So much has changed in the marketing field. We’ve gone from outbound marketing (interruption-style advertising with media) to inbound marketing (online marketing that demands engagement).
Content marketing, although challenging, now offers a way to differentiate yourself from your competition. Yet it’s going beyond the traditional view of marketing.
A Marketing Paradigm Shift
Before, a company with a product or service would market its features and benefits. The customer needed saving. The product was the hero. It was fairly straightforward.
Then in the 1990’s, the Internet came onto the scene. Companies started to experiment with it. Websites were created, which in the beginning were simply online brochures. However, it was the beginning of digital marketing.
Companies were not accustomed to interacting so quickly with their target markets. It took time but finally they realized the Internet was a place where their customers sought engagement. People wanted to click on things. And there was a hunger to communicate with a company online, whether it was leaving a comment on a blog post or participating in an online chat.
Today? Here are some of the options for content marketing:
- White Papers
- Case Studies
- Webcasts and Podcasts
- Websites, Microsites, and Online Communities
- Social Media
- Mobile Apps
- Gaming as content
- And more…!
The number of content marketing options is breathtaking. The good news is that no business is expected to create all the different types of content that exists today. But it is important to choose a few that a company feels it can leverage for marketing success.
This shift from using the traditional methods of marketing to using content as the marketing vehicle is evolving into a brand new way of viewing marketing.
Marketing is now becoming the product. Marketing has become the value.
Red Bull Is A Beverage, Right?
If you asked most people to define Red Bull, they’d probably say it was an energy drink.
Actually, that’s not completely true.
It’s a media empire that just happens to sell an energy drink on the side.
Sound farfetched? Consider this: Red Bull has Red Bull Media House, which produces a monthly print magazine ($6 for twelve issues mailed to your home address or download the free app from iTunes), digital content, mobile content, and recently launched their own TV channel on Apple TV.
They are a “multi-platform media company with a focus on sports, culture, and lifestyle.” With a global network of correspondents in more than 160 countries, Red Bull Media House launched its first dedicated media subsidiary in Los Angeles, California (USA) in 2011.
And according to their website: “At Red Bull Media House, we’re on a mission to fascinate. We constantly strive to create and distribute top-quality media assets that leverage not only our own media brands, but also those of our third-party media partners.”
How well is all this content working? In 2011, a total of 4.631 billion cans were sold in over 161 countries and 8,294 employees generated €4.25 billion in revenue. (source) Not bad for an energy drink.
What does this mean for you?
Your marketing must bring value to your target audience. Red Bull understands their audience is young professionals. They focus on the following content verticals: sports, culture, and lifestyle.
For instance, Red Bull took the fringe sports, like Ice Cross Downhill (a combination of hockey, boarder cross, and downhill skiing) and is putting it out there. They are finding an under-served audience and meeting their needs.
You have exactly the same opportunity.
You can use whatever platform you want, whether it’s video, podcast, social media, or a blog. Once you find your niche audiences, then you consistently create content for them that will build brand loyalty. That is what Red Bull is doing and it’s a great marketing model.
You don’t have to try to create content on the scale of Red Bull. But you can consistently produce a podcast or video series. Even Blendtec, who produces a blender (and how exciting can a blender be?) came up with a fun video series called “Will It Blend?”
The CEO, Tom Dickson, appeared in a lab coat asking the big question before popping into the blender objects that ranged from a golf ball to an iPhone. Dickson recently exited as the CEO but will remain on the board of directors. Meanwhile, Mashable collected the top 10 “Will It Blend” videos.
So no matter what you’re selling, think of how you can reach a niche audience who would appreciate what you have to offer. Then create content marketing that will interest them. Create your own media empire and watch your audience grow.