Are You Marketing or Publishing?

Posted By Joe Pulizzi on October 03, 2008

I just completed this article for AdWeek entitled "The Future CMO - A Publisher?", which has been met with some pleasant reviews from a number of respected marketers I know. The content marketing revolution, for me, can be summed up like this: The more I learn about what is going on in marketing, the more I'm actually learning about publishing.

Poor Richard's Almanack

When beginning the article, it was challenging to discuss this concept as anything new, especially since the publishing industry has been around since before the days of Benjamin Franklin. But it really is revolutionary. It is especially for me, coming from a traditional business publishing background, to see brands struggle with the exact same issues we struggle with in publishing, including the creation of editorial calendars, hiring expert content providers, deciding the most effective content channels, and how to best integrate the package together.

I made the point last week while speaking at Online Marketing Summit that marketing tactics are virtually identical to publishing tactics, they are just measured differently. Marketing for today and tomorrow is publishing, and will continue to be so.

What does this mean for the marketing professional?

If you buy into this, it means that a marketing executive must have a firm understanding of how to execute the following:

  • The ongoing informational needs of the buyer (outside your products and services).
  • Anticipating the informational needs of buyers and presenting cutting-edge industry trends (again, not product- or service-related).
  • The art of storytelling and its role within the organization.
  • Audience development tactics that rely on in-depth knowledge of buyer personas.
  • Content tactics that cut through the marketing clutter and gain readership.
  • Aligning an expert content network of journalists and custom publishers.
  • Developing an editorial plan and content schedule.
  • Leveraging employees to be part of the content-generation process and positioning them as industry experts.
  • Creating an online, in-print and in-person content strategy as part of the integrated marketing program.

Just look at any job description for a brand publisher today and you'll see a majority of the points above. You see the same type of information on progressive non-media company job descriptions as well. Although mainstream media is slow to catch on, it's moving fast in that direction, and most brands will pick up on this organizational necessity. How prepared are you for this content revolution?

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