Back in the old days, say the year 2002, what methods did you apply to position your brand?
Did you utilize third-party endorsements as a way to increase the opinion that consumers and clinicians had of your services? How about media placement – did you encourage magazines or newspapers to talk about your products or your company?
If you said YES to the questions above, you’re already an old pro when it comes to content marketing.
Content marketing basically entails placing your brand on third-party websites that link back to your main site or point of sales transaction. It’s a form of branding and today, on social platforms, it is the KEY to driving your brand.
E-testimonials or endorsements from customers and clinicians are where it’s at if you want to engage new business online. [Plus, their linkbacks to your web site help drive SEO rankings organically.]
People are 10 times as likely to come away with a purchasing decision after reading an article [or personal endorsement] about you than they are after viewing an online ad.
That’s because human nature leans toward going along with what other peers do, especially those peers who are part of an individual’s social group. Therefore, social media is an influencer when users see other folks in their “friend circle” participating in events, trying new products or visiting places online.
Does this mean you shouldn’t be spending money on web advertisements? No, ads are one part of your overall integrated communications strategy. It’s just up to you to determine how much in terms of time and budget.
William Blair & Company, an internet industry think tank, published a whitepaper titled The Future in Digital Media: A Social Media Revolution that spells out the buying power of online advocates or “endorsers.” The whitepaper is 96 pages long, so let me summarize the key takeaways by quoting the high points along with some of my own thoughts:
- Social media will have a lasting and sustained impact on the advertising and digital media, it is not a fad.
The platform names may change, i.e. Myspace > Facebook > Instagram, but they are not going away.
- Online platforms will enable the connection and monetization of communities of people.
In normal words, social media is a bridge to reach your audience, and when you do it correctly, you will make money in the process.
- Behaviors will dictate consumers’ social experience. Influence will become a strong and powerful effect to develop networks and to mold behavior; we therefore believe it may become the new social currency. This means that individuals who can influence large groups of people will drive behavior more effectively than ever before online. Your company spokesperson, consumer advocates or celebrity endorser should be fully connected and publicized on all social media channels.
So, those priceless media mentions that you actively sought ten years ago are just as valid today. It’s important to understand, however, why the avenue or method in which people read them has changed.
Most folks aren’t picking up the daily paper anymore, but I’m willing to bet they are cruising their local newspapers’ web site on a daily basis. Do you read news online? Your customers do too.
When you take content marketing online, it moves the same way as it does in print. However, your brand-specific content is distributed faster via the web and can be more focused to certain groups of people while costing less money overall for the company.
In the meantime, give us a shout if you’re trying to broaden your brand presence online with content marketing. We have a variety of options to help you achieve that goal.