Interview by Erin L. Cox
Emily Morrow is an Assistant Marketing Manager at Scholastic and, among her various responsibilities, is tasked with developing and maintaining Scholastic’s “This is Teen” online community, a platform that allows YA readers to share in a conversation with Scholastic, its authors, and other readers about their love of YA and other books.
She’ll be speaking about “This is Teen” as part of Publishing Perspectives’ March 26 conference, Designing Books for Millennials, on the panel “Research to Reality: Discussion on How Millennials Consume Content,” along with Randy Petway (EVP, Strategy and Business Development, Publishing Technology); Irene Gallo, (Associate Publisher, Tor.com); and Yoav Lorch (CEO, Total Boox).
Publishing Perspectives spoke with Emily about the development of the community and what Scholastic has learned.
When did Scholastic launch the “This is Teen” online community? What sparked that idea? What were the goals?
This is Teen was launched as a Facebook page in 2011 with the intention of creating a community that could reach teens where they spend most of their time — on social media. Our goals were (and continue to be) to inspire conversations about books and reading, to connect readers directly with authors, and to give us a place to introduce new Scholastic young adult books.
How successful has this online community been? What kind of traffic do you get to the site and Twitter/Facebook?
Since its launch, This is Teen has expanded to Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube, and our audience continues to grow daily! We currently have more than 175,000 active fans across all platforms.
Has Scholastic made any publishing decisions based on feedback from “This is Teen?”
One really fantastic benefit of the platform is that it allows us to get feedback from consumers almost instantaneously. The community’s responses to things like book covers, quotes, author Q&As, and more, help us keep track of trends and identify what’s working in the marketplace, which can help us hone our outreach.
You’ve had a number of successful viral campaigns, including #IreadYA, which you’ll be talking about at our upcoming “Designing Books For Tomorrow’s Readers” conference. What are the goals of these campaigns and what has been your biggest surprise/success?
Our goal with these types of campaigns is always to create a statement or a movement that we think is important to share, and that we believe readers and book lovers of all ages can get behind. The #IreadYA campaign has probably been our biggest success to date — we were overwhelmed with the volume of positive responses we saw on social media the first year, which encouraged us to make this an annual event. This May will be our third year! We’ve also had success with our smaller scale, holiday-themed offshoot of #IreadYA, which we call #IgiftYA.