Many people say content marketing is good. Many people think content marketing is good for small businesses and startup blogging because
- you don’t pay for advertisement
- you just need to obtain a blog or Twitter account and write something
- it costs only time, not money.
But, it’s actually pretty hard, and it can also be expensive because
- many skilled competitors are everywhere
- creating valuable content for the target audience is not easy
- good web design is a must
- you want illustrations on articles too
- it’s a long-term investment.
Content marketing is a powerful tool if you already have many users whom you can directly communicate with. You can tell them that you have a blog, and they will start sharing it online and attracting more people. If not, it is not like the baseball movie, “build it, and they will come”; you need to do something to encourage people to read.
So, creating and managing a blog is not for small businesses who look for cheap and less-time consuming solutions.
Owned media, third-party media, and user-generated content
The reason why people fail in content marketing and social media marketing is only owning media when they can also use third-party media and media of user-generated content.
Social media can appear in three categories:
1. Owned media
Owned media is media you own; for example, your blog, your YouTube channel, your Twitter, or your website is online owned media, and your physical store or your package of products is your offline owned media. Owned media is effective for brand control, developing customer relationships, and transactions of sales; however, there are many challenges, such as the cost of creating content, manpower, and technical difficulty. Owned media marketing is not very effective in the short-term; you need to develop your blog long-term until people come to see it.
2. Third-Party Media
Third-party media is when people hear about the media. Third-party media content is created by professionals and often distributed to a large number of audiences of TV, magazine, radio, newspaper, new websites, and viral media. You could say that third-party media is usually media business. However, nowadays, broader User-Generated Content is becoming vague (let me explain later). Third-party media is an effective technique for reaching a large number of people; however, you usually have to pay for advertising your business.
3. User-Generated Content
User-generated content is videos, blog posts, tweets, wiki articles, photos, music, and any other content that is generated and posted by end-users.Such content is often effective for software marketing. For example, many end-users post tips on using Microsoft Excel without being paid. By hearing and interacting with other users who generate and post contents, you can get feedback, and you can also encourage fans to post more content. Media of user-generated content is the cheapest and the most reasonably effective place to post ads for small businesses.
Nowadays, border to third party media is vague. Many bloggers monetize their blog by placing banner ads or even posting native ads written by ghostwriters. For example, I know some iOS affiliate bloggers who post articles and reviews written by app developers or post ads of an app just like third party media does.
Individual bloggers and small media won’t bring as many visitors as big third party media does. However, it’s much cheaper. If you are confident that people will love your products and will share their experience when they find your products, it’s a good place to make a social movement about your app.
Instead of making contents by yourself, encourage your users to create content on their media
If you already have a solid fan base, it’s easy to encourage your fans to write more content for you.
There are three ways to achieve that.
- Offer a free trial or something bloggers want
- Share their articles on your social media
Personally, I am a fan of the third option. It’s more genuine, and bloggers are happy when their blog posts are shared by you.
Google Alert monitors websites and alerts you when new content that meets set conditions are found. You can create a search query for “Product A” OR “Product B” OR “Product C” in your language.
You can also set a similar query on Twitter to find new mention of your products and company.
Then, all you need to do is to share the blog posts or retweet the tweets. If other bloggers see you sharing, they would think “Oh, this is a chance to get more visitors to my website,” and they will write blog posts about you. It’s a win-win situation. You get to kind of creative content, and they get to increase their audience.
I believe, technically, this technique is rather close to social media marketing than content marketing. However, if you curate user-generated content on your blog or on your social media, it’s as if you have the content.
There is no reason or need to stick to traditional content marketing methods. Get creative and take advantage of your constraints to further your brand.