Tag Archives: help site

Launching the anthology, mapping outlets, and a big win

We’re super proud of three new videos:

22 Oct 2013: This 8-min documentary on how and why Pelican Park High bought study materials through us is so affirming for us. It helps answer the doubts that can haunt you when you’re wondering whether you’re moving forward at all.

1 Nov 2013: Similarly, this 8-min documentary on how and why Minuteman Press sponsored books for Silverstream Secondary.

18 Nov 2013: We created a short 1-minute promo from the Pelikan park video on why schools should buy study materials through us.

But the real hjighlight event of the last few months has to be the launch event of the Paperight Young Writers Anthology on 7 September 2013. (See the blog post here and photos on Facebook.)

20140429_frankenstein-mapBack at the ranch, at the end of October we finally integrated our outlets map onto our product pages, to offer the ability to find outlets and compare prices of books at them per product.

This new product-page map explains the concept behind Paperight much better, too, which frees up other messaging space.

At the same time, we also created a range of new screencast videos for our help site (released 21 Oct 2013), produced on 4 Nov 2013 a new printable product catalogue, including improved CSV-based workflow to make future updates quick and easy, and made (on 13 Nov) some useful guides for schools and sponsors on how to work with us.

Marie and Nick have also been producing loads of Facebook posts about our books and outlets.

Out and about

  • On 10 Oct 2013 I pitched at the Accenture Innovation Awards in Joburg, and won! More on that below.
  • 9 to 13 October 2013: Tarryn, our COO, visited the Frankfurt Book Fair, and also won an award. More below.
  • 24 Oct 2013: I spoke at the launch of market research company Yellowwood’s white paper on transformative innovation. Here’s text and video.

  • 6 Nov 2013: “Tough Truths about Selling to Publishers”. I spoke at the inaugural Footnote Summit, a South African digital-publishing conference. I was worried I might offend some people, but my worries were unfounded: people really appreciated my honest, and my talk led directly to one important publisher signing up, and another giving us much better books.
  • 11 Oct 2013: Nice PR opportunities off back of Accenture win, including this breakfast TV show (skip to 3:10 for me).

New supporters

20130903_122743_window-dressedWe noticed on 4 Sep 2013 that local copy shop Top Copy had devoted their entire front facade to Paperight books. It’s great to see one of our champion copy shops devoting their prime ad space to our books.

We identified 46 separate media pieces about us, including these highlights:

Big wins

Five great wins in the last three months:

Our roadmap for the next 3 months

October and November sales were very low, so for the next three months we’re shifting focus to our Feb/Mar 2014 universities promotional campaign, headlined #textbookrevolution, and emphasising the need for universities and publishers to move away from their traditional, bloated supply chain (where 70% of the retail price of a textbook goes to the supply chain alone), and towards Paperight.

The Paperight Help Video: version 2.0

When Shaun Swingler joined the team as a video intern, he was tasked to update the help video to include elements that we missed when the first video was made and to improve the overall quality of the end product.

1461816_10151841276613785_103333600_nA script was drawn up to reflect the changes necessary and Dezre was chosen to be the sultry Paperight help voice. With the old video in mind, the team deliberated on what was necessary to make an improved version. These edits included finding music to carry through the entire piece, ensuring there are no gaps in dialogue, slotting in title and end slides featuring the Paperight logo, and particular focus on the overall tone of the video – it needed to be far more jolly to better reflect Paperight’s brand image.

We decided that it would be best to split the help video into four shorter videos to make the information more easily accessible and user friendly.

The videos were released through the newsletter, and uploaded to the Paperight blog and help site. The completed videos were:

 Copy shop registration

Topping up

Printing a book

Account settings

The Paperight Help Video

Another part of my induction to Paperight was to produce a Paperight help video to be uploaded to the help site. The help video was designed as a nifty tool for new and registered outlets to refer to about how the site works.

The decision to make this video came from increasing evidence that a large number of registered copy shop managers seemed to find the Paperight.com website difficult to navigate when encountering it remotely, i.e. without a Paperight team member to assist them in person. With copy shops signing up all over South Africa, the help video became the most obvious solution.

The completed video covered the entire Paperight registration process, then how to top up an account with credits (including the two different payment options), the process of finding a document, buying the license and how to download. The option to change general account settings was also detailed, including how to add another user or multiple users to the account.

The video was created using screen casts of specific cursor actions (recorded through CamStudio) and voice recorded prompts that I edited together through iMovie. The finished product was far from professional, but it did the trick. For all outlet queries about the website, Yazeed and I would direct them to the help video to cut down on possible confusion.

The video was launched in the weekly newsletter, and uploaded to the Paperight blog and the help site.

Lessons learned from updating the help site

I began updating the help site early in 2013. In order to make using the site easier for our copy shops, I created a few videos demonstrating how to sign up; how to top-up their credits; how to download a document etc. I then updated the written help posts to reflect some changes that had been made to the user interface. This was a great way for me to learn about how the site works and to understand some of the difficulties copy shops might have with it.

Going through this process definitely helped me handle customer queries more adeptly. I began to realise that most of the copy shops who were using our site had only a basic understanding of how to use websites. We may have thought we were making everything as straightforward as possible, but still we would get calls asking us the most basic things. It made me think how important it is to understand who is going to be using your website, and what their technological understanding is.

Relying on copy shops to be our bookstores and expecting them to be able to work the site was perhaps one of our biggest mistakes/learning curves. In my mind, one of the best things about being a small start up is the kind of customer service and attention to detail you can afford to give. However, on this model, we were not able to give that kind of service because we relied on copy shops to do this. This resulted in a few distressing phone calls from customers that had been turned away from a registered copy shop who said they “didn’t print books” even though we had been through the process with the shops on the phone. We expected that copyshops would be excited about Paperight as it offers them a way of increasing their printing load, which is how they make their money. However, the relative difficulty of using the site (i.e. they had to learn something new) combined with bad customer service meant that we lost quite a few potential customers.

Setting up the help site and content leads list

We began the month with a quality control of the African Books Collective documents to double check them before uploading, archived the files, and uploaded them via CSV bulk upload. By the end of July we had 829 titles listed on Paperight.

By the end of July we had 829 titles listed on Paperight.

Ra’eesa (in the pic here) and Diann finished their time at Paperight by working on a list of content leads, and setting up the help site, respectively. I created a spreadsheet for Ra’eesa and began by sending her the emails and notes we had been keeping about potential content leads, and she spent time capturing all of these as part of maintaining an ongoing database (this is a task that Oscar would pick up later, when he joined us). Arthur set up the Paperight Help site, and Diann used the manual Nick and I wrote earlier in the year to create posts to assist outlets in using the Paperight service.

Having a help site was the preferable option as it allowed us to link to posts on specific issues in an email, rather than having to explain each time, or expect busy outlet managers to read through an entire manual to find the solution to the one problem they were having.

We’d learnt that outlets were not downloading and printing out the manual for reference, as we had expected them to. Instead, they would call or email us each time they had a query. Having a help site was the preferable option as it allowed us to link to posts on specific issues in an email, rather than having to explain each time, or expect busy outlet managers to read through an entire manual to find the solution to the one problem they were having. The help site itself had step-by-step instructions, and screenshots, on things like registering as a Paperight outlet, buying a license, or boosting your business with Paperight.

We also spent time prepping Communist University modules, OUP study guides, and Paperight Editions. Caitlin split some exam packs as per Silulo’s request. We tested the splitting of exam packs with seven subjects: Accounting, Life Sciences, Maths, Maths Lit, Physical Science, Business Studies, and History.

I wrote and submitted a research concept note for a joint EBW and Paperight project, but we were not selected for funding.

Publishers registered

  • Burnet Media (13/7/2012)
  • Kebooks (16/7/2012)
  • ZIM-BUKS (21/7/2012)
  • BookBox Inc (23/7/2012)
  • MSED (25/7/2012)