By Rex Hammock

Technology journalist Doc Searls has a simple way of explaining how media with the same format—the magazine format, for example—can be very different. The key to understanding the difference, he says, is by understanding the business model of various magazines.

Some of the magazines exist to support a traditional media business model: revenues from subscriptions, advertising, and ancillary conferences and research. Other magazines exist to support vastly different business models: a national association business model, a university fundraising business model, or a customer loyalty and retention business model.

The key to successfully using content in a marketing strategy is to fully understand what its business model is going to be. Just because you launch a magazine that looks like one you see on a newsstand, don’t expect advertisers to support it with advertising if it doesn’t line up with its advertising plan. It may happen, but only rarely.

Here are two typical goals companies or associations can reach with content marketing—even if they don’t have a media business model.

1. Acquiring customers

a. Goals are to win new customers
b. Requires major paid advertising support
c. Results are measured in customers or members acquired and revenues generated

2. Engendering customer loyalty

a. Goals are retention, loyalty, support, education and building community
b. Requires a focus on direct-to-customer content
c. Results are measured long-term customer value

Image: Getty Images

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