Brands as Publishers – Easy as it is Said or A Tough Job?

Brands Publisher

Have you ever wondered what brands and publishers have in common? It’s the stories and conversations they say or portray.

That’s the reason why a lot of brands are wearing their publishing hat when it comes to marketing.

Today, they have an unprecedented opportunity to engage with consumers in more and more meaningful ways. The media has begun to transform. The industry is fragmented, digital channels and platforms have proliferated and social networks have created an expectation in customers that brands will engage them directly.

All those brands that used to buy media are now wearing the media hat, that’s their current paradigm. As publishers, brands are taking up the responsibility of creating / curating their own content and then distributing it across the web.

There are people who say that brands shouldn’t publish at all. But there have been brands that are doing extremely well in publishing branded content in the digital space and there are brands that are not riding the same wave of content marketing success.

Brands like Oreo, Red bull, General Electric, Nissan etc. have chosen content marketing as a part of their marketing strategy and performing extremely well.

With just a “Dunk in the dark” tweet during the 2013 Super bowl (when the lights were switched off throughout for a while) more than 15,000 people re-tweeted the tweet by Oreo. That is because of the timely tweet of the right content.

It could be “My Star Buck’s idea”, CMO.com by Adobe or “The Ford story online community”. Many brands are following the publisher mantra to advertise / market the brand in the social age.

A couple of brands in India have tried their hand at content marketing and have also planned to be publishers.

Amul is the classic example for content marketing in India. Oreo has managed to keep its fans engaged with their incredible content marketing campaigns.

Oreo facebook post

Zomato Food Porn

Zomato, recently came up with the idea of publishing the most exotic food pictures and launched their ‘Food Porn’ site to keep their fans engaged. This proves that Zomato, in a way, utilised the publishing mantra.

But not all brands are able to deliver the best content to publish. Maybe they are making mistakes or maybe not every brand is cut out to be a publisher. 

After all, publishing is a tough racket, even if you don’t need to make money doing it. Brands may be punching out content which is fluffy, vague and doesn’t make a strong point about a relate-able topic. 

Avoiding mistakes like,

  •  Failing to distribute properly
  •  Not creating local content
  •  Creating content that doesn’t matter

This should help to begin with. But, companies just can’t adopt the ‘everyone is a publisher’ mantra without a broader awareness of what it means to use content to build an audience.

Here are some guidelines, which I consider to be the ground rules for any content marketing campaign-

  • Tell the truth: Feature real people, real situations, genuine emotions and facts.
  • Use data: Data puts your content in context and gives credibility.
  • Cite resources: Give credit where credit is due. While using an infographic or curating an article from another company or publisher or individual cite the resource to the link.
  • Seek out the best sources: Newspaper reporters go to the scene of an incident and report what really happened. In the same way if you are writing about something, like technology, talk to the guy who built it.
  • Check spelling: Make sure you double-check all the spellings.
  • Root out opposing viewpoints: There is a name for something with a single point of view- Press Release (no offence). Incorporate multiple perspectives for all the issues.
  • Be aware of hidden agendas: If you interview a source, have a clear idea about what agenda is behind their point of view.
  • Edit: In case of newspapers and magazines, editors are at the bottom line of what gets said and where it gets said.
  • Keep things simple: A business-like life-can be complicated. Products can be involved or seem impenetrable.
  • Think visually: The visual web is the norm – so consider how you might add visual elements to any story you tell.

Starting a content campaign can be daunting, especially when a company/brand has limited budget and resources, but the results are always over whelming when it is done in the right way.

While content is the king and engagement is the queen. Content in the right context will help initiate more engagement without bothering or spending too much of time in making it go viral.

It is time to move the ‘brand as media’ discussion into more actionable territory. As the attention of the consumers is moving towards news feeds and mobile streams, more and more brands are expected to come up with disruptive and creative content marketing strategies in 2014.

Others, who are still stuck in the planning phase of it, it’s time you started it!

Republished from here.

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