Think Like a Publisher

Posted by

Marketing automation for lead nurturing raises the stakes and the complexity of the content creation process. To feast this voracious beast, we recommend you think like a publisher. Why?

Buyers want to view relevant content based upon their: role, specific needs or issues, stage of the buying process, industry, alternatives, and information purpose (attention, general education, customer stories, vendor point-of-view, vendor capabilities, proof points, technical explanation and more.)

To create physical documents to respond to this requirement would require hundreds, perhaps a thousand documents (4 variables for 5 factors is 4 to the 5th power). Daunting, if even possible.

Business publishers need content to be available immediately when buyers, or their sales staff, require it. But budgets are tight and quality standards must be preserved. Volume and the ability to tailor content — perhaps even personalize it — really ups the ante.

Business publishers need to shift their thinking from re-active, event or project driven initiatives, to a planned and continuous process to create, manage, deploy and deliver content for the new digital era.

Sales messaging is dynamic so content must also anticipate and accommodate constant iteration and updating.

And content can be delivered in many more formats than before: text, audio, Flash and video. To personal devices, through web conference technology, streaming, downloaded and more. So content must be created in anticipation of, and to enable delivery using ALL practical media.

Publishers use databases, templates and a process that is considerably different than the traditional “production” process to produce quality output, quickly and affordably.

I recently did a podcast with Jeff Ogden, the Fearless Competitor in which we discussed specific principles and practices that can have you thinking like a publisher right away.

This link is to a page with the source podcast and transcripts, as well as a link to a BtoB magazine webcast featuring Joe Pulizzi of Junta42 talking about Content Management. In the webcast Joe recommends thinking like a publisher, but is limited by time in delivering specific prescriptions. This webcast and his book, Get Content, Get Customers are highly recommended.

We’ve used this page to create several examples of how to think like a publisher. You will see how just a 20 minute podcast can be turned into many different content elements for different purposes. In fact, we’ll be adding to this page over time.

Here is a starting checklist of what it means to Think Like a Publisher:

  1. Shift thinking from a traditional production process that is event or project driven to a continuous “publishing” process
  2. Develop and document a process to create, manage, update, deploy, assemble and deliver content for multiple purposes and delivery modes, and to collect and iterate feedback
  3. Define standards, policies and procedures, templates
  4. Have a methodology: map your customer’s buying process, customer needs, issues and interests, by stage of buying process, industry, their alternatives (your competition) and primary communication scenarios
  5. Develop “value maps” and “message maps,” the business equivalent of an editorial plan
  6. Think of content as assets — continuously acquire, edit into modules, convert into multiple formats, store in a database base for sharing and re-use
  7. Pre-produce content based upon your message map so it is ready for instant use and delivery
  8. Produce content for multiple purposes: train, remediate, share knowledge, market/promote, educate, support the buying/sales process
  9. Organize deliverables as modules that can be easily and instantly converted into final work products
  10. Collect feedback, track, report, analyze, learn, iterate

What techniques have you found to think and create content like a publisher?