An underpinning principle of content marketing is the free distribution of content. Preferably content that is of a high editorial standard. This allows you to create a relationship with customers and (hopefully) drive sales.
So far so good. But can this be taken further? To the point where you’re giving away not just words but something of lasting value both to the customer and the brand?
Giving away the secret
UK beer manufacturer BrewDog has arguably done just that. It has published the recipes to each of its beers – all 200 of them – with the aim of building their adoption among home brewers.
Now you can make Dead Pony Club, Punk IPA and Jet Black Heart in the comfort of your own home.
Coca-Cola is well known for its content marketing, yet it’s hard to imagine it revealing its top-secret recipe. But then who would make it anyway? And that’s the point.
In terms of B2B, around 67 per cent of content marketing-influenced purchasing decisions came via ebook giveaways. Obviously, there is more to it when you’re giving away actual intellectual property.
However, there are a number of elements to consider. Firstly, by such an action, BrewDog wins kudos among a priority target audience. Beer aficionados.
Second, anyone brewing the beer is likely to want to try the original to contrast and compare.
Lastly, how many people are actually going to go beyond printing the recipe?
Obviously, every company has its competitors and you have to be careful about what you are giving away. But at a time when every company is looking for better cut-through, this could be a clever way to stand out from the crowd.
Look around and there are numerous examples. Both Facebook and Google have made software projects such as Angular and React open source. Last year, Google launched its Patent Starter Program offering patented products to startup companies.
There are other benefits in giving away your secret sauce. For example, if someone has gone to the trouble of making it, or even just looking at it, you know they are serious. And greater transparency creates trust.
Lastly, sad as it may seem, the competition is irrelevant because you should be focusing on the customer. Besides, they probably already think they’re the best anyway.