When it comes to marketing, you’ve gotta stay fresh. More accurately, as the media preferences of consumers changes over time, so too must a company’s marketing strategies change to remain effective.
Today, with the lightening-fast way that information spreads across the globe, marketing has shifted its cultural position in several interesting ways. In years past, promotional content could really only be categorized as something that people were exposed to, in that it was often memorable but wasn’t really a direct part of peoples’ lives. In 2017, it’s totally different. These days, marketing is shareable. It’s something to be enjoyed, and, if it’s good enough, it’s something to pass along to your friends.
As a result, the consumer becomes a participant in a company’s marketing endeavors, requiring a completely different approach to the way the promotional material is conceptualized. It’s not about simply stating the facts about your company anymore, such as what kinds of services you offer or products you sell. It’s more about disseminating material that generates interest in your company – whether that material is directly related to what you do or not.
The key term here that you’ll often hear repeated in this line of thinking is “content marketing.” Most often, content marketing refers to online promotional materials like videos, blogs, social media posts, etc. – all highly shareable between viewers with just a single click. And ultimately, that’s the goal. This isn’t the type of material that companies will invest thousands of dollars to get onto the radio and television airwaves. It’s material that companies will create and share openly on the internet for free in the hopes that it’ll gain enough attention to go viral.
The opportune phrase in that last sentence, which is really the core of content marketing, is gaining enough attention. That’s certainly not an easy task. Companies have to be mindful of the type of content they’re creating, as it’s a bit of a balancing act. Content marketing by definition should not overtly promote a given brand or product, but should instead generate interest in that particular brand. It should lead people to want to learn more about that company by piquing their curiosity.
This often means that companies will be targeting a very specific demographic with their content marketing, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Mass appeal isn’t really the point of this promotional category. As an example, let’s say an insurance company makes a short, humorous video about the woes of being the parent of a new teenage motorist. With content marketing, the video will not have any information about the insurance company’s rates or packages but will instead focus on the funny anecdote and will probably conclude with the company’s logo at the end. The point is you don’t need to share those details about rates or packages. The goal is to connect with this demographic by showing something relevant and relatable and end with a reminder that your company’s here to help when the time comes.
With that, your company has made a connection with your target audience, and you’ve left them with the notion that your operations relate to their daily lives. That personal feeling will persist long after many other forms of advertising have exceeded their shelf life.
Different industries have taken unique approaches to content marketing, each designing materials that serve their particular needs. For example, manufacturers have released videos showcasing what it’s like to work as an employee within their facilities, focusing on the positives, of course. In providing a relatable sense of those types of careers, the videos stand effective even though they don’t require any type of call to action phrasing like “call our apprenticeship school today.” That’s not necessary. By simply showing the value of a career in manufacturing, companies have already begun to garner the interest of would-be applicants. It’s all about forming that connection with the viewer.
Construction companies have developed interesting content marketing methods, often using online materials to demonstrate and share their expertise. Blogging might not be the first thing that people think of when thinking about construction firms, but hundreds of companies use construction blogs on their websites to share best practices (especially in safety), do-it-yourself tips, innovations, and expert advice. These types of blogs don’t need to be overtly promotional, because the information being shared validates the company’s knowledge and skill sets within their services, thereby indirectly promoting the company.
Whatever your company’s particular marketing needs, content can be developed to support your objective. Just keep in mind that the goal is no longer about simply stating “this is who we are and this is what we do.” It’s much more about building that bridge that lets the viewer know that your company is pertinent to their lives and has values and offerings that are parallel to their needs. With a little creativity and some clever sharing, quality content can have a significant effect on your business.