Organised by the Booksellers Association, Independent Bookshop Week (IBW, 18-25 June) is the annual celebration of indie bookshops across the UK and Ireland. The Indie Book Awards are the annual book awards part of IBW, honouring the best summer reads in paperback, as recommended by indie booksellers. The ultimate goal of IBW is to increase footfall in indies during the campaign and beyond, as well as putting booksellers in the spotlight of media conversations and celebrate the role they play in their local communities. Midas was appointed to run a PR campaign to build momentum prior to and during Independent Bookshop Week; encourage shoppers to visit their local indie; create media opportunities for booksellers, their shops, and their stories; and raise the profile of the Indie Book Awards. The BA set book-buyers as the specific target audience for the campaign current, so the focus was to be on current readers and women aged 25-50. National and broadcast coverage were the main media targets, on top of regional and lifestyle coverage.
BOOKSELLERS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
As a key campaign goal was to put booksellers in the spotlight, Midas worked closely with ITV News to arrange nine interviews with local bookshops across the country, with ten booksellers interviewed by their regional channels. The piece was brought together by an interview with the director of the Booksellers Association, Meryl Halls. We also worked with regional media to ensure booksellers were given prominence in local stories, with media name-checking the bookshops and doing interviews and features with their local booksellers.
AUTHORS CHAMPIONING INDIES
In order to raise the profile of the campaign and hit more national coverage, Midas worked with the high-profile names taking part in the campaign, including Reverend Richard Coles, Dorothy Koomson, Patrick Gale, Lucy Mangan, Rebecca Solnit, as well as the authors shortlisted in the Indie Book Awards like Emma Stonex, Salena Godden, Sarah Winman, Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason, Joseph Coelho etc. In all interviews, we pushed for authors to mention their support for indies and share their favourite local independent bookshops, to encourage customers to show some love for their local indie too.
To encourage the public to visit their local indie, we positioned bookshops as destinations in their own right, securing several media roundups of the best independent bookshops to visit during IBW, including several location-based roundups, to a feature on art and photography bookshops.
HITTING THE TARGET AUDIENCES
Midas focussed on reaching the two main target audiences of current readers and women by securing two strands of coverage: features and interviews in literary media and blogs, “save the date” mentions, interviews and competitions in women’s lifestyle media, as well as parenting or young people’s media.
To engage with reading audiences even further, we organised and delivered the first ever nationwide BookTok Tour, featuring nine BookTokers from different regions, including Northumberland, London, Manchester, Cambridgeshire, York, Sunderland, Cambridge, Wolverhampton and Aberdeenshire. Each BookToker was sent a set of books from the Indie Book Awards shortlist, plus a £10 National Book Token, which they used to create content around the Indie Book Awards and visiting their local bookshops during IBW.
INDIE BOOK AWARDS
Midas raised the profile of the awards in three ways: we secured significant exposure for the shortlist announcement, with 95 regional pieces through a syndicated story in JPI Media. We secured a feature in Stylist Magazine, positioning the shortlist as “summer holiday reading material.” Finally, we worked with Scala Radio as the official media partner of the awards: they had the exclusive on the winners’ announcement, as well as setting up interviews, giveaways, online articles, and social media activity around the Indie Book Awards judges.
During our three-month campaign, Midas secured 268 pieces of coverage, with an audience reach of 302.8 million. Midas secured 20 pieces of national coverage across key outlets including The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times, The i, Metro, BBC Radio 2 and Scala Radio. Over 188 regional stories ran across print, broadcast and online, reaching every booklover in the country. We secured 36 quality lifestyle articles in outlets including Stylist, Prima, Waitrose Magazine, Time Out, The Week Junior, The People’s Friend, and AnOther Magazine. Over 129 pieces of digital coverage ran for the campaign, with over 51 broadcast mentions of “Independent Bookshop Week.” Our PR activity had an increase by +308% in reach from the previous year, showing better quality of coverage (more national and broadcast). For the Indie Book Awards alone, Midas secured 114 pieces of coverage, compared to 15 in the previous year (+660%). The inaugural IBW BookTok Tour generated a combined total of over 25K views and 3K engagements (likes, comments, and shares) on TikTok.