Content marketing is equal parts publishing and distribution. You’ll run into trouble when you think that both functions fit the same role.
Raise your hand if you’ve run a blog (or more) in the past, but then discovered it got really hard to maintain the activity?
You’re not alone.
It sounds like a simple activity. It seems like the dumbest, easiest thing in the world. It doesn’t matter whether you do it for fun or money, the overwhelming attitude (in my experience) in relation to blogging is “well it’s easy”.
Sometimes, people think it’s easy because they know their business.
Sometimes, people think it’s easy because the interface is easy.
You might even think it’s easy.
If you do, I’d love it if you could tell me what’s easy about shaping a publication that has a strategic imperative, selling it to the right people, making it visible, coördinating a team of writers (if you have one), keeping the voice on point, maintaining its consistency, finding the topics, finding the time, coördinating governance so that it doesn’t screw up your timing, working out the return on investment, or reporting on the activity?
Caveat: A blog that is literally an ‘idea came to me — I will publish’ clearly falls outside of what I’m talking about.
But for every other publication, especially one that has a thought leadership remit, the foregoing applies.
It’s a far bigger scope than simply a production plan. If you want to really make it fly, that’s where you need publishing smarts.
Now, if you’re expecting your marketer to be able to do this, and they haven’t been a publisher, what problems might you run into?
I’ll give you a hint.
They tend to think in campaigns.
Because they think in campaigns, their thinking is short-term. They go from ideas to execution way too fast, start thinking in keywords and ad spend and channels.
Which is great — for your distribution, not your publishing.
The publishing part comes before the distribution, and is what gives your distribution a focus.
Wouldn’t you be better off approaching all of your publishing activity as a publisher? Wouldn’t the marketing activity then make sense, because you’re driving visibility over your publication?
Damn right it would.
Why? Because a publication is a product, not a marketing activity.
One thing you can do right now is to start building your content publishing toolkit.
The first piece of that is a publishing checklist. With a good checklist, the process of going from draft to published is a no-brainer every time.
If you don’t have one, then you’re in luck! You can get one here: http://brutalpixie.com/downloads/download-business-publishing-checklist/
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