Website owners frequently see their online presence as a marketing initiative. But in reality it is a publishing project. And that certainty is being brought home in Australia where the Government is planning to include websites that get more than 15,000 visitors a year in the legislation covering publishers. In other words, if an Australian website or blog gets more than 40 visitors a day the authorities reckon it is a publication and needs to adhere to the rules and regulations of that industry.
Of course, many bloggers will complain saying they do not have the resources to make sure they abide by the laws. Others will complain that it is all a plot to monitor bloggers, seeing it as some kind of threat to their freedom and rights of expression. Neither are really true. What is true is that any blog, whether its gets one reader or a million of them, is a publishing enterprise. According to the dictionary on my shelf, publishing is the act of making information available for others to see.
So, when you create a web page, you are publishing. When you write a blog post you are publishing. And when you comment on a post, you are engaging in publishing. Whatever you do online, you are publishing – even if it is a Tweet recommending a link…!
But why is this important? The reason is that publishers think differently to marketers. People involved in marketing tend to think about the end game of their online activities – the sales, the sign ups for newsletters and so on. However, publishers tend to focus more on the content itself. Publishers are fussy, fastidious and like thinks to be right. They also plan, plan and plan again…! You won’t find a newspaper editor, for instance, who doesn’t have a good idea of what next week’s edition will look like – even before the news has happened…! Publishers are driven by schedules, deadlines and checking and re-checking their content. Marketers are driven by numbers – the number of people buying things or the numbers who recognise their brand.
So, the issue is, how should you think online? What are your website visitors looking for? That’s the issue. If they are looking for information, you are a publisher. If they are looking to buy something, you are a marketer. But what are most people looking for online then? In spite of the huge amount of stuff being sold online, the vast majority of people using the Internet are looking for information. And that makes you a publisher.
It means your blogging or website activity should be driven by deadlines, schedules, and focusing on planning the content – just like a “real” publisher. Oh – and what is the advice from Google on how to make sure your website gets the best rankings? Oh goodness me, their advice is that if you focus on the content your web pages will rank well. In other words, Google is telling you that you are better off thinking like a publisher, rather than a marketer.
Whatever you might think about the suggestion from Australia, it is a kick up the rear end for those bloggers and website owners who think they are merely marketing. We are all publishers now – and we’ll do much better online if we think and act like them.
- Pinterest Drives More Traffic to Blogs Than Twitter [STUDY] (mashable.com)
- 25 Reasons Why Google Hates Your Blog (problogger.net)
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+