Session 3. Marketing and Communications (May '21)

@may21-cohort, I hope you are all making slow and steady progress on your project homepages and project summaries. As @kkardiasmenos did recently, feel free to drop in updates, questions, etc. in the discussion space outside of our calls! We can also troubleshooting things tomorrow at the beginning of our Week 3 session, during our updates portion.

Our Week 3 lesson will cover marketing and communications and the benefits of incorporating it into your early work. I’ll ask you all to think about what’s unique about your project, and what pieces of the story you would like to communicate to your team, and to others as you continue with the project.

Here are the resources for our session:

  1. Handout: Marketing and Communications
  2. Slides: Marketing and Communications
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Hi @may21-cohort, thank you for such great discussions and questions this week. One of the discussions was about licensing, and Tracy Tomlinson (@ttomlin1) has kicked off a topic thread for us to continue hashing this out: Licensing for Remised Materials Discussion.

Here’s our chat transcript. I am very grateful to all of you for not only joining but also for your support and efforts to make the session such a dialogue! Thank you.

This follow-up announcement includes a recap along with relevant links, as well as a reflective checklist for the asynchronous portion of Week 3.

Session Recap

Marketing and open communications are all about developing a community around your book, and ultimately gathering a group of adopters that will help maintain your book in the long-term. Rebus’ own marketing philosophy is built on the principles of openness, collaboration, and inclusion. The way we see it, marketing is really a series of connections: more often between people & projects, and in our case, between collaborators and communities.

Marketing is about creating and telling a story that will resonate with others and inspire them to join you. The story of a book starts from day zero, right from the moment you thought about creating the resource. So get the word out early and announce your project’s existence, and don’t forget to highlight why you decided to start the project or what makes it unique.

And keep this up! Frequent communications will mean that the project stays on the radar for those outside the team, and helps build the momentum leading up to the official release (take a look at our list of tactics).

Being public about your project work also ensures that it isn’t being replicated elsewhere – others may just decide to join forces with you instead. Instead of thinking of marketing as a single phase in the publishing process, try to look at each stage through this lens (look at our slides for some hints on how to weave marketing in every phase).

Make sure that your communication is providing value to others: whether by surfacing the advantages that a particular task will bring to the project or by sharing success stories when milestones are hit. Don’t forget about your biggest marketing asset: the people around your project. Since the project is made up of you and others, we don’t want you to hide behind the scenes! It’s important to recognize you and the work you do — so showcase the team, solicit quotes to share, and get them involved. This also makes your project more compelling to others, as this taps into the general audience’s interests in the personal aspects of publishing.

Finally, remember that a big portion of marketing and communications is listening: validating and recognizing external comments is important to build the connection and trust with those new to the project or simply following it. Respond to comments in a timely manner, and you’ll be surprised at how this small human touch can set your project apart from others. The support of those around your project can have a bigger impact than any other tactics you may employ.

Links and Checklist

Here are some of the links that were mentioned in the chat:

Here’s the Reflective Checklist:

  • Read the section on Marketing and Communications in the Rebus Guide
  • Watch the short video on marketing and communications in the Making Open Textbooks series
  • Write a project announcement (short: a few sentences, or longer: a blog post) and ask the team to share out
  • Talk to the team and keep them posted about the project
  • Profile members of the team
  • Update public project home page
  • Create a contact list of the team and those interested in the project
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Joel, I likely will not be in attendance the next two sessions. We are on vacay and I may not be able to participate.

Dr. Tracy L.F. Worley, PMP

Hi Tracy, I understand if you’re not able to make those two sessions due to a planned vacation. Perhaps you could provide an update on how your project is going when I post the Session 5 intro later today? In any case, have a good trip.