What is Custom Publishing?
Custom publishing and content marketing are two terms that are often confused. Joe Pulizzi, content marketing expert and founder of the Content Marketing Institute, wrote in 2010 that both custom publishing and content marketing are terms that mean essentially the same thing: copy intended to promote products or services through education or entertainment, instead of more direct advertisements. Custom publishing was the term first used for this type of marketing since it was mostly produced by publishing houses, but these days you will more frequently hear it referred to as content marketing or branded content.
Regardless of what you call it, custom publishing is very important for today’s businesses: 9 out of 10 organizations are using content to market, and more than three-quarters of all CMOs believe that custom content is the future of marketing. For many business owners, the biggest challenge with content marketing is understanding how to get started with this method of marketing. There are several ways to do so: each one has its pros and cons.
Hiring A Marketing Company
This is the route that many companies today decide to take: the idea is that by hiring marketing experts to handle their content creation and publishing needs, they will save themselves time and maximize their ROI. As a marketing agency, you know that making this option affordable for companies of every size and budget is key. Also important is to assess the product or service. As marketing guru Neil Patel points out, if your client does not have a solid product or service, the expertise that marketing companies can provide will not be much help.
Doing it Themselves
Smaller businesses or startups often choose to go this route. The upside of creating content on their own is that they get publishing that matches exactly what they want to convey about their businesses, since it's being written in-house.
The downside of this route is that it takes the largest amount of time, and in order to be successful with content marketing, businesses need to have a consistent stream of new material to help bring in new customers. They can decide to hire a full-time member of their team to handle this task, but that is also a costly endeavor as they will have to pay someone an annual salary.
Using an Agency/Consultant
This option strikes a good balance between hiring a full-blown marketing agency and creating content on their own. An agency can outsourse content to freelance writers with knowledge in their clients' fields for a fraction of the cost of full-service marketing. An agency can coordinate and review projects, and many freelancers have an expert ability to meet the publishing needs of all types of clients. Companies that find a dependable freelancer have an excellent solution for custom publishing needs. The biggest challenge involved with hiring a freelance writer is finding one that can meet your requirements: you may have to experiment and work with multiple writers or publishers before you can find one that is right.
Curating Existing Content
While some may not consider this an actual form of custom publishing, content curation has become popular in the era of blogging because it is so easy. Many businesses use this strategy to get content for a blog or social media page effortlessly. Curating content from other blogs and web sites may give you a quick way to educate prospects about your client's general industry or products, but it is limited because they are unable to customize the content itself to fit the particular organization.
Whichever way companies decide to go with custom publishing, they should be sure to think carefully about it: this critical facet of their marketing efforts could be the difference between attracting new customers or losing the interest of prospects that come across their content. Discuss the options available with existing and prospective clients, to find the right fit for them.