Facebook and Google have trained today’s brand marketers to be obsessed with data and technology. Marketing professionals understand audiences and associations with greater detail than ever before, but many lack the ability to create the same authentic connections that the world’s best publishers have with their communities. The nonstop focus on technology and numbers has blurred the modern marketer’s ability to be authentic, and that skill gap has diluted the power of content and media investment.
With the rapidly evolving content landscape and shifting of best practices, content marketers often forget about publishers. Top publishers have always understood that the fastest way (and perhaps the only sustainable way) to build an energetic community is to release consistent, high-quality content with a targeted perspective. Some publishers also enlist trusted voices or inspiring creatives to help power their content.
For the world’s most successful publishers, the quality and perspective of their content always has been, and always will be, king. If modern marketers want to increase the ROI of their investment in content, thinking like a publisher is a skill set they must master.
What ‘Thinking Like a Publisher’ Really Means
Publishers think for the long term and have a guiding light that governs the authentic perspective of their content and any of the messages their brand presents to its readers or community. Publishers have to be creative, but they also act as a firewall against anything that dilutes from their brand’s targeted perspective.
New Brave World has been lucky enough to represent two publishers that have won the National Magazine Award, and we’ve learned a lot from understanding what they’re willing to do with brand marketing partners. But the more valuable lesson came from understanding the kind of marketing stunts or messages they protect their communities from, regardless of potential revenue.
By protecting their communities, publishers are building trust. Many marketers who are too focused on data put too much emphasis on short-term gains, such as earning the most clicks or shares. By establishing trust, though, publishers are thinking about the long run.
Cohesive storytelling is something today’s top publishers have mastered that marketers often miss. Work to build your understanding of your audiences, and consider more authentic ways to present your targeted perspective. Cohesive storytelling is something today’s top publishers have mastered that marketers often miss.
Thinking like a publisher will help you answer the question “What does my audience want?” with smart, helpful content. To take it a step further, strive to build or join an engaged, passionate community that interacts with, shares, and even helps you create your content.
Using a Publisher’s Mindset to Make Marketing More Effective
Building an engaged community may seem like an impossibly lofty goal, but transforming your audience into a community is actually easier than you might think. The roots of community grow through simple actions like answering questions, reposting follower content, and surprising people with personalized interactions — all of which build trust and loyalty.
To become a customer-first brand with meaningful content, consider these strategies:
The most effective brand content marketers understand their perspective and know which content creators or publishers organically align with the key messages and values that are important to their brands. A human perspective is needed so content is properly aligned and media placement is on target and authentic.
Advertisers should be careful about placing themselves in diluted but massive audiences. Instead, align your brand with trusted micro-audiences that share your values. Micro-communities welcome brands that respect their perspective, and the individuals from these communities are most likely to become brand advocates and drive lasting influence for marketers.
Once you find that community, it’s time to make the most of it. Just like publishers, brand marketers should seek out collaborations with influential storytellers and creatives and find authentic ways to join those communities.
Just like publishers, brand marketers should create consistent, high-quality content and cater to the actual end reader. Quality and consistency are key, so make sure you’re keeping a consistent schedule and that the content you do publish is valuable to the reader.
Though quality is king, don’t completely ignore quantity. The more content you put out, the more likely you are to hit on topics that are important to your audience. HubSpot recently reported that companies that blog 20 or more times per month generate five times the traffic than those that produce four or fewer blogs in a month. Additionally, brands with successful blogging strategies have quadruple the leads of businesses that do not blog.
Remember to give your new content strategy time to find success after implementing your customer-centric changes. Content creation is always a work in progress. Collect data on what seems to work (and what doesn’t) so you’re constantly learning and improving.
Stay focused on how you can better reach, serve, and connect with your target audience, and take lessons from small successes and apply them to the next piece. By thinking about content from a publisher’s perspective, marketers can better engage their audiences and build relationships that last a lifetime.