Think Like a Publisher, Write Like a Journalist

Source: Creative Commons

For some strange reason, content marketing has become very fashionable in the past year or so. Everyone has heard about it, everyone wants a piece of the cake, and – as usual – everyone wants the benefits before understanding what it can do for your business.

Biggest challenge when using Content Marketing

For most companies, the biggest challenge is to keep the pace set at the beginning, to keep producing content that convinces and converts.

A tactical way of decreasing this challenge is to have a well-crafted editorial plan. If you keep your plan filled out, well in advance, you won’t have problems producing new content, according to the plan. In theory.

But another problem is that many companies just embarking on the content marketing boat don’t see the relevance in spending time and cash to do strategic planning, to understand their client and to create an editorial plan. They want an article posted on the blog tomorrow.

Like you’ve ever started a cupcake shop business by putting pictures of cupcakes on the empty walls while the workmen are painting the ceiling.

It takes planning and understanding why you want to use content marketing tactics before you even think about what to write.

If you wanted to launch – say – a platform to book city tours, you’d start by getting to know your potential customers and what they want, finding out how they like to receive information, and what their current frustrations are. Then, you’d make a plan of how to communicate with them most effectively on your booking portal.

How to fail at Content Marketing

Like this: publish material only about your products or services. Yes, maybe you understood that promotional material doesn’t lead you anywhere, so you decide to write an objective (so you claim) whitepaper on the benefits or unique features of your product. Well that’s still a self-praising material, although maybe filled with more objective information.

Another way to fail would be to have no idea about your audience and what they want to consume (read, watch, listen, play…). Producing content for the sake of producing it won’t lead you anywhere. You need to understand your audience first, and deliver the content in the form they want to consume it.

If not, you’d be creating a lot of pointless ‘noise’ on the already too crowded web space.

How you can develop a publisher mindset

Despite all the tips above, the biggest challenge is not to plan well, stick to informational materials and satisfy your audience. The biggest challenge is to actually change your mindset from that of a promotional product seller, to that of a publisher in your field. Why would you do that, you may think?

Because you are a publisher already, whether you realize it or not.

By having a website and a blog, a Facebook page or a business Twitter account you are a publisher. So changing your mindset will only help you do better what you are already doing: publishing.

First, you need to carefully plan and chose the distribution channels you’ll act in. There are more social media channels out there than you can handle, so choose a few relevant ones where to develop your publishing project. As I was mentioning in another article, even Facebook is turning into a publishing hub especially useful for businesses.

Then you need to decide what topics you will develop, how often you will publish and how you will analyze your public’s feedback and tweak your future content to answer to their needs.

Having a publisher mindset means understanding your readers and delivering convincing content that satisfies them. And writing like a journalist, means finding topic ideas as often as you need to and telling shareable stories to capture your audience.

What changes do you need to make to approach content marketing right and get better results for your business?


If you need help figuring out all this content marketing stuff, contact me today.

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