Online publishing turns your brand into their brand – and that’s OK.
Periodical publishers have historically considered content to be disposable—generated once for use in a periodical or book and then discarded. Publishers who use the Internet to recycle, reuse, and republish information in many different formats (periodicals, books, email newsletters, blogs, wikis, digital libraries, courses, events, DVDs, CDs and more) are the ones—large, small or independent— who have succeeded. Your online customers have an expectation when a company has a website—it’s that you’re working in the 21st century.
Back in 2006 we wrote a book called Internet Marketing Strategy for Publishers (now available to download for free) where we predicted this:
“Customer-driven content management will be common in the very near future, allowing a diverse community of online users to engage and be engaged in many different ways compared to simply subscribing to a magazine or buying a book, and the resulting environment will be much bigger and more sophisticated than in the past.”
Does this sound familiar? We weren’t being complete psychics—MySpace launched in 2003, Facebook in 2004, Twitter in 2006—but social media was no big thing back in 2006.
These weren’t even the days of small social media clans. You know the ones… back in 2008 they were shouting from the rooftops about how big social media was going to be. Of course, nobody listened until Oprah blurted the words “Twitter” out on national television, and suddenly social media was a valid means of online marketing.
The point here is, and always has been—that you can’t bring build a successful online brand without organizing your content around the customer.
What does this mean?
- Don’t write like a physicist. Write targeted blog posts that use keyword phrases that your audience is typing into Google. Use the jargon of your online customers, not of your company. If they want to know how to make a “fruity goat cheese salad”, don’t title your post on how to make a “Pear and Chevre Arugula Salad”. Remember, not everyone knows what he or she is really looking for.
- Go to the party and spike the punch. If you don’t have a community on your website, don’t be afraid to create a new community on Facebook. If your online customers are already on Facebook, it’s okay to bring the party to them. Once they’ve drank a little kool-aid, maybe they’ll follow you home for a little list building.
- Buy gifts from their wishlist. You know how you never want to buy someone something they explicitly ask for? You think… “well that’s unoriginal, I can come up with something better!” Do you know why people make wishlists? Because they include exactly what they want. This transfers directly to your online customers. If they want an online version of your instructional DVDs – create a video membership site. If they want your books in digital format – sell PDFs. For pete’s sake, if you have some insanely high demand for all of your reports to be printed on individual Silly Bandz – print the bands!
Don’t leave money on the table—when your online customers tell you that you’re willing to pay you for your content, but only if you can create a new, easily accessible product from it— put in the effort.
Organizing content around the customer, therefore, really means organizing content efficiently and effectively to extend your brand and drive both revenue and profit. Check out more on repurposing content and becoming a customer-centric brand when you download our Free eBook: Internet Marketing Strategy for Publishers.