Did you know that Proctor & Gamble was instrumental in creating the modern day soap opera?
Through their radio series sponsorships, P&G sought to build a rapport with consumers built on entertaining content. In adding this entertainment value to people’s lives, P&G was able to become a brand that people began to like and trust.
That was in the 1930s so it’s really not the shock of the new when we say that in 2013 Content Marketing (shared by social networks) will reign supreme. And the best of it will be entertaining, value-adding, non-pushy.
Michael Brenner of SAP writes on the Forbes website,
“The concept that marketing and product promotion are synonymous is being challenged…We have to provide value. We have to be interesting, human and trustworthy.”
According to Jodie Sangster of ADMA, Content Marketing is the “convergence between marketing and publishing.”
When valuable information is created that engages with people, a relationship is formed that can deliver results. It is different to copywriting, which tends to lead a reader toward a call-to-action.
In 2013, advertising has never been less effective. With the demise of Australian mainstream news organisations (who seem to struggle between various revenue models such as freemium and subscription), it seems like many journalists will be moving from news organisations to brands. It is brands not news outlets, that require good writers who can craft stories and share experiences.
In a recent B&T article, Lucy Clark finds that it’s time to, “Bring in the Journos.”
The notable first of this kind of marketing was John Deere’s magazine, ‘The Furrow.’ It began in 1895 and simply provided well-written articles that showed farmers how they could be more profitable.
Services can also benefit from content marketing. Tourism Australia is one local player that engages journalists to help them tell their stories.
Who does Content Marketing Well?
Among the list of those organisations that do it well, B&T mentions the curated content that is the Gear Patrol website.
Gear Patrol describes itself as, “a gathering place for guys hell-bent on making the most of their time on planet Earth in the 21st century. What we do is what magazines have always done: provide a filter on the world, our take on what’s valuable and interesting, using original photography and thoughtful storytelling.”
The Gear Patrol website is owned and commissioned by Canon. Smart. Today it had 22,000 Facebook Likes.
Of course, let’s not forget Red Bull. This company has 600 staff on its media team and created not so much a publicity stunt, as a world-wide news-making event when Felix Baumgartner performed the world’s highest ever sky-dive.
All good and well, you may think, but we are little businesses. We can’t afford to do things like that and we can’t hire any more staff. Right?
Joe Pulizzi from the Content Marketing Institute flatly disagrees.
“Content marketing when it is done right can be a true David and Goliath situation.”
How? Because good content not only can present great outbound opportunities, it can also be in-bound. This means that (as long as it is optimised) once it’s created, it can be shared, pinned, liked, engaged with, laughed at, passed around, commented on and found -forever and a day – via search engines.
For little businesses like us, this is what we can do:
Tips for small businesses & non-profits
- Invest around 40% of your marketing budget to content creation. Remember, unlike an ad, good content won’t be tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapper, it’ll still be findable if it is optimised.
- Use your customers to tell your story. Interview them for a guest blog or write their case study. You’ll be promoting them as well as showing how you provide a solution, or add value. If you can, get some video or at least take photographs.
- Create and share educational articles that help your customers. Turn these into simple Slideshare presentations.
- Create YouTube videos that teach people how to do things.
- Share infographics or visually interesting facts that people would be interested to know about.
- Develop resources that prospects can download or use for free that will add value to their work life, family lives or businesses (depending on your customer segment).
- Entertain people with funny send-ups or self-deprecating material (this one depends on your brand).
- Use Pinterest to create inboards that directly appeal to the personality, lifestyle and aspirations of your customer personas. (e.g. Real estate agents = dream homes pinboard; have business clients? How about an ‘Amazing offices’ pinboard).
- Remember Gear Patrol, this photography-gear buying target might see themselves as fat, middle-aged and middle-class. This is not the same as how they would like to be seen. Create or curate content that reflects how your market would like to see themselves.How they would like to be seen is: independent, adventurous, discerning and full of interesting things to share.
The trick is to dive deep into the mindset of your customer or segment and add value to them – either social value, emotional value, financial value, convenience value, information value or simply entertainment value, like our soap opera.
(By the way, after Felix made his death-defying skydive on live broadcast, I decided against following-up with an equally perilous live broadcast of myself actually drinking a can of the product and documenting my pupil dilation and accelerated heart rate. I like to keep our brand irreverent, but didn’t end up doing it.
Would this have made good content? What do you think?)
Image courtesy of www.deathandtaxesmag.com –