Content is king. Here’s how to mirror the pros.
Act like a what? In the past, I’ve encouraged marketers to “think like a media company.” The term media company has different connotations these days (think: cable news), so I’m now saying “think like a publisher” instead. My point remains the same: no matter what sector you’re in, to effectively market and sell to small and midsize businesses, you need to become a publisher, too. Here’s why.
The buying process has changed, and the bar for content quality has been raised. Having engaging content has never been more critical for creating demand, holding attention, and even converting sales as prospective SMB customers proceed through their journeys. Some of your competitors already know this and are producing quality content with this in mind. Plus, in today’s noisy digital environment, you are not only contending with competitors, but also with all kinds of media companies for the precious attention of SMBs.
Once you acknowledge this, thinking like a publisher makes sense. Publishers have relationships with their audiences that are based on trust. Sales guru Jack Daly says, “Sales is the transfer of trust,” and I don’t know any brand that doesn’t want to improve its level of trust with its customers. Publishers are also masters of engagement. They understand their audiences’ needs, and they can produce content that makes people want to subscribe and keep coming back for more.
So, how do you become more like a publisher?
- Develop a mission for your content. Publishers are guided by a mission, which is the purpose they serve for their readers. Define what your customers need most, and what you can help them do. Then create content that is aligned with your mission, however you define it, that is also of interest and value to your target audience.
- Mix it up. Publishers offer a cross-section of different types of content across various media that appeal to different segments and audience tastes. Go beyond the obvious, best-practices type of content that focuses on tying your product or service to customer needs. Such content is necessary, but not enough. Short, newsy items on timely topics of interest should be interspersed with longer features. Content from external subject matter experts can add credibility and bring a different point of view. Customer stories highlight real-world applications and make your content more personally relatable.
- Create an editorial calendar. Publishers make sure their audiences know what to expect, and when to expect it. Publish regularly and consistently to keep your brand and messaging top of mind and keep your customers and prospects coming back.
Many brands continue to publish stand-alone, one-off content that is written by the same in-house people and usually in the same tone. The more you begin to think like a publisher and produce varied content that is compelling, helpful, and fresh, the more you will build a trusted relationship with your audience, generate more demand for your products and services, and create a communication channel with your customers that is second to none.