It’s impossible not to have noticed that the publishing world, both consumer and B2B, has fallen on hard times. Publications have up and died, publishers have closed down and failed. Thank the Internet.
While this is certainly a calamity for the media industry, it is something of a boon for savvy brands and marketers, who are realizing that this is their chance to fill the content void left by the disappearance of newspapers and magazines—a chance to, well, become publishers themselves.
Now, if being a publisher were easy, everybody would be doing it. But it’s not. Being a publisher requires the right talent, team, and tools to get the job done, and not every enterprise is willing to make that happen. For those that do, however, an opportunity to shine awaits.
Today, in the new digital world, content-creation and content-production tools that were once the province of publishers are available to all enterprises, large and small. Content-management systems and content-curation technology can help turn brands into publishers overnight.
But here’s the catch: None of these tools or technologies helps with the creation of good, worthwhile content. That’s up to the CMO and his or her marketing team. Everyone has been creating lead- and demand-gen content for years now—musty white papers that potential customers have to provide name, rank, and serial number to get the privilege to receive.
That’s not being a publisher, and that’s not content marketing.
Being a publisher means looking at content 180 degrees differently. Good content is about what the customer is interested in, not what you and your marketing mission statement says is interesting. It’s about them, not about you. This is probably the main impediment to brands truly becoming publishers.
At some conference in the recent past, I was listening in on a discussion with a brand marketer who “got” content marketing and one who was struggling. “Who is a good example of a company that does content marketing well?” asked the rookie. “Well,” said the sage, “you have to look at Red Bull to see how far you can take this. The fact is, Red Bull is a media company that just happens to make an energy drink.”
You might not want to take it to Red Bull extremes, but are you and your team ready to create something new and valuable and interesting and entertaining for your customer?
All the tools and technology in the world won’t make you a publisher; thinking like a media company, a storyteller, and an editor will.
Here are some links to recent articles on CMO.com about content marketing and brands as publishers that might get you going:
About the Author
Tim Moran is the editor in chief of CMO.com by Adobe. He has been with the site since its inception. Before that he spent 20+ years in the B2B technology press. [Read more]