The digitalisation of the media industry has led book publishers to resemble TV channels in many respects. Not only do they share similar release rhythms – hundreds or thousands of new books / tv-programs launched every year – but they also experience similar changes in consumption pattern and business model: more and more content is distributed via mobile phones, everyone strives for subscriptions revenues and most use rich media in their marketing and communication.

All this is quite challenging to an industry that has not changed much in 500 years. Luckily, book publishers can now get some inspiration from their fellow marketers in the television industry. Ten years ago television moved from physical distribution of marketing and communications material, to digital. It resulted in more exposure and lower costs. 

Having spent more than 20 years helping TV companies in digitalise their businesses and marketing, we have learned a few things about attracting consumers to content. Here are the most important takeaways that we believe would benefit book publishers.

Television used to distribute their press releases, program information and screeners to a limited number of knowledgable recipients: critics, journalists and TV guides, who in turn helped the TV channels adapt and distribute the information to a wide audience. With shrinking newsdesks and growing influencer landscape, the TV channels now have to reach out to substantially more individuals, often semi-professional, with plug-and-play content, prepared for all kinds of devices. Book publishers must think the same way. Sure, critics are still important, but today there is a vast array of other important users, such as influencers and partners who can help you reach your audience, but they need content and data to do that. 

The TV-industry has known for a long time that the most natural and efficient way to drive consumption is to distribute audiovisual teasers of their programs. Seeing is believing, right? The book publishing industry is moving in the same direction: book trailers, author interviews and audio samples are obvious ways to reach users through their screens and headphones. Especially if you address younger consumers.

In digital media, passive consumers turn into active users. Media consumers choose carefully what content to consume and use search engines and content discovery platforms to find it. All such technologies are heavily reliant on metadata. The more information you provide about your books and authors, the more images and trailers you offer, the better are your chances of being discovered and consumed. Think of how Netflix presents its shows. Your titles deserve the same treatment!

Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign tested more than 50.000 ad variations each day on Facebook. The idea was that even the smallest interest groups should feel that Trump was addressing “their” issues. Most marketers are not that elaborate yet, but progressive television companies have certainly become skilled in exploiting Facebooks super-narrow targeting opportunities. Different personalities will see different trailers for the same show. Book publishers should break down the reasons why people read a certain book, create bespoke messages for these groups and distribute them intelligently to the right audience. This also means that every single title needs a Minimum Viable Set of marketing assets and data, to support narrow targeting. 

Delivering more content and data to more recipients on more devices calls for automation. Otherwise, your product and marcomms teams will drown in work. In recent years broadcasters have streamlined their workflows by automating both intake and output of marketing and communications assets. As an example, schedule data is often seamlessly distributed to – and updated by – tv-listings sites when broadcast times are changed. For book publishers, an equal approach would be to 1) pull images, data and videos from individual systems, 2) let marcomms manage their tasks in a title-centric environment, and 3) allow for automated feeding of rich catalogues to resellers, media partners, libraries etc. 

Clipsource’s mission is to help media companies and content owners share more content, to more users, with better quality, at a lower cost. We have worked with global entertainment brands as well as local niche media to simplify workflows and empower marketing and communications teams.

Download the “Digital Marketing for Book Publishers” presentation below to see how you can take your book marketing to the next level.