Did you notice that successful brands out there are quietly becoming a ‘media company‘ despite their physical outlook? You can still see Apple and Samsung are selling their devices, AirAsia is still very much pushing their budget airlines tickets, Nike and Adidas with their shoes, Spotify with their music and IKEA too, making people feel good with their furniture. That’s from the outside.
What they are brewing from the inside is not for everyone to know. You need to observe closely between the lines to really understand what they’re up to. For these brands, it is no longer about the product. It is something else, more than just products.
Let me break it down for you further. Beyond your naked eyes, inside the company, they are turning themselves into a marketing direction as if they are a media company. By heading towards that direction, they believe that they will likely find success for many more years to come. They are regularly creating stories, making the storytelling engaging enough for the target audience to appreciate, have those stories in multiple forms and distributing them through various channels for the world to see. Using the stories, they want to change people’s way of living. They want to change people’s habit. They want to insert their products into people’s habit, slowly but surely. They want to convince people that it is okay to change habits for the sake of convenience. This is how they are selling now, and it works brilliantly. How do the stories come about? Well, it is called content.
I could clearly see that these brands are approaching their marketing strategy with content. I could also clearly see that, by taking advantage of the current marketing landscape, the strategy is making a lot of sense. Observing this sort of trend a few years ago, I decided to give it a go. My first few articles were terrible. Words weren’t carefully chosen, the flow of the story wasn’t that easy to understand, plain vanilla titles, no kick-ass introduction, no backlinks and a few other embarrassing mistakes that I don’t dare to write them down here.
Fast forward three months after that, my writing was getting better. My mindset was experiencing a better way of operating this time, more structured. Words and sentences chosen were well picked to accurately express the ideas. Of course, there were still mistakes lying everywhere but at least they’re way lesser than before. After 8 months or so, I knew how to write good articles by then. With a better understanding of how to make it more engaging, fine tune my writing to incorporate emotional elements and optimising those keywords for SEO was easy.
I’m still improvising myself till today. It has been close to 3 years now with this creative routine. I am a firm believer in creating engaging content to make any marketing plan successful. I spend little time on social media or SEO technical tricks, as most of the time, I work my way through digital marketing from the content perspective. I build my social media presence and SEO authority from the content side rigorously. After 3 years on the adventure, I am blessed with a list of great customers not only from Malaysia but also Singapore, Australia and UAE.
Despite the global economic fluctuations, I manage to generate over 15-20 inquiries per month, with a conversion rate of 10 percent. That’s about 2 customers a month. I would say, almost all my customers’ are coming from online inquiries. Most of them are from the website and LinkedIn.
If you must know, I put everything I have into producing content. Money, time, effort, you name it. I write and write stuff about all-things-marketing. My content is about sharing Marketing ideas to the people. Besides article, infographics and videos are being produced too. Before long, I find myself with backlinks on a few established publications, and at the same time, my own blog is attracting quite a decent traffic as well. Some even say that if they do a Google search for keywords outside of Azleen or NSE as a brand name, they will still run into my content.
Now, I contribute regularly for Utusan Malaysia, Leaderonomics and LoanSolutions Philippines. I am also in the midst of a negotiation with a few mainstream magazines and newspapers to have my article placed in their publications. Speaking engagements, interviews and quite a number of mainstream media people begin to come my way as a result of my content footprint. Did I mention that I run a couple of global trade shows too?
My personal blog is becoming more than just a blog. It has somehow transformed into a platform I no longer solely own. It is a platform and a source of Marketing ideas for Malaysia-based freelancers, small business owners, Marketing professionals and a number of mainstream media chief editors. Ironically it sometimes receives a spillover traffics from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Japan too. Frankly, this is awesome beyond words. This positive development clearly showcases that I am in the right direction in my journey of producing easy-to-understand content that is practical and makes sense. All these within just 3 years.
Imagine what it can do to my personal branding if I keep on producing engaging content week-in week-out without fail for the next 3 years. Imagine what it can do to the number of my followers across all channels if I keep on going at this pace. Imagine what it can do to my authority level within the local marketing scene if I keep on moving forward. Imagine what it can do to my annual revenues too. These are the real outcome of me having a media company mentality.
Now imagine what Content Marketing can do to yours. All you need to do now is to start. If your company doesn’t start transforming your thinking into a ‘media company’ now and start producing quality content, then you may face heavy challenges from other brands that are doing it. It is okay if you do not know how. All you have to do is just ask.