The days of “Mad Men” style advertising are largely a thing of the past. The entire paradigm of marketing and brand-building has changed with the prevalence and pervasiveness of social media and rapid information exchange. This has resulted in the ever-increasing buzzword of “inbound marketing”: using content such as blogs, infographics, videos, etc. to provide value to the target consumer with the goal of attracting new customers and building brand awareness. So how do you make inbound content that is valuable? That is what I hope to answer.
Currency is king. If there is one consistent thing that all successful inbound campaigns share, particularly those that have become viral sensations, it’s a strong awareness of social currency. In simple terms, social currency refers to valuable knowledge that can be readily shared. When a mother brags about the university her child goes to, when a teenager shares a funny video, when the junior employee shares a useful article with the team – these are all examples of that. People like to feel intelligent, interesting, humorous, and current. Providing sharable content that supports these desires is key. Who doesn’t want to be the person that “discovers” and shares something insightful or entertaining? If you can help build your target consumer’s social currency, they will help build your brand.
When it comes to encouraging viral behavior the most important thing is to make the content easily accessible and/or downloadable. Many “white papers” require the user to input information before getting it. I believe this is a mistake. On a similar note, it is extremely important to make the content shareable, particularly through social media channels. Optimizing the content for social media is also vital. Make it quick and to the point, keeping in mind that social media revolves around rapid media consumption.
– Leverage the concept of social currency
– Make it easy to ‘takeaway’ the content
– Make the content easy to share
– Make the content brief
Putting together a broad array of inbound strategies and materials is a great way for any company, regardless of budget, to engage their consumers and build a brand. Let your customers become spokespeople for your brand, they will be glad to if it makes them feel intelligent and interesting!