I cite the work of Gary Vaynerchuk often in my writing and this piece is no exception. I have been paying attention to the business moves he has been making over the last few years, and while there are a lot, two have my focused attention. The acquisition of a content publisher called PureWow, and most recently the creation of a men’s content brand called One37pm.
It connects with an idea that I have been preaching from Gary for some time. Focus less on your actual competitors and look at the trade publications where your market consumes information as your competition. The thesis goes something like this, if you are outfunded and your competitors are getting a ton of press from investment news or pay to play, you need to play the game that exists in 2018. In this case it means cutting into your marketing and advertising budget and hiring an inhouse Chief Content Officer (CCO) at 80-150K per year.
This person’s main focus needs to be to build you a content publishing brand that will organically feed your brand.
So if you are in healthcare and you need to get the word out to hospital executives you would build a brand that competes with publishers who reach the audience of hospital decision makers. The CCO builds out the brand Healthcare X, builds out the website, builds out the content, recruits people in the industry to write for free in exchange for promoting their own companies in their bios, and build an intern army of ghost copywriters for the site.
The content on the publishing platform should all be focused around the pain points that your customers face ever single day. Put in the work and execute, leverage and build with social media and before you know it (with a realistic timeframe) you will have built one of the best publishing platforms in your industry with countless opportunities to promote your own company for decades to come.
In addition to that, you will create an additional revenue stream for your business. While it will take years to build up, PureWow’s estimated revenue is close to $20 million a year. That is not a laughing matter.
The smaller guys will never win at the traditional advertising game.
I worked in the traditional publishing industry for more than a decade. I know how it works. The majority of publications are facing layoffs and are built on pay to play options. They tell clients, buy a booth at X number of shows and we will run editorial about you. They will never publicly state this but that is how it works. Advertise X times this year and we will run X amount of editorial features on you. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.
So why isn’t every company creating their own publishing arm?
As human beings we get trapped in the psychology of this is how we always did it. We also spend tens to hundreds of thousands on traditional print advertising or events each year (and that is just small budgets) with very little proven ROI just because it feels safe and accepted. But changing from that is always extremely scary for most. However, it really shouldn’t be because bringing the efforts in house is actually the smartest thing you could do. Why are you paying $8-10K a month for one single print advertisment or $2-3K for renting someone’s list for an eblast, when you could be building those email lists and sponsorship opportunities for your company today?
The disruptors and bold leaders are playing outside of the box. There is tremendous upside to building your own publishing platform and investing in owning the industry.
Here is why most companies aren’t investing in what I believe is their future … as a content publisher.
Are you considering launching a content publishing division of your company and if not, what are your current excuses? Please leave a note in the comments.
James is the Marketing Director at StratIS. He was named Top Voice on LinkedIn in 2015, and the number two voice in healthcare from more than 2 million bloggers on the platform. He was the creator of the Seinfeld Birthday Project, which went internationally viral, received more than 1 million YouTube views, and was featured in hundreds of newspapers, blogs, TV shows and radio programs. He also co-founded TAP Social Media, a boutique-marketing agency located in Philadelphia, PA. James holds a B.A. in Mass Communication from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.