Custom Publishing: How Branded Content Will Increase Your Bottomline

Custom publishing is all about bringing together the needs of a niche or audience with the products and services offered by a company. This is accomplished by creating content that moves the reader in a certain direction. Content can be in print (in the form of booklets or newsletters), or online and includes web content, newsletter publishing, ebooks, video and other forms of media. If you're looking to publish a book specifically, then scroll down to the bottom of the article for my recommendations.

Think of a health-related newsletter that addresses issues related to disease and wellness. Sprinkled in this content are product recommendations for supplements and books about diabetes, heart disease and other topics. After reading an article about a health concern, the reader feels more informed about the issues and is ready to follow one or more of the recommendations in the article. This is called preselling and it is highly effective, much more so than the old hard sell method of doing business.

The whole idea of custom publishing is that companies must learn to be more subtle in their sales process. People are tired of ads that are nothing more than blatant attempts to sell them something that they probably don't really need or even want. Instead, companies are learning that when you give people valuable information that they are searching for that they can use to better their lives, they will naturally walk down the path that leads to a sale and turns them into a customer for life. Any company that understands new customer acquisition costs, gets right away how this process will increase their bottom line.

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By giving readers (once referred to as prospects) information that is useful, you build a relationship with them. This relationship engenders trust and it also causes people to spread your message through organic means (word of mouth) and on the web by referring others to your valuable content by sharing links to it in emails, and in blog or forum posts. This is smart marketing at its highest level and it's all about relationship building, quality branded content and of course, excellent products and services. Following a process such as this will also attract quality people to your team.

The web is an excellent tool for a custom publisher because of the potential for readers to quickly spread the word about your content, thereby further branding your product or service. What happens as part of the process is that your quality content becomes linked in the mind of the reader with your products and/or services.

This process is worth its weight in gold because branded content has proven more effective than outright selling. It is more effective than advertising on television and via direct mail. It is more valuable than great public relations. It significantly increases customer retention and brand loyalty. After all, all of us look fondly upon those people or institutions who have taught us something that has enriched us in some manner. Custom publishing is all about educating customers. Customers love this because in the Information Age, it's all about seeking out information that will improve our lives.

One of the best ways to get started as a custom publisher is to build a web site. This becomes your platform for branded content with all the various topics related to your product or service that you can write about in such a way that solves your customer's problems, offers good information and brings value to their lives. Weaving your offering into this content is a natural way to introduce the reader to your company.

About ten years ago, I built my first web site with a web hosting and services company that foresaw the value of custom publishing before anyone else. The founder of this company understood that by providing readers (potential customers) with valuable information that they can use, you build trust and a relationship that will impel the reader to make a purchase without pause. This visionary CEO coined the word "preselling" and understood that people are tired of being sold. Instead, they want to be informed and entertained a bit, so that their purchase becomes a natural extension of their desire to improve their lives.

This CEO built a web site building company that educates business owners on how to build a site that attracts targeted traffic that is hungry for the information that they provide and how to create a community around this niche which is exactly what you want to do as a custom publisher. In addition to all the tools you'll need to build a site that gets targeted traffic, you will have the ability to publish a newsletter, build a autoresponder series, create forms, implement Content 2.0 features to create a shared experience and invite comments on your branded content and so much more. Learn more about this web site platform by watching a quick video that is built on the philosophy of custom publishing.

Marketers spent almost 2 million dollars on branded content in 2009 and spending will skyrocket this year as more marketers begin to recognize how lucrative and valuable this is. But even a sole proprietor can benefit from this type of selling. In fact, this is a smart way to build a "brand of one" on the web, especially if you don't have deep pockets.

~ Laura Ramirez

Related Resources

For custom book publishing, use Amazon's print on demand service to easily upload your content and the front cover for your book. Here is a step by step tutorial on how to create your account with Amazon's CreateSpace publishing platform. Using this platform is highly recommend, not only for its easy of use, but because your book will be listed on Amazon and available for purchase to millions of readers around the world.

If your product or service can be easily linked to current events in the media, then a blog might be more appropriate than a web site. You will need an affordable web hosting company with all the right features plus a template so you can customize the look and feel of your blog. You will need some technical know-how in order to get your blog up. If you are not tech savvy, then use the link to custom publishing that appears 2 paragraphs above this one to find out more about my recommendation for building a blog and web site that does not require technical skills.

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