Almost exactly a year ago, I wrote an essay telling marketers they needed to retire the term "content marketing" and start talking about "brand publishing" instead. I even made a swear jar for anyone who used the term around the Contently offices.

I was inspired in part by this here site you're reading now, which, from its birth two years ago, has been focused on telling great stories. Talk with the editorial staff of Coca-Cola Journey, and you realize they aren't worried about other soft drink manufacturers; what they care about is getting the greatest number of people to spend the greatest amount of engaged time with their stories—and, by extension, with their brand.

Turns out I was wrong about nomenclature—the term content marketing is more ubiquitous than ever—but I think I was right in that the industry has increasingly followed Coca-Cola Journey's lead in thinking like a publisher. And all the signs point to the shift from marketer to publisher continuing through 2015.

So what does "thinking like a publisher" really mean? At the most basic level, it means creating content in order to attract and retain an owned audience. Which is simple—in the way that an internal combustion engine is simple. The output is the deceptively smooth result of dozens of finely calibrated internal parts. In a brand publisher's case, that means dozens of people and departments within a brand (creatives, lawyers, data, marketing, technology and more) working together to turn out stories that humans will actually read.

What Coca-Cola Journey has done well—and what other brands will spend 2015 trying to copy—is perfecting the internal machinery it takes to succeed. While Journey is turning out more than 1,000 stories every year, many other brand publishers struggle just to get content out the door. 

I tend to think there are six boxes that every enterprise brand will need to check in order to be successful publishers in 2015:

1. Identity

Without a clear point of view, style and tone, content is destined to fall on deaf ears. There are too many other content creators competing for our attention for generic stuff to resonate. Consider whats important to your brand and customers, and write about that. For Coca-Cola Journey, that's meant focusing on the idea of "happiness" and making sure everything they produce ties back to it in some way.

2. Compliance

Lawyers are an unfortunate but necessary part of a brand publisher’s existence, but legal compliance is hardly an insurmountable obstacle. As with traditional publishers, the key is working with the suits to create guidelines for editorial to follow. Compliance is like a coloring book; as long as the content creators color within the lines, everyone's safe. And the lines need not be unnecessarily narrow.

3. Audience

Someone once said you can't make great speeches to empty rooms—and the same thing is true with publishing. Great content deserves a great audience, but said audience won't just materialize out of thin air. And "renting" an audience from a publisher or social platform is a short-term solution. The smart thing for brands to do is leverage their existing audiences and social budgets to drive people back to their owned properties—and using great content to keep them around.

4. Analytics (Useful Ones)

The days of pointing to share counts and page views as evidence of content success have gone the way of the Model T. Brands are getting increasingly more sophisticated in how they measure marketing ROI, and 2015 will see more and more of them tying their brand publishing efforts to real business results. For B2B companies, that often means tying content directly to revenue; in B2C companies, that means brand lift and share of voice.

5. People

Hiring the right people and giving them the freedom to do their jobs well is key to any division in any company. For brand publishers, that means editors, writers, photographers, designers and more. Without great creative talent, content is destined to fall flat. Where the budget to hire them comes from can be a challenge, but its a challenge that successful brand publishers need to tackle sooner rather than later.

6. Technology

Whether it's internal systems or content marketing vendors like Contently, enterprise brands need scalable tech to make content work. That means different things to different companies, but 90 percent of the time, it needs to be cloud-based, collaborative, easy-to-use, and powerful enough to support enterprise companies.

Getting all of these pieces in place has been the biggest challenge for brand publishers in 2014, and until those hurdles have been tackled, I think brands are leaving huge potential on the table. Coca-Cola Journey has managed to get their engine fine-tuned. Now all that remains is to decide where to go.

Sam Slaughter is vice president of content at Contently. Follow him on Twitter @samslaughter215.