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Commentary Alison Jones

Published by FirstyNews

Effective content for your website by Alison Jones.

In pretty much every business today, creating content has become a core part of operations. ‘We’re all publishers now,’ they say. But for actual publishers, who make their living selling content, not giving it away, this can be a challenging paradigm. In this new series for the Firsty Group, I’ll be sharing some practical tips on content marketing for publishers.

Let’s start with a definition: according to the Content Marketing Institute (and they should know), content marketing is ‘the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.’

That last bit is key: it’s very possible to put out lots of engaging, high-quality content, but if it’s not driving profitable customer action it won’t get you very far.

But what does ‘profitable customer action’ look like? The most obvious is getting customers to buy books, ideally directly from you to maximize revenue, but that’s not the only possibility for most publishers. You could also consider these calls to action:

  • sign up to a marketing list – allowing you to promote future titles directly and increasing each customer’s lifetime value
  • share your content – according to a McKinsey study, peer-to-peer marketing generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising, with a 37% higher customer retention rate
  • try out a new service – just partnered with a new library ebook distributor or content distribution platform? Encourage readers to try it out, perhaps with a free trial.
  • attend a live event – author talk, workshop, festival session, whatever
  • provide feedback – what do your readers want to read about next? Who’s got their attention in related areas such as YouTube, TV or podcasts?
  • finding out what works – if you approach your content marketing strategically, trying out different variables with an A/B split approach and measuring the results, you’ll discover what works best for your audience and make your entire marketing machine more effective.

You’ll probably be able to come up with other ideas particularly suitable for your customers and your business. Getting clear on what it is you’re trying to achieve is the foundation of all content marketing, so as Simon (Sinek) says, start with WHY.

Next time, we’ll look at WHO – your ‘clearly defined and understood target audience’.

Alison Jones, MA, MBA is a coach, content consultant and publisher passionate about supporting people and books that make a difference.
Twitter: @bookstothesky

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