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When you hear the term ‘content marketing’, you might just think it’s a web-based strategy, needed for SEO and not a lot else. You’d be wrong. Content marketing, for me at least, can and most certainly does exist beyond the keyboard. I’d tie it in with print, and to some degree offline advertising too. Your leaflets, posters, as well as print, radio and TV ads are all forms of content.
At the very least, we can all agree that they are all part of the ‘mix’ – and for a strong campaign you need all of your channels to work together. It gives strength to them individually, and avoids any issues of confusion amongst your existing or target audience.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can marry together the two in marketing matrimony.
It goes without saying that your brand needs to be at the centre of any form of marketing you carry out. Any business should have a set of guidelines that are followed across your organisation, and these should extend to all forms of communications.
If you work with an agency that manages your content or social media, one of the most valuable things you can do for them is provide them with your branding documents and any details on current marketing and PR campaigns you are carrying out so that you can work as a team to add strength to the messages you are conveying. If it is all dealt with in-house, circulate these documents to all your staff and ensure they understand and agree with the principles.
With your employees on board with the messaging, extending your brand awareness via social media is a great way of humanising your company and blurring that divide between online entity and offline identity. Here at Koozai, each member of staff has their own branded Twitter account where we share information we find interesting, general thoughts about the industry in addition to insights into our lives outside of work.
These accounts also act as a port of call for anyone who might have questions or comments to make about our business. On top of this, they are a great avenue for communicating with those that we meet at an event, helping us build up valuable contacts within the industry along with potential clients.
User-generated content is a brilliant way of encouraging your customers to be brand advocates. I’ve previously blogged about how to make the most of UGC, and there is plenty of potential to tie this content tactic to both strategies – from very direct engagement through PR events, to a more subtle blend by using online UGC in ‘real world’ spaces.
PR and content are now becoming more linked in terms of increasing brand awareness and engaging with key influencers and customers. PR events can really elevate an outreach campaign and are utilised very well by many businesses looking to engage with influential bloggers.
If your business sells a product which bloggers can review, instead of sending it in the post you can arrange a blogger’s party to meet them face to face, let them network and take home your product to write about on their blog. They will be likely to talk about the experience they had too, which brings things back to the brand.
B2B businesses that appear at tradeshows can get in on the action too. Running a competition, or giving away items at your trade stand can encourage people to take photos or share tweets. But as well as this, you can use the opportunity to gain valuable data via sign up forms.
So how can you flip this round and use online UGC offline? Car company Kia hooked up with online reviewing platform reevoo to encourage their customers to not only comment on their cars, but their dealerships too. By doing this, they show themselves to be a very open brand, willing to hear their customers thoughts. Taking this a step further, they collated the average star rating, and displayed this information alongside the relevant model of car.
People like feeling special. Incentivising your customers will make them much more likely to return to you for your products or services. To do this using your offline strategy, you can always put out a print advert or leaflet with an exclusive offer via direct mail. Online, the options stretch much further.
For example, you could offer prizes or discounts for those that check in to your shop/building using Facebook or Foursquare. Alternatively, you could send out an email campaign with a deal exclusively for your subscribers. The list goes on, so why not use your offline campaigns to point people towards exclusive online offers?
It’s time to get creative with your campaigns, and hopefully these ideas have given you some inspiration as to how you can combine your online and offline marketing efforts. By working together, the two avenues can add strength to each other and reach out to previously undiscovered audiences.
Have I missed out any tips or examples? Let me know in the comments below.