A thought experiment.

It might be useful. It might not.

Content marketing. We all know what that is, right? Instead of marketing your services directly, you promote your content. Show – don’t tell.

The Four P’s of marketing. We’re all familiar with these, too: product, price, place and promotion.

Because content marketing looks and feels like marketing communication, it tends to be lumped into box #4, Promotion.

But what if we think about content in terms of ‘product’, instead?

 

Content as Product

 

In the same way that Apple think of their stores and the piazzas outside them as part of their product, considering content as part of your product might help freshen up your marketing effectiveness.

Awareness content makes prospects realise how your product could fit into their lives. Educational content makes products easier to use. Troubleshooting content makes for a better user experience. The content is the product.

If we think of our content as part of our product – and not simply a promotional tool – would it therefore change the amount of effort we put into our content? Would we set the bar for content higher? Would we start thinking about our social media followers and newsletter subscribers (hello!) as customers, and in turn pay more attention to the value we offer them, and stick to our publishing schedules more closely?

Probably.

Price

 

Thinking about content as product will change how you think about pricing, too.

If your content is part of your product and you’re not charging people to access it, well then, you’re running a freemium business model.

That brings with it a whole new way of looking at your business – and a very different way of defining who is and isn’t your customer.

“The easiest way to get 1 million people paying is to get 1 billion people using.”

— Phil Libin, CEO of Evernote

 

Place

 

We all want our content product to be where the consumer is; in the right aisle, alongside the best-in-class brands with their sexy packaging.

Thinking about ‘content-as-product’ can help businesses find new ‘users’ with their content, by making them think harder about where their customers are.

They’re browsing for content on their phones. They’re on social media. They’re on their emails.

Why then, would we keep our product – our content – on our website only?

Why not publish on Medium and Linkedin?

Why not publish blogs as tweetstorms and long Facebook posts?

Why not add signup boxes to Twitter and Facebook and Linkedin?

Promotion

 

Finally: promotion.

If you think of each new bit of content as a new product, then you should also be thinking about launching each one.

Got a new ebook coming up? Pre-sell it. Create a campaign, build a list of super-keen followers. Put some ad budget behind it, shoot some promotional videos, contact your industry press.

Thinking about your content as a product means getting the most value from it.

***

It can be tempting to over-complicate content marketing. The theory is simple but it’s the execution that’s hard. Teams get tired.

Thinking about content as ‘product’ might help lift your content out of a rut and help you see the good it’s doing for your business.


Also published on Medium.

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Tom is the founder of Future Content, a specialist content agency located in Bristol, UK. Tom is the winner of the 2016 'Acceler8' award for Entrepreneurial Leadership from RBS and Entrepreneurial Spark. You can find Tom on Twitter @HTSandford. If you ever visit Future Content's offices you'll find Tom near the table tennis table.

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