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The world sure has changed since 1995 when I founded my digital marketing agency. Hashtags back then were pound signs, dial-up Internet tied up our land lines and Web 2.0 hadn’t yet shown its full potential. We have evolved with the times, adopting tactics that once seemed ludicrous or impossible, before the renaissance of shareable content began in earnest.
Related: The 7 Secrets to Shareable Content
Today, your marketing doesn’t stand a chance unless your strategy embraces a singular fact: Traditional, sales-heavy ads will often be far less engaging than quality, shareable content distributed for free. Need proof? According to the Content Marketing Institute, 200 million people use ad blockers; and, content marketing not only costs 62 percent less than outbound marketing, it yields three times as many leads.
This is one of the lessons that led me to find examples of this practice—which yields powerful results. Two obvious companies in this space are Patagonia and Dollar Shave Club.
Patagonia, the outdoor apparel giant, puts what I’m sure amounts to thousands of dollars of time and work into its catalog, and the result is far more than a simple sales brochure. The Patagonia catalog features in-depth, magazine-quality stories from people who actually use these products. The publication puts its customers—not the company—in the spotlight and simultaneously conveys the spirit of the brand.
Add some high-quality photography and the catalog is a publication that people would pay for (but don’t have to). Even better, the content itself is largely contributed by