Customized Solutions: The Custom Content Council's Lori Rosen on Publishing's Next Revenue Frontier
Custom media is on the rise, and an increasingly important part of the revenue pie for publishers looking to leverage editorial, marketing and creative skills to bring a new suite of services to advertisers. Custom publishing is not just conventional marketing on steroids, however—creating effective products from scratch requires a nuanced understanding of a marketer's brand, customer relationships and long-term goals.
Inbox talked with Lori Rosen, executive director of the Custom Content Council, about new directions in custom publishing and what content providers need to consider when looking to successfully compete for this business.
INBOX: What does the Custom Content Council do for publishers?
LORI ROSEN: The Custom Content Council was founded in 1998 to provide a voice and presence for the industry, which then resided in the shadows of the behemoth traditional media industry. We conducted research to measure size and industry growth; we held industry meetings to establish best practices, and we became the clearinghouse and source for marketers and media companies who wanted to learn about custom publishing and grow their own custom media practices.
Soon it became clear that this industry was also large and in some ways even larger than traditional publishing. With the advent of the Web, digital and mobile platforms, custom media grew even more. Today we host an off-site conference, Custom Content Conference, the Pearl Awards, which have become the gold industry standard for custom media, a robust website, and we publish our own magazine called Content, which is sent to 32,000 marketers, three times a year.
INBOX: How can publishers think more like marketers when offering custom publishing services? Why would this approach be beneficial to them?
ROSEN: Custom publishers need to put on their agency hats when selling custom media. They need to assess the challenges: What is the marketer looking for? What are the end goals? Then they need to develop a custom solution in order to satisfy the goals. This is more of an agency mindset rather than a publishing company approach.
INBOX: Are the skill sets different for salespeople pitching custom campaigns? What's important for publishers to understand when moving into this new realm of product sales?