10 Aug 2007

SEO, Time Travel, and Custom Web Content.

Online custom publishing is a crucial part of marketing strategy.

Also, We Build Pages is working on time travel.

Hello folks, I’m Robin, the new Content Services Coordinator (former Link Ninja) here at We Build Pages. I’m making a guest appearance on Jim’s blog because he’s busy driving the DeLorean around the block a few times. (We plan to offer time machine services in addition to SEO quite soon. Once Jim figures out how to go Back to the Future, you’ll be able to check out your rankings in 1, 5, 10, and 20 years, and then plan to adjust your SEO strategy in the present in order to achieve maximum ROI down the road).

Yesterday, I went to a lunchtime conference in Albany offered by the New York Capital Region AMA. The topic (which Jim has already discussed in an earlier post) was the rise of custom publishing as a marketing tool. The speaker was Michael Winkleman, the president and CCO of Leverage Media, which offers a variety of custom publishing services (including corporate histories, white papers, newsletters, and magazines). His presentation was very informative and included some great data on the attitude of consumers toward custom publishing.

Michael focused mainly on print media, although he did mention online media including blogs, podcasts, and web magazines. Many of his points about print media are applicable to web content as well. Some salient facts:

Custom publishing is currently one of the fastest growing media segments.

85% of consumers said that they would rather get information about a company from a collection of articles than an ad. (Roper Public Affairs/Custom Publishing Council 2005 survey)

93% said that they understood that the underlying purpose of custom publications was marketing-driven, but they like getting them anyway. (Roper Public Affairs/Custom Publishing Council 2005 survey)

And, perhaps most tellingly:

74% took at least one action from reading or looking at a publication.
(Readex/Custom Publishing Council 2005-2007 Custom Magazine Study)

It appears that most consumers view custom publishing as a goodwill gesture by the sponsoring company, and that the consumer response to it is quite positive. Moreover, custom publishing has become a standard part of marketing strategy in many industries, and companies are increasingly finding that it’s a necessary component of doing business.

Michael pointed out that a key difference between print and online custom publishing is that you have to seek out online content, but print media finds its way to you. We’ve all been there—it’s impossible not to pick it up at the doctor’s office, find it in the snail mail, or pull it out of the seat pocket in front of you on a plane.

However, there are a few reasons why custom web publishing is just as crucial:

Content is a driving force behind search engine results.

If you offer useful web content and an easy way for readers to alert each other about it, you’ve just increased your word-of-mouse.

Web and print media can form a great symbiotic relationship; you can use print media to send visitors to your website, where it will be easy for them to take action.

Web content can be less costly; custom print publications can run from 10-50K.

Web content can live on your site as long as you want it to; print publishing turns over monthly or quarterly.

Users expect to find desired information on the web. Online custom publishing can help them find this information and make the most of it.

Check out our custom content services for more information. My favorite thing about this job is the process of discussing a website with a client and envisioning creative, high-quality content that will add value for site users. I can be reached at Robin -at- webuildpages dot com for further information.

Also, if anybody out there has an extra flux capacitor lying around, please contact Jim.

Comments

  1. Steve Renner August 10, 2007 at 8:58 PM

    Custom Publishing is great idea. I’m an not 100% clear on how it works. Does the publishing company develop the content specifically for the client?

    Thanks!

    Steve

  2. Robin August 13, 2007 at 9:56 AM

    Yes, the content is completely customized for the client. For instance, if you think of an airline magazine, it’s no coincidence that the travel articles are about the airline’s hubs or other places to which that airline flies. With online publishing, similar opportunities are possible. The type of content is completely variable according to client needs.

  3. Joe Pulizzi August 13, 2007 at 9:29 PM

    Thanks Robin…the key to great print custom programs today is how they can be leveraged via the web. If someone is custom publishing with one distribution mechanism (print), they are leaving quite a bit on the table.

    Although there is still a large place for print custom publications, online custom publishing/content marketing is growing at a significantly faster clip (not in total revenue, but in projects – to your point about the expense differences).

    Also, the low end of the print custom publishing scale is around $40k – $50k. You’ll only see $10k for very short run print newsletters.

    Keep up the great work. For more on why the growth in custom is really taking place, check out this article:
    http://blog.junta42.com/content_marketing_blog/2007/08/are-corporation.html

  4. Arup August 14, 2007 at 1:55 AM

    Well, custom publishing is a definitely how it ought to be. As you rightly said content can be on your site as long you want it, but print publishing turns over continuously. custom content enriches what the readers or consumers are looking for and eventually adding value which is key.

  5. Robin August 14, 2007 at 9:49 AM

    Joe, thanks–I think you’re absolutely right. Custom publishing (especially online) has been experiencing double-digit growth over the past few years. It’s getting more and more necessary to take advantage of the marketing opportunities it offers.

    I think your point about offering high-value information to consumers is key; low-value content is off-putting to consumers and defeats the purpose of content marketing.

  6. Mobby August 16, 2007 at 12:50 PM

    It’s a great skill to develop the contents in custom manner. It will help alot to online clients in web marketing.

  7. Mike August 17, 2007 at 10:27 AM

    Wow, Marty McFly gets into SEO, things just get better and better.

    Can he blog on his skateboard?

  8. seo battery August 17, 2007 at 9:33 PM

    Great post. Custom publishing is nice way to attract customer for seo, online-market and more like that. I was always enlightened in your blog.
    thanks.

  9. Doug Barger August 18, 2007 at 2:27 AM

    Great post Robin.
    This is the first I’ve heard of “word of mouse”

    Way to “squeak” your mind!

    But seriously, I have come to trust Jim’s advice on internet marketing and wish him many more fun trips with the delorean.

    Who would have guessed that internet marketing would have been that vehicle?

  10. Richard August 28, 2007 at 10:07 PM
  11. Don Lipper August 30, 2007 at 11:32 AM

    Nice post. The debate on how to best marry print and online custom publication efforts is an ongoing one. While print has the staying power of a physical medium, online has all the virtues you mention. Online is having lots of growth but its value as a sales tool needs to be demonstrated. The best custom content has to be of such high value that it is on the same level as journalistic content. Getting past marketing spin will be the biggest cultural shift for online content to really take off.

  12. Robin September 28, 2007 at 3:56 PM

    Don, I completely agree. Consumers appreciate the difference between quality content and content that is pure spin, and they act accordingly.

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