How to Make the Most of Read Marketing: Real People, Real Choices Online

With the growth of the digital economy, more and more businesses are moving toward online marketplaces. This poses a serious challenge to traditional marketers—especially read marketers.

What is read marketing?

Put simply, read marketing is an approach to marketing where you use marketing words and phrases, but you do not create marketing content (e.g., ads, articles, etc.). Instead, you read about the product or service in traditional media, such as magazines, blogs, and newspapers.

Why would an organization use read marketing?

There are many advantages to using read marketing.

First, relying on readers to discover your product or service could mean that they will already have an interest in your offering. Therefore, you may be able to drive a larger amount of interest and engagement with your product or service. 

Additionally, readers tend to focus more on the content of the story than anything else. In most cases, they will be reading the story for non-commercial purposes, therefore, you can rest assured that the content is more likely to be engaging. Finally, the cost of producing read content is usually lower than that of creating new marketing content.

How does a company use read marketing to their advantage?

In some cases, a company may want to avoid directly marketing to adults because they already have a customer base that is more loyal to them than to new shiny objects. In this case, read marketing could be a valuable tool. 

What does that mean for marketers?

It means that marketers should look for the under-34 demo when creating marketing content.

In fact, this group is often referred to as the Millennials. Marketers should keep in mind that this demographic is far more likely to value authentic experiences over products. For example, in a recent study by Viant, 72% of millennials say they’d rather buy a product that they’ve felt has genuine emotional resonance rather than an object they’ve seen in a glossy magazine or on social media. That’s a powerful statement. It means that for some products, the answer may be to simply tell a story and offer some authentic experiences.

Consider the case of Bluehost, one of the famous WordPress hosting platforms. In a nutshell, Bluehost provides businesses with the foundation (web hosting) to launch and grow their websites. If you take a look at their website, you will notice that they do not directly market to consumers. Rather, they tell a story of a girl who fell in love with a Canadian man, who then proposes to her, and eventually, they get engaged and get married. The product is obvious (engagement ring), but what was the secret to their growth?

Bluehost managed to gain a big following through guest blogging, where they would entice readers with thought-provoking articles about life in Canada. More importantly, Bluehost crafted these articles around keysphrases and key concepts that furthermore reflected their target audience’s interests. For example, one of the articles focused on the importance of family and friendship over material goods, which appealed to a younger demographic — a prime target for Bluehost.

What’s more, they also used social media to keep their readers engaged. On their blog, Bluehost frequently hosts reporters and freelancers to tell their story and promote their products. This strategy has paid off, as they attract a highly-targeted demographic with a unique perspective and an interest in what Bluehost has to offer.

Where can marketers put this knowledge to work?

Marketers should continue to look for opportunities to engage with readers wherever they can. It could mean crafting engaging content around a brand’s key philosophy, values, and attributes. For example, a firm that believes in making a difference for the better in the world could create blog posts on ethical trade or sustainability. What’s more, they could tie these blogs to a cause that is closely related to that belief system (e.g., ethical trade promotes global peace, which is closely related to the company’s beliefs etc.).

On the other hand, a company that sells gourmet chocolat might want to engage with readers via a chocolate blog.

Ultimately, readers want to feel like they’re getting something valuable and unique from your blog. To achieve this, you must present them with content that is valuable, informative, and relevant. It is often said that content is king (or queen). However, in this case, it is the article (content is the king — queen maybe later!).

To conclude, marketers should take the time to reflect on the importance of readers in their strategies. Not only do they exist to sell products, but they can be a viable marketing channel that you can use to tell a brand’s story and drive sales.