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Monday, March 24, 2014

A man by the name of Dr. August Oetker developed his Backin baking powder in the late 1800s. In order to set his product apart from others, he would print recipes on the back. Eventually, Oetker sold cookbooks that included various recipes, all of which involved the use of his baking powder in some way.

What Oetker was doing was an early form of content marketing. This is when someone creates a form of media or published content in order to attract the attention of customers. What differentiates content marketing from other forms of marketing is that you aren’t directly approaching consumers from the point of view of “I intend to sell you something”. 

With content marketing, you are connecting to your customers in other ways. Your boss may be skeptical about an approach that moves away from more obvious marketing campaigns (and costs money that could be spent in other ways), but there are good reasons to consider content marketing a sound investment.

Making Your Brand Useful and Relevant in Different Contexts

Oetker understood that his baking powder was essential to the cooking process. Rather than simply convince his customers of how useful his product was, he demonstrated it with recipes. If you can, consider all the ways your product may be connected to the lives of your customers.

Say for instance you are a provider of construction software that is used for making estimations, project managing, accounting and other related needs. Content marketing could include options such as infographics about the construction industry or sensible project management tips. The content you produce is relevant to the needs of your customers and so you are helping them. You are also linking your company with information that they need.

When you engage in content marketing, you don’t simply stop at discussing your product. You play to all the strengths of your product and how it fits into the lives and businesses of customers.

Content Marketing Can Move You Outside the Box

While content marketing can involve images and ebooks that relate to your customer’s needs, you can also release media that isn’t directly tied to your company’s area of business. For instance, you could create a Smartphone app that allows customers to keep track of their day or even a game. The purpose of the app isn’t directly related to your company...but your company’s logo is prominently displayed.

Some companies attempting to engage younger consumers will opt for games or they may even release music.

In actuality there is no rule for how you engage in content marketing, except that you are engaging customers. You aren’t actively trying to sell at them with the content provided, but you are putting your name in the back of their mind.

Why Content Marketing Can Be the Way to Go

Today many customers have a negative reaction to being bombarded with advertising, especially on the web. Directly engaging customers in an “I’m trying to sell you something” way, particularly through forced ads, has resulted in a negative backlash. Many people even make use of ad-blocking software.

Imagine paying so much money for ads that consumers you want to reach won’t even see? With content marketing, you are able to engage consumers in a way where you’re being useful, helpful and providing them with useful information, services or even a fun game. And as the content is generally free, they’ll already associate you with a bargain.

Content marketing lets you reach out to customers and build a rapport through indirect references to your brand. When positive feelings are established in a way, it can really help customers decide that they want to see what your brand is about and bring their business to you. As this is the ultimate goal, and it has proven successful for a number of businesses, it’s definitely an approach more businesses would be wise to consider.

Special thanks to Ali Lawrence for today's post. Ali Lawrence is a content specialist for a web design company and blogs in her free time at MarCom Land. Her articles have been published by Hot in Social Media, Yahoo! Small Business, and Business2Community.


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