The battle for eyeballs is an expensive one. Not that anyone will tell you that.
While the idea of content marketing and content strategy continues to grow in stature for companies large and small - along with the mantra, "everyone's a publisher" - many (myself included) forget to mention what is necessary to actually achieve this status.
A few reminders about some actual publishers, i.e. your competition.
In short, they have funding. And staffs. And distribution.
Compounding this, the cost of bad content has also never been so cheap. I can get someone to write an ebook for $5 (among other things). Yahoo will pay me $3 per article to write for their content network.
So not only are you competing against relevancy, you're competing against SEO-laden volume. Sadly, the path to relevancy takes time. It also takes analytical skills to determine if your content plan of attack is actually working.
So you want to become a publisher? You want to produce content? Some things you should figure out before you start throwing around the terminology.
What is needed to produce a valuable piece of content?
This varies for each person, beat and type (blog posts vs. case studies vs white papers), but can you identify the amount of time it takes to produce a piece of content your staff is actually proud of?
If you have an idea of what an individual's time is worth, it's fairly easy to determine what the investment into content can cost the company, as well as the amount of leads necessary to justify its existence.
Can you identify the variables that actually produce leads?
Advertising revenue is not the goal for most content marketers and strategists. It's about using content to convert.
We love learning how a prospect actually converts, then isolating that variable. Take what is known about landing page optimization into content. Too many very smart marketing departments still rely on asking leads "how'd you hear/find of us?" Do the work for them by either occasionally reviewing your goal sources or set up reports that automate the process.
The author makes a difference.
Having your staff of writers develop content is great. Having your writers individualize and interact as experts in your silo is better. Which person do you think would be more successful selling their novel (all things being equal) one that has a large following on Twitter or one that does not? Coming from your well-known company may give it cachet, but readers relate to (and prefer) individuals.
Going back to the first point, if you add the time to write AND build some semblance of a following/distribution strategy, you can have an even greater understanding of the investment necessary for content to exceed.
Flickr photo courtesy of gemteck1
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