An Inspiring Example of B2C Marketing: blogInk

Last week, an imprint announced a terrific marketing campaign deserving of admiration. It’s not just about the campaign itself, which is amazing, but I guess you could say this imprint has the whole package: an excellent campaign, a great targeted list of titles and a receptive market segment.

Harlequin UK’s YA imprint, MIRA Ink, launched a competition called blogInk “to find the next big star of the blogging world”. Entrants must submit a 500-word book-related blog post to show off their blogging abilities. The pieces will be posted on the MIRA Ink Tumblr feed (and promoted across social media) for all to see. Judges will then choose the top 10 for Round 2.

The top 10 who make it through to round 2 will be asked to record a 60 second video, convincing the judges that THEY should be the blogINK winner. They’ll also need to submit a short bio about themselves and prove their resourcefulness with social media by running a mini online campaign to drum up as much interaction for their video as possible.

The entrants are judged on “originality, personality, a talent for writing and a passion for books” and on how much interaction their content attracts. So MIRA Ink fans must spread the word far and wide to get support for their campaign. The winner gets a laptop or iPad and a one-year freelance contract to be MIRA’s blogger.

Pretty nice prize, right? Now look at what MIRA wins:

  1. The imprint is getting a ton of content for their social channels thus making the task of filling their marketing editorial calendar easier.
  2. Not only is this free content but it’s positive UGC (user generated content) which, as every marketer knows, is incredibly valuable. Having UGC on your site(s) builds trust and engagement, and results in stronger relationships with customers.
  3. This is highly engaging for MIRA fans which will help the brand stay top of mind. (The timing, which is just before Christmas, isn’t bad either.)
  4. The company is also creating brand advocates. Those participating will do their best to get all their peers to look at their content which widens MIRA’s exposure, builds larger followings across digital channels and might even lead to collecting contact information for a customer database. (You’re required to Like the Facebook page just to get the details of the contest.)
  5. And in the end they gain a motivated freelance blogger who is grateful for the assignment and passionate about their books.

And this was all done for the cost of designing banners for the competition and presumably just using their existing marketing staff. This is a fantastic B2C branding campaign worth emulating. 

MIRA Ink does have the advantage that they are a specialized imprint. They have a well-defined market segment for their product that makes it easier for them to engage the right people with efficient targeted marketing—and it can’t hurt that teens girls are known for their social media prowess. 

But this case study is applicable to any company in the industry, at least from a branding point of view. It makes sense to create imprints according to market segments, and that makes reaching and engaging with those audiences easier because their members have things in common. In this day and age, if an imprint doesn’t have a defined market segment, it’s going to have trouble reaching customers and building loyal relationships with them. It’s not that all imprints will succeed by running blogger-hiring competitions, but initiatives as targeted as the one above are going to be the most effective. Different people love different books, and more and more we need to structure the customer-facing side of publishing in a way that reflects that reality. Luckily there are already some great examples from which to draw inspiration.