How To Think Like a Publisher

NewsboyIn the age of content marketing, adapting the mindset of the publisher is paramount for businesses who want to give buyers a reason to choose them over the competition … and stay loyal. And therein lies the key word: Loyalty. You might get a customer, but to keep that customer, you want to be consistently delighting them with positive experiences. New stimulation is what keeps their brains hooked … tomorrow’s edition, the next issue. Yesterday’s news is, after all, yesterday’s news.

Just as magazines and newspapers traditionally fill this need for the thrill of the new with regular publishing, any business can apply this model to its benefit by regularly creating new, delightful content. Traditional publishers understand what their audiences want, and cater content accordingly. New media publishers (i.e., potentially any business with a website) do the same with their web properties and other modes of communication.

Other lessons any company can learn from publishers:

Iterations and the editing process. Copy editors, department editors, senior editors, managing editors, editors-in-chief … there’s a reason newspapers, magazines and journals have a wealth of ‘editor’ titles. Because editing is the norm! Rare is the content that comes out perfect on the first draft. Revising creative work usually makes for a better product. Editors need to be intimately involved with and have ultimate discretion over what gets published, otherwise the possibility for producing substandard work is too great.

Subscription models (and premium content access). The backstage pass exclusivity. Giving an elite tier of customers VIP content that no one else gets. Think bonus issues or special inserts given to subscribers not available for the general public at the newsstand. Also, the ability to customize the volume and type of communication, for example, the frequency and topic of email messages.

Reissues. (Or, putting old standards in new packaging). Content marketing advocates have been preaching this for years … maximizing the return on any one given piece of content by cleaning it up for a new season, audience or special event.

Standards. Sometimes you need to say ‘no,’ or least exercise editorial discretion to rewrite/redesign content. If it doesn’t make the cut, kill it! Producing something just for the sake of producing something leads to mediocrity … which impresses no one. Control for quality, and you ensure a consistently excellent user experience.

Audience growth/retention. Determining and creating the shared experiences most coveted by your audience. Rewarding loyalty with discounts, free content or token gifts.

Public correction. Errors happen. They’re unavoidable, in fact. What’s not unavoidable is whitewashing them or pulling an awkward cover-up. When you have knowledge of doing wrong by your audience, admit it as soon as possible. Better yet, explain exactly what the error was and when it occurred. Asking users to forgive your errors shows humility, which raises credibility. People reward companies that are transparent about shortcomings and demonstrate a marked commitment to doing the right thing.

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Photo courtesy of the U.S. Federal Government via Wikimedia Commons.

Paul Richlovsky

About Paul Richlovsky

Paul brings a writing and teaching background to his decade-long marketing career. He advises clients on content strategy and editorial direction. He is an enthusiastic marketing automation practitioner and active member of the Cleveland Marketo User Group. He has written/edited multiple marketing guides, including those aimed at healthcare, higher education, financial services, B2C brands and manufacturing audiences. With a BA in English from the College of Wooster, he is also the author of a collection of poetry, "Under the Lunar Neon."He is particularly interested in usability, digital governance, ballroom dancing, bachata, racquet sports, and romping with his niece and nephews.

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