Two more ways to “act like a publisher”
In a recent post, I explained why B2SMB brands seeking to upgrade their content need to act like publishers. To refresh, this is because publishers have what brands want: a trusted relationship with their audience, engaged subscribers, and repeat visitors. Here are two other things that publishers are doing that B2SMB brands should be doing as well.
Use social media to promote your content
Paid social media, with its incredible ability to target audiences and appear in regularly used feeds, has been a godsend for brands that can no longer rely on display advertising. Publishers are showing that it is also a great way to promote content and drive audiences back to the publishers’ own platforms. See the accompanying WSJ Facebook ad, for an example.
Here’s why paid social makes sense for content promotion:
- It has the ability to micro-target an audience, including behavioral characteristics and preferences, as well as demographics.
- Social media users are used to consuming content on social platforms.
- People turn to social media for news and new ideas.
- Unlike promotional ads that target today’s buyers (perhaps 3% of your target market), content on social media can also reach the other 97%—potential customers who might be looking for a solution in the future, but want ideas today.
To maximize the impact of paid social for promoting content, it helps to have clear goals. These can include:
- Building your subscriber list
- Promoting registrations for a gated asset such as an e-guide or webinar
- Engaging audiences for a content-driven campaign
When deciding which content assets to promote on social media, stick to content that is appropriate for the beginning of the buyer’s journey, since that is where most of your audience will be. (For later steps in the journey, the place for content is adjacent to the promoted content on your platform.)
Segmented email lists
Publishers are always striving to build their subscriber lists. Brands can do the same using email. Unlike social media, where the reach of your content is subject to the changing rules of the platforms, you control the reach and content of your emails, creating a very effective communication platform. Just like publishers serve ads in their content, brands can include marketing messages alongside their email messages. The key is to segment your list, just as many publishers do, so that recipients can select the content they want. Here are a couple of great examples, from the Wall Street Journal and the Harvard Business Review.
Parameters you can use to segment your content offerings include:
- Company size
- Job Title
- Growth rate
Surprisingly, only a few brands are segmenting their email lists. It’s no surprise that inbound marketing pioneer Hubspot is showing the way.
When speaking to marketers about email, I often hear something like, “but our open rates aren’t great.” The solution is simple: produce better content on a consistent basis so that your audience knows what to expect and looks forward to your emails, just as they do those they receive from media companies.
Your most important communication vehicle will always be email, because it’s a medium you own and control. I strongly suggest that you test promoting your content on social media too, since so many people now get their information almost exclusively in this way. Promoting content on social can help you build your email list, as well. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results.
- Consider using social media to promote your content.
- If you aren’t doing so already, develop a consistent email program to distribute your content and keep your audience coming back to your site.
- Create segmented email lists so that recipients receive content that is relevant to them.