The most successful brands have a content marketing program. In addition to traditional content marketing tactics like running a blog, creating downloadable content, implementing an email marketing strategy, etc., earning third party content should be a big part of your content marketing program.

Whether a potential consumer is researching your brand on their own or is learning about your brand for the first time, it’s crucial that there are third party content driven recommendations of your brand all over the internet.

Why You Need Third Party Content

To understand the value of third party content as it relates to your content marketing strategy it’s important to understand how consumers want to digest information about brands.

Think about third party content as a cocktail party scenario. You’re talking to someone over martinis and they’re spouting out information on all the cool things about themselves. Not only is this obnoxious, but, it’s not credible to get information about someone from themselves. Now, think about talking to someone else at the cocktail party and they talk about all the good things about someone they know. Because a third party is recommending and talking about a person, it’s way more credible.

This is how it is for brands. Consumers crave third party brand recommendations as opposed to your brand directly trying to convince them to buy your product or service.

It’s also important to understand how savvy the modern-day consumer is. They are self sufficient and prefer to consume content on their own and research brands themselves as opposed to getting a sales pitch from your brand. They’re also actively searching for third party content about brands so it’s your job to prioritize earning third party content. So, your brand should back off of pitching yourself to consumers and put more weigh into earning content from third parties.

Third Party Content and the Buyer’s Journey

Your potential consumers go on a digital journey before deciding to buy from your brand or become a client. Third party content can support the buyer’s journey and guide consumers through the process from brand awareness to making a purchase decision.
Awareness: When a potential consumer hears about a brand from a blog post or social media post about someone else’s experience with your brand, they value this third party recommendation of your brand and your brand suddenly gets on their radar.

Consideration: When consumers know about a brand and are considering purchasing, they seek out information and start doing their research. This is where it’s handy for third party content to show up in search results. The potential consumer will google for reviews of your brand and there needs to be a plethora of results for them to consult.
Decision: Once a potential consumer is ready to make a purchase decision, third party content comes in handy in a few ways. They will most likely visit your website and your website should feature third party content so that the consumer can see how other people, just like them, have utilized your brand. If working with a sales team is part of your brand’s process, it’s important to equip your sales team with third party content. Sales can then give your potential consumer content to digest and see for themselves that there are other consumers who recommend your brand—they don’t want to take your brand’s self-promotional word to make their purchase decision. Illustration is key.

Run an Influencer Marketing Strategy

Whether you’re a B2B brand or a B2C brand, influencer marketing is a powerful way to earn third party content for your brand.

Influencers are recruited to test out your brand’s products or services and write about their experience. By nature, they also have a large following, so their brand recommendations are shared with all their followers not to mention their mentions show up in search results when consumers are doing their research.

Influencers should be vetted by having a contextual fit with your brand. It’s your job to seed them with products or services as well as the information about your brand that you want them to post about. Plan on being very communicative with them as this directly effects the quality of the posts you will earn.

When it comes to rates, what influencers charge is all over the board. It depends on what you’re asking of them and how many followers they have. As a rule of thumb, plan on sending influencers product or access to a service and a mid-level influencer will charge anywhere from $250 to $500 to post a blog post with full social shares. To learn more about influencer marketing check out this link if you’re a B2B brand and this link if you’re a B2C brand.

Enlist Journalists

Journalists can often also be influencers but let’s talk about journalists in the traditional sense. They write for offline and online publications and are always looking for a creative and new angle for their columns.

If you have the budget, you can utilize a database like Cision to find contact information for journalists. If you don’t have the budget for a tool, a simple Google search will do the trick to find writers who write in your brand’s field. Usually publications have many journalists on their team so look through the columns to find journalists who specialize in your brand’s area of expertise.

Once you’ve identified journalists, reach out to them with a creative angle that they can use to position your brand in their writing. Unlike influencers, journalists are finding innovative angles to a story as opposed to payment for posts.

Customers are an Undervalued Resource

A lot of brands overlook the power of earning media from their consumers. Working with client facing coworkers like your customer service team, you can identify your happy customers.

Once happy customers have been identified, you can incentivize them to post on social media about their positive experience with your brand. Incentives can be in the form of discounts on your product, service, freebies or gift cards.

Some times all it takes is a nudge in the right direction to get customers to write about your brand on their social media channels.

Leveraging Third Party Content for Maximum Impact

Once you’ve implemented strategies to earn third party content about your brand, you want to make sure that you get the most use out of it. Other than bringing in traffic, there are ways you can utilize third party content for maximum impact and just a few of those ways include:

  • Display earned social media posts on the homepage of your site
  • Extract quotes from blog posts on your testimonials page
  • Utilize pieces of third party content on your marketing materials such as flyers and brochures
  • Share your earned media on your brand’s social media channels

Final Thoughts

Third party content can make claims about your brand that just aren’t effective when your brand makes those claims about itself. Consumers crave authentic content and third party recommendations and this type of content can provide consumers with what they want while guiding them through the buyer’s journey.

Influencers, journalists and customers are some of your brand’s most valuable resources so formalize a dedicated program to work with these people as part of your content marketing strategy and watch it thrive.
Have you had success with third party content? Would love to hear your thoughts and tips in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *