22 Tips for Building Communities
TIPS FROM … Peg Sousa, Book Club Director, F+W Publications Inc.
Cincinnati, Ohio-based F+W Publications is a leading publisher of special interest books and magazines in consumer enthusiast categories such as hobbies, arts and crafts, and recreation. The company hosts conferences and trade shows, and is well-known for its popular, long-running book clubs.
“We have a lot of magazines, so there’s a lot of cross-promotion [between magazines and books],” Sousa says. “We can monetize magazines more quickly, but that being said, we do a lot with just books.”
Cross-promotion allows F+W to utilize the multimedia features of a magazine’s Web site as a way to further promote books, authors and trade shows. “Magazine sites currently have the best content, such as streaming audio, digital products and downloadable plans for projects,” she says. (The company plans to develop separate multimedia-rich book sites.)
“We will excerpt books in magazines, or get behind a book by advertising in our magazines. We work with the magazine’s staff to come up with good [promotional] concepts,” she adds.
9. Build lists.
“We try to collect a lot of names and leads, and from that we promote and have our [book] clubs,” Sousa says.
10. Involve the customer in publishing decisions.
Soliciting the advice of loyal fans strengthens both catalogs and consumer ties, Sousa notes. “[One] of the cooler things we do in our book clubs is survey book titles,” she says. “For example, people in our Northlight [fine art] book club … are very passionate about the art-instruction books. We survey them with potential Northlight title ideas, and we get a huge response. What’s really nice about that is that we can go back, and when we publish a book that they’ve weighed in on, we can say, ‘This truly was something you asked for and helped us to develop.’ It’s an intriguing way of getting the customer involved in your product.”