What’s better – producing content that touts your product or service, or addressing how your business fits the lifestyle of your customers?
It might be counter-intuitive to not mention your product in your marketing materials, or even not mention your product category — but it can be a very helpful brand-management strategy. There are times when a marketer doesn’t want to directly sell because it can better increase sales by building brand preference, establishing credibility, becoming an authority, generating empathy and engendering loyalty.
Using the right mix of category-specific and general lifestyle content on a blog can keep customers and potential buyers coming back to your site, prevent defections to competitors and increase use of your product.
Category-specific brand content
Category-specific marketing refers to content that directly discusses a product or service or its use. For example, a tennis racquet company might post content at its website about choosing the right racquet for a beginner, intermediate or advanced player. It might post another article about choosing the right strings for a racquet. The blog might feature an article on how to properly wrap a tennis racquet grip. It might even add articles about improving your serve, backhand or volley.
General lifestyle brand content
General lifestyle content addresses issues that are indirectly related to a company’s product or service but which are important to customers. The tennis racquet manufacturer’s blog might include posts on what to eat before a match, great family tennis vacations, proper stretching or how to host a Wimbledon-watching party.
Michelob Ultra was a big sponsor of Livestrong.com, a healthy living, fitness and weight loss site. Michelob decided to take its efforts targeting young, active people to the next level by creating a standalone website, Michelob Ultra Lifestyles. The site features articles about golf, tennis, hiking, exercising, camping, cooking and other activities preferred by its target audience.
The phrase “general lifestyle” can be extended to mean “general experience” when considering B2B content. For example, a company that makes products for professional painters would take note of the fact these painters are also small-business owners. The painting-products company can create “general experience” content by adding posts about how to market your painting company, creating a small-business Facebook page, or planning cash flow for the painting off-season.
Benefits of general lifestyle content
The goal of general lifestyle content is to create empathy with customers. You want to demonstrate that you “get” them and understand who they are and why they are their customers. This tells them you are creating products specifically for them because you know their needs.
When you buy deodorant, shaving cream, frozen pizza or peanut butter, do you try a different brand each time? Brand preference is a tough nut to crack, and creating it should be part of your brand content strategy.