Publishers, You’re Holding All the Content Marketing Chips
It was late on a recent weekday evening, and I pledged to finally throw in the towel after a rather hectic workday and spend my final waking hours channel surfing before bed. After my channel guide revealed a rather unappealing menu of options, my attention drifted to ESPN, which was featuring the “World Series of Poker.”
Full disclosure: I stink at poker. I mean, I once thought I was the next Johnny Chan (Rounders anyone?), but I realized my nominal success was more a product of luck than a sustainable winning strategy.
Nonetheless, I was intrigued, so I observed. And despite the bad announcer puns and cheesy commercials and product pitches, one recurring result smacked me in the face: the player with the most chips -- regardless of their hand -- would win the majority of the time. The chip leaders would force their will and leverage their clear advantage in assets to secure a stranglehold over their competitors, forcing a series of premature folds (a term poker players refer to as “Bullying”).
So what the heck does this have to do with content marketing, or even publishing?
Media Companies: YOU are the Bullies
I have spoken at recent American Business Media/SIIA and South by Southwest events, and have bantered with many publishers struggling to grasp how content marketing fits into their particular worlds.
Print revenue is down. Branding campaigns have pivoted to time-consuming lead-gen programs, and agencies -- once the liaison between the client and the media company -- are now “Frienemies” as they begin to create their own content and channels for YOUR clients.
But fellow publishers, look around the proverbial poker table, and heed notice: YOU are the ones holding all the chips.
Media companies have historically served their audience by securing a bevy of the most talented and experienced writers in their respective industries. This advantage cannot be understated: while many brands and agencies are truly creating some inspiring content, media companies are built to create engaging content consistently and have an army of experienced and well-versed writers and editors at their disposal.
If a media company wanted to expand its offerings and provide a media services group to its client base, one key component is already checked off the list before even getting started.
The Takeaway: Ask your most senior writers if they are up for this fresh perspective: You may be surprised with what you hear. A chief marketing officer at a leading marketing solutions platform recently confided in me that a HUGE part of his company’s growth was attributed to traditional journalists leaving media companies in droves to spearhead branded content efforts.
Consumers of content, as a whole are, are finicky creatures (myself included).
If a brand sends me a whitepaper, it is helping me? Are they trying to sell me something? Yes this tech company is presenting a cool webinar, but what’s the catch?
Our mantra at the Content Marketing Institute encourages brands and agencies to “think like publishers,” and present valuable, compelling content that is relevant to the targeted audience. Many brands have done this well, and have seen trust, engagement (and ultimately sales) increase. Others have been slower to adapt, and have suffered, losing subscribers and crossing over the “pitchy” line.
Media companies have that trust built into their infrastructure, with a loyal audience essentially raising their hands to consume your content. So if a media company continues to produce quality, compelling, and relevant content -- even for a client -- chances are that the audience will come, and stay.
The Takeaway: Never stop engaging with your audience. Are you replying to every comment -- good and bad -- on social media? Regardless of your content – whether pure editorial, or branded content, or everything in between -- are you putting your audience’s interests ahead of your own agenda? Never stop building trust!
I’ll try not to toot my own horn too much, but in short, I know my customers. As a publisher, I have spent countless hours talking with them in their cities, at their offices, at conferences, on the phone, via email, and over Skype getting to know their objectives, their needs, and their dynamics. Off the top of my head (and maybe with a little help from my CRM platform), I can tell you if they reach enterprise or SMB, B2B or B2C, U.S. or international, etc.
If you are a publisher, I am sure you can relate: and because of this, who better to serve the needs of such well-researched partners than YOU? Publishers can leverage this dynamic and better streamline communication between their clients, and ultimately create truly amazing content for their clients that serve a relevant audience… after all, who knows them better?
The Takeaway: Regardless of the size of your company, the opportunity is real to build a content powerhouse within the infrastructure of your current company. Successful companies who have made this pivot -- like WSJ Custom Studios, Tribune Content Agency, Hanley Wood Marketing, etc. -- can serve as great beacons to help your next steps.
The media landscape has pivoted. This is an unavoidable fact. But look around: You have more chips than most others vying for your coveted budgets. Are you ready to take on that Bully mindset? Market share is yours for the taking.