How to turn your brand into a performance publisher

Consumers are so inundated with unwanted marketing messaging they’ve become experts at separating the hype from substance. They’re not receptive to showy displays, elaborate claims or emotional appeals that lack the depth to fulfill their needs. 

They want you to cut the crap. This doesn’t mean marketing should revert to boring, stale strategies. Your brand should address consumers’ needs and questions at every stage of the buying process, offering meaningful experiences consistently.

Performance publishing is a strategy that boosts brand visibility during the consumer buying journey. It focuses on optimizing owned assets through a blend of consumer data and a robust content marketing plan.

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Understanding performance publishing

You can achieve meaningful business results by providing a wealth of helpful content addressing your audiences’ specific challenges.

This content, usually found in a blog or content hub, is crafted to consistently deliver high-quality, engaging resources based on consumer intent data. When customized to address your audience’s needs and concerns, even a single piece can become a high-value asset.

For example, an auto insurer with a fully optimized blog post on common car insurance laws by state can become a helpful resource for consumers looking to learn about their localized options. When done right, this content will:

  • Provide a positive experience that keeps the user within the brand’s digital landscape.
  • Enhance brand value, encouraging consumers to choose the brand when they’re ready to buy insurance.

But the value of performance publishing isn’t just increased revenue — although it’s a great benefit. Owned content can improve ROI and lower customer acquisition costs while improving competitive visibility and market share.

Although most content comes in the form of a blog post, using a variety of formats (ebooks, case studies, etc.) can unlock maximum impact. It can appeal to a broader audience of buyers who consume media differently. 

Tracking the impact of content through first-party data (e.g., Google Analytics or social media) is the “performance” part of performance publishing. You need to know if you are effective or simply sending more content out into the void. 

Before publishing, consider whether the content is: 

  • Reaching your intended audience.
  • Encouraging meaningful traffic to the site.
  • Improving brand reputation and trust.
  • Resulting in action. 

When content is not reaching your audience, make sure to research, adapt and pivot accordingly.

Dig deeper: Doing more with less: How marketers can make content go further

The importance of performance publishing in today’s market

Traditionally, consumer needs were ignored in favor of a model that tried to force consumers from awareness to transaction without considering the real ways humans shop. But consumers don’t want to be pushed through a sales funnel. They want the time and resources to consider their options, shift their perspectives and find the solutions they want. 

Modern consumers spend 95% of their time in the research stage and only 5% in the buying stage. This means more time is spent reviewing brand content to find solutions. Showing up with valuable content throughout the buyer’s journey, especially when consumers are researching topics and asking questions, will drive decisions and convert buyers. 

Consumer trust in brands is also at an all-time low. Only 34% of consumers trust the brands they currently buy from. How easy would it be for the brands who do gain their trust to take their business? Performance publishing builds trust by showing your consumers you are interested in consistently building authentic, long-term relationships. 

During economic uncertainty, you can use owned content to continue driving value for less. Invest in your owned content lets you deliver high-reach, brand-controlled assets that drive future-proofed value. Instead of uncontrolled storytelling, the narrative comes directly from your brand, helping to build equity, ensure performance during economic downturns and stand out against competitors. 

Dig deeper: 5 tips for balancing ‘push’ and ‘pull’ in content marketing

Launching a performance publishing strategy

Once you recognize the significance of crafting a performance publishing strategy, it’s time to focus on creating a rich content library that will better support consumer needs and optimize your owned assets. 

Start with consumer intent data

To truly connect with your audience, it’s crucial to understand the intent behind the information they seek. By delving into this, you can develop detailed consumer intent profiles that unveil their real needs.

With precise and up-to-date data and analytics at your disposal, you’ll be well-equipped to understand your target audience and offer solutions that stand out. Embracing consumer intent data ensures that you’re in the know about exactly what people want, allowing you to craft superior and more aligned solutions.

Dig deeper: The three types of digital value that get customers to buy

Lean into a reception marketing approach

Reception marketing uses this data to meet consumers in their moment of need — when they’re most receptive to it. It provides them with the information they will find most valuable wherever they are on that journey, regardless of channel. By leading with data, you can understand where your audience seeks information and deploy relevant content to reach them across multiple touchpoints. 

With the right insights, you can shape your content strategy based on what consumers are searching for at the moment. By mapping out an information path, you position yourself as a helpful resource. This approach lays the foundation for long-term, meaningful and authentic connections with your audience.

As consumers get used to ad-free streaming and ad-blockers on websites, they become less tolerant of disruptions and the brands behind them. Shifting the focus to providing consumers with meaningful, data-informed content will naturally allow you to seamlessly integrate into the consumer’s buying experience. 

Dig deeper: Breaking through the noise: How brands can connect with today’s consumers

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