Compete with Content - by Vision Publishing, Inc.

Six Principles for Effective Content Development

  • Respect your niche markets and meet their information needs. Don?t expend your content development resources by generalizing across your markets. Prioritize and develop content specific to each market. Or, you will suffer the same fate as many trade publications. Their generalized content has lost appeal for specialized marketers. Because small niche markets are underserved, or uncluttered, by traditional media, an opportunity for communicating information directly to those markets exists.
  • Think like the publisher of a trade magazine. Trade publishers and editors know their readers and understand they have an appetite for content that is essentially repetitive. Because of that, good trade publications follow a set formula for substantive content. That formula could be a combination of case histories, application stories, technical articles, expert commentary, and professional development topics with emphasis on presentation. Products, application sites, seminar topics and experts may change, but the formula remains the same. Learn your prospect?s information needs in the area of your expertise, develop a formula and be consistent with it. Your application stories will, for example, have the same outcome, but the details of getting to that outcome will differ with each case.
  • Confess to a bias. Unlike most publications, you have a bias. You?re using your content to sell something. Emphasize your expertise, while confessing to your point of view, or your bias, and you will maintain your credibility. Use sentences beginning with "in our experience . . . , from our perspective . . . , or our experts conclude . . . ."
  • Separate the media relations from the content development. Media relations specialists learn or anticipate the content needs of gate-keeping editors and then develop content to meet those needs. Instead of working through an intermediary editor, develop a direct understanding of the content needs of your prospects. Then develop content to meet those needs and channel it directly to your niche market. Content which may also be suitable for the trades.
  • Keep your content close to your firm?s intellectual capital. The cliche is "make news not news releases." Quotes from experts, process descriptions, and user group feedback make for more interesting content than quotes from management, product descriptions, and multimedia displays.
  • Develop content across formats. The right technical article, for example, can be self-published and mailed, offered in direct mail, offered to a trade publication, and posted on the web site for downloading or e-mailing.

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