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The Content Marketing Craze: 7 Ways Publishers Can Fight Back

The new content marketing push is not as scary as it seems. It may even spell major opportunity for publishers.

January 2013 By D. Eadward Tree
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They’re watching us.

They’re hiring journalists, studying our methods, mimicking our headlines (e.g. “5 Healthy Snacks Your Kids Will Actually Eat”), trying to sound like us, and even playing by our rules. And if we’re not careful, they may eat our lunch.

Following the mantra “Every brand a publisher,” thousands of non-publishing companies have jumped onto the content-marketing bandwagon—in many cases publishing articles and graphics that are on a par with what us “real” publishers produce.

“Successful organizations that excel at content marketing are able to function almost as if they were a publisher or a media company,” writes Forsythe Technology’s Matthew Royse, a content marketing strategist. He advises content marketers to abide by the ethical standards of professional journalists, who “create stories that might refer to a specific product or service, but they don’t directly promote or endorse them.”

A companion article on my Dead Tree Edition blog, “Publishing Without Profits: What’s Behind the Content Marketing Craze?” provides examples of content marketing, AKA “brand journalism”, and explains why so many companies are suddenly dumping major resources into producing content that doesn’t promote their products.

But here’s what it boils down to for the publishing industry: If every brand is a publisher, what happens to publishers? What should we do now that all these companies are vying for our readers’ attention and speaking directly to them—rather than via ads in our publications and on our websites?

Here are seven suggestions:

1. Study what the best content marketers are doing. You need to understand what we’re up against and what the content marketing craze could mean for your business.

Sure, non-publishers have produced a lot of crap under the banner of content marketing. And don’t you just love it when a company’s homepage header prominently displays “Blog” even though it’s posted nothing there for more than a year?

 
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