Content Marketing in Reverse

June 24, 2011 6:00 pm

Great content can not only generate results, it can also be used as a reward

Content marketing places a lot of emphasis on providing consumers with something valuable as a means of encouraging engagement with a brand. The content created forms the basis of the consumer’s incentive to get more involved with a brand. To care.

This approach stems from Seth Godin’s revolutionary concept of Permission Marketing, which he describes as: ‘The privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.

‘It recognises the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realises that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.’

Oh, the wonders contained within that brilliant bald head of his!

Setting Seth Godin worship aside for a moment, it is this concept that has evolved into the way online marketing in general – and content marketing in particular – is approached today. Consumer attention is earned by creating something that deserves it. Marketers aim for relevance, respect and a spirit of engagement in the content they create, hoping that it will translate into brand awareness, loyalty, and – dare we say it? – sales.

Rewarding customer loyalty through content

But what happens when you’ve already got the loyalty and the sales? When you’ve already got a successful brand or product, and you’ve already got consumers whose attention you’ve earned?

Rewarding loyalty is an often-overlooked aspect of content marketing. People bang on about a holistic approach to marketing – long-term strategy instead of campaigns; ongoing, evolving content… But the vision often extends only as far as the results that have been aimed for, and not beyond.

J.K. Rowling is someone who has created – and become – one of the most successful brands in the world. Her content is what started the whole Harry Potter juggernaut, and now she’s rewarding the loyalty she’s earned with… more content.

Pottermore, she has announced, will be a free website with bonus Harry Potter content such as interactive experiences, new illustrations, selected moments from the books and a lot of extra perks that will be revealed once the site is available to the public in October.

Pottermore website

Reinventing books for the digital age

Rowling explained in a recent press conference why she created the site: ‘[It’s] a way I can be creative in a medium that didn’t exist when I started the books back in 1990.’

While the website is bound to boost the Harry Potter brand profile even further (and will feature an option to buy Rowling’s novels in eBook form), it is also a way of rewarding the loyalty of fans who, for over a decade since the first book was published have faithfully followed Harry and his friends through countless challenges and triumphs.

A special online challenge will grant one million die-hard fans early access to the site from 31 July, acknowledging their role in making the franchise and the books the cultural phenomenon they have become.

There is a valuable lesson to be learned here about content marketing in reverse. Content is generally created to entice consumers, but the cycle can work in reverse, too – offering countless more opportunities for both brand and consumer.


The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

Image Source: Pottermore website



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