Thomas Nelson's Digital Plan: A Q&A With the Religious Publisher's New Digital Strategy Leader Tod Shuttleworth
At 4:27 a.m. on April 23, Thomas Nelson CEO Michael Hyatt "tweeted" on Twitter.com: “We have just put [Senior Vice President and Group Publisher] Tod Shuttleworth in charge of our digital strategy.” Hyatt directed those who wanted to learn more to ObservationsOnceRemoved.blogspot.com, the blog Shuttleworth writes about “observations on publishing, digital strategy, youth baseball and life.”
And so Shuttleworth is off to the races, trying to figure out how he can—as he stated in an April 20 blog post—stop being a “digital armchair quarterback” and get on the field.
In that same blog post, which is a reposted company memo, Shuttleworth wrote to his colleagues about how he will formulate Thomas Nelson's digital strategy: He plans to listen to his digital team. Then, he will meet with other colleagues to hear their ideas before turning an ear to outside “world-class leaders and companies” interested in contributing. Next, he will “build an executable strategy,” and the final step will be to execute said strategy, which will continue to be revised and adapted.
Shuttleworth recently spoke with Book Business Extra about the transition and Thomas Nelson's unfolding digital strategy.
Book Business Extra: How's it going so far in your new position? What are you finding to be Thomas Nelson's biggest digital strategy challenges?
Tod Shuttleworth: It's going great. … Our internal folks in charge of our digital strategies have done an amazing job. Outside folks are helpful with their many opinions. Everyone has ideas, but no one really knows where this adventure will take us. ... We don't really know what [the challenges] are yet. [But] I suspect, like any change, it's educating the current employees [on] how things will be changing and execution of [those] changes. ...
Book Business Extra: You outlined your strategy in a memo to your colleagues, which included seeking input from your digital team, colleagues and others. What kind of responses have you gotten so far? How are you integrating the responses into your plans?
Shuttleworth: … We're talking to thought leaders in content distribution. We're talking to thought leaders in traditional publishing, technology firms. But it's really not about the technology. It's really about consumer behavior. So we're talking to people that have interesting things to say about how consumer behavior is changing—especially relative to content acquisition.