Piano playing cat viral videos, engaging TedTalks on renewable energy, killer blogs and real-time information feeds are creating a transformational shift that continues to redefine the boundaries of advertising. Agencies today are actually spending money in the hopes of creating the next cheap-looking viral video, as shown in a recent episode of The Pitch on AMC. But these are short term tactics, with an inherently short shelf life in many cases; one that can be quickly replaced by the next viral video. These strategies don’t build a cohesive brand or identity – something that you want to be remembered for.

At UBM TechWeb, we share many of the same challenges most marketers face. But we are in a unique position in that we have to satisfy two audiences: business technology users who consume our information, and our marketing customers. Our clients are looking to create deeper engagement with prospects that can be measured, beyond clicks and views, through innovative products like lead nurturing and thriving communities. Our audiences are seeking practical, intelligent information to make smart decisions. The question reveals itself: how do you engage a mass audience, create greater brand loyalty, while also working toward and fulfilling the goals of your clients?

At UBM TechWeb, we have found that the optimal way to engage the audience for the long term is by exciting the user intellectually by giving away educational, intellectual pieces of unbiased, premium content that only we can produce. These pieces of content can take weeks to create given the careful research that goes into them and has monetary value attached to it. We decided to create an annual budget for the creation of these special reports and give it away as a reward to our audience. Our engagement trends are more promising than ever before.

How do we do this? A typical scenario goes like this. The user, we’ll call her Lisa, is presented with an email offer that is relevant to the types of content she consumes and actions she has taken. We know Lisa is a cloud professional who routinely attends our cloud webcasts, frequently downloads our whitepapers on the subject and has also attended a live event dedicated to the topics a year ago. As we reward our audiences for their loyalty to our offerings, it has become apparent that Lisa would be more interested in a premium report that we would offer for free, like the “5 Steps to building the Private Cloud,” priced at $99.00. By offering Lisa a report at no cost, one that is directly relevant to her, we have constructed an opportunity to create an even deeper and more loyal relationship with her.

As publishers, what is it that you can do to reward your audience intellectually and emotionally to make them more loyal to your brand? Is there valuable content that only you can produce, that your audience will cherish? There has to be, and if there isn’t, you have not thought hard enough. Remember this: only your company is able to create and share expert content like no one else. If you don’t have that talent, seek that talent and start producing now.

Imran Suleman is a digital marketer and content strategist for technology companies looking to evolve their brand and products into world class entities through the power of astute content marketing.

New Ecommerce and Paid Content Models
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