29 Feb 5 lessons Brands can learn from publishers
In the connection economy, having an audience that values your voice; your content; and your opinion is crucial to achieving relevance. Progressive brands recognise that owning the dialogue with their customers is far more powerful than paying to be a bystander to someone else’s conversation.
Brands can improve brand saliency and customer growth by thinking like publishers and creating sustainable, long-term connections. Many brands are well on their way or already there. So below we have dissected what publishers do well, so you can apply the principles to your business.
Here are 5 critical lessons;
1. Get to know your audience
Observing, researching and analysing your audience’s behaviour constantly is the only way to learn. Continual testing of content, headlines, wear-out times, imagery, position on page, copy length, language style and browsing behaviour will provide you with the intel you need to get it right more often. Netflix don’t commission shows like House of Cards on a whim, they do it based on meticulous analysis of the viewing habits of its 44 million subscribers.
2. Show up consistently
It is imperative that you choose 1 platform (your website, email, blog, Facebook, YouTube etc) and 1 time to publish (daily, weekly, Friday at 3pm etc). Then consistently deliver. So many brands fail on this one and it is a sure fire way to lose your audience. Would Channel Nine ever miss broadcasting the news at 6 o’clock because the presenter was too busy on that urgent project for the CEO? No. Nor should brands.
3. Have a point of view
What makes people choose one publisher over another? Predominantly because it has a voice, something to say that is of interest. Like publishers, brands must give people a reason to return. So, find your voice and be entertaining or useful and say no to predictable content like category-generic hints & tips.
4. Own it
Publishers are world class at retaining their audience because their audience determines their success. Be incredibly wary of building your audience on other people’s land. Audience harvesting from the social giants is a very real threat. Retain your audience on your platform through taking them on content journeys, either via your own recommendation engines or embedded services like Outbrain who can attract people to your platform as well as cycle them within your own ecosystem. Always remember to encourage sharing of your content but make sure new readers know the content has come from you and there is a clear pathway back.
5. Monetise responsibly
Investing in quality, highly-valued content is not cheap. Publishers amortise production costs through either subscription fees or advertising revenue. Brands are wise to this and are starting to do the same. As long as you are sensitive to your customer needs and only commercially partner with brands which add value to your audience and don’t entice them away, customers accept the content needs funding from somewhere. Brands like Virgin and Telstra have been monetising their audience successfully for years without damaging their brand or customer journeys.
It is our firm belief that the next marketing horizon will see more and more brands becoming publishers. Content marketing is a vital pillar for the modern marketer to retain and grow their customer base. So take a leaf out of the publisher’s book, they’ve been doing it very well for years.