Publisher Development Observations
Quotes are my thing. Well-formed, issue-directed, vernacularly blessed phrases that make a point so much better than a noun, verb and prepositional phrase thrown together in basic communication. Sure, anyone can say: Shut up! I’m talking. But want to stop someone cold say this: There is so much more you can learn when you listen.
Here’s one for you: There is a difference between being liked by a man and valued by a man. A lot of guys like you. Not many value you. Be valued. I’ve dropped this line many a time with a dear friend as she weeps into her glass of merlot for the second, third, and regretfully fourth time. That’s when the rubber hits the road, and I have to throw the truth out there: Did he value you at all? And in turn: Do you know your worth? Value is a big thing for me. And everyday I see that principle set in stone with my publishers of high standing. When I am emailing an affiliate, and especially when chatting with them on a conference call, I am keenly aware that what I must communicate to these Internet savvy professionals the sense of value and appreciation for what they have done, do and continue to do everyday on various social media platforms. And how their worth will in turn benefit our advertisers.
What do publishers value?
Publishers are a rare breed especially the publishers that understand one incredibly crucial point – patience. I overheard one of our JEB analytic gurus, Darin, state that an affiliate must write or post diligently for over a year without any idea that these posts will ever see the light of day, and then, only then, will that publisher have enough material to have a fully loaded cache of content. Dang, one year! It’s only takes nine months to create life. Talk about focusing on faith and not on the facts. But these masters of fortitude soldier on without knowing if and when the light at the end of the social media tunnel will emerge, and that their Alexa rating will drop below one million, that their Facebook following will hit 100k, and that their YouTube channel will explode with 1 million subscribers. Jump and the net will appear.
Every day. Day-in-and-day-out. Observe. Document. Review. Comment. Rationalize. Photograph. Post. Tweet. Repeat. When I prowl the Internet in search of an affiliate to partner with our clients, the filter is very small because I am seeking The One: the ever-elusive rare species of publisher who understand a long-term commitment. In the ABOUT tab of their site, I read how the affiliate will note that their forum began in 2008. 2008 – that means for seven years they have put in an effort to hone their craft, gather readers, give up free time, invest, add to their monthly nut, annoy friends by taking photos all the time, and write. And then write some more. I know because I watch those Facebook posting dates: once a week, twice a week, every day, and twice on Sunday. My client asks, Are they in this for the long haul? And the ever-elusive rare species of publisher who does understands the fight song: Be ALL in or get ALL out. There is no halfway.
Simon Sinek, the author, is known for exploring how leaders can inspire cooperation, trust and change by stating, Start with WHY. He asks anyone in business: Why design? Why start? Why rebel? Why risk? Affiliates who are very clear about their “online WHY” are the affiliates I seek. Their blog/website/YouTube channel declares passionately WHY they do what they do:
- Love of beauty.
- Desire to educate.
- See the World.
- Guide mothers.
- Health and fitness.
- Commentary on the human condition.
A publisher with clear focus keeps that WHY at the forefront of all they do. They do not aim to be the ‘Walmart’ of affiliates. They stick to the mission, religiously blogging on their cause, their love, their passion, by creating stunning photographs that showcase their intent, by writing valuable content meant to educate their readers on products, services, or experiences, and by doing this slowly and deliberately. When you are hitting a wall, focus on one brick.
2016 has begun. The resolutions have been professed, the new calendar has been hung, and the gym is packed with those who have vision and hope. Affiliates also have vision and hope. Travel bloggers are packing. Beauty divas are applying. Fitness gurus are pumping. Foodies are filleting. And this is why I love my job – the relationship begins. This is where I start asking potential publishers, what do you have planned for the coming months that could result in a revenue-generating collaboration? Where can we partner up with you to push the envelope and think completely out of the box? Publishers have keen boundaries but dig the journey into the unknown. It’s all a matter of how well the vision is outlined during a conference call with a highly probable outcome for everyone involved. Make your vision so clear that your fears become irrelevant.
Come out of the masses. Stand alone like a Lion, and live your life according to your own light. High-end, well-followed publishers do stand out. They stand alone due to their own work ethic and faith. And the right ones have a light so bright I’m drawn to it like a moth to a flame. I know the value of a good publisher. Now pass me that glass of merlot.