Are Publishers Ignoring the Upsides of Distributed Content?
Last week I wrote about how most publishers don’t have a plan in place to manage the opportunities and costs associated with distributed content. In my book, that’s a missed opportunity.
Publishers don’t disagree. When we surveyed publishers about distributed content, they overwhelming responded that the biggest opportunities they see for distributed content is as an audience development (37%) and brand awareness tool (36%). But are they taking their own advice?
In the past year, we’ve reported extensively on how publishers are using social networks to drive audience development. The most poplar goal for many publishers is to convert a social follower into a subscriber of some sort so they have direct contact with and can eventually gather data on that user.
Audience development expert and PubExec contributor Eric Shanfelt has written extensively that he thinks many publishers are underutilizing social media to drive audience growth and what they should be doing. Writes Shanfelt:
Our mistake has been to look at Facebook — and all social media for that matter — as another publishing channel. We’re good at building audiences and so we do the same thing on social media. We’re obsessed with how many people follow our page and what the organic reach and engagement is with each post.
Instead, what we really need to measure is how well we are using Facebook to build our own audience database. We will change our definition of success on social media once we realize that Facebook is NOT a publishing channel … it’s an audience development tool.
Here also a video with advice from Shanfelt on why Google and Facebook remarketing should be part of your audience development strategy: http://www.pubexec.com/article/video-why-google-facebook-remarketing-should-be-part-audience-development-strategy/
And here’s a look at how Farm Journal is using Facebook to grow subscriptions – and to deliver marketing on behalf of advertisers: http://www.pubexec.com/article/farm-journal-uses-social-media-fill-data-holes/
The flipside of distributed content is the direct revenue/monetization that Facebook Instant Articles and Google AMP are offering. Mostly large consumer publishers have been dipping their toes in this pool, and results have been mixed. That said, it’s another upside that can’t be ignored and we’ll be exploring this angle as well as the technology publishers are using to scale distributed content at the FUSE Forum on Distributed Content on March 23rd in NYC.
Denis Wilson is editor-in-chief of Book Business and Publishing Executive. In this role, he analyzes and reports on the fundamental changes affecting the publishing industry and aims to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.