Online megalith’s move heralds an important step towards a brighter future for marketers and audiences alike
You may have heard that Google Chrome, browser of choice for the majority of Internet users, has started running ad-blocking technology by default this week. It is part of a drive to make the online experience more pleasant for users, discouraging pop-ups, pre-rolls and other gizmos which are, frankly, annoying. In reality though, its bark is way worse than its bite, with fewer than 1% of the 100,000 most popular sites being affected.
If it sounds like a storm in a teacup, why is it significant? Because when Google sneezes, the Internet catches a cold. It is a small but important move towards marketers producing quality content which enhances users’ lives, towards brands thinking about their customers as an audience to be respected, built and strengthened in its own right. Rather than running scared, marketers should embrace the change and make sure that we produce work which offers viewers value and leaves them richer through its experience.
With that in mind, this is a way of thinking about the material you should be sharing to complement your offering and build your brand.
You can think about the four pillars of what represents value to the online audience as being – Timely, Relevant, Useful or Entertaining – TRUE to them. As with all marketing, a clear understanding of your target audience is essential to creating work which resonates. The better you understand them, the more effective each of these will be.
Timing is key. Think about how successful the Oreo was with the ‘You Can Dunk in the Dark’ tweet, when the lights went out during the 2013 Super Bowl. It was picked up by the 23 million Twitter users who were watching the game and ended up being regarded as the ad of the evening – a title that many companies had spent millions of dollars for a shot at.
It goes without saying that what is timely, good advice for one viewer is annoyingly late for another – think of Alanis Morissette – although she thought it was ironic…
Think about what is going to be relevant for your viewers – this might not be directly obvious. For example, if you’re trying to market an apprentice scheme to school leavers, they may be interested in advice on renting a home for the first time. This information is not so interesting to those looking to move job as an experienced hire.
One step on from being relevant, is content which is actually useful. How-tos, instructions, discounts, tie ins with other products that they may be using, are all ways of helping your audience. In the above example home renting advice is also useful to the target audience. These different pillars do not exist in isolation, each piece of content can – and should – be a combo of one or more.
We all need a little entertainment from time to time. If you can get it right, this is a great way of illustrating the personality of your brand. The Lego Movie – one of the finest piece of content marketing ever, absolutely smashes this.
Tread carefully with this though – comedy can be tricky to translate and you have to be sure that whatever you create fits with the audience’s perception of your brand. You don’t want to be a dad dancer. You can make departures in your tone of voice, but you need to earn the trust of the audience before doing so.
This is an extremely exciting time to be working as a marketer. The potential to build loyal audiences that deliver value back into your business has never been greater. As Jim Rohn put it – “Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better”