Welcome to our latest fortnightly eBulletin, posted here on 17 October 2017. In this issue:
Thank you to Fiona Green at Bloomsbury Academic for this one. On recent copywriting courses we’ve been talking about the power of using storytelling techniques to bring titles to life. In a former role Fiona used to work on the sales team for Continuum (now part of Bloomsbury), and recalled the transformative power of adding interesting anecdotes in her pitches to European booksellers.
In 2016 Bloomsbury published Existentialism and Excess: The Life and Times of Jean-Paul Sartre which featured lobsters on the cover. And for a very good reason – Sartre was addicted to the hallucinogenic drug mescaline and it gave him a recurring dream of being pursued down the Champs-Elysées by … giant lobsters. Perfect to add to conversations with booksellers to pique their interest. It’s also precisely the sort of detail that could have been dropped as too flippant, but instead is highlighted within an excellent paragraph of description packed with anecdotes and names. Great for SEO too!
This approach works just as well with academics who are often fed a diet of predictable and vaguely worthy descriptions by academic publishers too time-pressed to take issue with the blurbs provided by authors.
These issues are at the heart of our Copywriting Workshops. Regular open course dates in London and it’s our most popular in-company tailored training course too.
Including stats like the ones in this infographic in your marketing plans is one way to make them impressive. Another is coming along to our Impressive Marketing Plans on a Small Budget Workshop. NEW date of 5 December in London just announced and guaranteed to run.
See Wordtracker’s excellent Why you should turn new customers into repeat customers infographic for yourself.
In its past, clothing brand Jaegar dressed stars like Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. But in recent years it has tried to attract younger customers and lost sight of its core audience of 45-54 year olds, and in April 2017 it collapsed. No brands, not even ones established in 1884, are safe in 2017 where customers have infinite choices.
But some makeovers do succeed, and I hope this will prove the case for Mills and Boon. The publisher of romantic novels is 100 years old in 2018 and will celebrate in January with a completely new look backed by a confident marketing campaign and the launch of a book club and a blog.
Marketing established brands is always tricky. Introducing fresh approaches may alienate or confuse existing customers, but not doing so can quickly makes a brand look stale.
If you recognise this challenge, you may like to know that it’s regularly discussed on both our Copywriting Workshop and Marketing Planning Workshop.
Read more about the Mills and Boon relaunch in The Bookseller.
My training colleague Richard Balkwill reminded me of a piece of excellent common sense last week: ‘Don’t spend £1000 to save £100’.
It’s so easy to get sucked into the detail of making something perfect, often by generously consulting colleagues, and to lose sight of the fact that we’re spending (expensive!) time which is disproportionate to the value of the end result. I’m going to try to remember this myself the next time it’s happening to me!