Every time we interact with the world, whether it’s shopping online, running errands, or even just enjoying happy hour with some friends, we’re subjected to an onslaught of ads.
Complaints about marketers competing for our attention go back at least as far as 1759, when renowned scholar Samuel Johnson wrote an article on the topic. “Advertisements are now so numerous that they are very negligently perused, and it is therefore become necessary to gain attention by magnificence of promises,” he wrote.
In an era where advertisements have become a sort of background noise that we’ve long since learned to ignore, how do businesses get consumers to engage with their message? One way is to be so loud, annoying, weird, or repetitive that people can’t help but remember your product. Another way—and one that I think is far superior—is to create material that provides something valuable to your audience, in other words, content marketing.
We’ve all heard people say things like, “I saw the funniest Snickers commercial,” or “I read this story from the World Wildlife Fund ... .” Both are examples of a sales approach that engages and informs rather than relying on the same tired old bids for attention.
Content marketing drives profitable customer action by connecting with people. That connection may be emotional, as in a video produced by the Humane Society of Silicon Valley. “Eric & Peety” is the story of a dangerously obese man whose life is transformed when he adopts a dog. It’s at once funny, interesting, sad, and inspiring. The branding is there, but it’s underplayed so that viewers don’t feel inundated with requests for donations.
Another great example that’s more on the educational front is the National Association of Realtors’ HouseLogic website. The site is filled with dozens of informational tips about homeownership, and the content is actionable, relevant, and informative. More importantly, it creates a true desire to buy a house without ever saying those words.
Unfortunately, few remodelers are using content marketing to reach consumers. It doesn’t have to be fancy; even a blog or short video is enough to engage people if the content is meaningful in some way. Think about what you would want to know as a homeowner, and then tell that story.