Content marketing has become increasingly popular over the past few years. Many companies are using it as a replacement for traditional marketing tactics such as television, radio, print and direct mail—but choosing sides may be short-sighted. Remember the old childhood saying “make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other’s gold?” Content marketing and traditional marketing can be best friends when they work together—so be careful before you decide to leave one in the dust.
Traditional advertising attracts a large crowd, it can be loud, interruptive and hard to ignore. Media outlets are highly visible and as a result, highly expensive and not highly focused on specific audiences. Traditional advertising works best to promote and build awareness, and should be used on broad audiences to give them a feel for the brand.
Content marketing, on the other hand, is more subtle. It pulls in the target audience with relevant information in the places they are already looking. Content is more informational than its traditional counterpart. It should quench the audience’s thirst for knowledge and provide useful information that fosters a connection with the brand.
With each channel’s strengths and weaknesses, traditional and content marketing work better together. A campaign is typically more successful when it includes both types of marketing, rather than one or the other. Even where budgets are tight and content-only strategy seems like the best option, the campaign can be much more profitable if it includes at least one type of traditional advertising.
For example, say you run a small home brew beer shop in Albany. You produce a series of how-to home brew videos to drive traffic to your website and get more foot traffic in your shop. In these videos you share useful content including recipes, tutorials, information on equipment sold in your shop and different brewing techniques. It’s unlikely that people who don’t regularly visit your website will know about these new videos you’ve produced. Even if you post them to social media, the only people to it will reach are your followers, not potential new customers. Now is the time to create awareness.
In this scenario, it makes the most sense to send out a direct mail piece, such as a postcard, promoting your brand and driving people to where the videos live. The direct mail piece allows you buy a list to directly target those in the Albany area who are interested in home brewing.
Content can also help support traditional advertising. For example, if an audience sees a commercial for your home brew store on the local news, they might be interested enough to visit your website where they will (ideally) find a wealth of useful content on home brewing. This can position your staff as thought leaders, and establish your shop as a trusted local source.
While many companies are allocating greater resources to content marketing, traditional marketing altogether, can improve impact by creating awareness and driving traffic to content. Keeping these two friends hand in hand will help you increase page views, establish thought leadership and become more successful in getting consumers to switch to your brand. For more on delivering a successful content marketing campaign, read the white paper How to Build a Content Marketing Strategy.