David Maraniss is a New York Times bestselling author and associate editor at The Washington Post. He is a three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and won a Pulitzer for National Reporting for his 1992 coverage of then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton.
David came to us with a specific charge: attract a wider audience for his current book, "A Good American Family." The story is not only important to understanding the McCarthy era in American history, it's a deeply personal narrative about the author's own family history.
As with all of our clients, we started with listening in order to gain an understanding of David's situation, the market landscape, our client's goals, and then determined paths to his desired outcomes.
We agreed on three overarching strategies that would not only help move the needle on "A Good American Family," but also support his already defined brand across all platforms, and his entire body of work, past, present, and future:
Define his brand and build brand awareness,
Identify and reach new audiences, and
Build a community of engaged readers and "convinced advocates" who would help connect David to their networks.
Each of these is an essential building block designed to complement and expand existing marketing efforts by his publisher. Our ultimate goal is simply stated: expand and more deeply connect with audiences in order to drive book sales today and increase a receptive audience for each new project.
OUR APPROACH & RESULTS
We began with a brand strategy and identified key audience interests that would allow us to develop, test, and refine organic and paid social media content according to a content plan
Patriots, proud Americans
Amateur and aspiring writers, journalists
History-buffs, genealogists, and family researchers
PoliSci pros, academics, and enthusiasts
News, political junkies, book clubs
We developed and deployed content, both paid and organic, across three social media channels to see which types resonated most deeply and which channels offered audiences with the greatest return for our focused budget of time and resources. And, we built specific advertising profiles from our audience-characteristics, so that we could be precise with our campaign activities and budget.
With a successful campaign underway, we watched the metrics, adjusting variables to fine-tune the positioning for optimal results. We continued deploying organic and paid content with great success, and an average cost-per-results (CPRs) between 09 - 15, depending on the bid strategy (reach vs clicks, for example). We built and bundled timely campaigns for David's books that targeted different opportunities presented by real-world and calendar events, like "summer reading" and holidays, Father's Day, and relevant political discourse.
If this is half as good as 'They Marched Into Sunlight' and 'When Pride Still Mattered,' count me in.
Being a celebrated and awarded journalist himself, and consistent with David's brand of service, we set about to expand our reach to include and engage with journalists, students, professors of writing, and the academic community to build an alliance of peers, extend our network even further, and align with their missions, thus being a mutually beneficial partnership. Our goal for this important audience-grouping is not strictly selling books, but rather to build community support for David and his work as one of a few notable stewards of the craft. Just before COVID-19 and the explosion of podcasts, we recorded the first season of David's podcast, "Ink in Our Blood," with his daughter, Sarah Maraniss Vander Schaaf, who is a journalist in her own right. We considered this to be a unique opportunity for David's readers to connect on a deeper level with him and his work, thus strengthening his brand and the community around it and fulfilling his mission of teaching and storytelling.
Season one's success was followed by a second season, where David expanded the podcast by including some of his colleagues in the discussion. Plans for a third and fourth season are in discussion. Not only is this podcast an important tactic in generating interest for Mr. Maraniss's books and brand, but it is also a valuable teaching tool and complement to his legacy as an author and journalist.
Considering the importance and relevance of David's content to the American tapestry, we've added advertising creative that also draws from current events and connects with politics, current events, and the calendar of seasons and holidays.
BY THE NUMBERS
Increase in site traffic from targeted channels
Increase in reach across social channels
Increase in followers
Increase in post engagement