How to Publish Content: Act Like a Publisher

Just about any task seems easier to do than it actually is. This is especially true for creating content. For some reason, writing just seems easy. It takes very little technical skill to write. Publishing, however, is a different story. And that’s where a lot of companies looking to transform the boardroom into a newsroom get tripped up. For better or for worse, content creation requires at least as much diligence, quality control, creativity, and execution as any project a company could undertake.

Our advice on how to publish content? Think like an editor.

That’s not a skill anyone can just develop overnight. In fact, it’s not a skill at all: It’s an intricate worldview chiseled out of deep experience, education, and intuition. More than likely, you will have to hire this editor to do the thinking for you. That would make you more like a publisher. Still, it’s important to have an understanding of the mindset and strategy one needs to publish quality content on a consistent basis.

Here are six points to consider as your company embarks on its publishing odyssey:

Who is your audience?

This could be customers, prospects, the media, potential partners, or the competition. Each of these groups can be parsed out further depending on your desire to target them. It’s a good idea to diagram these groups at the most granular level. That way, it’s easy to cobble them back together into target audiences without forgetting or misplacing any group.

Develop an editorial calendar.

Each target audience will have different needs, biases, and touchpoints. Itemize these out, as they will inform the content that you will create for each of them. Brainstorm with your team to create a list of topics for each audience segment. Include the medium for each topic (e.g., company blog, outside publication, Slideshare) and note any opportunities to repurpose the content. Then lay it all out in an editorial calendar, preferably one that is shared and can be edited on the fly. Having a calendar automatically arranges priorities for the team.

Develop a style guide.

To start, just figure out the most important style questions surrounding your brand. For instance, how do you spell and punctuate the names of your company, products, and services? Then you can pick a style such as AP or Chicago for your team to use as the default. We have more information on consistency and the process of creating a company style guide here.

Obtain the talent and resources.

Hire or appoint an Editor-in-Chief. Whether that is the person’s official title or not, it is imperative that he or she is responsible for the same functions: overall strategy, project coordination, creative control, and execution. If no one is in charge, your company’s publishing efforts are destined to flounder.

Write what your audience wants to read.

In the end, your content will not resonate with your audience(s) and therefore not inspire them to take any action meaningful to your company unless you create interesting content. More ideas on doing just that can be found in our post, “Quality is King.”

How does your company manage its content publishing? What has worked, and what hasn’t? How have you had to adapt over the years?