Back in the early 1990s, HBO and Cinemax revolutionized the use of content marketing by offering some of their programming free on Comedy Central in the form of Short Attention Span Theater, which featured then-up-and-coming comics like John Stewart and Marc Maron.
Short Attention Span Theater offered the best clips from standup acts and movies you would ordinarily have to pay a premium to see. Disguised as entertainment, the program’s true goal was to encourage viewers to add the HBO/Cinemax package to their cable subscriptions by offering short, entertaining vignettes of content for free.
Today, businesses big and small use this same marketing approach by offering free content via blogs, video and social media.
Give it Away, Give it Away, Give it Away Now
Just as cable TV used the promise of high quality, commercial free TV to lure in subscribers in its heyday, cheaper digital alternatives like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime are borrowing those same tactics to fuel a steady exodus of cord-cutters. You may have read about Amazon’s push into the production of original series in hopes of boosting subscribers to its Amazon Prime array of services. To publicize this new tactic, Amazon took a page right out the cable TV playbook. Right now, even if you’re not an Amazon Prime member, you can still watch the debut episode of The Man in the High Castle (an alternative history series based on a Philip K. Dick book) for free just by logging into Amazon.
Amazon is betting you’ll give the show a look, even if you don’t intend to buy an Amazon Prime subscription. If you like it, however, you’ll get the subscription – and tell your friends, who may also buy that subscription (or at least let you borrow their login info so you can watch it).
You Get What You Give
Your company may not be the size of an Amazon, but you do sell a product/service that people need. Along the way, you’ve become an expert on many things…things your potential customers may need to know.
Let’s say your company produces a proprietary supplement for kids with juvenile diabetes. The information parents would want to know about your supplement could create months of blog topics, such as:
- How does the product help kids?
- What other conditions does your supplement treat?
- Why does it feature this set of nutrients versus others?
- What led to this product’s creation in the first place?
- What new research came out recently about taking care of children with this disease?
Ideally, the content you’re providing to answer these questions should be written to educate potential customers to become better informed about their child’s condition and how to treat it safely. However, it’s not a sales pitch. The content itself should be valuable to the consumer on its own merits – it just, in this case, happens to be on a site that features a product to help with juvenile diabetes symptoms.
Simply put, blogs are ways to share what you know with potential customers to help them solve their problems safely and affordably.
Free Your Mind and your Blog Will Follow
Here’s one caveat to remember when launching a blog on your website: someone will have to write it and post it.
This takes a lot of time and energy, not to mention the writing skills and digital tools. If you’re busy or don’t have someone on your staff who can take on those responsibilities, you’ll find ways to craft a blog post maybe once or twice a year. That’s not enough to do you any good.
That’s also where esd & associates’ award-winning staff of creatives can help. We can write your blogs, get them on the web, use them to elevate your visibility in the marketplace – all while giving them an entertaining ‘90s theme. Which, when you think about it, is pretty rad.