The Role of Contributed Content in Your Marketing Mix

by Linda Pophal

As more and more businesses engage in content marketing, studies show that implied endorsements from third-party experts hold more weight with buyers than what companies say about themselves. That makes logical sense. Think about how you are influenced to buy new products, try a new restaurant, etc. Will you be most influenced by their advertisements, social media posts and other self-promotions, or by what others say about them? The latter is likely to be true.

Those others might include your own friends, relatives and coworkers (word-of-mouth), or media reports you read, see or hear that provide third-party perspectives that are, purportedly, non-biased.

There are basically four ways that consumers learn about companies’ products and services that influence their purchase decisions. From most to least impactful these are:

  • Their own personal experiences
  • Word-of-mouth from people they trust
  • Third party endorsements through media channels
  • Advertising (what businesses say about themselves or their own products and services)

All are important, but consumers have a tendency to discount the things we say about ourselves in comparison to the things that others (especially trusted others) say about us.

Enter contributed content. What is contributed content? Think of it as a bylined article that appears in a magazine targeted to an audience that represents your market. So, if you’re attempting to connect with healthcare leaders, “Hospitals & Health Networks” might be a publication you would like to appear in. You would write an article (or have someone write one for you), submit it and, if it’s of sufficient quality and the content is relevant to the audience, the article would be published with your byline. You pay nothing (of course, you’re paid nothing either), but you now have a byline in a reputable publication that you can use to promote your services through social media, your website and a variety of other potential channels.

Here’s an example of a piece I contributed this year to Communication World, an IABC (International Association of Business Communicators).

From a brand management standpoint we (marketers) need to be focusing on delivering good products/services/experiences to impact all of our potential influencers. Contributed articles can be a great way to do that when they appear in credible, relevant and reliable channels. The byline lends credibility and clout.

Recommended Reading:

The Everything Guide to Customer Engagement

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