In case you’re seeking inspiration for your book marketing, check out the podcast “Confessions of a Marketer.” Their November interviews with Chris Stefanyk, Wattpad’s head of brand partnerships (episodes 110-111), share ideas on how to leverage technology to make storytelling more interactive and immersive. Wattpad states that they are “the world’s most loved social storytelling platform” with 80M users/month, 55M Millennials and Gen Z, and 14M readers/writers in the US. Their average user spends 37minutes/day on the platform, which shows the power of immersive, long-form content. Wattpad also owns studios which develops Netflix and Hulu originals.
Over these two interviews, Chris covers insights such as:
- • Their Gen Z panelists care about social causes, want to interact with brands and people that care, and seek out purpose-driven content. Their audience is at the forefront of seeking diverse voices. The hashtags #feminism and #girlpower are up +43% since 2018. #foryourbody features characters of varying shapes, sizes and abilities. Their audience’s number one good cause is destigmatizing mental health issues.
- • Building on this insight, writers can leverage storytelling towards affecting positive change. For instance, National Geographic asked writers for stories and poems about the lifecycle of plastic in the environment. 6,000 authors entered the contest, and 75,000 pledged to reduce the use of single-use plastic. [As an aside, I’ve found success bringing my own reusable containers to restaurants. They’re usually more than happy to fill these for takeout and leftovers.] Another example is how Tmobile celebrated the 50th anniversary of LGBTQ Pride with a $1 donation for every related story that was submitted. This promotion generated 10,000 stories.
- • Storytelling has also leveraged technology to become more immersive. Beyond narrative-based video games, Tap by Wattpad tells short chat-style stories through text messages. During the story, your phone might shake or a text comes through during a relevant moment. In the future, Augmented or Virtual Reality (AR/VR) could really change the reading experience.
For your work, consider these thought starters:
- • Communicate how your stories celebrate or appeal to diverse audiences
- • Identify how your writing can affect positive change
- • Experiment with technology to infuse your stories with surprise or entertainment
Carol Van Den Hende, MBA
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