There is much debate in the marketing world around whether marketers should think, write and act like publishers, and, while some do not agree with this approach, as in any professional arena there are always valuable lessons to be learnt from associated industries.
Both marketers and publishers need to understand as much as possible about their audience (plural), with the aim of reaching buyers with products or services which fit their individual needs. However, the process of delivering those messages can differ in the approach.
As a marketer, today’s task could be to write an advertorial, new brochure copy or an internal email; you could be working on refreshed website copy or a tweet; or you might be drafting an internal email, a press release or a blog.
Whatever it is, gone are the days where your marketing content is as simple as ‘know your message, relay your message’. The pressure is now on, through ‘content marketing’ to engage, entertain and educate. Content marketing is on the rise, bringing greater competition, higher standards and more innovative content to be distributed – and there we are in publishing.
• Hold your audience captive
Publishers are always working to attract new audiences with the knowledge that it’s just as important to hold onto the existing one. If your content gets stagnant, isn’t fresh or simply isn’t relevant to your reader’s life anymore, they will soon turn off or hit the ‘unsubscribe’ button. Keep your content (and your audience) alive by ensuring you continue to deliver new information, listening to what new content could be topical and delivering new insights to draw them deeper into your products and services.
Your content needs to align with your customers. Your customer needs to be able to learn something new, relevant and useful to their lives. If it doesn’t, they won’t read past the first line.
• Act like a publisher
As well as content creation, publishers have to manage, edit and, of course, publish. This all involves teamwork, (flexible) scheduling and deadlines. It’s not great practice to have one person creating an idea, writing the content, proofing the end result and pushing it out. The idea for this blog, for example, was not mine – I’m writing it now, but I will give it to someone else to sense-check and proof before another colleague schedules and manages the distribution.
Great authors don’t work on their own and neither do publishers. If nothing else, remember that just because the content makes sense to you, you wrote it, so it would do (hopefully).
• Employ SEO best practice
Publishers learnt a long time ago that all your content could, and should, end up on the internet – so keep that in mind. Good keyword research will ensure your content is significant and valuable and can be found easily online. For example, phrases such as ‘travel PR’ or ‘travel 80:20’ will be valuable in this blog…
‘Google Trends’ is a good tool for knowledge on popular searches and ideas for blog topics.
• Take advantage of social media
Today’s customers consume more digital content than ever before so you need to make your content work for you. Push it out…then push it further. Take whatever your key messages are and use those which are most appropriate to that audience on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, just for starters.
Expand your online reach by making it easy for others to share your content and your images.
• Lost in translation
If you are producing content across global regions, remember that you can’t translate a message into another language and expect it to mean the same thing. It simply doesn’t work. Work out what your message is in that country and start from scratch.