“What you call love was invented by guys like me … to sell nylons.”
So said Don Draper, the most famous (fictional) adman in the world.
Millions of people tuned into Mad Men every week, and it shaped public consciousness about how advertising worked.
But Don Draper would have needed to adjust his approach if he lived in the 21st century.
From Advertising to Content Marketing
Mad Men’s version of Madison Avenue revolved around the business of attention: how to capture it and use it. Agencies were paid to get big accounts attention on a national or international scale through print, broadcast and outdoor advertising. It was very expensive.
There was an entire ecosystem built around capturing attention and using it to create authority. And all of it cost money. Trust was mostly built through the channel — “if it’s getting advertised in National Geographic, it must be good!”
Fast forward to today.
We still have all the channels the agencies of Mad Men’s era had, but the Internet and social media have democratized attention. Suddenly, everybody has a voice — from the plumber to the President of the United States.
Early Internet adopters realized that they could talk directly to customers and build a relationship through their computer. The good ones interacted in authentic and authoritative ways. The result was trust. And content marketing became a powerhouse — because it’s the most effective way to build that trust.
Providing Value in a Digital World
Maybe you’re a plumber, or a translator, or you sell handmade place mats. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in — the key to becoming a trusted authority online is sharing your knowledge. You no longer gain trust just through the channel you use.
Content marketing itself isn’t new; the Michelin Guide is one of the best examples, and it’s been around since 1900. But the Internet and social media made content marketing easy, cheap and attainable by everyone.
At the time the Michelin Guide was created, the French tire manufacturer decided that a guidebook to restaurants across the country would help it sell more tires. It had to get critics to review restaurants, then collate that information. Then everything had to be written up, standardized, typeset, printed and distributed.
Today, they rely on their website. You can still get a printed guide — but most people just use their phones. No print or distribution costs.
Instead of having to rely on print, TV or radio — all channels with expensive gatekeepers and startup costs — businesses can now use their own website, email list and social media.
Show, Don’t Tell
Customers have one fundamental question you’re trying to answer: “How can this business make my life better?”
Today’s digital channels give you the chance to show your audience why they should trust you to solve their problem instead of just telling them you can do it.
At Rainmaker Digital Services, we use our blog to grow and maintain an audience. We benefit because we get your attention, which leads to interaction and engagement — and ultimately, to sales. In exchange for your attention, we share content that helps you improve your business and online marketing efforts.
We use content to gain attention. We’re a media company. And you should be too.
You Need to Be a Media Company
In Don Draper’s world, media companies largely controlled how you engaged with your audience. There were paid gatekeepers that stood between you and much of your marketing communication with your customers.
Today, there are still gatekeepers to attention, but there’s no direct paywall between you and your audience.
But there’s no paywall between anyone else and your audience, either.
What that means is that instead of competing for attention against just your direct competitors in the industry, you’re competing against everyone. Smosh. The farmer’s market down the road. Justin Timberlake. You name it.
To keep attention, you need to be regularly publishing useful content on the channels your audience uses — just as a media company would.
Whether you’re a plumber or the President, you only get attention when you publish.
So to sum up:
- Attention in the modern world is primarily obtained through digital channels.
- You need to be creating interesting digital content that provides value to your audience above and beyond your product or service.
- You need to put that content in front of your audience on the channels that they use on a regular basis.
How do you share that knowledge and build value with content marketing?
Build Your Own Madison Avenue
Here are the keys you need to build trust in the modern marketing environment. Not everyone needs an agency like Sterling Cooper — you can build your own Madison Avenue if you do these two things.
Create Consistent Content
To start building trust, you need a piece of content that’s regularly published and can be used as a cornerstone for the rest of your efforts. That means a blog, a podcast, or a long-form video channel. Publish it at consistent intervals — we recommend weekly. If you have the resources, you could put out content daily; some channels focus heavily on quality over quantity and do it monthly. Find an interval that works for you and your audience.
This also means you should have a website — a place where your content can live, a place you can drive attention back to and create engagement with. Rainmaker Platform is tailor-made for this, and if you’re trying to build a website that makes content marketing easy, we can help.
Let Your Audience Tell Your Story — And Reward Them For It
A business without a social media account is like a store without a sign: invisible.
The real power of social media isn’t just that you can broadcast a message — it’s that you can get other people to do it for you.
Companies as varied as Buffer, IBM and Starbucks have created user-generated content (UGC) campaigns to amplify their reach. And many companies put together special thank-yous for people that push the brand on social media — care packages, shares, sweepstakes entries and more.
The logical endgame of that is word-of-mouth advocacy, where you reach out to people with large social media followings in your niche and they say nice things about you. This can lead to influencer or celebrity marketing — but at its core, it is simply letting your best customers tell others how great you are. You can build trust through your owned channels. But trust builds much faster when other people are talking about you instead.
Content Marketing is King
Sharing your knowledge through content marketing is how you go from invisible to ubiquitous. It’s how you build trust in your product or service — by showing, not telling, that you know whereof you speak.
And that’s something the Mad Men era just didn’t have the tools to do.
You have an opportunity that businesses of just a few generations ago would have loved to have. Don’t waste it. Embrace content marketing and share your knowledge.
Need a hand? We can help. Contact us today if you want to learn more.
Rainmaker Digital Services