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“I just wish I knew more info about my audience and the type of content they like to consume.”

Sound like a familiar challenge? You’re not alone.

For the past two years, we’ve been helping clients transform into media companies by creating award-winning brand publishing models that sit at the core of their content marketing strategies. And we’ve learned quite a bit along the way, to say the least. From running an online healthy lifestyle magazine for a health insurance company to managing a B2B publication that is guiding and transforming how companies approach information mobility, we continue to shape models that scale from brand awareness through lead generation. 

Outside of the Weber world, we continue to see brands across a number of industries using their own models to drive an effective brand publishing strategy. From Red Bull and GoPro to GE Reports,  Microsoft StoriesHubspot and beyond — the list goes on, and the bar continues to rise.

I’ll be the first to admit that brand publishing models are not always a fit for every brand. Sometimes, business and marketing goals demand focus around shorter-term campaigns tied to a product launch, event or possibly a thought leadership platform for a new executive. But for most brands, the value of a long-range brand publishing model can fulfill a critical need that many marketers struggle with each day.

That need is data-driven strategy and deeper audience insights.

Here’s the deal: Technology is advancing quickly and as an industry, marketers are getting much better about putting emphasis around the need for ROI behind each and every execution. It’s not enough (and simply not strategic) to just measure surface metrics such as unique visits, time on site and returning visitors. These days, it’s about driving deeper engagement. Ask yourself these questions: 

  • How far down an article is a visitor scrolling? 25 percent of the way down? 75 percent?
  • Is a visitor clicking on an embedded link or ad? Is that click being attributed to a conversion goal?
  • What types of articles are segmented audiences consuming? Are they sharing these articles? With whom?
  • Which audience segments are continually revisiting your site? Which parts of your site?
  • What actions are being taken as a next step after visiting an article?
  • Which authors on your site are driving the highest engagement? With which target audiences?
  • How are your articles being consumed and shared in your distribution channels? Which headlines are working?

 

These are the types of engagement metrics you should devote more time and focus to understanding. As a takeaway, remember that modern marketing is a mix of both art and science.

If you want to produce a powerhouse brand publishing platform and ultimately build long-term relationships with your target audience, you need to think beyond just publishing a great story. It’s the data and learnings that you derive from each story that can have the greatest impact on creating brand publishing success. Over time, threading together common themes and patterns will help you not only create highly relevant and impactful stories, but more efficiently promote these stories to your target audience in order to maximize engagement.

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