22 Tips for Building Communities
11. Do focus groups.
First-hand feedback from members of your audience is invaluable to being able to relate to and develop your audience at large.
12. Partner with vendors.
Partnering with vendors that have products matching a book title is a way to promote an overall community for an enthusiast group, Sousa says. “Instead of just having a vendor do an ad, have them do a demo of their product that’s more educational in nature, and have that be what represents them on [your] Web site. Sponsored streaming video is more instructional for the consumer.”
Sections on new products featured in monthly book-club bulletins offer opportunities for sponsors and a way to position the clubs as comprehensive sources of information on a consumer-interest category.
13. Set up a MySpace page.
F+W’s comic book art imprint, Impact, has set up a MySpace page to capture more of its target audience. The site features blog entries, book blurbs and, of course, a “friends” section for comic and manga artists and readers. Impact also sends out an e-newsletter to those who subscribe online.
14. Go to consumer shows.
Impact has a regular presence at consumer trade shows such as Comic-Con.
15. Host your own shows.
F+W runs a number of shows through its conference division, on subjects as diverse as coin collecting, gardening, fantasy baseball, antiques and CD/record collecting. All, of course, dovetail with book and magazine products. “Several of these shows include classes, seminars, vendor displays … all focused on increasing the customer’s knowledge and passion for these various subjects,” Sousa notes.
The shows are an outgrowth of the company’s stated philosophy, which encompasses providing services along with content aimed at helping consumers pursue a chosen hobby or special interest.
16. Utilize rich content.
F+W’s “Writer’s Market” portfolio of books for freelance writers has been turned into a database-driven digital product. “It lends itself very well to being an online product,” Sousa notes. “You can use the online version to track what you’ve done and how you’ve used the book.”