Last month, Jane Friedman landed $8 million in equity financing for her digital publishing company Open Road Integrated Media. In a recent NPR interview, Friedman talked about the company’s business model, with 50/50 profit splits for authors and a focus on digitally publishing backlist titles. Friedman noted that “aggressive marketing” is the key to the company’s success.
What does aggressive marketing involve? The NPR piece hinted at a few elements:
Open Road backs its titles with aggressive multi-platform marketing campaigns, making creative use of the Web, social media and video. The company produces short documentaries to promote its authors.
For more on what aggressive marketing entails and how the campaigns are handled, I turned to Open Road’s chief marketing officer Rachel Chou. Our short email interview follows.
What does “aggressive marketing” mean?
Rachel Chou: Aggressive marketing means marketing throughout the term of contract and not just at the book’s launch. It also means balancing real-time marketing vs planned marketing. We build quarterly marketing plans for every author or publishing partner and continue to think of new themes, topics or pitches.
What kinds of resources are used to market titles?
Rachel Chou: Each author is assigned a marketing lead who builds out the quarterly plans. We use online advertising, social media ads, video and photo distribution, content partnerships, as well as traditional publicity. In addition, we listen to the social media and online conversations with all the available tools, like TweetDeck, Facebook, and Google alerts.
Being ready to add high-quality content to a conversation that has just gotten started online has become essential. Real-time marketing vs planned long-term marketing is the most dramatic shift in digital marketing.
How long does a marketing campaign last?
Rachel Chou: Our author campaigns go on for the term of contract. If we publish an author, we are committed to having their brand be part of the conversation. Short-term campaigns are added, such as National Library Week or our upcoming summer reading campaign, but those are supplemental to our author campaigns.