Blogging tips: How to think like a publisher

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SMPS Chicago
The SMPS Chicago blog

Jon Davis’s posting in the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) Chicago chapter site caught my attention because, well, when he suggests bloggers should “Think like a publisher” he at least describes my vocation.

And I blog.

But I can’t quite claim the discipline in blogging strategies he advises based on a Harvard Business Review article. Still, the ideas are quite sound.  

They include:

Help your audience

How are you helping your audience and building trust? Perfect binding can be perplexing and prospects call in with the same questions. How do I know? The research department (indulge me, still on that co-workers in the newsroom idea) also known as our customer service team, keeps us informed! The solution? An infographic outlining layout tips for perfect bound books, created with team input.

After adding to the custom books page, it cut down phone calls (around 4 – 5 technical questions per week). While valuable website content for new visitors, it is also a helpful link for existing clients and builds trust.

Answer questions

What topics interest your customers and prospects? Have you discovered a trend among the new customers finding you? Call loyal clients or ones you don’t know well and ask if there are topics they want to hear more about. Use a tool like AnswerThePublic.com. Research how people use search engines like Google and Bing for answers to questions. keyword.io aggregates Google Suggest results and Moz suggests questions too. Find ones you can answer and write them. It’s another way to sniff out article ideas or content for service pages.

Calendar year?

Editorial calendars build a foundation for your content. But you know what? Unexpected projects and partnerships happen. For instance, a local school is taking a field trip at our shop, which led to a blog post. It wasn’t on the calendar or planned, but we’re happy to disrupt the calendar. Several media outlets are covering the tour. Opportunities present themselves – bob, weave and reap the rewards.

Be a journalist too

Arguing that the creative office space is trending and improves productivity? Find a designer to validate your points, interview them and ask for a quote. And then find the opposite perspective… the one that contradicts your take. Sources are everywhere. Use Twitter or LinkedIn or look for publications and contacts that cover your industry or topic. It adds credibility to your article and the external links out to your references may improve search visibility, as a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm.

Expand your horizons

Is your marketing department using a design program that saves time? Did you A/B test a subject line for an email promotion and increase results? Share the information in a blog. No, the topic may not relate to your product or service. Chances are it will diversify your content and expand your editorial calendar. It’s another way to position your firm as a thought leader.

Davis works in the marketing department at Cushing, a creative commercial printing firm located in Chicago since 1929.

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