The Future of Information Publishing
Everyone is a content publisher these days - especially B2B enterprises. In fact, 91 percent of B2B marketers use content marketing. What's more, there was a big jump in 2012 of the number of B2B companies using research reports as a content-marketing tactic (44 percent in 2012, 25 percent in 2011). Businesses are now turning to other companies to get information about how to run their businesses, what consumers are responding to, etc. For traditional media publishers (e.g. newspapers, magazines, etc.), this isn't necessarily a good thing. The question becomes, how can information publishers win at the content game? For insights, we turn to InboundWriter CEO Skip Besthoff.
What are the biggest conversion challenges affecting information publishers today?
Skip Besthoff, CEO of InboundWriter: A significant challenge in conversions is connecting with your target audience, developing strong and original content that audiences consume and return for. The Web today is inundated with ‘me too’, undifferentiated information; users are overwhelmed and unsatisfied. Delivering compelling, informative and unique content is a novelty that consumers value. This will significantly enhance engagement and conversions.
What strategies can information publishers use to increase their business's visibility on the Web?
Besthoff: The vast majority of the spoils goes to the very few who can rise to the top. Publishers need to understand the underlying dynamics of how sites get found. Part of this relates to the strength of a given site. Other aspects include the topics that publishers choose to write about. An increasingly important strategy is to use predictive analytics, before you put pen to paper, to maximize your content development investments. Doing so will drive both visibility and overall business results.
Are established information providers (e.g. newspapers, magazines, etc.) in competition with content marketers? If so, how can they stand out from the noise?
Besthoff: The information business is a zero-sum game. As more brands and enterprises invest in unbranded, original content, they will take audiences away from traditional publishers. To stand out, established publishers need to retool and reinvest in understanding how to leverage the data-oriented nature of the web to create competitive advantage. Those who can leverage data but still retain a strong, creative voice will ultimately prevail.
What trends do you see shaping the future of information publishing?
Besthoff: Data. The publishing business for decades was built on information scarcity. That dynamic is gone. The negative consequence is that ubiquity of information is killing traditional publishing business models. The positive consequence is that savvy publishers who understand how to harness data can literally reverse engineer their businesses to drive very strong returns.