I recently took a tour of a local Christian radio station. The radio host conducting the tour explained that the station’s main audience was women 20 to 50 years of age.
The host went on to state that many listeners had requested that their radio station do programs for children and men. However, while the station thought these were great ideas and noble programs, the station managers had decided that they could not be all things to all Christians. Therefore, this station had decided to focus on one audience. That audience is women, mostly Christian moms.
This station’s goal is to be there for their women listeners 24 hours a day, seven days a week. That way, no matter when a listener tunes in, she will hear what she is expecting: uplifting Christian music and encouragement.
This Christian radio station understands the power of branding! They also have identified their target audience. Rather than trying to reach every Christian with their music, they have picked one Christian audience, focused on that audience, and served them well.
Christian publishers can take a lesson from this radio station. Many independent publishers I know offer such a wide diversity of books that their marketing message and branding becomes too diluted.
Instead of publishing just historical romance, Christian living nonfiction, or Christian biographies, these publishers publish a wide range of topics both fiction and nonfiction. Each book produced has a slightly different target audience. As a result, the publisher has to develop a new audience and marketing strategy to reach consumers for each new book published. Most often, because the publisher is already overworked, these marketing campaigns are not targeted effectively and end up being less effective than desired.
Consider Summerside Press. This Christian publishing house began their publishing journey by producing a series of Christian romance novels called Love Finds You in… Each novel in the series was set in a town in North America. It was not until Summerside Press had developed a loyal following of Christian romance readers (women) that they began to expand their offerings through adding romantic suspense novels and devotionals for women.
Doing one thing and doing it well creates a strong brand and allows publishers to develop a targeted, loyal audience to promote their books to.
If you are a new publisher, think seriously about your brand and the audience you want to reach. Don’t reinvent the wheel with each new book. If you are an established publisher, it is never too late to start afresh.
Do one thing and do it well!