Marketing Interview: The Move Toward Fluid Content
Were you hired to revamp Doubleday’s Web site?
Yamaguchi: Doubleday Broadway recently changed its name to the Doubleday Publishing Group. The site needed to be revamped anyway, so with the name change and the new logo, it just made sense to have it all go online. …
Where did the concept of using a WordPress platform come from?
Yamaguchi: About a year ago, [Senior Designer] Michael Colico actually started up a blog for the group, and people loved it, but it was never a formal thing. When I came here, he showed me what he had done using the WordPress platform … . He was laying the groundwork for the direction I thought we should go. … There was a lot of work to be done [to make] it look less [like] a blog, but it’s more than that—it’s a content management system that can be used in many different ways. It’s not like Blogger or Typepad—there’s much more flexibility.
What’s the greatest advantage to using WordPress?
Yamaguchi: The Web is constantly evolving. … There are many people working on improvements and pushing it. If you’re using WordPress, you really benefit from that. In subtle ways, you might not even realize how the Web is changing. Just by the nature of using an open-source system like this that has an organized way of putting upgrades out there, you’re going to benefit from that, and it costs no money. (Time and intelligence from your internal group costs money, of course … .)
Do you sell advertisements on the Doubleday Web site?
Yamaguchi: We have no illusions that this site is a major destination site. It’s not like a Gawker.com or a MediaBistro.com. It’s a source for information about Doubleday Publishing Group authors and things that are going on. There’s no advertising for sale. … When you take a survey of the land, most publisher Web sites have the feel of a catalog. In other words, they’re templated modules. They’re updated maybe monthly, which is crazy in the online world, but is very common [in book publishing]. … And right there, that’s a signal to your reader to not come back. … People on the Web are used to coming to a site every hour and seeing something different. When people come to the [Doubleday] site initially, they’ll think, “I recognize this, it sort of looks like a blog.” And that’s the point—it’s familiar territory. You have to adapt how you’re presenting your information. People don’t want to look at catalog copy. They want fluid content. They want to be able to organize a page based on subject or author. They want to leave a comment. They want to react to something, and they should be able to do that. … We’re really embracing that. Our goal is to put up original content three days a week. The hope is [that] it’s five days, that every day there’s something new.