In this interview, our marketing manager for philosophy, Hana Purslow, outlines OUP’s approach to subject marketing. She provides examples of campaigns and channels that we use to promote our content and reveals what she enjoys most about her job and how she sees her role evolving in the coming years.
What is subject marketing?
Subject marketing promotes a particular topic or subject to a research community by showcasing relevant content in that area, regardless of format. This can include book chapters, journal papers, or articles from our reference products. By marketing the subject, we showcase key content for academics to use in their teaching or research. Through the dissemination of OUP’s scholarly research in this targeted way, we can have a direct and positive impact within the subject community.
Our focus in subject marketing is building our brand and OUP’s profile in a particular discipline. We concentrate our efforts on building a strong subject community around our content; it is only through researchers reading, sharing, and citing our content that we can be sure of the real-world impact our publishing has. Our job in marketing is to ensure that the academic community is aware of OUP’s high-quality, cutting-edge, and impactful research.
I am responsible for leading our philosophy subject marketing. I take huge enjoyment in working with OUP philosophy content and learning from the greatest minds across all areas of philosophy. I find working with OUP Philosophy Editors Peter Momtchiloff, Peter Ohlin, and Lucy Randall extremely rewarding—their knowledge of philosophy is second to none, and with so many interesting areas within the subject to cover, it’s a marketer’s dream when choosing which topics to highlight!
Can you give us an example of a subject marketing campaign you’ve worked on?
A good example is the “Philosophy in Focus” campaign I run each month. This is our most successful thematic campaign, where we host a selection of thought-provoking free content around a particular theme. We market each collection through a range of channels including social media, advertising, email, and a dedicated collection web page—always evaluating our results to hone our strategies for increased reach, awareness, and engagement with our OUP philosophy content.
Our first topic was “race,” which we launched during Black History Month in October 2021. Other topics, which often coincide with observance months, include emotions, disability, feminism, technology and AI, and democracy.
“Through subject marketing, academics can discover our new research in an engaging way, with a topic lens.”
Choosing content around important events or areas in philosophy is a team effort between myself in marketing and my colleagues in editorial, ensuring we share key research within the subject and shine a light on topics that matter. This means that academics can discover our new research in an engaging way, with a topic lens beyond individual titles. Sharing content in a way that engages our audience and showcases the OUP Philosophy brand in the best possible light is something I take great pride in. I am grateful to have so many brilliant authors to work with and feel privileged to share their influential work in campaigns like Philosophy in Focus.
What’s your favourite marketing channel?
The OUPblog—this really helps to increase the discoverability of our content, which is how our books are found on search engines like Google. As we publish across such a broad range of topics, we can get creative when working with authors on blog posts. For instance, in our most read philosophy blog of 2022, Kristin Gjesdal brings a unique viewpoint to the relationship between philosophy and theatre by focusing on the work of playwright Henrik Isben.
Our philosophy blog posts aim to be accessible to non-specialist academics so have a wider reach than our published content itself. We share OUPblog posts widely on social media, particularly through our dedicated philosophy Twitter channel, @OUPPhilosophy.
“We choose channels for promoting our content based on what we want the broader campaign to achieve.”
It’s worth noting that we choose channels for our content based on what we want the broader campaign to achieve, so while not all our campaigns will feature a blog post, this doesn’t make them any less valuable—we align the strategy or channel with the campaign objective.
How and why did you get into marketing?
I have always been passionate about marketing, which led to numerous paths in the events, public, and private sectors before joining the publishing industry, which I soon realized was the place for me! Working in marketing for an academic publisher means that I can give back to the world by helping to advance knowledge and learning.
At OUP, we use digital marketing to share high-quality academic content from thought-leading authors around the world. This is something that really drives me; being a lover of all things digital, targeted marketing allows me to build creative strategies that showcase the breadth of publishing we have to offer at OUP, alongside our vision to grow and maximize the impact of our content.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
A large part of my role involves working with authors, which is a real highlight for me. I help authors learn how to promote their books by providing guidance and explaining how they can build their profile to increase long-term engagement with their work. Seeing this come to fruition is so rewarding!
Creating campaigns for conferences—such as American Philosophical Association, Philosophy of Science Association, or The Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association—is another highlight. Whether we’re attending in person or promoting our content digitally, it’s exciting to showcase our cutting-edge publishing with conference delegates and researchers from around the world.
“I help authors learn how to promote their books and build their profile. Seeing this come to fruition is so rewarding!”
Overall, I’m motivated by seeing the impact that marketing can make, from campaign planning right through to the end results. It’s exciting to see how marketing can influence online usage and more, depending on what we’re trying to achieve for that campaign.
How do you see your role changing over the next few years?
Everything evolves, and so does my role and offering as a marketer. This will be based on the challenges and opportunities we face in the market—from open access growth to the way people find research, and the ever-changing digital landscape. There is always more to learn, and I am excited to see what’s coming next.