Is Content Marketing The New Advertising?

by Eric Brown |

As a business owner who was typically on the buying end of advertising and marketing, but now on the selling end, it is pretty fascinating to watch what is occurring in Social Media Land. A couple of encounters this week that continue to resonate that the winds of Advertising and Marketing continue to change.

The Winds Have Shifted

It sure seems like the average small ad agency guys are scrambling. This post isn’t about agency bashing, although I am not much of a fan, nor is it about traditional marketing and advertising going away, because it isn’t. This post is about numbers.

I stopped in this week to see a couple of agency friends. They resemble scarecrows. They see the traditional end of their business declining as more and more of their clients scale back traditional marketing. The oddity though is that they act as if it is coming back, and it is about the economy. Some of it may be as such, however that fact of  the matter is that the Directinal Flow of Marketing has Changed.

Increase Your Web Site Traffic = Increased Sales
Advertising Metrics

So our approach in our own little Marketing and PR Shop is pretty straight forward, We will grow your web site traffic by X Percentage. Pretty simple to measure success or failure. We achieve this by providing consistent, relevant and entertaining content via online magazines with links back to the businesses web site. We employ professional writers with journalism degrees, and who love to write. Not your average marketing shop. Is it the entertainment business, is it a marketing studio or is it a publishing studio, not sure what business we are really in.

It is essentially what we did to market our apartment rental business, Urbane Apartments. People read The Urbane Life because it is fun, hyper local and it helps them become familiar with the local area. It is nothing about our apartments. We discovered that if we needed to rent more apartments, we simply created more content or articles, and our web traffic would rise accordingly. We have since launched like campaigns for other apartment operators across the country with like results.

A Hundred Year Old Furniture Store and Big Numbers

We have taken on a new project in the Urbane Lab and are currently experimenting with this same concept with a localized furniture chain, and have launched an online magazine for them, If This Couch Could Talk. The results so far are impressive, and are starting to move the google needle for them. The challenge is that furniture folks, as with many retailers have a hard time understanding that the word “Sale” doesn’t need to be in everything you do. They only use push advertising, and are typically looking for immediate results, like the Monday after the “sale flyers.”

We are also working with them to increase their Facebook  fan base, and have set a lofty target of 25,000 fans. We are experimenting with some internal advertising on the blog site, and are starting to create some traffic back to their web site from those.

My hypothesis is that consistent content is the advertising model of the future. Again, I don’t offer that traditional advertising is dead, but as my own business has been able to show, and as we are beginning to show with another small to medium sized business, content is advertising. With a solid content marketing approach, you drive website traffic. If you drive website traffic, you drive business.

And even in businesses that are not about online products. I rent apartments. My furniture store client sells couches (among other things). This isn’t about Internet business. It’s about conducting business via the Internet.

Is content marketing and web traffic where advertising is going? Why or why not?

Does the small business vs. large business angle change the outcomes? As more and more companies battle for search engine results will content marketing become more challenging?

The comments are yours!

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About the Author

Eric Brown

Eric Brown's background is rooted in the rental and real estate industries. He founded metro Detroit’s Urbane Apartments in 2003, after serving as senior vice president for a major Midwest apartment developer. He established a proven track record of effectively repositioning existing rental properties in a way that added value for investors while enhancing the resident experience. He also established The Urbane Way, a social media marketing and PR laboratory, where innovative marketing ideas are tested.