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Content Marketers: Don’t Think Like a Publisher – Act Like One

Imagine a publication that only wrote about themselves, or a news site with only one writer, or an online magazine that went silent for weeks at a time. Doesn’t sound like a very successful publication, does it?

Publisher_devicesUnfortunately, despite adhering to the “think like a publisher” creed, this is how most brands and their marketing departments operate. This can change — brands can certainly reap the same benefits of the big-time media players — but they need to stop thinking like publishers and start acting like ones. If this is a route you’re willing to take, here are a few important things to consider:

#1. Publishers don’t write about themselves

Go to your favorite news site and try to find a self-serving article. Didn’t find anything, did you? Now go to a company blog and do the same thing. Do you see the difference? A publication knows that its readers won’t care about their updated website or all the awards they’ve won — they care about the topics that interest them.

As a marketer, it can be tempting to talk about your products, services or company all the time (in some ways, that’s what they’re paying you for!), but with regard to your content, you need to be asking yourself will my audience really come here to read this?

#2. Publishers act quickly

When a news story breaks, all of the major outlets have it up within minutes of each other. They act extremely fast. The more a publication can be relied on for up-to-the-minute news and information, the more popular they usually are.

You should strive to reach the same level of relevance with your content. This doesn’t necessarily mean every piece needs to be a news story; simply referencing a recent study or making a timely pop culture reference can help your content feel fresh. Stay up on what is going on in your industry and be prepared to create content at a moment’s notice, which leads us to our next point…

#3. Publishers have writing staffs

Many brands—even those with sizable marketing departments—usually have less than five people creating content at any given time. Of that number, only one or two are likely to have that be their primary responsibility. In other words, their content department is understaffed. If it’s not feasible for your company to bring a larger writing team in-house (most of the time, it isn’t) then consider leveraging a content marketing agency or a community of freelancers.

#4. Publishers focus on both quantity and quality

Quality over quantity is a good rule to live by, but how far should this be taken? If you only update your blog once a year, it won’t really matter how great that one article is, because you’ll never grow your audience. It’s therefore critical for brands to publish shorter form content (blogs and articles) as well as more premium pieces (research reports, whitepaper and eBook). Keep your standards for quality high, but make sure it’s not at the expense of frequency. There’s nothing worse than a brand that goes silent.

#5. Publishers stick to a schedule (i.e. they don’t go silent)

Readers reward consistency. The sites they visit on a regular basis are ones that produce content on a regular basis. When this changes, they leave and there’s a good chance they’ll probably never come back. The same is true for your brand. If you start out publishing five times a week, that’s what your readers will come to expect. If you don’t publish for weeks at a time, they’ll have the same reaction.

In order to provide a lot of great content on a consistent basis, publishers understand the importance of planning their editorial calendar. The editorial calendar outlines the staple ingredients for content that will be needed on a daily basis, while still leaving some wiggle room for time-sensitive pieces.

Focus, quality, consistency. The traits of successful publishers are the same as those of marketing departments. Once you start acting more like a publisher, you’ll start to see the same results.

By Michael Brown – CEO & Founder at nDash Marketing
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