Lessons for Magazine Publishers from Content Marketing World
Companies of all kinds are publishing their own content and with the help of social media and their own websites, they are able to reach YOUR readers. During the Content Marketing World Conference in Cleveland last week, these same companies were urged to think like publishers although many of them have never actually been a publisher.
Sessions about content marketing could just as easily been presented during a conference full of traditional media editors. Ideas such as the creation of specific content metrics (consumption, sharing, virality, leads and sales) would get any magazine editor's attention, especially if extra compensation depended on reaching these benchmarks. Then there's the very straightforward and valuable content checklist consisting of findable, readable, understandable, actionable and shareable. If any editor would follow this simple list, readership and engagement would move in a direction that many publishers struggle with today.
While some messages were made loud and clear during Content Marketing World, others were not. For instance, during the opening keynote, authors Sally Hogshead and David Meerman Scott provided some incredibly useful information, but seemed to always bring the conversations back to themselves and their personal brands. Then, during the second-day keynote led by Online Marketing Institute's Aaron Kahlow, both Brian Clark from CopyBlogger.com and SocialMediaExaminer.com's Michael Stelzner stressed the importance of pushing the brand rather than the person.
I also never attended an event where publishing a book was such a big deal. After hearing "I write in my book" or "You can read in my book" so many times, Kahlow and I shared a quick laugh when I suggested that we should co-author our own book on why people who write books feel so important.
While the attendees were urged to become more like publishers during Content Marketing World, Google went out and bought Zagat and Yahoo! fired its CEO while continuing to struggle to see itself as a media company. A day after the conference ended, I read that Gawker Media is pushing itself as a brand with editorial products. So brands are becoming publishers while publishers avoid calling themselves publishers. I get it!
Traditional publishing is changing not because the medium of print is dying. Rather, it's more obvious than ever that anyone and everyone can do what only magazines and newspapers used to be able to do: Publish relevant, useful, believable, sharable content that their readers want.
That's where publishers can help! I asked Joe to consider some sessions at next year's conference on how publishers are helping companies with content marketing… what we've typically called "custom publishing." Whether it's white paper and case study creation or developing an e-newsletter strategy, we've already had success helping our advertisers with some of their content objectives.
My two biggest takeaways from Content Marketing World were pretty clear. First, content creators at traditional publishing companies need to think more like content marketers do. Secondly, all of our advertisers will continue to spend money creating content. If we can't help them, then we may lose them too.