4 Tips For Becoming A Better Brand Publisher

Project Management & Productivity

Maybe it's just me, but it seems like marketing departments are starting to resemble the editorial teams of media companies.

Job qualifications for Content Strategists bear a striking resemblance to the responsibilities of Editors-in-Chief. Publishing buzzwords like ‘content calendar’ and ‘editorial mission statement’—phrases once foreign outside of newsrooms—pepper marketing discussions at all levels.

These changes aren’t just superficial adjustments; they mark a fundamental shift in the way companies see themselves and their audiences. Content development is no longer a side project; it's a core part of business strategy on par with customer service or product development. The humble corporate weblog of the early 2000s has given way to sophisticated publishing departments and dozens of supporting systems and content channels. Creating stories that entertain, educate and entice is as valuable today as almost any other business function. As the diffusion between journalism and marketing continues to accelerate, marketers must develop publishing best practices to manage complex content programs. The melding of the newsroom and marketing department isn’t without challenges; here are simple tips to help make that process more successful:

Form Follows Function

Not every company decides to become a publisher for the same reasons. Some businesses use content to build brand awareness, become thought leaders, or generate sales leads. Regardless of your content objectives, the metrics and processes you build should reflect your goals and accurately measure the value you are trying to create. Everything from the metrics you measure to the structure of your team should take into consideration your endgame and the thing you’re trying to accomplish. Copying the content programs of competitors without understanding how they match your objectives is a quick road to disastrous results.

Coordination & Collaboration

While not as flashy and exciting as building a new content channel, building group collaboration is key for long-term success. Communication is a funny thing; norms for information exchange tend to be very subjective from one group to the next. Your IT team might use Slack while Editorial is into Google Hangouts. Maybe an important decision maker communicates exclusively through email—or worse—formal meetings. While familiar communication grooves are great for established processes, they hinder content production where informal groups must form and disassemble with speed and frequency. Make sure the collaboration tools you put in place take into account the preferred communication methods of each group. You may never reach 100% satisfaction with the entire team, but that’s not the goal. Start with a sustainable, working process and seek to improve as you grow.

Create A Calendar

It should go without saying, but having a content calendar is one of the best things you can do for your content program. Start by creating a publishing schedule created in the calendar, spreadsheet or tool of your choosing. Keep it simple; include only deadlines and deliverables for your most important audiences or platforms. The key is to write it down and keep it in an accessible place and make sure everyone is accountable for its maintenance. Start there and include more details as needed by adding content, writers, editors, and platforms.

Embrace Differences

Hubspot addresses one of the major but least articulated challenges of building brand newsrooms: culture. The cynicism, skepticism, and critical evaluation that are de rigeur in newsrooms are often poorly received in businesses where cooperation and compliance are the order of the day. Make an effort to recognize different perspectives and give team members room to be themselves and space to grow.

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