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PubU sessions will explore the tools and rules for reader engagement in a variety of platforms

Tuesday, October 3, 2017  
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Meaningful reader engagement is the key to publishing success

by Jeff James, VP of Marketing for Nelson Books/ HarperCollins Christian Publishing Group; and 2017 PubU Brain Trust co-lead of Reader Engagement track


Jeff JamesBefore there is a purchase, there is interest. Before there is interest, there is engagement.


In today’s massively distracted marketplace, meaningful engagement is the key to short and long-term success.


Notable marketing and social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk says it best, “To get customers, you need to go from the heart to the brain to the wallet.”Too often in seeking to acquire new or recurring readers, we shoot for the brain or the wallet first:


“New York Times best-selling author…”
“Order now and get these free gifts….”

“The long-awaited follow-up to….”


These are all informational or economic appeals. Reader engagement is about connecting with consumers with emotion and unexpected value to win their hearts first.


The ECPA PubU Reader Engagement track, with publishing team members from a variety of disciplines, will highlight how to attract, activate, and retain readers, while moving them through the purchase funnel with effective content, social engagement and advocacy tactics.

To get our heads in the right place, GABE LYONS, author and Q Conference founder, will open our track with “Shouting at Culture.” Gabe will dive into how the church has walked the tightrope of trying to be in but not of the culture; unfortunately, in too many cases, we’ve created more dissonance and friction with our surrounding cultures than has been helpful in spreading our message of hope.

Multiple sessions will explore how the creative use of new platforms can facilitate this engagement.


PHIL WARNER, VP of Video Production with RightNow Media, has transformed the way churches, small groups, church leaders, kids and individuals engage with video resources and how this model deepens the relationship with God while strengthening and extending brands and will lead the session “Seeing is Believing: The Value of Video in Reader Engagement.”


JEFF JAMES and ARYN VAN DYKE of Thomas Nelson will share case studies on the use of mobile text marketing to expand reader engagement, and JOLENE BARTO of HarperCollins will explore how audio, via podcasts and audiobooks, is becoming the preferred engagement platform for a growing segment of readers.

An exciting view into how Proverbs 31 Ministries, one of the fastest-growing content-focused ministries in the world, cranks out highly engaging content across multiple platforms will be led by LEAH CHABAI, P31’s Director of Content and Social Media. Leah will share real-world examples on how P31 produces and shares content that builds lasting loyalty around your mission, author or organization from the Proverbs 31 Ministries team.

Rounding out the Reader Engagement track will be ANNA LEBARON, notable for her leadership of the wildly passionate and effective launch team for Jen Hatmaker and now an entrepreneur offering street team services for authors and publishers.  


In addition, a panel of exciting speakers will share how to leverage in-person events more effectively to begin the consumer relationship in “Let’s Party! How to Leverage Events for Effective Reader Engagement.”

The PubU Reader Engagement track will provide you with the big picture understanding of why reader engagement is so critical, share the underlying platforms that make it possible, and deliver key strategies and case studies on how to build your own exciting engagement campaigns.

Learn more at  See you at PubU!




ECPA PubU for the Christian publishing practitioner will be held November 7-8 (noon to noon) at Lipscomb University in Nashville, gathering the industry for training, networking, and inspiration. Attendees choose among sessions offered in Marketing & Publicity, Reader Engagement, Editorial, Rights, Design, and Data/Delivery/Workflow.  Learn more.

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