What Makes A Successful Publisher?
There have been many successful publishers throughout history. Some have made their fortunes in newspapers like William Randolph Hearst. For others, like Bennet Cerf one of the founders of Random House, it was books. Regardless of whether it’s Magazines, Newspapers, Books, or a Blog, three things are true for all successful publishers. If you read the two-part series from last week called, “Why Your Competition Is Killing You Online,” you may recognize the equation below, but this trinity is so critical to online success that you’ll hear it from me many times. In fact, I don’t think you can hear it enough.
So, for those of you who are new to the party, what is the magic three-part equation of which I speak?
Quantity of Content + Quality of Content x Consistency of Publishing = Internet Marketing Success
That’s it in a nutshell, but now let’s talk about how this effects the way you see your business. In part one of this series, we discussed how all writers want to be published and how you can use your website to help them in a way that benefits you as well. In this part I want to focus specifically on a very important shift in your thinking that must accompany this new information and, ultimately, translate into essential work habits. That’s right. Sooner or later you have to know that everything comes down to work – you know, actual verbs. But don’t freak. I know you have it in you.
Let’s start by considering Quantity of Content.
Remember, that this is not your hobby anymore. You actually expect this blogging and website thing to make money. This means that there are some minimums you’ll need to meet. Like any business, these minimums are set by the big boys in your industry. The lead dogs set the pace and, if you want to get where they’re going, you have to keep up.
The first minimum quantity is the minimum number of posts per week.
I’ve mentioned before that leading digital marketers recommend a minimum of three posts per week. This means you need to be prepared to crank out at least three meaty, articles full of stuff your readers want and need to read every single week.
Every audience has a different tolerance, though and you’ll quickly find out how often your readers want to hear from you. You’ll also learn when they want you to post and which types of articles they prefer. The important thing is to meet their expectations and deliver what they want in the way they want to receive it.
The second minimum quantity is the minimum number of words that each post should be.
Leading bloggers write an average of 1000 words per post. Sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less, but you can be sure that they aren’t posting a few paragraphs and expecting that to get the job done. So, if you aren’t used to writing 3000 words per week, you’ll need to train and builld up your writing chops.
Start by writing anything, short stories, journal entries, epic poems, whatever. The goal is to build your quantity. I recommend setting aside a regular period of time every day that is comepletely dedicated to writing. I like to write first thing in the morning, but sometimes I have to write in the evenings or late at night. Just make sure you get your time in every single day. I write for two hours a day. You’ll have to find what works for you.
The third minimum quantity is the minimum number of social media sites that you use to promote your articles.
That’s right, kids. It’s not enough to spend hours day in and day out writing thousand word articles. You have to promote them as well – which takes, you guessed it, more writing. I recommend that you utilize a minimum of three social media profiles to promote your posts. One of them should be Facebook the other two can vary. Some good choices, depending on your subject matter and your audience, are Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+.
I recommend that one be Facebook simply because it is the gold standard for social media and will likely connect you to the largest potential audience. Twitter works really well if your content changes rapidly and often. It also helps if you’re trying to reach a younger audience (although sites like Instagram and SnapChat are quickly becoming the hottest thing with the click-it & post-it crowd these days).
You can’t go wrong with YouTube because video is interactive, multi-sensory, and easily shareable. Also Google owns YouTube and they like it when you use their stuff. Google+ works for many of the same reasons. Pinterest is great for largely visual media and predominately female audiences. LinkedIn connects with other business professionals like no one else, so, if you’re B2B, it’s a must.
Regardless of which social media profiles you use (and there are hundreds more than what I’ve mentioned here), be sure to support every single article with social media posts. It’s not unsusual to focus every bit as hard on the off-site promotion as you do in the on-site creation. With 7 billion people on the internet, what are the chances that the right ones will just happen by your place?
Now let’s talk about Quality of Content.
The nice thing about the internet is that it’s a level playing field in many respects. Online, you can be just as big as a large professional publisher. The other side of that situation is that you are competing with the quality of that professional publisher. Your stuff has to go toe to toe with the pros.
This starts with things like well-structured paragraphs, proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. After that you need to consider how descriptive, informative, and entertaining your content is. Finally, do your articles flow logically or do they ramble aimlessly? These issues are handled through the processes of preplanning, editing, and revision.
Preplanning involves creating an organized outline for your post that you follow through the initial creation process. List the main points of your article along with the logic you will use to support them. Then stick to this structure while you write.
Have someone you trust read your article before you publish it to catch words you left out, mispelled, or misused. It can be extremely difficult to edit your own work, even for professional editors. You might find another blogger who could use an editor and offer to swap work to help each other out.
Once your post has been edited, be sure to meticulously go back and complete all necessary revisions. Nothing is more frustrating than reading something you wrote online and finding dumb mistakes that you were just too lazy to fix.
Finally, let talk about Consistency of Publishing.
When you write awesome things that people find helpful, they will begin to expect more from you. When this happens, the absolute worst thing you can possibly do is disappoint your readers. One reason is that it’s just a sucky thing to do to people. Another reason is that, with 7 billion people on the internet, there are always others ready to woo your readers away. Publishing is your game to lose. Nine times out of ten, failure is self-inflicted.
Can you imagine a newspaper that only published when it felt like it, an author who wrote a book every now and then, or a magazine that came out whenever its publisher wasn’t too busy with other stuff to make it happen? Of course not. Then don’t write your blog this way. You have expectations for the published media you prefer, just like your readers will have for you. The biggest collection of the most amazing articles ever written won’t mean squat if they aren’t published consistently.
Remember publishing isn’t a hobby anymore. It’s your job now, and you’ll have to act like it is for a good while if you ever hope to actually make it your job. It’s also your reputation. Your name is on that byline and you represent more than some company. You represent you. Do it well. Lastly, it’s your future, and the only way to build it is to follow this formula. Solve it for yourself up front. There are no shortcuts. If you want to make it in online business you have to publish epic stuff again and again and again.
How have you had made the mental shift to thinking like a publisher? Share your story and let’s talk about it.