Leading the Pack: How Marketing Can Support Online Publishing

February 22, 2012

We’ve talked previously about the value of content, and as a publisher, you know it is the foundation of your business. Yet, increasingly, publishing is about more than your content. Of course, design is a key factor in engaging your audience. 

To increase your revenue, you can build on content and design with your marketing efforts (lead generation, advertising, lists and directories, events, etc.). A recent trend shows publishers adopting this wider focus; in addition to subscriptions and adding value to content, they are utilizing their websites for marketing.

Lead generation is touted as the most important objective of any b-to-b marketing department and is a critical factor for b-to-c publication websites, too, although for different reasons.

Take Quinstreet Inc., for example. Quinstreet is an online marketing and media company that moved into the b-to-b lead generation sector with its acquisitions of and IT Business Edge. The company engages 60 million visitors a year with its media network, employing vertical marketing techniques to monetize databases beyond content alone. Quinstreet plans to continue this approach with their latest acquisition: Ziff Davis Enterprise.

Quinstreet is not just providing information through their websites; they are providing connections, knowledge and networking opportunities. The model links professionals to consumers—providing high quality leads to advertisers and resources to those who visit their sites.

If you want to follow their lead, where do you start?

  • Make sure you have an online system that captures and helps manage information intelligently.   Gone are the days of simply re-entering demographic information into a spreadsheet.  You’ll want to be able to capture individual preferences, purchases and downloads, and deliver leads to your advertisers and sponsors.
  • While you’re at it, make sure your user database works well with other systems: integrate with your email service provider to automate targeted marketing campaigns with your circulation system, and with a CRM or marketing automation system to support lead capture and nurturing.
  • You can learn a lot about lead generation by looking closely at your customer base. A promising inquiry into your business possesses the qualities of an actual customer, including, the budget, decision-making power, authentic need for your product or service and preparedness to make a purchase in a realistic timeframe.
  • How does content fit in?  Choose a content management platform that allows you to focus on value-added content for your entire audience:
    • Automate editorial processes and delivery to whatever platform your readers prefer.
    • Apply semantic tagging to create relationships between content – articles, products, events, whitepapers, webinars, listings – that fully engages readers while providing a variety of opportunities for your advertisers to reach your audience.

Marketing can be a lucrative byproduct of online publishing; at the very least, being aware of marketing tactics can improve the value of your site to readers as well as advertisers.