How can an online and/or digital publication help with marketing?

Some companies have journalists create content for them, or more precisely for a publication they pay for. The journalists are allowed a great deal of objectivity with a small degree of control over topics and tone of voice. Essentially, these companies run a publication and all they want back for it is some coverage when they release products of their own. What do they gain by that?

I know of at least two companies who have their own publication. I don’t mean a newsletter or a magazine that looks suspiciously much like a brochure, but an actual magazine like PC World or MacUser. They leave the journalists who write up the content free in their choice of subjects and comments — just like the real thing. And yet, these publications are marketing tools.

In terms of marketing, publications do three things:

  • They create goodwill — a company shows its willingness to share and not just take from your wallet
  • They show expertise — of course, the topics around which these magazines are published, are in the domain of expertise of the publishing party
  • They create a constant stream of shares on social media — they create “buzz”

In one word: they create reputation.

Reputation is always valuable. If you have a reputation of being the best informed, the most inclined to share, the best support-giving organisation, people will want to buy your products. When something goes wrong, your reputation makes it less catastrophic than it would be if your reputation were bad. A publication can help maintain a correct brand image and good reputation.

Clever marketers invest in publishing…