The written word is a powerful tool to convey a message. These days you have a lot of options around where you can share a story to enhance your business. Let’s look at what content works best to market your business in print, online and beyond.
There’s a place for traditional magazine advertising, particularly when brand awareness is the goal. One drawback of a standard advertisement in a magazine is that there is a limit to what you can say through your logo, an image and some text that highlights your key points. It’s valuable, sure, especially as part of an overall marketing campaign, but results are enhanced by also sharing longer written content.
What can words do that an ad can’t?
Well-written content can reach the heart and mind of consumers in a way an advertisement never could. Words can take your reader on a journey and allow them to engage with you on a deeper level.
Humans have always loved a story, and historians agree we’ve been sharing messages through stories for a long, long time. The art of storytelling is as valuable as ever, whether those stories are printed in a magazine, spoken to a group of listeners or shared as articles online. Well-constructed stories can be priceless in growing your business.
Content that is designed to transform readers into customers, that is, content that converts, are simply stories written in a way that evoke a certain response from the reader. Not all stories will convert all readers – every potential customer will have slightly different needs – but each of your pieces of content should be directed to appeal to at least a segment of your prospects. The goal is usually to make the reader trust you as an expert and be inspired to do business with you.
Potential customers don’t want to hear about your business, at least not right away. They want to read about things that concern them, so your content should always be written with their needs and values in mind. Educate the reader, solve a problem for them or entertain them and you hold their interest. Once you have their interest you can more easily show how your business is what they are looking for.
What content works in print?
There’s a timelessness to turning the pages of a magazine that the digital world has never been able to replicate. When people read a physical magazine they tend to slow down, absorb the content, and repeatedly return to articles of interest at a later stage.
This behaviour makes print publications the perfect place to feature longer articles that detail exactly what your business can do. Print also allows you to effectively position yourself as a thought leader, by giving you time and space to articulate your stance on a particular topic.
The reader attention that print provides gives you the opportunity to go into detail about things like specific projects, customer experiences and solutions. You’re afforded the time and space to detail the background of client problem (whether or not you name them), and how your business solved a problem. This gives the reader the chance to relate to your featured customer, and see themselves as someone who would benefit from doing business with you if they are in a similar situation.
There’s a prestige associated with appearing in print. Whether you’re personally quoted as an expert, or the strengths of your business are highlighted in an article, print lets you make a lasting impression on the reader.
How can online content be of value?
The digital world seems to be more fast paced than print. People can click off your article in a millisecond and the options for distraction are endless. While it’s something you should keep in mind, this shouldn’t scare you away from creating articles for online because there are some great advantages in being visible in the digital world.
Firstly, online articles are trackable. You can get real-time and historical data around what articles are being clicked, shared, and how long people are actually spending on a given page. While print has the advantage of fewer distractions, this doesn’t mean that valuable content will be ignored online. It merely goes towards the argument that in order to be noticed, online content needs to be engaging.
Online content has the advantage of being deliverable when people are searching, so great online articles answer a question that people might be asking. As mentioned above, content that converts typically solves a problem or delivers value to the reader before it promotes your business — the best online content does just that.
Print articles may be shared with one or two people by physically handing over the magazine when a reader is done with it, but an online article can be shared, and eventually in some cases read by millions of people. It’s not easy to create an article that goes viral, but when it happens the exposure is phenomenal.
Cover all bases
The best way to get the most out of your story is to make sure you have a presence in both print and online forums as much as possible. The content between the two may vary, but this extra work will increase your chances of being seen by your potential customers.