There are infinite ways to be Black.
This message exists at the heart of All Ways Black, a platform Penguin Random House launched in 2021 to authentically showcase and celebrate the many facets of the Black experience and carve out a unique space for our Black authors, books, and readers. In doing so, we hoped to spark a conversation that transcended publishing to invite new audiences into books.
When we launched All Ways Black on Instagram @allwaysblack in May 2021, we had three primary objectives, as outlined above:
To be successful, we knew we had to be captivating and authentic, so we partnered with Bookstagrammer and friend of PRH Cree Myles, who continues to work alongside our corporate marketing team to develop editorial content and original programming that explore the intersections of Black books and culture.
Our entry is the kickoff. It introduced the world to All Ways Black and set the tone for the spirit, energy, and content that would be found on the platform. Our strategy in creating the video to achieve our objectives included:
Introducing All Ways Black outperformed all goals and benchmarks initially set for the project, which we attribute to the creative direction and audience-first approach that strongly resonated with viewers. This video helped elevate All Ways Black beyond the book community and reinforced the impact that literature has on our culture.
While our submission lives on YouTube, most of our marketing centered on Instagram, via organic and paid promotion, since our objective was to invite a community of readers to @allwaysblack.
We identified partners that aligned with our messaging strategy, starting with Black media such as The Root and Essence; cultural interests, which included a broad swath of musicians, artists, writers, TV, and more; students at HBCUs; and an All Ways Black lookalike audience. Off Instagram, we partnered with Afropunk to release the video in a dedicated newsletter and social post to their 1M+ followers.
All Ways Black is consistently the most engaged community in the Penguin Random House social ecosystem, and a follow-up campaign is being planned for winter 2022.
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