Thefolks at HarperCollins Children's Books found a way to help teen readers takethe chill out of a snowy February with its 28 Days of Winter Escapes Web site, an online promotion with multiple interactivecomponents. These included a calendar spotlighting a different young adultnovel each day, links to Twitter and to YA blogs featuring Q&As withauthors, games, a widget, a browse-inside-the booksoption, and a sweepstakes offering a chance to win a signed copy of a book andone of five iPod Touch prizes. Teens apparently warmed to the promotion: the publisherreports that the Web site had more than 82,000 unique visitors by month's endand 188,000 page views. The sweepstakes (the only part of the Web site that isno longer live) garnered almost 60,500 entries.
ThoughHarperCollins has staged other successful thematic promotions with onlinecomponents, including the recent Supernatural Summer and Pitch Blackcampaigns, this campaign is the first to include a live Twitter feed(#28daygiveaway) prominently featured on the site. The feed received more than14,600 bit.ly clicks and 1,700 retweets (or conversations), reports DianeNaughton, v-p of marketing.
"Withthis promotion we were really able to see the power of Twitter," Naughton says."Readers could update their own icons with cover art from the book of the day,which customized it rather than just providing a link. One of our chiefmissions and strategies is to go out to teens where they live—online—and thiscampaign is a great way to interact with teen readers and spread word about ourbooks through various online social communities."
Naughtonadds that the campaign's emphasis on a different book each day encouragedreturn visits and continued interaction: "The calendar format gave readers areason to come back every single day, especially with the daily book giveaway,the sweepstakes, and the widget they could send to friends." The widgetfeatured in the promotion reportedly had 556,000 views during February.
Thenovels spotlighted in 28 Days of Winter Escapes—described as "tales of Love,Scandal, and a Touch of the Paranormal"—encompass frontlist and backlist booksand represent what Naughton calls "a mix of novels by new authors and by ourbestselling authors. The promotion offers a bit of something for everyone andreally shows the breadth of who and what we publish in the teen space."
Amongthe featured titles were Sweet LittleLies by Lauren Conrad, Splendor: ALuxe Novel by Anna Godbersen, TheHeart Is Not a Size by Beth Kephart, L.J. Smith's The Vampire Diaries: The Return: Shadow Soul, Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver, Carrie Vaughn's Voices of Dragons, and The Reckoning byKelley Armstrong. Interestingly, onlyone highlighted book—Michael Grant's Hunger:A Gone Novel—has a male author.
Inaddition to providing links to various blogs devoted to YA fiction, the 28 Daysof Winter Escapes site also includes a prominent banner that links visitors tothe inkpop Web site, an interactive online community inwhich HarperCollins authors and editors serve as mentors to aspiring youngwriters. "This is a great opportunity to introduce readers to inkpop, andintroduce inkpop members to the promotion," says Naughton. Launched in January,inkpop has close to nine million page views to date and currently has 16,500members.
HarperCollinshas additional online promotions in the works. Now up and running throughthrough March 31 is the Awesome Adventure! Web site.Targeted to tweens, this campaign features six adventure novels and includesbook trailers, games, podcasts, and a sweepstakes. And the publisher willrepeat its Supernatural Summer promotion this year with an online campaign anda six-city joint author tour.
"Wedo foresee doing more of these online promotions as part of our long-termdigital strategy," Naughton says. "We are not looking to do them in exchangefor one-off author promotions, but we see them as great ways to capitalize onpopular themes, give our authors additional exposure, and supplement our othermarketing efforts. Interactive viral promotions are definitely something we'llcontinue to explore."