For author and media strategist Francesco Marconi, a book is a story, a narrative. It's not a fixed thing. It's a journey.
Marconi began his journey in 2015 when he started publishing his personal notes on finding life inspiration via his Medium page. Rather than taking the traditional route to brainstorming a book, the author invited people on the internet to make choices, write comments, share opinions, and be part of his writing process in real time. The resulting data, rather than a pre-established set of ideas, drove the story.
As a result of that innovative process, Francesco Marconi just published Live Like Fiction, where he shares his life story and the strategies he used to accelerate success. The illustrated book acts as a 30-day boot camp for anyone to find purpose through storytelling. His message is simple: the best way to live our lives is to become the author of our own life story.
In order to promote his book and connect with his audience, Marconi has enlisted the help of various emerging technologies - and has found notable success in using automated videos powered by Wibbitz. Each video created summarizes one of the 30 mini chapters – one for each day of the month. Designed to be remembered (and implemented), the videos have a pithy titles, bold graphics, and a straight-talk tone. With these videos, Marconi's professional advice is like an intimate, serious talk between friends at a coffee shop, swapping unfiltered tales of lessons learned at work.
Here are the four key principles guiding Live Like Fiction’s video strategy:
1. Entertain and educate audiences along the way
Successful video content is surprising, authentic and centered in self-discovery, and should never come off as some commercial ploy. It also emerges from listening to and empathizing with a current or desired audience, in order to provide them with an original perspective.
The key behind transitioning Live Like Fiction onto the web was to make professional advice conversational and visually approachable, in order to compete with all of the social videos that are constantly screaming for people’s attention on Facebook.
The secret sauce behind these videos was to incorporate GIFs of visually stimulating art or graphic design in order to supplement the often straight-forward career advice. Marconi asked himself how a modern art museum would present this information if they had the chance. Cover photos of the recognizable figures quoted in each episode - like Michael Jordan, Dalai Lama, Maya Angelou, or, in the following video’s case, MLK Jr. - also helped pull viewers into the videos.
2. Convey the best ideas in 1 minute or less
Because these videos are published on the book’s Facebook page, the author has direct access to metrics—page views, shares, likes, highlights, and retweets, to name a few—that supplies him with evidence-based content development ideas and helps him understand what type of imagery and content works well.
Marconi conducted research on social video engagement before Live Like Fiction made its transition to the web and found that shorter, square video resulted in the higher engagement and share rates. This research paid off as the first episode entitled ‘Find Your Footing’ (and shown below) reached more than 4,300 people before the book was even released.
3. Leverage automated video to drive sales
Content that first emerges online often comes equipped with a built-in fan base that has established a relationship with the author. Since the book already had a fan base, those people became the advocates of the book, and contributed to the initial shares and likes on the videos.
The ability to directly publish videos from the Wibbitz Control Room platform to Facebook made the process of sharing these videos much easier and took unnecessary steps out of the process. This capability truly speaks to the potential of creative automation in a full-circle approach.
Each video also ends with a call to action to purchase the book on Amazon, which Marconi helped push along by providing a clear link between the Live Like Fiction Facebook page and the Live Like Fiction Amazon page.
4. Maintain consistency across media types
The key to using videos to promote a book is to translate a formula that works in a physical product to an online format that is equally impactful. Understanding reader feedback and where they’re consuming media matters immensely to transforming digital content into a viable print product.
Consistency in the color of video signified a central theme to each section of the book. For example, the first section of Live Like Fiction is called ‘Explore Your Meaning’ and was assigned a pink theme. The second section of the book is called ‘Narrow Your Goals,’ and was assigned a blue theme. By staying consistent with the colors and presentation of the videos (square format with the Modern Wibbitz Theme), Live Like Fiction was able to create a brand and presentation that the readers would be able to easily recognize and follow.