In the 21st century, advertising opportunities have become more diverse than ever before. Businesses can grow a customer base through positive word of mouth. They can engage consumers through social media and be a trusted source for information and products. They can reach their community through direct mail. Advertising is all about having your brand and product be associated with a customers’ need, so they choose you when the time comes to satisfy that need.
No matter what avenue you use to advertise, you are looking to inform consumers about your business. You want to share your name, location, what products, or services you offer and why they should buy from you. In essence you’re creating a news story about your business. However, each medium only offers a limited amount of space to sell your service. But have you ever thought about actually writing a story?
Creating a story to educate consumers and promote your business is a new trend in digital advertising. At Wicked Local we call it, "Custom Content.” Readers will see your promotional story in between news articles and will engage with it like they would a story.
Custom content is not a new concept. It’s been used in print, specifically magazines, for years. It was known as “advertorial”; a company would buy a few pages and write an article that would blend into the magazine, complement the company’s advertisements, and only be distinguishable by the “PAID ADVERTISEMENT” label hidden in the fine print.
Recently, however, custom content has found new life online, using stories and banner advertisements cooperatively. Websites like Yahoo.com, the Gawker family of sites, and Adweek all supply custom content on their menu pages or inside stories to draw customers to engage with their advertisers.
In fact, you may have noticed custom content in your Facebook and Twitter feeds too. There’s a reason why this type of marketing is everywhere: because it works. TMG Custom Media found that 90% of consumers find the content useful. Plus, 60% of consumers feel positive after reading a company’s custom content. Readers spend more time and are more engaged with these ads than any other.
Custom content is your chance to share your story with consumers. You don’t have to worry about size on a screen, length of message, or what keywords will be the most engaging to a potential customer. The story that is written displays your knowledge about a product or service. You are creating trust and engagement with potential customers.
With custom content you can explain how and why your business was established. How long you have been serving the community. What your expertise is in and why you can meet a customer’s need stronger than a competitor.
Custom content is even a solution for those business owners who might not think they are strong writers. Many custom content packages include a freelance writer who will interview you and learn about your business to create the perfect narrative that makes your company shine.
Every organization wants to create a buzz about their business. Some businesses use TV spots, some use social media engagement, but custom content is the most direct way to get the attention of consumers. You aren’t forced to reduce your business to a 30 second ad spot or attempt to make a social post go viral. Your story will be shared with with consumers who can relate to it. It will be read by people who appreciate what you have built and will now know your story and your name. Lastly, and maybe most importantly, it will be placed amongst other informative content, which gives your piece more credibility than any other advertising available.
Nick Pizzolato is the Marketing Content Manager at Wicked Local Media Solutions. For questions, topics for future blogs, or to share your favorite moment from the film “Back to the Future,” email him at email@example.com.
Other Resources: The Power of Storytelling - Sponsored Content