The Problem;

According to Reading Agency, children in England have the least positive attitude towards reading, with only 26% of 10 year old’s enjoying reading, compared to 46% in Portugal, 42% in Georgia, 35% in Romania and 33% in Azerbaijan. Statistics also show the majority of children to do not daily, in fact – only 37% (just over a third) of 10 year olds surveyed reported reading for pleasure every day.

Educational reading is also falling behind – during 2010-2015, Gov UK reported one in 5 children leave primary school unable to read at a standard that will ensure they are placed within an appropriate secondary school; meaning thousands of pupils are leaving primary school unprepared. In antithesis, children who read books often at age 10 and more than once a week at age 16 gain higher results in maths, vocabulary and spelling tests at age 16 than those who read less.

These statistics alone are enough to highlight the UK’s need to develop a stronger focus on inspiring children to read more.

Making a Difference – World Book Day

Acting as an annual event, World Book Day first appeared in 1995 and aims to encourage children of all ages to appreciate reading through helping them discover new books and authors whilst providing them with National Book Tokens; which allow children to read certain books for free or to receive a £1 discount on any book/audio book costing over £2.99 at participating bookshops and book clubs.

2017’s World Book Day made the following developments:

The Biggest Book Show on Earth live tour took 30 authors to major venues, for thousands of children.
World Book Day successfully distributed more than 15 million £1 book tokens to children (that’s almost one for every child/young person under 18 in the UK and Ireland).
In 2015, the UK’s School Reform Minister Nick Gibb praised World Book Day; including it in the ‘New Action Plan to Inspire Thousands More Pupils to Read’, stating: “Nothing is more important than ensuring every child can read well. Poor reading can hold people back throughout their adult lives, preventing them from achieving their full potential”.

World Book Day has made the following difference within schools:

The proportion of 6-year-olds achieving the expected standards in the phonics screening check has risen from 58% to 74%. That is equivalent to 102,000 more children performing more efficiently.
Utilising national reading holidays is an effective way of allowing children to work collaboratively and making reading seem more enjoyable by turning it into a celebration. Educational books being the top pick for parents.

How Are National Days Advantageous for Marketing?

Sticking with the theme of books, the Literacy Trust’s calendar records over 35 annual celebrations of literacy and reading; meaning there’s big opportunities all-year-round for businesses to utilise these holidays and market themselves further. The desire to improve and encourage children to read is a backbench for industries within this sector.

In 2016, World Book Day surged the market in the following ways (statistics from The Publisher’s Association):

The week of World Book Day increased the UK’s children’s market increased by £1.4 million (up 24.7% on the previous week and an increase of £324,423 on 2015).
The consumer market increased by 10.7% (2016 vs 2015) from w/e 21 Feb-w/e 21 March.
Interestingly, the adult market increased by an incredible £2.4 million vs 2015.

How Can Businesses Market for National Days?

Everyone loves national holidays, for they provide people with a common cause to rally around and celebrate or attend an event – there’s fifteen in September and that’s just the UK! Knowing how to effectively market to these is key; otherwise your investments will amount to nothing.

Plan Ahead:

Remember – not all dates will be related to your niche, so research beforehand to evaluate which suit you best. For content publishers, editorial calendars are a must for monitoring important dates; these can easily be adapted for businesses to record relevant national days; keeping you ahead and allowing enough time to formulate your strategies.

Use Social Media Promotions:

The popularity of social media is un-doubtable, and described by Megan Garber, national days have become “the functional equivalents of a hashtag”; meaning you’re missing out considerably if choosing to neglect this powerhouse. Take advantage by monitoring the popularity of relevant days on social media to engage with your customers further. Currently:

Facebook has approximately 1.23 billion monthly active users and 757 million daily users.
Twitter has 313 million monthly active users.

For example – considering 6th September 2016 is national Read a Book Day, Waterstones recognised knowing how to sell books online is key and therefore decided to take advantage of a trending hashtag to promote some of their most recommended books; this will promote their post higher in under this specific hashtag and therefore increases brand awareness and potentially sales.

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