There’s a perception around the marketing industry that content marketing is just a new word for link building. This may be the case in some examples, but for a real marketing effort content marketing is a style of marketing that adds value to the lives of followers and fans.
There are many examples of this here in Minnesota that we will look at. First, we will look at the legendary First Avenue night club, then the Mall of America and finally the University of Minnesota itself.
First Avenue Music Venue
You’d think that a hot nightclub just sells itself with promises of booze, hot music and hotter women, but ask any night club promoter and they’ll tell you differently. It takes the same kind of hard work and ongoing promotion as any other business.
The traditional way to promote a night club is by getting a bunch of sexy people to walk around town to hand out flyers, as well as getting those folks on bikes to do paste ups all over. This style of marketing can work for last second decisions, but it doesn’t create much of a lasting message – once the night is over and the flyer is torn down, your marketing dollars are gone.
The team over at First Avenue have started an ongoing music and nightlife blog. On it they profile bands that have played there, preview upcoming concerts and post videos of the bands they feature. At the bottom of each post you’ll see a “Recommended If You Like” section that lets readers know a bit more about the post by comparing it to other interests they may have.
This accomplishes many things:
potential visitors get a more complete picture of what to expect
bands receive free promotion and will likely share this with their fans
other promotional aspects can be incorporated – social media sites are linked to at the bottom of each post, along with newsletter subscription and email addresses
links to buying tickets are at the bottom of each post
These are the benefits of online content marketing that do not exist in the traditional print world. You can put a flyer up on the wall with your email and social media, but it will not be easily connected to their computer or mobile device – it’s on a wall!
Mall of America
The Mall of America is a world class shopping destination, what do they need a content marketing plan for? To stay a world class shopping destination, of course!
They have a blog about deals and sales, which is pretty standard nowadays. Their Instagram account, however, is a lot of fun. They allow all sorts of photos to be shared on it:
This is the kind of content marketing that gives people a real view of what life is like during a typical day at the mall – beyond the runway models and carefully choreographed messages. The key behind this is that some of this content is just the kind that people like to share with their friends – free promotion!
University of Minnesota
You’re suppose to ‘sell’ a university through the well educated minds that have passed through it previously, the shots of well manicured lawns amidst historic buildings and the promise of the professors within those walls enriching young minds.
The University of Minnesota’s YouTube channel turns all of that on its head with interesting content that brings in all kinds of new visitors. They have two particularly well known pieces of content, a flash mob and a Science of Watchmen video. These two videos have over 4 million views between them. You can bet that many of those views were from people who had never heard of UMN before.
In addition to these videos, they have the standard ‘life around campus’ type of stuff under their “UMNproud” hashtag that will be interesting to those who are specifically looking to apply to them, a campus tour without leaving home!
Content building is much more than link building
The examples above are all fine examples of people using content marketing for something far beyond link building and SEO – they’re using it for relationship building between customer and business.
If your content marketing plan is all about getting a link or two here and there you are missing out. Plan for relationships to be built with your content and you’ll be building something much more valuable than a link.