Call it what you will but writing and posting articles, blogs, case studies, ebooks and white papers on behalf of your business and brand makes you a publisher. Along with this sexy title you now have the responsibility to define a content strategy, create editorial calendars, source your writers and designers, put them under contract as a new vendor and all that this entails, edit working drafts, and distribute the end product through your channels of communications to your customers and team members.
This is not your parents’ marketing anymore!
The Power of Content
It is indisputable that content marketing (aka, self-publishing) is the top performer in marketing communications in terms of ROI, demand generation, customer loyalty, affordability and lead generation. Don’t take my word for it. Here are the facts according to several recent studies:
- Content delivers the best B2B ROI
- Conversion rates are 6x higher for companies and brands using content marketing than those that are not
- 95% of B2B buyers consider content as trustworthy
- Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing
- Long-form blog posts generate 9x more leads than short-form blog posts
The real questions to consider: are you any good at publishing and what can you do to improve?
The Secret Sauce
Being a self-publisher is not simply a matter of writing a few blog posts or newsletters. There is a method to successfully publishing content about your company, brand and products that attracts readers and transforms them into customers and advocates. It is critical to have a written content strategy that defines the type of stories you will be telling, how they will be told and where they will be shared. The secret sauce is being able to tell your story in the proper context for the reader. Finding the right community with conversations that you can participate in naturally is important. Becoming a trusted participant others will choose to listen to and follow is your first goal. Building this trust is usually built through listening as much as talking and sharing your insights in consideration of those participating in the conversation.
Let me try to illustrate this point. Have you been to a gathering in which someone insists on talking solely about themselves? At first, the personal stories add to the conversation and spark sharing of similar experiences. As this person continues to only talk about themselves, others begin to leave the conversation to discover different points of view or possibly to change the subject. Finally, the conversation is abandoned because this person insists on talking only about themselves. The context is ‘me’ and not the ‘we’ of the community. Does this sound familiar? Have you been a part of this type of conversation? Unfortunately, most building products companies are the ones that insist on pushing their ‘me’ point of view without regard to context within the ‘we’ communities.
Time or the lack thereof is the number one challenge for businesses to self-publish primarily because they choose to have their content created in-house.
Many of the building products manufacturers I have spoken to recently all talk about the need for subject matter experts to create their content. The PR person writes articles, the social media specialist writes blogs, the brand team prepares case studies and the product team writes white papers.
The fact of the matter is the internal team is often committed to several other responsibilities throughout the day, week and month that make it challenging to create this highest quality content in a timely manner. It typically requires a special kind of wrangling to get their assignments delivered on time and complete. Finally, let’s face it, not everyone is a good writer.
Producing engaging content is the most important deliverable and a top challenge for businesses. Words and images carefully and properly used to compel people to make decisions, change their minds, and choose you is a special skill that professional writers and designers are trained and experienced at delivering. They have the ability to discover and communicate your compelling messages and information in the voice that represent your business and brand in a manner that connects with your audience. Next the professional adds SEO to the mix so your content can be found. Designers of infographics and producers of video provide the same type of skill.
Delivering your stories consistently is the key to gaining, growing and retaining your audience. This is true in both the printed and digital worlds. Where time is reported as the number one challenge for businesses to publish, not surprisingly, consistency is also at the top of the list.
Establishing an editorial calendar of content helps you provide consistency with your strategy, content and delivery. Once again, this takes time and skill to create an ongoing conversation that is enticing and interesting to your chosen community without it being all about you. A well-planned editorial calendar will leverage the best timing, topics and contributions by all participants to assure you are optimizing your investment consistently.
Content Made Easy!
In a perfect world, you have a full team of professional writers, designers and videographers on staff dedicated to your business. Unfortunately, we know this is not likely. You may have a small stable of freelance partners available to you but the time to contract them, manage the projects and coordinate payments to each freelancer is demanding. We decided to remove these barriers to successful publishing by creating the Content Network™.
Now you can create the content you want when you want it by subscribing to this turnkey service. The Content Network™ will find, qualify and contract the best talent for you based on your specifications from the roster of 2,000 professional writers and designers. Project management requires as little or as much involvement by your team as you desire. We deliver complete work that is ready for the use you define. Finally, you set up and work with one vendor partner versus every individual freelancer. This creates less work and more control for you and your legal and accounting people.
Begin creating your series of articles, blogs, cast studies, ebooks, infographics and white papers today simply by subscribing to the Content Network™. You decide on the level of expertise, length and complexity of your content to determine your cost. A small annual fee to set up your account provides a standard background brief to share with the talent, account management, reporting, and a content strategy review with recommendations.
Content marketing, aka self-publishing, is powerful and demanding. Now it is easy, affordable and available to you with the introduction of the Content Network™. Just send us a note or give us a call to begin your publishing today.