In the early days of the internet, a website was all a business needed to be relevant. Every business HAD to be online. Then blogging became popular and we realized business websites needed blogs so they no longer looked like static billboards. Enter social media, and now every business had to find a voice and an audience and engage with people on a much more human plane. This turned marketing and advertising upside down.
Keeping up with the rapid progression of technology is vital for any company to remain relevant. Brands have had to relinquish full control of their message and learn to coexist with brand supporters as well as brand detractors. There’s been a leveling of the playing field in many aspects, but it’s also given companies a great way to extend their reach, tell their story, and humanize their interactions. Those gains are priceless and need to be capitalized on.
That’s where the idea of being a publisher comes in. Half of the social formula is branding yourself through engagement, the second half is branding yourself through publishing branded content. Content is important because it conveys a level of expertise in an industry beyond a tweet or a Facebook post. Publishing your own content can provide real value for customers, no matter the format. Blog posts, photos, videos, whitepapers, e-books, presentations, infographics; just a few examples of branded content you can create.
Here are four things to keep in mind regarding content publishing:
Publishing a stream of content establishes the voice for your brand. It expands on what you’ve done in the social space, and gives YOU the chance to amplify that voice with branded, expert content. Without publishing branded content, industry competitors may be tackling the market in ways that you will never be able to. This is why it’s important to strategically publish content that will get you into the conversation. Social is a great first step, but publishing content solidifies that message.
Social media networks have grown in size. The adoption rate is higher, posts are coming in quicker every second, and your voice is just a speck in the landslide of messaging. Whether you’re on Twitter, Facebook, or other relevant social channels, you probably often have to scroll your “wall” to find and see messages. This is what your audience goes through daily when they are online. Branded content gives them a reason to fish for your messages if you’re providing REAL value. A whitepaper to help your audience do something better, an infographic that breaks down a complicated topic, or a video that walks them through a process are all great pieces of content that will attract your existing audience. Make it helpful, fun, and shareable and you can gain you a new audience.
Take a look at what your competition is doing and emulate what works for you but also look for opportunities to expand your audience where your competition is not capitalizing. Test, measure, test, measure, and then test and measure again. There’s no precise formula for this, but once you find your groove, rock it!
Providing your audience with resources that they can download, store, refer to, and share keeps your business top-of-mind. People will come back to you time and time again for what you have to offer. Think of some of the brands you go to regularly. Restaurant reviews, movie reviews, and industry news are examples that have established patterns based on the value of the information you get from these sites. Make yourself part of that pattern for your audience.
One person cannot do this alone. Okay, one very overwhelmed person can! But, it’s a wiser choice to find a few people and build a team for content production. Someone takes photos, someone writes, someone edits, someone posts, and someone measures. The content team should share an editorial calendar, and it can be as simple or as in-depth as you think it needs to be, but keep long the team following the same document(s) to reduces stepping on one another’s toes. Things may be rocky at first, but over time, as you all fit into your roles and get comfortable with publishing content, the benefit to your business will be immeasurable.
So get out there and make your mark. Claim your ground on behalf of your business. Publishing branded content can be extremely gratifying. Remember, the more you share, the more people see, the more people read and enjoy, and the more market share you can gain online. Good luck!