Or why content marketing is great news for synth fans 15/10/13
Have you heard of content marketing? A couple of years ago it was the latest buzz word in marketing. Now it's the norm. Or should be.
Even if you haven't heard of it, you see it every day. Every time you watch a how-to video on synth programming, download a free manual or watch a celebrity interview you're enjoying content marketing.
So what is content marketing?
As avid consumers of music tech we depend on search engines to find out about products. This puts us in the driving seat. We use the internet to learn as much as we can about the new kit we drool over. We no longer have to rely on potentially misleading copy in ads, or the word of a sales rep in a store.
Instead we can look at online reviews, trawl the forums, watch videos, download a manual... We can even see what comes in the box and experience at one remove the excitement of a new purchase - who would have thought unboxing videos could be such fun!
In fact there's so much content out that that it can be hard to know where to stop (a friend of mine recently admitted to watching an hour long video about distortion pedals at 5am). This means that manufacturers have to compete with all this content if they are to stand a chance of cropping up on Google. And the only way they can do this is by creating content that we are searching for - content that answers our questions, addresses our concerns, meets our needs.
So say goodbye to tired old ads that basically say 'Shut up and buy it'. These days the music tech marketing teams are thinking long and hard about what we want and creating original, innovative and genuinely valuable content that aims to grab our attention. Which is good news for us!
Here are five of my favourite examples of synth-flavoured content marketing action:
The team at Novation clearly love synths and their passion shows in their Facebook page, which includes far more than news about their latest products. You'll find competitions, interviews with artists, quirky videos and links to other sites of interest. All this hard work is clearly paying off - their page has almost 70,000 likes
Written by programming maestro Howard Scarr for Access Virus, this is a freely downloadable manual with some great background information on synths and invaluable tips, tricks and philosophy from one of the best programmers in the business. A bit old now, but still a great read.
Want to tell people about your synth? Give it away! This freely scaled down version of u-he's fantastic Zebra softsynth is actually a pretty good synth in its own right. There are a few other free versions on the u-he site, together with videos that show you what all those knobs and buttons actually do.
Grab some cool bands, put them in a room full of Moog equipment and see what they come up with. A simple idea that works really well. You can learn a lot by seeing what creative people can do with all that Mooglicious goodness.
One of the first music tech companies to incorporate a blog into their site (competitors take note). The Roland blog is a great resource for musicians and would-be musicians (not just synthesists), with trustworthy buying guides, how-to guides, artist interviews and more.
So there you have it - five of my favourites. All have taken a lot of work to create and all have found a 'sweet spot' between their expertise as synth manufacturers and our interests as consumers! Maybe you have your own favourite examples of content marketing? If so, I'd love to know what's floated your boat recently (in terms of content marketing that is) so please leave a comment below.
Matthew Tanner is a writer, editor and amateur musician. He played his first gig when he was 13, taking his drum kit to the gig in a shopping trolley. He has been into home recording since he bought a Tascam 144 Portastudio in 1979. You can contact him via LinkedIn.