Are you dominating your industry? If you’re not a publisher — if you don’t own and distribute your own content — the answer is a resounding “no.”
Many companies rely on search and social channels to distribute their content. But as a B2B marketer, the chaotic, fluid nature of these channels should give you pause. Your brand is often at the mercy of each algorithm change that alters who sees the content you’re putting out. You relinquish all control over whether your message reaches its intended audience.
When you think and act like a publisher, however, you’re in the driver’s seat. You take charge of your brand narrative. But this often requires an entire overhaul to your tactics, strategies, and even perspective of marketing.
It’s hard work, but the ROI is huge: Content marketing is 62% cheaper than traditional marketing but results in three times as many leads.
Taking a Closer Look
SEO dominance is key to winning in today’s business environment. Content is how you get there.
First, you’ll need to audit your page ranking and compare yourself to the competition. If you’re lagging behind, harness both internal and external resources to accelerate your thought leadership. It’ll help garner a larger audience.
You can improve the probability of online dominance by leveraging a newsroom approach to content curation, creation, and distribution. After all, a newsroom acts as a publishing engine to ensure an efficient process, deadline adherence, and editorial governance.
A byproduct of a publisher mentality is that you’ll stay more attuned to subtle marketplace changes. Your brand is in constant communication with your audience, which means reliable customer feedback. If you leverage this data, you’ll find yourself a step ahead of more traditional marketers.
You’ll also outsmart the competition because you’ll naturally concentrate on content that matters most to your audience. Your brand is at the forefront of the consumer’s mind when making purchase decisions, which has a profound effect on the bottom line.
Shifting to a brand as publisher mindset isn’t a quick and dirty strategy; it’s a long game. An adequate runway to build your publishing practice is non-negotiable. Year one should be for testing and building. Year two is where you’ll see more substantive results.
The following steps can help you get started:
1. Break down silos.
Most companies split their departments into silos, providing structure and accountability for those within. While this encourages business growth, it also poses a problem when it comes to the flow of information between marketing and sales — not to mention finance, customer service, and technology.
Break down the barriers between silos by creating a unified vision for your company. Set common goals among departments. And encourage a free flow of valuable information to develop a clear, consistent voice for all communication to customers.
2. Establish content guidelines.
Developing a clear, consistent voice isn’t always easy, but it often starts by defining what makes your company unique, what’s special about your products or services, and what your company stands for. In other words, what makes you you. Think in descriptive terms — not cliches.
Once you’ve fleshed out who you are, determine the best way to convey that through choice of words, tone, and tenor. Develop guidelines around your brand voice and empathy regarding the customers you’re targeting with your outreach efforts. Work it into every touchpoint — from your website to that thank-you email.
3. Test and tweak content.
Creating more engaging content is a priority for 72% of content marketers. When you consistently produce relevant, high-quality content, your audience will be hooked, always ready for more.
Not all content is created equal, however. Whether you publish short, snappy, image-heavy blog posts with the latest news, detailed analyses of topics impacting your industry, or a little bit of both, you’ll need to figure out which mix performs best.
Commit to testing both disposable and evergreen content. Disposable content is short-form and addresses the audience’s thirst for trending news, while evergreen content has a longer shelf life and delivers more extensive information. Audiences may elect to engage with such content over a longer period of time. As you find out which content best resonates with your audience and drives more traffic to your site, increase your output.
4. Monitor key metrics.
The key metric for content marketing success is quantifiable audience growth. Aggregating your overall audience count from newsletters, social media, blogging, and trade shows should be a key metric that is carefully monitored.
But being a publisher is about more than brand attention. Your content should also help increase conversation rates. In fact, companies that use content marketing tactics see conversion rates that are almost six times higher than companies that rely on more traditional marketing. Track the results of each piece of content to see what brings in the most leads. Use the data to tweak your strategy and maximize conversion rates.
5. Publish constantly.
Your new mantra: Always be publishing. Employ an “always on” approach in order to deliver daily content to your audience. “Publish or perish” is a common phrase in academia used to describe the necessity to constantly publish academic work in order to survive. A brand-as-publisher mindset can transcend survival and actually deliver true industry dominance.
But you won’t get there by hastily slapping just anything online. The content must be relevant and useful to its intended audience. Set standards for the content you create and distribute to ensure it meets the needs of those people who matter most: your customers.
Hitching your wagon to media titans such as Facebook or Google can deliver results, but the lack of control can also cause intense heartburn. Take charge of your brand narrative by thinking like a publisher and owning your content. Your bottom line will thank you.