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diversifying

The theory of diversifying published content is well-established among publishers in the modern industry. We all know that stories can be told in many different ways, and technology has enabled us to produce apps, games, and interactive ebooks to shine alongside print products. In a seminar at the 2016 London Book Fair, it was labelled by Alison Jones as “making your ideas work harder for you”. Unfortunately, not all publishers are equipped to do this effectively.

In this article, we’ll look at six mistakes to avoid when diversifying a product range for new technologies.

1) Go in blind

It’s rare that a whole range of books will be ripe for digital transformation. You’ll never know for certain before it’s put live into the marketplace, but it’s worth seeking the opinion of existing customers and others in the industry about which content is typically most popular. Go with your gut if you get a kick from the risk.

2) Copy and paste

Rather than copying the raw text from a book and throwing it into a mobile or tablet app, consider the ways in which readers will be consuming it. Can the paragraphs be broken down? Can the language be simplified? Where can you input video and imagery? These are important questions to ask when optimising content for digital products.

3) Price it stubbornly

The monetisation beast raises its head yet again; a monster that publishers big and small are well-used to battling. Consider giving away some content with the option to buy more, or using a digital product as a loss-leader for promoting something else in the range. Pricing it at paperback price will rarely cut the mustard.

4) Release without testing

Code has a habit of messing things up now and again. Before release, digital products need testing and re-testing across the spectrum of devices on which they’ll be available. The best results will come from multiple testers rather than one individual. Specialist testing companies can do the job to avoid lumbering an inexperienced team with it.

5) Think go-live is the end

Go-live is just the beginning (although it could be the beginning of the end if you do it wrong). Think about app store optimisation and further marketing activities to promote the product to the right audience, online and offline.

6) Ignore feedback

There will be direct incoming feedback, online store reviews, and information inferred from download data and user behaviour statistics. And there’s likely to be a phase two, when this information is analysed and acted upon. It’s great PR to thank users for their input and highlight where their feedback has impacted the product. This helps build a loyal community.

Marc Defosse is Managing Director at Ribbonfish, a London-based tech company that builds solutions for the publishing and media industries. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and follow Ribbonfish on Twitter.

megan mondi marketing

I don’t know about you, but I found the article in The Independent about job vacancy adverts falling by 700,000 the week after the referendum result absolutely terrifying, though not entirely unexpected. As companies spend the coming months evaluating the long-term implications of the UK leaving the EU, there will undoubtedly be increasing pressure on marketing teams to cut costs wherever possible.

Here are five steps every marketing department should be taking now to help improve the bottom line:

1) Brush off the dust on your RFQs

Be it designers, printers, videographers or mailing houses, we all have our preferred vendors – those we have worked with often enough that it’s easy to just throw a new project in their direction without thinking twice because it saves us from having to go back to basics. But now is the time TO go back to basics. I managed to save a company I worked for £20,000 during my first month on the job by submitting requests for quotes (RFQs) to new and existing designers, printers and PR platforms. Be as specific as you can with your project requirements – including deadlines – so you can compare like for like. You don’t need to go nuts: 3 or 4 requests for quotes or a price matrix for each service should help you realise who to hire and what the going rate is for a particular project. You’ll be surprised by what you find!

2) Canva is your new best friend

canva marketing exampleI work at Kogan Page, where all of our authors are business experts, meaning their LinkedIn connections are to die for and they more likely than not have very strong Twitter profiles as well. We aim to leverage that as much as we can, and Canva helps immensely. Canva is a free, easy-to-use online graphic design platform. It has a range of social media templates – including cover photo templates complete with holes cut out for where the profile picture sits – so you can easily add book covers, discount codes and calls to action on prime real estate. Similarly, if you have a great book endorsement, take a minute to turn it into an image you can tweet. I don’t recommend using Canva for everything – there’s a time and place for quick and easy design – but it’s great for creating profile headers and graphics for you to post.

3) Use what you have

We’ll increasingly be asked to do more with less, so think creatively about the great content already at your fingertips to grow your database. Do you have access to premium content you can put behind download forms on your website? I worked on the apps project team for an educational publisher, and we created a series of revision apps using content we already had. We secured 10,000 downloads in a single day and were then able to upsell other revision products through push notifications.

4) Don’t be afraid to try new things

I think the gut reaction for many over the weeks to come will be to just stick with what works. But try to avoid that, especially when it comes to digital marketing. The beauty of digital is that you can get results fairly quickly and that it’s an iterative process: test something, measure it, tweak it and move forward. If it works, do it some more; if it flops, then refine it or move on. So long as you have particular goals and KPIs you’re working towards don’t be afraid to try new things.

5) Go back to basics with digital

As with going back to basics with suppliers, take the time to do the same with digital. All activity will drive traffic to your website, so optimise it first to improve the performance of your other channels. Refine keywords and copy and make sure you’re adding new content regularly. Also take the time to find your best-performing channel – whether it’s a PPC campaign, affiliate marketing or another channel – and maximize that before moving on to others.

Megan Mondi (@meganmondi) is marketing manager at Kogan Page. Originally from Chicago, she has publishing experience in both the US and UK, where she has worked for educational, academic and professional publishers.

 

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