How to Create a Consumer-Facing Brand, According to Harvard Business Publishing CEO David Wan
That was the easy part. What it really involved was integrating the editorial work that is done with this notion that Adi coined, "From blog to book." What that meant was that instead of our editors waiting for book proposals to come to them, they would seek out new ideas from various new voices. Then using the redesigned website, those new authors could create content in shorter form, letting us and the author test some of those early ideas and research with an audience, get some feedback, and develop the idea further. If the idea or concept has traction, then it might develop into a long form article for the magazine and eventually a book.
They don't all have to follow that complete cycle but we're trying to create more of an ecosystem for our authors and our readers. That was the most important aspect of the integration.
Has this new strategy significantly grown audience?
Our website got about 250,000 unique visitors a month prior to the relaunch. Not long after the site was relaunched, it went up significantly to 3 million unique visitors a month. That shorter, digital-only content helped us engage a larger audience. It was a whole editorial philosophy that Adi led. The content in the Havard Business Review and its books always had a lot of rigor to it. They are all almost expert written. All are based on research of important academics and practitioners. But the ideas weren't always presented in a way that seemed relevant or timely. The website gave us the ability to do that.
What advice do you have for book publishers that are creating consumer-facing websites?
We have the benefit of having multiple publications. Because we have a magazine and digital-only content and of course books and other publications, we have the advantage of having multiple platforms that we can integrate around our website. But just within our book publishing, we found a few things. We found social media to be a very important part of building an audience. A lot of our traffic comes through social. We have about 2 million followers on Twitter, 1.7 million likes on Facebook, and 1 million members on LinkedIn. In fact, we're probably the most shared content on LinkedIn.