Publishers, Think Like Content Marketers

In my  last post, I highlighted the challenges facing publishers as Facebook moves to eliminate referral traffic channels by removing its news feeds. For many publishers, this move threatens an important source of referral traffic, around which many publishers have built long-term digital strategies. It’s time for publishers to think like content marketers.

While challenging to publishers, implicit in the actions of Facebook and Google is the recognition by these major players of the economic value of local digital news and audiences that is often discounted by newspaper publishers.

Content, audience, and data are recognized by the major players as significant assets, and as such are treated as opportunities to generate ROI across product and delivery options.

Legacy publishers could look to content marketers as a model for identifying content and audience value to develop ROI targets and strategies for these assets.

Content marketers have built profitable businesses by understanding their audience and employing content discovery technologies that surface content to users based on known or inferred user demand. These strategies build audience engagement and loyalty upon which marketers can create advertising, affiliate, and marketing revenue opportunities.

There is very little that can be done to stop publishers from exploiting these owned assets that will generate ROI, beyond adopting content personalization and analytics technologies, and changing their attitude about the value of digital content and audience.

As 2018 progresses, publishers who simply post content and hope ad revenue appears as a result will lose ground. Publishers shouldn’t ignore opportunities to create a return on valuable assets in which they have invested significantly to create.

Facebook and Google are not passive partners helping publishers build their businesses, they are in fact committed competitors, driven to take as much audience, data, and revenue as they can from legacy publishers. Publisher’s who resist the opportunity to adopt technology and strategies to compete in their local markets just make it easier for the big guys to succeed.

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