HarperCollins, Goodreads & PRH on How the Book Discoverability Game Has Changed
Building buzz for a book used to be a pretty straightforward endeavor. Finagle a book review at a leading mass media outlet like The New York Times and the title was sure to be a bestseller. As media has moved to digital, though, discoverability of books has become much more fragmented. While a review in NYT is nothing to sniff at today, there are other players that book marketers should be targeting.
"We have moved from mass media to mini-influencers," said Goodreads founder Otis Chandler at IDPF's Digital Book Conference during a panel discussion on discoverability. "They are the ground zero for getting buzz for a book."
These mini-influencers Chandler mentioned run the gamut. They could be celebrities like Bill Gates, who recently released his summer reading list, authors recommending other titles, or book bloggers. All three have avid followings and their recommendations can create a sort of domino effect of word-of-mouth marketing. Goodreads, Chandler added, has made itself home to all three influencer types, allowing them to share their recommendations to a user base that recently topped 40 million.
Targeting Purchase Intent
While the influencers can help spread the word, publishers need to collect more data about readers, and in particular their purchase intent. "It's important for us to look at the entire purchasing funnel," said Angela Tribelli, CMO at HarperCollins and also a panelist during this session. "The most valuable consumer for us is the one who has the highest intent of purchase." Marketing to people who you know already want to buy a book -- perhaps they purchased the first book in a series, and the next installment was just released -- is something publishers have done well traditionally but must move to digital platforms.
The other part of the funnel Tribelli is interested in is consumers that are the furthest from a purchasing intent. "These are the people you aren't typically trying to reach in book marketing campaigns," said Tribelli. "I'm excited about the ability to leverage other audiences that we might not be reaching on a day-to-day basis." HarperCollins' partnership with JetBlue -- featuring free ebook samples on in-flight WiFi with options to purchase -- and Chipotle -- the publisher featured stories from their authors on Chipotle cups and containers -- are a few examples of that.
Ellen Harvey is a freelance writer and editor who covers the latest technologies and strategies reshaping the publishing landscape. She previously served as the Senior Editor at Publishing Executive and Book Business.