Today I will talk to you about content and using it in advertising. Now, most of us are aware of what content marketing is. If you’re not aware, it’s basically consistently publishing valuable information to attract your audience in an effort to turn them into customers eventually.
I highly recommend Joe Pulizzi’s book Content Inc for an in-depth process for creating and implementing content marketing in your school.
I am a FIRM believer in content marketing. I think it is absolutely vital for any school to have a strong content marketing strategy.
It allows you to flip the script on customer acquisition; rather than you finding them with an advertisement they find you. That makes all the difference in the world because you’re seen as the hero rather than an annoyance.
When they find you first they’re more receptive to what you have to say and that is a very good thing indeed.
It’s necessary for SEO and social media marketing. It’s one of the best ways to build a know-like and trust relationship with your prospects.
Content is also a great way to prove that you know what you’re talking about.
Content Marketing, Advertising, and Organic Traffic
Most of the time when content marketing is being discussed it’s pushed as an anti-advertising strategy. Whether that is intentional or not, the jury is still out but the fact remains, it’s usually pitched from the angle of building an audience through content organically.
It’s true of course that building an audience is the goal of any content marketing strategy. But, most times the very art of building an audience is skipped over altogether as if the content is all you need.
While in some rare cases that may be true, most of the time a hefty amount of work outside of just making good content is required. Listen to an interview with any full-time creator and you’ll get the picture. Relationship building, brand deals, sponsorships, guesting on other people’s platforms, and research, are just a few things that go into it.
If you couldn’t tell already, I don’t believe that content marketing has to strictly rely on organic growth.
No, I think the content that you’re making would make fine ads.
See, the problem with building an audience from scratch is that it takes a long time for a substantial amount people to see your content.
In fact, research from The Tilt, which is Joe’s company dedicated to helping creators become full-time in their niche finds that it takes about two years of consistent work doing all of the things that go into building an audience before a creator can afford to bring on help.
Most people, companies, and schools don’t have the patience, grit, or funding to endure that process. Do you see what I’m getting at? Yes, that’s where advertising comes in.
Paid advertising to promote your content to your target audience is like adding jet fuel to your content.
Granted, all of the things need to be set up first. But, if you have all of those bases covered then putting money behind your content is one of the quickest and most proven ways to get in front of your target audience.
Old Marketing Books for the Win
Now, I love using content as advertising for a few reasons. Here they are
- It works great for people who have never heard about you before because it’s a natural first introduction to what you do – you’re not asking them to purchase something right off the bat
- It’s proof that you know what you’re talking about or that you’re good at what you do
- It gets read because it’s not what people would consider a traditional advertisement. People can recognize traditional ads the second they see them and in most cases they won’t give them the time of day. Using your content as an advertisement cloaks it and allows it to sneak by the ad blinders that readers have on.
- It’s a great way to stay in front of your prospects without having to bash them over the head with a hard sell every time they see your ads
If you’re a regular reader of this blog or listener of the podcast then you know that I am a big fan of old marketing books.
Perhaps some of the best examples of using content as ads come from David Oglivy of the Ogilvy and Mather agency.
In his book Ogilvy on Advertising in talking about writing ads to get clients for the agency, he states “The purpose of my ads was to project the agency as knowing more about advertising. You may argue that this strategy was ill-advised, knowledge being no guarantee of ‘creativity’. But at least it was unique because no other agency could have run such advertisements – they lacked the required knowledge. My ads not only promised useful information, they provided it. And they worked – in many countries.”
What we would now consider blog posts for SEO was a revolutionary advertisement in the 1980’s.
Here’s the best part. They worked back then and they still work today. Start using your content in your advertising.
Let me know what you think of this post by sending me a message on LinkedIn, I’d love to continue the conversation with you on there. Until next time, I’ve been Nick and I’ll see you next week!