Bring New Efficiency to Content Creation
The U.K.-based company Publicate has drawn attention for innovating a robust set of content-curation tools. Providing a simple, elegant interface withdrag-and-drop editing and pre-built templates, Publicate streamlines every step of the content development process. Publicate focuses on functions that support efficient and effective content curation: the synthesis of existing online content into new and more useful forms. But Publicate’s applications go well beyond curation. Having joined the growing ranks of companies worldwide that utilize Publicate's powerful suite of marketing tools, MarketScale interviewed Publicate’s founder and CEO, Chris Bradley.MARKETSCALE: Why did you start Publicate and why did you choose email as the medium/channel that Publicate solves for?
BRADLEY: I started Publicate because I was going through an exercise of building my online presence, and had started a blog, but found that I never got around to creating any content for it, simply because of the amount of time and effort it took. I noticed I was already spending a decent amount of time each day reading content for my industry, and wanted a way to create content out of what I was reading, by quickly curating it and adding my own insight and opinion to it, so Publicate was born.
Email is definitely the major use-case for Publicate, but not the only content output from the platform, you can also create blog posts and web pages too. The idea is—you're already finding and reading all this great content, now turn it into a blog post or newsletter.
MARKETSCALE: “Email newsletter” may not describe the exciting potential of marketing email, how are brands using newsletters in unique ways and is there anything else they call them?
BRADLEY: As a term, 'Email Newsletter' does sometimes prompt eye-rolling and visions of businesses spamming your inbox, but I think companies are now more than ever aware of the importance of… getting something into your customer’s personal inboxes that they actually value. Which is why curated email newsletters are becoming such an important tool for marketers. It's also why we are anti- automated curated newsletters: if you're going to get results from email marketing, you need to make sure that the content you are adding to your newsletters is relevant and valuable.
The opportunities for content of email newsletters is endless. We've seen courses by email, where each lesson is delivered weekly. We’ve also seen industry trends and stats digests, subject matter resources, social-trend roundups, inspiration and swipe files, company training courses, product updates, client updates; the list is endless.
One thing we are seeing a lot of is companies using Publicate for internal newsletters to align teams and update stakeholders.
MARKETSCALE: What advice do you have for B2B marketers looking to grow an email list?
BRADLEY: I would break it into 2 key areas:
1. Creating an email newsletter that people want to receive:
· Understand your customers and their pain points
· Curate highly valuable and actionable content that will help them with those pain points
· Set a regular schedule for sending emails; consistent, regular messaging builds trust
· Design a clean and simple template with appropriate use of images, titles and colors to create focus on key information key for those of us who prefer to scan through information
· Always present a clear call to action that you want readers to act on
· Add social share to your newsletters, so your audience helps you spread the word
2. Promoting it:
· Make it easy for people to sign up: there are tons of tools that will help you to collect signups all over the web
· Make your newsletter a product: create a landing page just for the newsletter that educates people on the value they will get out of signing up, with past issues and social proof, once you can
· Promote it: find people whom you think will find the information relevant, and send them the link; drive traffic to the conversion points
MARKETSCALE: Where do you see B2B marketers wasting money in the email marketing department?
BRADLEY: The biggest waste in email marketing is when marketers try to automate the newsletter and don't take the time to really understand the kind of information their customers need and will find valuable; and then marketers must make sure the content that they include is relevant and actionable. People want to learn something that they can then take action on. Just adding content that you haven't read... not taking the time to highlight the value of content for customers, will result in a generic newsletter—a waste of valuable time, money, and effort.
When done effectively, newsletters done right are one of the most valuable channels we have as marketers; and creating an effective campaign just comes down to understanding your audience and finding the right content for them.
MARKETSCALE: Social media marketing is finally the status quo in B2B, how can Publicate further a social media marketing strategy?
BRADLEY: Email marketing and social media marketing go hand in hand; finding the right content to share is the bit that takes the time. So if you are doing it for social, now you can also use that content to create newsletters and web roundups in Publicate. It also means that you are creating new content to add to your social channels, content shared socially has a very short lifespan; creating a roundup of the most popular content shared on social that week means that your audience can catch up on anything they missed, and you can embed it on your blog and re-share on social, driving more traffic to your branded properties. It's also an obvious place to promote your newsletter. We've seen the concept of sharing some content on social, but holding back extra juicy content for your newsletter; this strategy is also a great way to bring your social audience over to the newsletter.
MARKETSCALE: How important is good content in the email marketing process?
BRADLEY: It is everything. The content is the newsletter. Make it relevant and actionable, and the only way you can do that is by knowing your readers.
MARKETSCALE: Do you have any tips or tricks for getting good open rates?
The key point is to keep the email’s title short… make sure the title speaks to the problems you know your readers have, and why opening this email will help them.
MARKETSCALE: Our customers often ask the question “When is the best time to send an email?”
BRADLEY: Tuesdays and Thursdays seem like good days, but it depends on your readers. When are they going to be checking mail? And when do you stand the most chance of being seen at the top of the pile?
MARKETSCALE: What would you say to B2B marketers considering an email strategy, but afraid of the costs or work involved?
BRADLEY: Email marketing is a very inexpensive, high-converting channel. The cost is really the time of getting the right content. But, if you do some legwork upfront to understand your customers and their pain points, you can focus on the right content, and use the appropriate tools in a workflow that will stop it from taking too much time.
The trick is setting up the tools you use in a way that saves time. For instance, using tools like Feedly to aggregate all of the content sources into one place, allowing you to simply filter through and find the good stuff.
By connecting Feedly to Publicate you can collate all of your content and keep it "saved for later," a function that organizing everything you need for your newsletters and roundups in one place, already there and waiting to go. From there, it's just a case of drag and drop into your template; then add some insight and opinion, and the piece is ready to go.
Time is generally the issue, which is exactly why we have created Publicate, to lower that barrier and to help you focus on getting the right content in the right place so it doesn't take time.
MARKETSCALE: Are there any e-mail marketing case studies or campaigns you admire that can inspire us as marketers?
BRADLEY: There are lots! My recommendations:
A great place for inspiration:
Ones I personally:
A good roundup:
Interested in learning more B2B marketing strategies?