Managing and Measuring Content ROI

Publishers are from Mars and content marketers are from Venus. Many people think that publishers and content marketers are very different, but in fact, are not.

Shweiki Media teams up with Kathy Greenler Sexton, CEO and publisher for Subscription Insider, to present a webinar on managing and measuring content ROI.

If you are a marketer or a publisher you know the terms paid, owned and earned media. These three forms of media are how you get attention in this world. Paid media is when you buy ads. Owned media is the channels you, personally, control. For example, a publication owns anything it publishes and a marketer’s owned media include things like their blog. Earned media is when you get coverage from other people. Paid, owned and earned media are very important for both content marketers and publishers.

What’s Important for Publishers and Content Marketers?

It is important for both to get shares, reposts, mentions and views on earned media. They also need to get the right response from all the advertising they are doing to drive traffic to their sites and make sure their web properties are popular. The digital marketing trifecta lies in the middle of all three media. Whether you are a marketing company with paid content or a publisher, you really want to make sure that all three are working for you to drive home your brand, message, and what is key to making you a success.

Digital Marketing Trifecta

Content Marketing

Marketers OWN creating and managing content and driving results. They use content as bait to drive a number of different things they use, such as news and information, white papers, blogs, webinars, and research. They also use many different tools like content web management, marketing and sales automation, and analytics. What marketers really want to do is drive traffic. For content marketing driving traffic is about driving leads, the sales funnel and sale of product or service.  Content marketers must know the conversion and growth rate of all the content they produce


The key trait of publishers is the separation of creation and revenue generation. The editorial creates the coverage for news, B2C and B2B. Editorial will create the best content they can for whomever their target market is. On the other side of publishing is revenue generation.

For content marketing and publishing, they both create content with subject matter experts, journalists and writers, sources, analysts and researchers. Editors work with them to create that editorial and publish it on a wide range of platforms depending on the business.

How do they monetize it? Publishers do not care about sales monetizing leads. They drive ads, revenue, subscriptions, licensing, training and events. Publishers use a wide range of different revenue methods to create revenue from content and the expertise they have on a given market or subject.

Comparing Content Marketers and Publishers

Content marketers and publishers are using many of the same tactics for content. They could be writing about the exact same topic to the same audience, but they have a very different purpose. Publishers are trying to monetize content with advertising and subscription revenue. Content marketers are trying to create leads and ultimately sales revenue. Today, publishers and marketers are increasingly colliding in the marketplace and on social media. It is tough for each to really understand who is doing what and who consumers should trust.

Who owns, creates and manages content? It is different between an editorial driven company and a content marketing driven company. For publishing, the editorial team owns and creates content while the marketing team does it for content marketing.

Who drives content revenue? Ad sales, marketing and subscription sales, and business development drive revenue for publishers. The marketing team itself is responsible for driving content revenue for content marketing.

What tools are they using? Publishers use content management systems (CMS-WCMS), ad platforms, subscription management platforms, e-commerce platforms and even sales and marketing automation tools. Content marketers use of the same tools as publishers. They mostly focus on sales and marketing automation to really drive and attract the results of content they put out into the world via apps, web, and social media.

Ultimate goal of content created? Publishers want to monetize the content itself while content marketers want to sell the product or service.

Tactics? Both publishers and marketers produce great content, great branding, engage their target audience and build their community.

Challenges? Publishers face a lot of competition from content marketers because their content is not directly tied to revenue and ROI like their own content is. Marketers have to establish credibility which they do not necessarily have like publishers. They have to build credibility and create content that drives product sales.

Opportunities? Publishers have the opportunity to emphasize unbiased editorial content to drive brand engagement. Marketers need to learn from publishers by emulating the great content being produced and understanding how to engage and build an audience. Marketers should leverage their existing expertise even more to make sure that whatever they are writing converts to sales.

Publishers need to emulate content marketing while content marketers need to learn from publishers. Both sides need to be better at what they do.

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Kathy Sexton

Kathy Greenler Sexton is the CEO and Publisher of Subscription Insider, a media company dedicated to helping subscription economy executives operate and grow a profitable subscription business.

She is a recognized expert on digital subscription business models, market strategy, brand development and digital information products.

Known for her strategic and tactical acumen, Ms. Sexton has played key roles in the successful acquisitions/mergers of to, NewsAlert/ Inlumen to Screaming Media (Dow Jones), and HighBeam Research to Gale/Cengage. She launched and led the growth of leading digital brands and products, including: AltaVista, and HighBeam Research. She also developed the strategy and executed turn-around and new market solutions for organizations that include: SIIA, ZoomInfo, Business & Legal Resources, Inlumen and OrderMotion.

Ms. Sexton regularly speaks at industry events and is also a contributor to a syndicated radio show, the Entrepreneur Network. She is lives in the greater-Boston area with her husband and son. She is also an avid skier and Boston sports fan.

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