Indirect Content Marketing in 2016
by Al Gomez
Have you ever watched a random YouTube video and suddenly felt compelled to travel?
Found yourself booking the same hotel repeatedly?
Don’t worry: you’re not being fed subliminal messages.
The growth of the Web has spurned all kinds of demand: from products, careers, to opportunities. Over the years, traditional marketing forms like billboard ads and pamphlets have shrunk in size. Then come buzzwords like “content marketing” and “SEO”, aiming to improve sales through informative blog posts and quick loading websites. Companies who took the marketing road less travelled have surprisingly fared well.
Impressive as the results may be, marketing has become even more dynamic than ever – especially online. With almost every business taking advantage of SEO, social media, and content, how can YOU stand out?
Indirect Marketing 101
From a time when people were being bombarded with TV and billboard ads, now comes a digital form of in-your-face marketing: PPC and promoted posts. Instead of watching commercials for 15 minutes before your favorite show, you get to be followed by the same ads on any website you visit. No wonder consumers are already impartial to most forms of promotion, no matter how well-meant.
Here’s where indirect marketing comes in. Simply put, it’s a marketing strategy that takes advantage of roundabout means to hook a customer’s attention.
For instance: instead of sending direct emails to potential customers everyday, you interact with them on social media platforms. This tactic is subtle enough that it doesn’t get on people’s nerves, but at the same time, it helps you stay within your customers’ radar.
As awesome as it sounds, indirect marketing still has its disadvantages. The biggest being that efforts from this strategy is often difficult to measure. But in this day and age when folks are fed up with aggressive marketing tactics, indirect methods are not only welcome, in some cases, they’re even successful.
Content Marketing as Indirect Marketing?
Most digital marketers consider content marketing as indirect marketing because it’s NOT about selling. Its main goal is to provide amazing, helpful, and entertaining content for target audiences. If conversion happens along the way, even better!
However, one of the biggest mistakes a lot of online marketers make when using this tactic as an indirect strategy is that they’re using it ALONE. This might have worked in the 1950’s – but not today. In order to fully harness the power of content marketing, you need to pair it with other techniques.
- Content Marketing with SEO – focus on enhancing on-site performance and content, as well as improving overall web design for better user experience (UX).
- Content Marketing and Visuals – don’t limit yourself to pictures of your brand or products. Carefully design stunning images based on the platform where they would be displayed (example: image quotes are quite popular on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter).
- Content Marketing on Mobile – make an effort to make your website mobile-friendly, post content on mobile-friendly platforms, and make sure your offers are visible on apps.
Remember: modern consumers are not only more informed about local or international brands, they are also tech-savvy. They have friend referrals, reviews, and product comparison tools at the palm of their hands (literally). They hate waiting for information. They like beautiful, inspiring images and words. They want a little bit of everything.
So how do you deliver?
Putting Ideas Together
This 2016, achieve your business goals – whether it’s brand recognition or profit increase – using both on- and online indirect content marketing methods.
1. Join the “Crème” of the Crowd
“News-jacking” or “culture-jacking” are terms used when brands or businesses insert their own message into trending topics to gain attention from their target market. Who could forget Oreo’s famous “Dunk in the Dark” moment when the lights went out during the 2013 Super Bowl.
Power out? No problem. pic.twitter.com/dnQ7pOgC
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013
The clever marketing tactic is still being praised today for being versatile enough to jump into current events. To make your news- or culture-jacking more effective (and less than obvious), keep these important points in mind:
- Timing is key
- Be quick to recognize moments of opportunity
- Personalize based on platform
- Ask for audience participation – but make it easy
AVOID highly sensitive issues (like politics or religion) and don’t jump into trends without research. Why not try news-jacking local events first? Get your feet wet, but be ready for the big stuff.
2. Be Where Business Is
With more and more marketers investing on digital video, it’s no surprise that 2016 is going to be THE year for video content.
In fact, YouTube already has some serious competition in the form of Facebook and Instagram videos, not to mention Vine. We haven’t even added live video streaming sites such as Periscope in the mix. So don’t fall behind: use popular mediums to convey your message and reach out to audiences.
Marriott Hotels does this quite well with their series of short films. As part of their main Influencer Marketing Strategy, the hotel chain has partnered with industry influencers (i.e. bloggers, producers, directors, artists, social media experts, etc.) to create and produce topnotch content meant for the modern traveler.
The aim of this project is not only to increase their following, but also to promote their brand and build tangible products around those concepts. For instance: their last feature film, “French Kiss”, has more than 6 million YouTube views and had a hotel package with free champagne, which sold for about a half a million dollars in just 60 days.
3. Ask the Audience
Don’t have thousands of dollars in budget? Not familiar with content marketing? No idea where to begin shooting your own video? No problem. The great part of indirect content marketing is that it’s FUN and involves everyone. User-generated content (ideas from the public) is your secret weapon, and it works because:
1) It’s the fastest and easiest way to gain an idea for your content marketing plan; at the same time you can
2) Use it to connect with your target market on a personal level.
No brand does this better than coffee chain, Starbucks. They don’t just gather ideas from customers – but also from their own employees. They encourage staff to share insights on Facebook and Instagram, creating an open and friendly atmosphere people just can’t help but partake in.
That’s why Starbucks’ brand feels so alive: because it’s full of activity and inspiration.
Don’t just craft content for marketing – create a content marketing plan that works because it has everything.
Even if you’re not directly pushing for your own products or services doesn’t mean that customers aren’t noticing. Even a quick glance at your logo or a glimpse of something familiar is enough to remind them of you. What’s vital is your relationship with them.
You can’t achieve a glowing referral from content marketing overnight – but you can begin TODAY. Answer customer problems, provide helpful suggestions, and produce entertaining content. Forget your brand for a minute and focus on people. You’ll see how that single move makes all the difference.