Once upon a time, Coca-Cola just sold beverages, Lego was just a manufacturer of brick toys, and IBM a technology company. If they wanted people to hear about their products, they took out advertising space or wrote a jingle. How times have changed.
Along with the digital revolution came a distrust of advertising and other disruptive marketing methods, and a craving for information. All of a sudden, it wasn’t enough for brands to simply sell a good product, they had to be interesting. They had to become less like sellers and more like entertainers, informers and storytellers.
As a result, more and more brands are taking a page out of media companies’ books and becoming publishers in their own rights, ditching billboards for blogs and telesales calls for content-rich media.
According to Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute:
“Your customers don’t care about you, your products, your services… they care about themselves, their wants and their needs. Content marketing is about creating interesting information your customers are passionate about so they actually pay attention to you.”
Brands are now expected to post far more meaningful content than promotional. “Meaningful” being the kind of content that adds value to the customer.
The Coca Cola Journey
The release of Coca-Cola’s Content 2020 project was a turnaround point for the brand and in the content marketing world, as they shared their goal to shift their focus from creative excellence to content excellence.
One of the key points of their strategy is this: Through the stories Coca-Cola tells, to provoke conversations and earn a disproportionate share of popular culture.
True to their word, in 2012, Coca-Cola launched Coca-Cola Journey, effectively transforming their home page into an online publishing machine – featuring both branded and unbranded content.
It’s initiatives like this that have made Coke one of the most valuable brands in the world today.
Content is for every brand
You may be thinking: Coca-Cola, Lego and IBM can pull together a successful content marketing strategy because they have multi-million-dollar marketing budgets. The truth is, any company who has customers can benefit from having a content marketing strategy in place.
Why do we say this? Chances are that somewhere right now, someone is searching for information – whether it be for something that interests them, something that will solve a problem they are having, or something they’d like to try out. Wouldn’t it be nice if your company could be on the other end of that search? What’s more, wouldn’t it be nice if the information you provided them was enough to not only try your product, but also share it with their own community?
That’s content marketing. And it’s not as complicated as you think.
Robert Rose, coauthor in Managing Content Marketing said:
“to succeed today, we need to use content to continually engage our audiences – from the first time we meet them, continuing throughout the entire customer life cycle. In short, the job of marketing is no longer to create customers, it is (to paraphrase Peter Drucker) to create passionate subscribers to our brand.”
3 Steps to Become a Better Brand Publisher
Why do you want to publish content? What’s the end goal here? Who do you want to read your content? All questions you need to ask before you get started. The most important thing to remember: your content strategy should never be created in isolation, but rather fused with other digital marketing strategies.
In your content strategy, you should consider who your audience is, what they’re searching for and where they’re searching for it as well as how they move through the purchase journey.
To become a publisher, you need two things: a platform and great content. How you deliver content to your customers matters. From how it looks and what media you choose to showcase, to the frequency that you publish content all makes a difference to whether your customers will engage with your brand.
All that is nothing, however, if the actual content you create falls short. Everything that goes out should speak to your brand – if consistency is key, then relevance is the lock that opens the door.
According to Hubspot: “Content amplification makes all content, search, and social efforts more productive, leading to increased visibility, engagement, and revenue.”
It’s about getting your content in front of your audience beyond your content hub. In other words, how will you get people to not only read your content, but share it with their friends who will share it with their friends, and so on?
It’s also about repurposing your content – that is, creating 20 pieces of content from 1 story idea. Work smart, not hard.
How can you company be more like a media company?
Get in touch with us to find out how we can set up your very own content hub and start engaging with customers.