B2B publishers are operating in an increasingly competitive environment. Today there is a multitude of ways for advertisers to reach niche audiences. Marketers are experimenting with different media and increasingly looking for measurable results. The days of six and 12-time print schedules are a distant memory. In many industries similar trade publication names, circulation and editorial content make it increasingly difficult for marketers to differentiate between publications.
Due to budget restraints, trade publication reps who once came into sales calls heavily armed with readership and market data that separated them from the competition, find themselves with nothing more than a rate card and editorial calendar.
One way to appeal to advertisers is to offer something unique or limited in supply. In the past it might have been a cover position or a special mailing. But today’s advertisers are looking for more. Many are looking for custom content that advances a relationship with a customer or prospect throughout the buying cycle. Publishers have as a core competency an ability to develop original content to attract a desired audience. Developing custom content allows advertisers to capitalize on this core competency, while bringing in added revenue. Unlike content developed by an agency or client, a publication has the added advantage of offering immediate access to an audience.
Developing custom content also offers publishers other benefits. Custom content brings publishers closer to their advertisers. In the process of finding a solution for the advertiser, publishers gain a deeper understanding of an advertiser’s objectives and challenges. And the publication becomes differentiated based on the knowledge and expertise employed to advance the advertiser’s interest.
Where to start
Custom content can take many forms, both in print and online. Here are a few ways to start developing a concept that advertisers can buy into:
- Find readers who will share their expertise on a topic aligned with the advertiser’s interest.
- Leverage publication-specific data that can be analyzed to meet the needs of the advertiser.
- Identify key industry trends and relate them to the advertiser’s offerings.
- Increase engagement with multi-media content.
- Use the seasons for inspiration.
Once advertisers are sold on a custom content solution, publishers need to manage the process to ensure customer satisfaction and profitability. Advertisers and their agencies often require a lot of attention. Custom content typically requires multiple layers of approval and a lengthier schedule. This is a foreign experience for most editors and sales staff. Taking on a project of this nature is likely to impact their other responsibilities. A better solution is to assign a dedicated project manager who keeps everyone on track and conveys advertiser expectations to the entire team. The publisher’s custom content team, consisting of the project manager, writer, designer and other creative talent, whether staffed internally or outsourced, then becomes an extension of the agency or client’s staff.
If you work it right, custom content can set your publication apart.