What Does Your Company Have in Common with Time Warner, News Corporation, Walt Disney Co., and CBS?

Answer: You are all media/publishing companies.

Wait a second – you may ask. We aren’t publishers or a media company. We make widgets. We sell business services. We’re in manufacturing…agriculture…health care…financial services…software…the restaurant business, and so on.

Yes, that may be your mission, but now and in the future, if you are going to market what your organization does or produces, you will need to start thinking of yourself as a publishing and media company. A key factor in your success will be dependent on your company’s ability to publish relevant, interesting, fresh, credible and helpful content. It will also require you to publish it in a manner that gets found and considered.

It is important to note that publishing and media companies succeed by giving consumers what they want to see, read or hear, rather than telling them what they (the publishers) want to say.

Your brand is embodied in the content you publish. That content most likely lives on your website in one form or another, but it can also include offline pieces of published content. On the Web, it may include all of the textual information located in different sections of your website. It can also include white papers, blog posts, videos, podcasts, social media content (tweets, Facebook Page posts, LinkedIn information, etc.), infographics, photos, other visuals, statistics, specifications, reviews, commentary, support material and much more.

Thinking like a publisher is a different and difficult frame of mind for many companies. Marketers are used to thinking in terms of advertising, direct marketing, e-mail campaigns, search engine marketing, public relations, sales and lead generation. These standard tools of marketing are not going away for the foreseeable future, but increasingly, the ability of companies to publish good content will start to take center stage. If you can’t publish content that distinguishes your organization, then all the marketing tools in the world are going to be less-than-effective at creating success.

Content, as a vital marketing component, has been accelerated greatly in 2010 with major social media initiatives or experimentation at most companies. Remember, social media is simply the delivery vehicle. What companies need to be concerned with –and what consumers are interested in – is the social content. It’s what companies are publishing for their social content that is primary. How this content is delivered is secondary.

Consumers have grown resistant to hype and hyperbole in marketing and are increasingly relying on helpful content – whether that be company produced or comments from others ­– to help them make buying decisions. Ads, e-mail campaigns, and static websites are no longer the end game for marketing. Most marketing tactics sooner or later lead back to the content. If a company is going to do all it can to make sure the content does its job, it will be dependent on an increasing ability to think and act like publishers. And remember, most publishers create fresh content every day!

A change of mindset and priorities may be required to do all this, and there isn’t a better time to start that process than now, at the beginning of a brand new year.

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