Special Report: The Brand's the Thing
Though the publishing industry has traditionally served three main roles—gatekeepers, curators and distributors—the instant and global distribution of information has thrown a wrench into at least two of these functions.
While technology has only magnified the need for quality curation, self publishing gives authors a way around the gate, and the Internet has laid waste to long-established distribution chains. The digital revolution was a huge win for the act of publishing. Content is now everywhere and can be purchased anywhere. But how, in this sea of content, do publishers who invest in the time-honored processes that ensure quality content communicate that?
There are many methods to boost content discoverability—many are technical, many are strategic, and all should be tailored to the content and audience in question. The most powerful—and most resilient—method for improving your content's discoverability, however, is to inspire your once-passive audience to actively seek you out.
Active discovery—where customers know to specifically seek out your content—requires branding.
The Need for Branding
With a seemingly infinite wealth of information available, the task of separating signal from noise, or expertise from the alluring charm of ignorance, becomes paramount. Search engines don't do the job. Amazon doesn't do the job. These are both flat content ecosystems—in which everything, regardless of quality, sits on the same horizontal plane. The dreck doesn't sink. The gems don't shine. When the search box rules, you need to give your customers a reason to search for your content. Branding is the key to establishing the trust and providing the necessary impetus.
Publishers provide the quality assurance—editing, expertise, vetting, etc.—readers seek. But the brands associated with publishers currently mean little to readers. This branding crisis represents a golden opportunity for publishers to shed their tradition of working in the shadows and introduce themselves to the world as the purveyors of quality content.
Related story: Identity Publishing
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