Message first, channel second

CPL’s Mike Sewell is our latest podcast interviewee. Talking to James Evelegh, he gives us an insight into the kinds of things he asks of any prospective client.

By James Evelegh

Message first, channel second
Mike Sewell.

Lots of publishers publish stuff of behalf of others. We used to call them ‘contract publishers’, but now they’re known as ‘content marketing agencies’.

Our latest podcast guest, Mike Sewell, is MD of one such company, Cambridge-based CPL. In a wide-ranging chat which included Mike’s thoughts on the future of the office (spoiler alert, there is one), Mike told us about his company’s approach to publishing content for clients, that, in CPL’s case, tend to be membership organisations.

In early meetings with prospective clients, he seeks to nail down the following:

  1. What is the message? Sometimes organisations come to him with a stated aim of “launching a magazine / website / podcast” but he encourages them to put questions of channel aside until they have worked out the message.
  2. What are the content goals? If you have no goals, then what will success look like? If the aim is multi-year content contracts, then agencies need success criteria to be established. Typically, these will be expressed in terms of member retention / acquisition.
  3. Are these aims aligned with the organisational goals of the organisation? On the surface, this should go without saying, but it needs to be pinned down. Because, if they’re not aligned, err…
  4. Has the whole senior team bought into deploying a content strategy? If there are powerful voices that are not onboard, then that spells trouble further down the line.
  5. What content do they plan to make available to members and what, if any, to non-members and why?
  6. What data is available to help shape the content strategy? Organisations are often sitting on lots of untapped data which could provide valuable insights for content targeting and messaging.
  7. What thought has been given to promoting the content they produce? The best content in the world is worthless unless there is a well-thought through and properly resourced promotional and distribution plan.

Get the right answers to the above, and a long and fruitful relationship beckons…

(And, finally, we’re proud to be a media partner for the ACE Newspaper & Magazine Awards. This year, the winners are being announced by video! Indeed, it’s happening right now. Click here to view the announcements. Congrats to the winners and commiserations / better-luck-next-year to the rest. Sit back and enjoy the show!)