Expert publishing blog opinions are solely those of the blogger and not necessarily endorsed by DBW.
For leaders of production and digital teams in publishing, the dizzying change of the past five years may seem like a hurdle that’s been overcome. And while most publishers now have a mix of internal and outsourced systems in place for metadata and asset management, frontline staff are often still challenged not only to be more efficient, but also more effective, in their daily workload.
Publishers who find this balancing act challenging can leverage partnerships and processes to win back time to invest in producing valuable content. Here are three areas where there are opportunities to focus your time most effectively in today’s publishing marketplace.
Distribution to Market
Time to market is critical, especially for new releases. Whether delivering via internal systems or through a third party distributor, publishers require a strong distribution to use as a base for their business. This saves publishers time and money.
Content distribution should be automated. Enable titles to go live as quickly as possible with an efficient, automated infrastructure. This means automated deliveries and automated reporting. Too many publishers still rely on manual content management and investigation, losing time and sales as a result.
Take advantage of pre-orders. Even if your metadata or covers aren’t final, this is still a sales opportunity. You can always refine and update metadata and other information, but you can’t get back the sales you missed while a title was unavailable to the customer. Our experience shows that up to 40 percent of the customers who read Book One pre-order Book Two when there are links in the back.
Partner with people who care. Make sure you have a distribution partner or internal team that can expedite same day changes for you. Corrections must be treated with urgency. Don’t make customers wait any longer than necessary for quality content. After all, they are used to getting instant results, so your process needs to be highly responsive.
Now that you’ve established a strong distribution platform, make your titles easier to find with increased search engine optimization (SEO). Higher visibility on the web leads to better click-through, a wider audience and increased sales.
Fuel SEO by selecting the most impactful keywords. Thoughtfully apply keywords in all aspects of the metadata, and allow these keywords to guide your BISAC subject code selections. Strong keywords drive improved SEO, leading to better title visibility and, in effect, sales.
Use review services and widgets to increase click-through. Promote new releases to bloggers through review services like NetGalley during pre-order. Use the analytics from these tools to grow a contact list of reviewers for future titles, as well. Providing auto-approval widgets or review copies directly to bloggers makes it easier for them to review and link to your titles.
Sign up for retailer affiliate programs. Gain an extra percentage of sales revenue every time a customer accesses a major retailer storefront via your link. You can also encourage your authors to sign up for these, as well. Affiliate links can be used in marketing campaigns, publisher and author websites—or even in the back of book for stronger sell-through.
Boost sales with buy links and sales widgets. Use the last pages of your book to drive customers to the next title in a series, or to other titles by that author. But take it one step further: create versioned files with unique links to direct readers to their preferred retailer. Direct sales widgets providers like Aer.io or TextCafe allow you to drive sales within popular social media platforms while also accommodating any customer-retailer loyalty.
Don’t forget: the digital age is also the data age. After distributing content to retailers, gain a little peace of mind with accurate and reliable data reporting. The time you save gathering this useful information, either through internal or outsourced systems, can be re-allocated into making other changes for greater success.
Take real-time action. Know your titles—and their live status (ratings, rankings and reviews) or current retailer price points—at any given moment. Tools like INstore give access to this increasingly crucial knowledge, and allow you to easily identify where your titles are performing best. The more actionable information and reporting you have, the better off your titles are.
Demand regular sales and trend reporting. Access to consolidated daily trend reporting and analytics from retailers is key. This information empowers your ability to make timely, smart investments, whether with your production or marketing budgets, or promotional campaigns.
Evaluating your current workload and team structure helps to identify where improvements can be made in your system. Don’t waste time and effort when technology exists to make your job more efficient and help you deliver more effective results. You deserve partners who continually advance your goals with you and not just work for you.
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