Joy Parks

Posts Tagged ‘competitive advantage’

Conversation Agent demonstrates why strategic content and good writing demand respect

In business development, content, content communities, content strategy on April 20, 2010 at 3:59 pm

This morning, Valeria Maltoni’s Conversation Agent, the number one blog on the Top 42 Content Marketing Blogs (as listed by branded content expert Joe Pulizzi) carried the headline “Top Company Blogs Require Content Strategy, Expertise, Good Writing.”

Granted, my first response was “you think?” But considering the number of semi- or soon-to-be-abandoned (you can always tell) corporate blogs I’ve seen—and the fact that content for far too many websites and other online communications is done as an afterthought, not part of the strategic plan, it dawned on me that for someone not involved in the marketing of writing and content strategy services, this idea might be quite revolutionary. So kudos to Conversation Agent for bringing the value of good content forward—and for so dramatically showing the direct relationship between professionally written, strategically-developed content and corporate success.

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Every company must be a publisher. But what does that mean?

In business development on March 1, 2010 at 3:51 pm

Every company must be a publisher.

This is pretty much the underlying premise of every piece of information ever written on the value of branded content. But what exactly does it mean?

Once upon a time, publishers were very powerful because they controlled the flow of information. Publishing was a very expensive business; not just anyone could publish and someone had to be the gatekeeper. So publishers (and the editors they hired) were the ones who made the decisions about what books, magazine and newspaper articles and other information made it into publication. There were vanity presses, which allowed authors to pay to be published, but they had a feeling of desperation about them. Since they had neither gatekeepers, nor access to the channels of distribution afforded real publishers, vanity books seldom got much notice or had much impact.

Back then, getting out information on your company, your products, your growth was a long, difficult and risky process. You made a list of trade magazines and had your communications department or PR company send out a press release to reporters. If you were lucky, a reporter got interested and went to his or her editor—who in turn may have had to get buy-in from the powerful publisher. If you were really lucky, the reporter got permission to do an article—and after a three-month lead-time, your story ran—right beside stories about your competitors.

Now we’re genuinely lucky. Businesses can communicate directly with their audience. That’s why in The New Rules of PR and Marketing, David Meerman Scott advises businesses to write news releases directed not at reporters, but at customers, at consumers. There’s no need for gatekeepers anymore (which may explain why the publishing industry is in trouble). Companies can shape their own messages, determine what they want to say, when they want to say it and to whom. They have the luxury of publishing branded content, online or sometimes in print, to create a loyal following of customers who feel their needs are understood and that their business is valued. Companies are beginning to realize the value (and ease) of communicating with their customers even when they aren’t trying to sell them something. Some companies get it. As time goes by, lots of others will too. That’s why all companies will need to be publishers—because their ability to control not just what information potential customers receive—but how—is going to give them a competitive advantage.

Ain’t progress grand?