As Steve Jobs famously said, “people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” In other words, it’s up to you to create the demand for a product or service by introducing it to your target audience within the larger context of how this product or service can enhance their lives. Brian Clark of Copyblogger recently wrote an article for Forbes illustrating this idea through the example of Procter & Gamble. The soap company (and that’s pretty much all it was, back in the 1930s) needed a way to present its products to a specific audience — housewives. The answer? A new form of entertainment called the soap opera.
Daytime drama reached into millions of households via radio and eventually television, giving the lady of the house a daily feast of “stories” accompanied by, of course, commercials for detergent products. If you spent your afternoon doing the laundry, chances were you were also caught up in the latest brain tumor diagnosis, adulterous affair or discovery of an evil twin. And every few minutes, you’d hear about how and why a particular detergent got the job better than Brand X, more often than not from the characters themselves. If your favorite radio or TV character was singing the praises of a new dandruff shampoo day in and day out, eventually you’d want to buy some just to see what all the fuss is about. Procter & Gamble had become more than a product manufacturer — it was now a media producer.
This same approach is alive and well today. We call it content marketing — advertising combined with other information that a specific audience genuinely needs or enjoys. An effective modern marketing campaign might achieve this in the form of drip marketing, a series of direct-mail or email “touches” that collectively build the reader’s trust until the urge to buy or at least contact you becomes overpowering. And just as soap opera audiences come to think of the characters they see as living, breathing people, your target market comes to rely on your brand as the real deal.
Blogging can prove especially valuable for selling your expertise to an audience. Say you’re a tax attorney trying to establish your credibility and convert prospects. By posting authoritative, genuinely helpful articles on a wide range of topics related to taxes, the people searching for that information online — who obviously need and want such information — start turning to you first as their own personal guru on the subject. And when it’s time to get their taxes done, who do you think they’re going to call? That’s content marketing.
Now it’s your turn to create your own business’s media channels. Drive demand and build your own buzz through the power of content marketing. Who knows? You just might become the hottest show in town.
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