random House Children’s Books recently relaunched Teens@Random (www.RandomHouse.com/Teens), a Web site for fans of young-adult literature that makes extensive use of community links and other interactive tools built around genres and book series.
1. Design Web sites to appeal to a target group.
A prime driver of the redesign was to clearly separate the teens’ Web page, in look and feel, from online materials aimed at younger kids. “We wanted to make it very sleek looking,” Leonard says. “One of our main goals was to make it very teen-friendly, sophisticated, not too kid-oriented.”
2. Orient users to available features.
The Teens@Random home page offers a clear picture of what’s available to users, seamlessly bringing together new and previously launched material. “We wanted to raise the profile of our featured sites and series Web sites, in order to drive traffic to those sites,” she says. “Our ‘landing page’ features all of them.”
3. Two words: “fun” and “games.”
A “fun site” features polls, quizzes and other interactive activities. Some, such as “Build Your Own Boyfriend,” are expected to generate a fair amount of buzz. “Those are really successful and really viral,” Leonard says of the games. “We wanted to raise the visibility of those features on the new Web site, because that kind of content is so popular with teens.”