Today every company is expected to be a publisher.
There is no longer a distinction between those who can publish and those who can’t, it is expected that if you are selling a product or service, that you know enough about it to write about it. It is not a new concept in reality, we have the idea that every company being a publisher is an offshoot from having access to the internet and the ability to connect with platforms where content can be pushed. The truth is that it is just a new way of showing that you know enough about a subject to be able to effectively deliver a service that people want.
A classic example of this would be when taking a car to a garage, if you talk to a mechanic and they can describe to you in detail the aspects of what needs to be done to fix your car, assure you that they have done it before and that they know exactly what they are talking about, you are going to be more likely to choose them. On the other hand, if you go to a garage, meet nobody and hear nothing about the expertise that they have, you are likely to choose the first simply because you know more about them and their past. It may be the case that the second garage can do a better job and that they know more than the first, but if it is not demonstrated and shared, then customers will not be interested.
The internet has meant that rather than just walking in to one garage and talking to somebody, there are (metaphorically) millions of garages and the one who can demonstrate that they know the most is the one that is likely to get the most business.
This is digital publishing, it allows companies to showcase what they know, show their work and prove that they are going to be offer you the best product or the best service. It is now not done through a conversation with an individual customer, but through the multiple mediums that the internet can give.
One of the key aspects of the new methods of communicating with customers is that it also allows them to indirectly communicate with you. With the use of analytics and tracking that the internet and online publishing offers, there is a direct feedback loop that allows companies to adapt and change their content to what their customers want to see, be this videos, podcasts, whitepapers or blogs.
Equally there is an important element of digital publishing that goes beyond simply reassuring a customer that you are up to the job. The ability to tell a story and give the company a personality is equally important, a company that somebody can identify with is important and can be the difference between loyalty and a single job. Digital publishing and the creation of something beyond what your company can offer in terms of services, is what creates identity and identity is what creates a following.
With the increased use of social media digital publishing also offers companies the opportunity to spread their message and personality to those beyond their core group of customers and users. It is an important way to disseminate information about your company without the need to contact people directly about it or draw people to your website to find it. This is where making the published content as interesting or educational as possible, the higher the quality of the material, the more it will be shared. The more it will be shared, the higher your company’s profile will get and the more material will be expected.
This is not just a fad either, looking at the power of digitally published content shows some of the highest profile and famous brands who have prospered through the use of innovative content, think about where Old Spice would be now without the ‘Smell like a man, man’ campaign. “Old Spice has month over month strengthened its market position and is now the number one brand of body wash and deodorant in both sales and volume with growth in the high single/double digits”. Effective digital publishing techniques has allowed a brand to re-identify with a new audience, built a considerable following and seen a huge upturn in sales.
There will be few examples as popular as this (the content was nominated for an Emmy) but a coherent digital publishing programme can have a massive positive effect at almost any company, whether it is publishing videos, whitepapers or even just blogs.