This week, Pan Macmillan launches The Window Seat, a lifestyle site aimed at women. Increasingly, our marketing focus is on audience groups rather than genre and, more and more, we want to speak to those audiences directly. It’s no wonder, then, that a large part of our digital strategy involves making our websites more consumer-friendly.
In order to do that for readers of commercial women’s fiction, we can’t just talk about fiction – or indeed just about books, because we don’t believe this audience is interested in consuming content based on category silos. A large-scale market research project we commissioned last year backed up that belief, confirming that we’d need to provide more interesting, varied material in order to attract these readers. And it’s crucial that, wherever possible, this is presented in the tone of a consumer magazine, rather than that of a sales and marketing channel.
This isn’t news: the move to content marketing is hardly groundbreaking. But unlike purveyors of shoes or washing machines, publishers have ready-made access not only to hugely interesting content in the form of our books, but also a plethora of talented writers and creatives in the form of our authors. We just need to think creatively about how to repurpose some of this, presenting it in a new way, as well as commissioning original content which we know will be of interest. The approach generates a new creative and editorial role for members of our communications team.
Of course, books remain central to the site with thematic monthly recommendations allowing us to highlight front and backlist titles, articles on the writing process and a series of creative writing features. Our aim, however, is never to bombard readers with ‘BUY THIS BOOK IT’S OUT TODAY’ messaging. We will also be inviting non-Pan Macmillan staff to contribute to the site – starting with a monthly guest blog from a member of the hugely vibrant commercial women’s fiction blogosphere. Our first post comes from the lovely Charlotte at Bestchicklit.com.
Our launch edition includes an exclusive piece on writing characters who fall in love, from Lucinda Riley, author of The Midnight Rose and The Light Behind the Window, a feature on how to connect with nature whether your surroundings are high rise buildings or majestic mountains, and our top tips for getting out and about in February. The Window Seat this month also features a video interview with Loose Women favourite Sherrie Hewson, talking about the importance of cooking with family, and our mega-scary personalised trailer for thriller Kiss Me First, which plays differently for everyone who watches it. We’ll be adding more content throughout the month.
Our in-house digital communciations team are the technical lynchpins of the project, but The Window Seat is something plenty of people from all parts of Pan Macmillan and beyond will be involved in.
This is just the start of the story – we welcome any feedback on the site, so do feel free to get in touch.