This is the first in a series of postings on best practices and alternative approaches to public relations.
You’ve heard of citizen journalism, but what about self-publishing? Self publishing presents a huge PR opportunity, but many companies don’t pursue it because they think it is too esoteric, difficult or expensive. Actually, if done well with the right people and right content, it’s none of those things. It’s a sterling opportunity to engage directly with an interested audience comprising current and potential buyers of your products or services.
There’s never been a better time to self-publish, as there are a lot of former trade press reporters, editors and/or aspiring journalists who would welcome the opportunity to be an in-house editor of your publication or community site.
Your community site, e-newsletter and/or print publication (yes, there could be a role for good old paper) must adhere to Seth Godin’s permission marketing guidelines. Most of all, the content has to be engaging to your target audience, provoking a high pass-along rate and subscriber growth.
Consider these reasons for becoming your own publisher:
- The steady decrease in influence of print publications and web sites devoted to niche markets and technologies.
- Not enough reporters/editors dedicated to cover particular technology subjects.
- Very few editors/reporters with knowledge of your technology to write intelligently about subjects that matter to your audience.
- Publishers too ensconced in traditional approaches, both in technology and editorially.
- Big, untapped opportunity if there are no dedicated journals or e-newsletters in your company’s discipline — you can set the agenda and capture an audience.
- Suspicion of general marketing such as advertising, and traditional approaches to PR, such as press releases.
- Directly reach a highly targeted market with customized content.
- Can become the knowledge broker for the industry.
- Move beyond vendor to information provider.
- Provide a new channel for cross-marketing the brand.
- Naturally build a community for your market category.
- Disseminate news, information, features in exactly the way you want to, without having to worry about dilution or screening from editors.
- Establish recognition for your customers and partners doing good work in your field.
Next week: How to self-publish.