You’ve probably heard us talk about the trifecta of BtoB success: Content, Community and Commerce. Today’s digital publishers know that publishing is no longer simply about good content (although that is STILL the foundation of success). It’s about growing multiple revenue streams and finding your audience where they want to be found, involving them in an ongoing dialogue and delivering contextually relevant tools and resources to them—daily.
Oh, so, simple.
Sure, there are a LOT of moving parts that you are responsible for, but that doesn’t mean it has to be uber-complicated. Luckily, there are ample examples to follow. Let’s look at the qualities successful brands have in common:
1) Clear Vision and Mission. Any business benefits from these two key foundational elements. What need are you filling? What do you want to accomplish? This is part passion, part practicality. Of course, you must be able to communicate this to your target readership. It’s why you exist and what you are doing to help them. Keep it short and to the point.
2) Guiding Principles. How do you do what you do and why does it work? What are your strengths? What is the key to your success? How does that translate to your mission?
3) A Community—at the Core. There is no doubt that you have or are creating a multi-platform universe around all your content, one that might include:
But, regardless of how many different platforms you are working with, they must all feed into the center—into the community that you are creating and supporting. You are not operating in silos. On the contrary, each platform works with the next—interfacing through excellent taxonomy, clear strategy and a deep understanding of your audience.
4) Deep, working data. We just alluded to this in the previous point, but leveraging data on multiple levels is certainly a must-do in your universe.
Learn about your audience so that you can identify, track and respond to (or even get ahead of) trends in your industry.
Acquire and provide relevant panel-based data from your industry. Become a leading provider for this kind of resource.
Explore and experiment with a wide range of topics so that you can hone in on what is really of value to your readers and expand your audience.
Don’t get lazy. Your audience is ever evolving. You must keep up with (or better yet, stay ahead) of them. Establish a strong, contextualized foundation in data and be attentive to it (and the information you glean from your efforts).
5) A Clear View of the Landscape. Good, deep data will give you many things, not the least, a bird’s eye view of the content landscape in which your audience dwells. Know where they go to find information and make decisions. Survey them. Watch their behaviors.
6) Flow. Every market experiences fragmentation and friction. Part of your role is to reduce that for your reader. You want their experience to flow. Be the brand that connects their experiences and resources, so that they can easily make choices that improve their lives and help them become more skillful. It’s about contextual presentation and meeting them where they are most comfortable—on your website, social media, through email etc.
If you dial in these six qualities, you are likely to become the foundational brand that supports contextualized commerce, authentic content and an engaged community in your niche of the industry. That community will grow, and grow . . .