Content marketing isn’t anything new in the B2C world. It’s just a new term for an old practice. Remember watching He-Man and the Masters of the Universe as a child? Or bringing your child to see The Lego Movie, which The Guardian calls “content marketing at its finest”? Both of these provide valuable content – in both cases, entertainment value – while subtly marketing products from Mattel and Lego, respectively.
Perhaps the best example of a B2C brand leveraging content marketing is Red Bull. It’s taken the company’s core demographic, adventurous young men, and created a magazine (print and digital), web content, and other lifestyle-focused media. Red Bull has become synonymous with living on the edge, going to extremes, and having fun.
For B2C brands, this doesn’t mean creating a magazine that interviews high-profile celebrities and producing full-length skateboarding videos, but it does mean creating content that provides some value to customers and prospects. According to The Content Marketing Institute, videos are third on the list of tactics that B2C marketers find most effective, at 65 percent. But in-person events take the cake, with 74 percent of B2C marketers finding those the most effective for content marketing. E-newsletters are hot on the events trail at 73 percent.
That can translate into a lot of things for a lot of businesses, particularly small businesses: booths at expos, open houses for gyms, health and nutrition newsletters from personal trainers, and videos of hairstyling techniques for salons. It’s that valuable content that B2C businesses need to push out to their customers and prospects, establishing them as experts and offering ways to sample what the business can do for them.
But it’s not the time to conduct a hard sell. The Red Bull magazine may be called the Red Bulletin, but every article doesn’t say “drink Red Bull!” Rather, the magazine interviews celebrities and provides tips for living an active, adventurous lifestyle. It’s inferred that if you drink Red Bull, you’re going to be as awesome as the celebrity or go on an epic rock-climbing adventure or catch the perfect wave. So, too, must be the case with any B2C content marketing strategy: imply but not sell.
It may seem counterintuitive, but it gets attention and attaches to the consumer’s subconscious. Once you have that, you have a better chance of getting the consumer to buy your product or use your services.