You’re likely familiar with the term “content marketing.” You might even think you leverage content marketing as part of your current marketing strategy. Today, I want to talk to you specifically about being your own publisher and building a brand platform.
Building a brand platform isn’t a new idea at all. In fact, this is the goal of most market-leading companies across all industries. Yes, we’re behind here in Alberta, but look at it as an opportunity.
Marketing has changed. What I learned in university was how things used to work. If you wanted to reach an audience, you’d have to work with a middle man like an advertiser or a publisher. Things are different today – you can speak directly to your customer without an intermediary.
This shift provides incredible benefits. First of all, we no longer have the impossible task of trying to appeal to the masses. Our audience is unique, and we can engage them as such.
Another benefit is that we can be micro-niche in how we position ourselves to our prospective customer; our audience. You can target very specific interests (that’s how the long-tail works in SEO terms). Finally, you can create influence. By finding and building a tribe, you’re a more attractive partner and collaborator. You can build value that doesn’t necessarily show up on a balance sheet.
Red Bull made the transition to a full-blown publisher and set up Red Bull Media House in 2007. That’s over ten years of developing owned editorial.
One of the oldest examples of self-publishing as a brand is the Furrow by John Deer. The John Deer brand and logo rarely show up in the content – instead of being promotional, it’s all about objective, value-added content for farmers and the farming community.
Publishing isn’t just good for B2C brands. For example, Goldman Sachs covers a wide range of topics that are relevant for their investor clients. They use a smart combination of video, audio, and written blog content.
First of all, get clear on what you sell. It’s not the product. It’s the Simon Sinek “why.” Yep, I’m talking about the abstract shit – we sell creativity, we sell success, we sell self-expression. Define exactly how you want customers and the market to describe your brand.
Now it gets really fun. How many channels can we use to express those abstract values and add value to your (potential) customers? Video, podcasting, magazines, website, social, etc. Remember: All those publishing tools are in your hands, so you can build an integrated platform to gain mindshare of your audience. And add value! You need to make people’s lives better with the content that you publish.
Us marketing folk love to say that we are building a “lifestyle brand.” It’s the soup du jour term these days, but it is where we need to take our organizations. And some organizations have been doing it since the late 1800s.
Do me a huge favour. Watch this excellent documentary by the Content Marketing Institute. It’s about 45 minutes long. Queue it up before you jump on the elliptical trainer, or download it and take public transportation for the day. Then let’s talk about it.
Through open conversation and informal brainstorming, we can all take something valuable away from new ideas and trends. We’d be happy to discuss what we’ve written here today and get your thoughts. We want to know what you think.