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Content is the Most Trusted Form of Advertising

zipWith the precipitous fall of advertising in the mainstream media some are starting to wonder publicly if advertising has once and for all run its course as an effective marketing vehicle. To this I say horsehockey. Advertising still works, always has and always will, what’s changed, however is that now good advertising works much better than bad advertising. I know that may sound silly, but back in the day, when you had one paper and three broadcast TV stations, bad advertising still worked pretty well and that’s what got the mainstream media and some advertisers in trouble today.

Now that consumers have unlimited ways to consume content and be entertained, they have an equal number of ways to tune out ads that do nothing more than interrupt them from going where they are headed. That, and the fact that online advertising, an industry that didn’t exist 10 years ago, is now a $25B business, is why mainstream advertising vehicles are shuffling. So, advertising still works very well, it just works in different ways – adapt, innovate and integrate and advertising can still be a killer component in your lead generation plans.

Today’s smart advertiser understands that advertising is less effective at creating sales, but very effective at creating awareness – awareness of what – awareness of education based, trust building content. Your advertising’s call to action should be one of permission, permission to teach. Even online ads, once a novelty, are starting to blend into the digital landscape when old fashion spinning monkeys are utilized. The most effective online ads are those that engage a viewer in an offer of valuable content from a trusted resource. Sending a prospect to get content that addresses a specific problem or want is the most logical way to allow them to sell themselves on your eventual solution, but it’s not a drive by, it’s a waltz.

Without advertising, without the effective use of advertising, to light the way to useful content, a great deal of it would never be created or found – that’s advertising’s true value. Where a sales pitch might not be trusted, an education based content campaign may be. I think that’s why the recent flap over sponsored content is garnering so much emotion. People tend to put higher trust in content that is seen as editorial – this power can either be harnessed or abused. Content producers must tread lightly, respect their readers, offer full disclosure and work their butts off to create content that gets read, spidered and talked about. Do that and the side effect will be organic search results, another highly trusted, free, but earned form of advertising in today’s marketing mix. (Google wouldn’t call that advertising, but I think you can make the case.)

Another form of content advertising (I’m expanding the classic term, but I personally think it applies) is growing daily on sites such as twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Through careful participation, marketers are growing networks, creating awareness and eventually driving traffic to their content and profit making initiatives. When Brian Clark @copyblogger (great blog, I recommend it all day) tweets this – “Check out today’s Landing Page Makeover Clinic at Copyblogger – http://tinyurl.com/d98yqt” is this not an ad? Don’t get me wrong, it’s perfect, it’s brilliant, he’s earned the right with his followers and the public to draw people to his content. That’s why it works, advertising pure and simple, only the mechanism and implementation has changed.

Use your advertising to start conversations, create content that builds trust and community and you’ll harness the ever effective power of advertising for generating leads and sales, you know, until the next new thing comes along.

Ads that interupt conversations

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  • http://www.marketingeyedigital.com.au ME Digital

    Yesterday I was reading an Allan Weiss blog on Marketingprofs it was a respond on another blog that was about the end of advertising.
    Your blog is the perfect answer to these blogs.. advertising is the Ultimate Tool for you business, if you know how to use it!

    You should read the blogs it is kind of funny, http://tinyurl.com/d2sydt

  • http://www.spiritualpreneurs.com Sharon Wilson

    It’s amazing what sites like facebook and twitter are doing for business.

  • http://www.onesherpa.com Andee Sellman, One Sherpa

    Great post John.
    I agree that advertising is here to stay. Those of us who want to advertise will need to gain permission to get to people rather than simply blasting them in a closed medium where they have little choice and can’t get away. People are people and will always want to learn about things that interest them. If they trust someone then they’ll always want to be kept up to date with the latest offers.
    The trouble is the bad old world of MASS was that if you had enough money you could blast away at a crowd, interupt thousands of people in the hope that you found someone who was interested.

  • http://www.bluecorona.com Ben

    I think that many forms of traditional advertising are dead and no longer effective. The media market has become so fragmented that, to be effective, marketers have been forced to make their messages more targeted and more effective. When they don’t the results pale in comparison to what they’ve seen in the past (when the market was much less fragmented) and most retreat to lick their wounds for a while (before returning to create a facebook page for their business to try and take advantage of “new media”!).

    Is it about awareness or engagement?

  • http://www.goeverywhere.com GoEverywhere Team

    “Use your advertising to start conversations”

    Now THAT is really what it’s all about in our day and age of over-exposure. And that’s why so many do not succeed at it.

    Most cannot even conceive of an advertisement that is simply the first step in an intricate process of building trust and establishing credibility.

  • http://www.advertisingb2b.com Annie

    face book is far ahead than twitter my dear Friend

  • http://www.business901.com Joe Dager

    Content is king, and that drives everything, I think but where are we going? It is interesting how the paradigm is shifting:

    Strong Branding – Marlboro Cowboy
    Wendy’s – Where’s the Beef?
    Apple – Super bowl Ad
    Google – Relevancy
    Twitter – User driven?

    P.S. I agree with Ben’s statement above media is so fragmented….

  • http://www.copyblogger.com Brian Clark

    John, thanks for the mention as an example. I’ll just point out that the value you offer “between” your “advertisements” on Twitter is as important as the value of your blog content itself. That’s the one-two punch to having followers not only tolerate links to your own content, but looking forward to them.

  • Tanner Kane

    … and than Brian Clark tweets “Content is the Most Trusted Form of Advertising – http to this post” it’s even more “perfect, more brilliant and he’s earned the right with his followers and the public to draw people to his content”

    just saying…

  • John Jantsch

    @Tanner – kind of gets me all chocked up the way it works :)

  • Grant

    You go to a social event and there is this guy handing out business cards and working the room. You avoid him like the plague. No one likes friends who do the Amway thing at a party. How is that any different with interactions on Facebook or Twitter? Not. Marketers will gum up any social situation to make a buck and will fail unless their CONTENT ROCKS.

  • http://www.copyblogger.com Brian Clark

    >>kind of gets me all chocked up the way it works…

    Yeah, you’re crying about it. :-)

  • http://www.bronsonharrington.com Bronson

    I agree 100%.

    Good engaging content not only educates, but builds authority and trust which can go a long way towards delivering warm leads which are easier to convert.

  • http://tv.factor77.com Jared O’Toole

    I agree that advertising has simply changed. I like the idea of educating. You have to help and solve someones problems. If you do that they will continually look to you for more. Now hopefully you can extend a helping hand but still reserve some information that you can sell.

    But I think if you look to educate you will get viewers to stick and then you will generate sales.

  • http://www.amarketingexpert.com Penny C. Sansevieri

    Ads for awareness, content for sales – 100% brilliant, I am going to RT this now – this is the best explanation of advertising (what works and what doesn’t) that I’ve seen in a long time!

  • http://www.gomlmonline.com/blog Stephanie Valentine

    Thank you for reaffirming that content is still king. There are those out there who are saying that content is dead and I don’t believe it! If you find your voice online and offer up educational useful information, people will listen to you, will follow you. It takes more time to develop a following this way rather than using inorganic traffic methods, but the people who follow you stay!

  • http://www.brandfasttrackers.com Brian Martin

    Great post. Brands today need to focus on building trust while utilizing new social media and advertising tactics.

    Brian Martin

  • http://www.brandfasttrackers.com Brian Martin

    Great post. Brands today need to focus on building trust while utilizing new social media and advertising tactics!

    Brian Martin

  • http://www.jotterbox.com Catherina

    Advertising will always be around. If people are talking about it, in a way it’s a form of advertising. I’m blog hopping at the moment and I’d say 90% of blogs I’ve visited lately are talking about twitter. They’re not linking links but the mere fact they’re blogging about it is another form of advertisement for twitter. Make your brand worth talking about and you’ll get free advertising as long as people are interested in it.

  • http://www.seotrafficspider.com/ Edward Izzys

    Interesting!

    In the past, offline media was one of the major mediums to promote one’s business and brand awareness. However, with the increasing popularity of the online media and its positive results, more people are turning to online marketing techniques to build a strong business presence across the globe. There are several online marketing strategies we can use for our Internet marketing solutions, but SEO (search engine optimization) today has taken a stance much ahead of any other technique.

    SEO brings with it tremendous scope for business improvement with improved keyword positioning, improved ranking and overall increase in the ROI and cuts down on the PPC cost extensively in the long run. This is a proven marketing solution if done the right way using the right techniques based on your website requirements.

    I thought this information would be helpful for those who wish to promote their website and get great results.

  • http://www.metacafe.com/watch/2579262/west_coast_vinyl/ WestCoastVinyl

    Great info in this article, what we found is that content is king for advertising, but must be backed up with compelling words to go with that. So that we can urge and subliminally tell our customer to do it, go for it. buy it!, call us, opt in, send us an email, etc….
    http://hubpages.com/hub/West-Coast-Vinyl

  • Michelle

    “conversations”, i like it, we need content that can start conversation as conversation would not start automatically. In this year people are placing video contents along with these text and image contents on the web for example. So they got content, but does the audience can reach the content? if not then the content is just content and not conversation, i will suggest people to go with http://www.adwido.com type firms that can make the content movable. We simply don't need the content.

  • Michelle

    “conversations”, i like it, we need content that can start conversation as conversation would not start automatically. In this year people are placing video contents along with these text and image contents on the web for example. So they got content, but does the audience can reach the content? if not then the content is just content and not conversation, i will suggest people to go with http://www.adwido.com type firms that can make the content movable. We simply don't need the content.