Thought Leadership
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Content marketing and commerce - creating the 'desire to buy'

Emma Potter
25th February 2015

Content marketing and commerce have been linked since the dawn of publishing.

Content marketing and commerce are intrinsically linked and have been since the dawn of publishing - advertising placements opposite related content in magazine and on website are commonplace.

The thinking being that if you’re interested in X subject, then Y product is going to fly off the shelves when it’s placed in X’s vicinity. Sadly, that’s not always the case. Consumers are pickier than ever and there’s more choice than ever. That means they’re not nearly as keen to click that ‘buy now’ button before they’ve done some research…

Back in the bad old days, marketers learnt much from an old editorial/advertising ‘fudge’. The advertorial (or advertising feature) was – and still is – three very different things to the different people involved in their creation:

  • To the journalist creating the advertorial it’s an unwelcome distraction. Journalists, for their sins, often follow the path of least resistance and this is never more the case when creating an advertorial.

  • To the ad team that manage to sell the advertorial, it’s the ultimate cash cow. Sure the bread and butter display ads pay the bills, but get a decent advertorial away and that’s where the real money is made.

  • To the marketing team, it’s the dream ticket. Advertising masquerading as editorial, combining the brand’s marketing message with the trusted voice of an editorial team.

But the advertorial is the hammer and anvil approach to modern content marketing – crude, messy and downright dangerous in the wrong hands. Modern content marketing is about a nuanced approach to sales. If your objective is to drive sales directly from content as opposed to brand awareness, then there are better approaches than the haphazard hoodwink that is the ‘advertising feature’.

And so often an advertorial is so badly executed you could argue the brand behind it may as well have paid half the money for a straight display advert and then designed the whole thing using Microsoft Word.

Inspire. Engage. Inform.

Content and commerce have long been intrinsically linked, but modern content marketing adds a full raft of greys to the black and white of editorial versus advertising. Nowadays the measurement metrics have become more sophisticated – you can measure a whole raft of engagement variables – so it’s no longer a case of advertise in magazine A, increase sales by Y that month, move X percentage of profit to further advertising in magazine A.

It’s worth considering point nine in the Mediablaze 10 cast iron rules of content marketing - ‘Don’t shortcut the sales process’. Shortcutting the sales process is a dangerous game to play. Telling people what to buy is a lot easier once you’ve convinced them that they do want to buy something. And this is where content marketing really comes into its own. It’s about education, inspiration and ultimately aspiration and it’s that which will lead to a direct impact on a business’s bottom line.

Convince potential customers of their desire to buy and give them useful, insightful and downright desirable content to consume and half the battle to convert them to sales has already been done.

Which is easily done when you’re the voice of a trusted editorial brand, right? But not so easy when you’re a brand with the ulterior motive of having something to sell.

Half true. Inspire, inform and engage consumers and you have something vastly more powerful than a banner ad that clicks through to a ‘buy now’ button. Give potential customers the ‘What’ and the ‘Why’ and then watch them choose the ‘When’ for themselves.

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Does your a content marketing strategy create a ‘desire to buy’ with your customers? If not then you may want to drop us a line, we’d love to help –

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