Dear Mr. Publisher, you are great at promoting other brands content but I believe publishers fail in many ways when it comes to their own content marketing efforts.
Is it enough to produce stories that you think your readers want? Are they producing stories that cut through the clutter on the web when everyone else is writing the same news stories. It is what you say that will define you and separate you from the pack but do publishers know how to promote themselves as brand leaders?
We all hear that brands now consider themselves publishers but do publishers really consider themselves brands? Maybe publishers do believe they are a brand but it is how their audience perceives them that really counts.
Publishers create revenue streams through advertisers both in traditional and non-traditional forms however, these days the non-traditional forms is what is bringing in the big bucks. Branded Content, Custom Content, Custom Publishing is all the craze these days but the struggle is how to marry audience and advertisers together to create engaging content. It doesn't stop there either, in doing this, a publisher still needs to find time to produce content to keep the brand alive as well as the publishing industry. Especially if there is a printed copy and digital arm, it is more important than ever to continue to write and market your brand to the public but why is that so difficult? Let me tell you my opinion.
1. Struggle for Audience
What matters most is the audience but it is the advertisers that bring in the revenue. So there is a fine line and an intense struggle to understand how to please their following with audience centric content and at the same time, create an environment where advertising revenue increases, not declines. That is why there has been such an increase in branded content. The brands get the content that they want to see published and the advertisers get the revenue stream to allow them to create other content that is in line with their brands message. This is great yet confusing to an audience and if an audience is given mixed messages then it becomes extremely difficult to grow and deliver to them the content they want to read. How can publishers cut through the clutter when there are so many audiences to please?
2. Struggle for Advertisers
It is not a best kept secret that publishers are struggling to grow their advertising revenues. This is hard because publishers are up against all kinds of new forms of media that did not exist even 10 years ago. Mobile devices were text only they weren't interactive online devices where advertisers could geotarget shopping habits and behaviours to increase purchase. How about Guerilla Marketing where advertisers can set-up cool displays and create unique interactions on the street corners in busy cities. Just the other day, Mio had set up a cool station giving out water and samples on a hot day in Toronto @MiOCanada. All these cool ways to engage audiences have taken away from publishers being the only game in town.
3. Limited Resources
We are all familiar with the term "overworked and underpaid" well that is what is happening here. Publishers are fighting to keep advertising revenue from declining in a market where there are so many ways to for advertisers to spend their ad budgets. Because of this, they feel strapped in many ways. Their operations are running like a lean machine in order to keep the company profitable. The term is EBIT (Earnings Before Interest and Tax). When the focus is all on profitability and resources are scarce there is very little focus on developing the brands identity and when that happens the risk of failure and loss can increase.
4. No Time
Limited resources means an issue with time. When one is so hyper focused on staying afloat, keeping losses down and profits up the use of time is increasingly valuable. If you have little time then the time that you do have is on generating revenue, not on developing and maintaining the brand voice of the publisher. However, it is possible to do.
I believe that although it is difficult for publishers to market their brand, it is possible to do well if you set yourselves apart from the competition by putting the right people in the right position. With a strong dedication to success, strategy and knowing what the best practices are, a publisher can create a brand and cut through the clutter and please everyone.