Think Like a Publisher

BY
Joseph Perello

Publishers were once exceptional at attracting audiences with authentic stories. But since digital ad performance is in decline, their business model is under fire, and some have resorted to click-bait.

But people still want to read authentic stories.

And this is an opportunity for savvy brands that want to tell authentic stories.

The best brands have always been great storytellers. Patagonia is one of the first modern-day businesses to tell stories that mattered to their audiences rather than stories about their products.

Any brand with some vision and discipline can exploit this opportunity by adopting the successful habits of publishers. Here are some basic principles:

  1. Commit yourself to proven content creators (writers, photographers, and filmmakers). Try not to get caught in the game of chasing followers and focus more on talent and credibility.
  2. Create an environment that demands authentic content from creators. The temptation among advertisers is to insert their brand everywhere. Credible content creators just want to tell great stories and the good ones avoid branded content.
  3. Publish content on your site. This solves the problem of “where do I put my brand?” It also drives up first-party data.
  4. Promote the content. The fact is you haven’t been courting audiences with content for 100 years like The New Yorker or Vanity Fair. So, you must promote the content. The good news is that audiences click on content more than they click on ads, so you can simply replace your budget to promote ads with a budget to promote content.

If you follow these basic principles, you can attract high quality audiences to your site and convert them into new customers.

Brands who apply this approach acquire higher LTV customers at lower costs.

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Joseph Perello is the founder and chief executive officer of Props. Previously, he was the first CMO of the City of New York, appointed by Mayor Mike Bloomberg; Vice President of the New York Yankees; and founder of a digital agency in NYC. He serves on the boards of New York Cruise Lines, owner of the 75-year old Circle Line; and Princeton Academy of the Sacred Heart, a school for young men in Princeton, New Jersey.

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