Can content marketing be an online and offline endeavour?

Unless you’re a marketer and you’ve been living under a rock for the last 3 years, there’s probably one phrase that you’ve seen banded around pretty much EVERYWHERE…

Content Marketing.

We all know what content marketing is, it’s the process of creating valuable content for your audience that positions you as a thought leader in your industry. The benefit of content marketing is that each piece of content you produce can become an asset for your digital marketing activities, whether that’s as a way to earn links for SEO, or simply to feed the social media machine.

An interesting angle on content marketing is the flow between online and offline channels when it comes to content (this article on Media Planet discusses it).

As digital marketers, we can be guilty of focusing on one very specific channel, and not really considering how other marketing channels can contribute to the overall goal of any marketing campaign: generating new business.

We’ve interviewed a few different people from a range of industries including digital marketing, print and even a security company to discuss how online and offline can work together as a content strategy.

Offline and online can be used to nurture exhibition leads.

Seb Dean who owns Imaginaire Digital in Nottingham uses printed materials as a lure for prospects to go online and absorb the ‘full’ content piece:

For us, we like to create good content and we’ve found that providing some value to prospects at exhibitions in the form of printed materials, we can leave an open loop of curiosity which incentivises the prospect to then go online to read the whole piece.

We sometimes require an email opt-in to see the full content which creates a nice boost in the subscriber numbers. From there we can nurture them and eventually they will be completely educated on our service offering and ready to buy.

This has led to some of our biggest digital marketing accounts and so it’s an evergreen strategy we use.

Develop a piece of content and then integrate it into your marketing flow.

A printer in Nottingham suggests developing a single piece of content and then making sure it is made visible across all of your marketing channels.

We often see the content production as a starting point and then think of different things we can print to support the online activities. You’d be surprised how many people still pick up leaflets, the trouble is that traditional company messaging is becoming diluted and just doesn’t stand out any more. A much more effective approach is to advertise your content piece and entice signups to an email list.

We’ve even printed banners to advertise content at exhibitions and have found this works tremendously well.

Go above and beyond what a customer would expect with printed materials that link to specific information on your site.

Linda from 4Front Security Company Nottingham recommends pushing the boat out with the content that you place on your website and then have brochures printed that specifically tell the customer to visit that page of the website.

If you can take the time at an early stage to get your website messaging right, you’ll do well once you have printed materials produced as you can send the customer to a specific area of the website.

We’ve found having, what our digital marketing agency call, a lead magnet on those pages really works well too to capture information and start the lead nurture process.

Use print as the initial contact for cold prospects

Tony from Oyster Retail Packaging recommends using printed brochures as the first point of contact for new prospects and sending them via direct mail.

We’re proud of the work that we do and the quality is immediately visible, so we send out direct mail to brands we’d like to work with, showing them our recent work in a nicely designed brochure.

The call-to-action of the brochure is to get them to visit the website for more of our recent work and we can then work on getting them to send an enquiry or request for quote to us.

We’ve found this method works tremendously well and the ROI is almost unbelievable.

Do you have any tips for combining offline and online marketing channels to power your content marketing methods? We’d love to hear them!