October 16, 2009

We are now publishers by Dave Knox

Dave Knox has a great article on the role of marketing that will get you thinking.    Love to hear your opinions.

From Dave,

“A few weeks back, I wrote a post about the fact that “Marketers need to realize that we are all publishers now.“  One month later, it’s a thought that I cannot seem to get out of my head.

More specifically, I am trying to figure out what the ramifications of that statement are.  After all, as marketers, we are trained in how to create great advertising like a TV or print ad.  In fact, if you started at one of the big CPG companies, you probably have a checklist of what goes into an effective advertisement.

But few of us (if any) are trained to act like publisher.  And by act like a publisher, I mean creating a regular flow of great content that “people will read, watch, listen to or look at for their own enjoyment and want to pass on to their friends.”  Marketers do not have a “checklist” for creating great content…or for that matter, creating a great content website.

So for the past month, I have been paying a lot more attention to the top publisher sites in the hope of uncovering some common threads to what goes into a great content site.  This means I am looking closely at the behaviors of my favorite “publishers” like Huffington Post, Thrillist, Digg, CollegeHumor and just about anything created by Federated Media.

So far, a few things jump out:

  • Facebook Connect:  Despite being just over a year old, Facebook Connect is already an essential addition for sites to enable Comments, Sharing, Social Filtering, and Single Sign On.  For instance, since CitySearch implemented Facebook Connect, daily registrations have tripled, 94% of users who write reviews share those reviews back on Facebook, and 70% of their friends who see the review click on it, and travel back to Citysearch.
  • Sharing Platforms:  Chas Edwards has a great post that summarizes the importance of sharing platforms like ShareThis.  For instance, online publishers announced that social-media sharing platforms have become bigger sources than Google for referral traffic.  And the visitors that came to the site via shared links were1.5x more likely to convert than visitors that came from other sources including search.
  • Integrated Digg Widget – Some call Digg a sharing platform, but I think of it more as a voting platform where consumers decide the best content.   Case in point, the Integrated Digg Widget implemented by  This integrated approach increased traffic from Digg to Time by 164% and Time stories now end up on Digg’s homepage more than 100 times a month, up from 55 before the widget integration.  Lesson here is that “less can be more” and if you remind people to vote their opinion, they will.
  • The “Golden Triangle” of mobile, social and real-time: Last week, Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures called the combination of mobile, social and real-time the “Golden Triangle.”  While I haven’t seen this play out with many Content sites, I think the principle still holds true.
  • Get Satisfaction: I admit, I am a bit biased with Get Satisfaction since I know many of their executives.  Nonetheless, I think their platform of “People-Powered Customer Service” is stellar for helping people share ideas, answers and solutions.  I think their Feedback Tab is going to continue to pop up on more and more sites going forward.

Those are just five of the elements that I think would be on the checklist for great Digital Content.  What would you add to the list?  Anything in the realm of Video?  Search? Checkout Dave’s site at:


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