When you think about the places that are hotbeds of innovation for publishing best practices, Bangor, Maine may not immediately spring to mind.
Still, The Bangor Daily News provides a wonderful case study in the use of technology to make the act of publishing more efficient, effective and engaging. But why should marketers care about how a small town paper is innovating in the online publishing sphere?
Marketers are developing content marketing strategies because the nature of the Web and how people use it is changing -- fast. People don't want to move from one static Web page to the next, propelled along by links and search engine results, to essentially consume brochureware and click on CTAs. Instead, people are looking to make connections with other people. When thinking about buying something, they want to look the proverbial shopkeeper in the eye before opening their wallets.
The challenge for marketers, then, is how it is they move beyond the static and figure out efficient ways to engage with their customers that is authentic, but also scalable and efficient. As always, technology can help.
So what can we learn from The Bangor Daily News? Writing in MediaBistro's 10,000 Words blog, Lauren Rabaino talked about how the paper moved from two expensive content management systems -- one for its print operation and another for its Web-based operation -- to a single, open-sourced and cloud-based system using WordPress, Google Docs and InDesign. Here's the new workflow:
1. Reporters and editors compose all stories in Google Docs. Using labels and native commenting, the stories get sent through the editing process.
2. When a story is ready to publish, it gets sent from Google Docs to WordPress with one click.
3. In WordPress, editors can publish the story to the Web, then set up a print headline and print subhead.
4. The story then appears in inDesign, where print designers can lay out the print newspaper.
Three simple technologies to power an entire publishing enterprise. While I get that marketers don't worry too often about integrating a Web and print publishing operation, there are lessons here.
Marketers must learn what publishers have long known: efficient workflow is key. Most marketing organizations already get the importance of keywords and the need to integrate these into a range of marketing outputs to ensure good SEO. And as I've already written about in this series, content efficiency is key, especially as it relates to integrating content and social strategies. But as internal teams increasingly take on the task of content production and distribution, finding the best systems for enabling these activities is just as important.
I hear too often from marketing folk that IT is a barrier. This shouldn't have to be the case. With so many terrific SaaS / cloud-based applications out there, content marketing is easier than ever before and shouldn't have to rely on any IT resources.
So, where to begin? I recommend you hit the pause button, and:
1. Look at what you're producing across all aspects of your marketing efforts;
2. How that stuff is being produced and by whom;
3. The channels through which it is being distributed; and
4. The ways in which you might leverage technologies to accomplish all this effort more efficiently.
The folks in Bangor discovered a way to knit together the majority of their publishing workflow using just three technologies that have learned to play well together. You can find similar workflow solutions through technology. It will take some time and consideration. But it all starts with understanding your current workflow and how you can make those more efficient and effective while still achieving your content marketing objectives. As the charts in this blog post on the Wall Street Journaldemonstrate, there are a fantastic array of technologies and services available to marketers of all stripes.
Embrace the right technologies and you'll better enable the kind of marketing activities that will keep pace with the fast-changing ways of the Web. Share your ideas in the comments below. Next week in the content marketing series: developing effective distribution strategies for content marketing.