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Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Economics of Content Marketing and Custom Publishing

The new growth business in the online publishing industry is a new strategy (perhaps just a revamped strategy) called 'marketing services'

New marketing services businesses, such as Outsell (and soon Penton Media), offer an array of flexible services to help publishers and commercial information providers identify and grow markets and revenue.

Custom marketing means something totally different in modern publishing than it did in traditional publishing (TP) and that's why TP people still don't get the importance of the newer business model concepts that can grow online money with lower margins than existed under the old TP models.

I just love reading about and understanding (when possible) the inside numbers and strategies that make a business (especially the publishing biz) go (or fail). I admit, upfront, that I'm no expert in this territory; but Matt Kinsman, managing editor of FOLIO magazine, has a lot of answers with this post in FOLIO:

The Content Marketing Revolution
Content marketing is hot but how does it compare as a business?

Each year the publishing world seems to become enamored with a new strategy that will redefine the industry. In 2011, that's marketing services. Last month, Penton Media bought Washington, DC-based EyeTraffic Media, an online marketing firm, and in April is expected to announce a company-wide shift toward marketing services.

"If you look at Outsell, they say 60 percent of a marketer's internal spend is going to their Web site and that it's the biggest pain point," says Penton senior vice president of marketing services Kim Paulsen. "We want to help companies do a much better job of utilizing their Web sites with great content and understanding social media. Companies all say they need a Facebook page or a Twitter feed, but they're not sure what to do with it."

Under the umbrella of marketing services comes "content marketing," which really isn't much different from custom publishing, it just sounds sexier (and more dotcom-friendly). "If you look at branded and custom content, it's all the same," says Joe Pulizzi, founder of content marketing specialists Junta42. "We decided to go with ‘content marketing' because brands didn't get 'custom publishing'---they automatically thought book publishing or print. The idea is that marketers need to be publishers today. When you talk to a brand now, they get it right away."

While print still dominates the custom market ($24 billion was spent on print production and distribution in 2010, compared to $3.6 billion spent on other forms of content according to a new report from the Custom Content Council and ContentWise), three big factors are driving the content marketing boom today--social media, search engine optimization and lead generation. "You need unique content for any of those three to work well," says Pulizzi.

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