In a recent post on Coca-Cola, Doug Busk, the company’s global group director for digital communications and social media, spoke about the advantages of not requiring revenue.
He said: “We benefit from success on partners on the marketing side. It’s tough to compete with TV advertisements during the Olympics. We’re never going to get into an impressions game; we focus instead on how engaging the content is.”
But what if you could make money from your content marketing?
It goes against the grain, but it has been done. And there is even an argument that targeting revenue can make your content even better.
One example of this is premium cycling-clothing brand Rapha. It launched Rouleur, an upmarket bi-monthly magazine that it sold on in 2013. Its contributors included writers from the Guardian and photography by members of the Magnum agency. It was printed on expensive paper stock and sold at a correspondingly lofty price.
To quote from Influence by Robert Cialdini, adding a high price to something imparts a feeling of value. He tells the story of shop in which a worker mistakenly attached such a price to a piece of jewellery that had failed to sell. The product quickly found a buyer.
The strategy established Rapha as a luxury brand – a perception that still persists today.
Ultimately, however, this needs to be approached with care. If the aim of your content is to push people down a sales funnel then an indication of cost may cause problems. If, on the other hand, you are looking at building the brand, then it could work. Just make sure the content is good enough to bring it off.
Ask yourself this:
Will you make money from ads (such as YouTube) or subscriptions?
What will you offer to make your content worth paying for? Interviews, data?
What do you want your content marketing to do. Sell products or build the brand?
Primarily, making money from content is a game for premium brands. But it is possible – and it can help in more ways than just making money.