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Digital opinion

What brands can learn from publishers

Online publishers have been perfecting the art of creating online content since the advent of the web. While advertisers have long been using digital to get their message to the consumer, they've only just recently started emulating what publishers do best - developing content that keeps consumers coming back for more.
There's a lot that brands can learn from publishers. The first place to look is where they've been particularly successful.

Start with "voice". Consumers will return to a voice they relate to, in the same way they'll return to a brand they relate to. Compare the New Yorker's logo, font, content and tone (or "voice") with Cosmopolitan's. "Thinkers" read the New Yorker; "fun, fearless females" read Cosmopolitan. Your target market will define the voice you need to convey, and this voice needs to be a consistent one that will build trust in your audience. Once you've established your voice, stick to it, whether you're creating or curating content.

Developing content in-house

If you're developing content in-house, choose from the same talent pool the online publisher does. You can't expect excellent content from producers who aren't excellent themselves. Choose content producers with backgrounds in journalism, design and photography and choose them for their ability to turn content around quickly. Set an editorial calendar and make sure both fresh and curated content are updated regularly and to a fixed schedule, so your consumer will know that you're the first person to go to for information on your subject of expertise.

If you have a marketing department, choose a small group of writers and editors you can integrate into your existing team. This will make it much easier for everyone to stick to a consistent voice, message and calendar of updates.

If not, consider hiring content specialists to do the work for you. Either way, content marketing is an investment that's going to pay off in the long run.

In our next piece, we look at content curation.

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About Athar Naser

Athar Naser is head of Juice Content. He is responsible for content strategy and content marketing across the group as well as for department clients. He brings a wealth of global media and digital experience to the content specialist division of Prime Media Online, as well as to the already rich talent pool at the publisher of South African web portal, iafrica.com. Follow @JuiceContent on Twitter.
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