Did I really learn everything about content marketing from Kim Kardashian? No, but she did introduce me to the value of this relatively new marketing method.
I HAVE absolutely learned tons of amazing content marketing tactics and strategies from brilliant marketers like Ryan Deiss, Jimmy Daly, and Aja Frost. But, bear with me, my pal Kim is actually a pretty brilliant marketer herself, and I don’t think she gets the credit she deserves for the impact she’s made on the content marketing industry.
Needless to say, Kim and I both think that it’s super important for any business to invest in content marketing. I’ll explain.
Nickelodeon’s Journey into Content Marketing
To start, we have to go way back in time to the good ole’ days when Kim was palling around the chic streets of Beverly Hills with Paris Hilton, and I was living an equally glamorous life clad in a knock-off Patagonia sweatshirt carrying my newborn around Central Park in a spit-up covered Baby Bjorn. Picture below for proof of my utter chicness.
The baby in that picture is now a 6’1 high school cornerback who drinks a gallon of milk every day and says things like “that’s so fresh” and “totally fire” in true Paris and Kim style. Back in 2005 when this picture was taken, I had just been offered a job writing a blog for Nickelodeon. After Yahoo-ing (we didn’t Google back then), “what is a blog” and then parsing out what the word “web-log” meant, I accepted the offer.
My new blog was about spit-up, night feedings, dirty diapers, and naptime (See: Glamorous) and my blog articles were posted on Nick’s parenting site, Parents Connect.
Think back to the way most websites looked in 2005. There were no sleek white layouts with simple search bars, no Buzzfeed style article feed, no gifs or memes or videos. Instead, websites were like the Las Vegas strip on steroids. Fully lit up, amped, and ready to Sell. You. All. The. Things.
To help you picture it, I used the Wayback Machine to take a screenshot of the Nick site that I worked for at that time. The image files have all disappeared but imagine all of the question marks replaced by big, bright, flashy ads.
Kind of makes you want to go buy some diaper genies, doesn’t it?
Regardless, because it was a Nickelodeon property and the site content was so dang interesting (See: Diapers), we sold tons of ads. Companies were clamouring to get on our ad platform and post pictures of the latest and greatest parenting gear all over our website.
One problem: The ads didn’t really work.
Turns out that people don’t like to be sold to in a flashy, sleezy, “buy this from me right now” sort of way. Simply put, shoving a product in someone’s face when they are trying to catch up on the latest diapering techniques or find out what happened on Survivor does not work… ever.
Ragu Spaghetti Wasn’t Happy
Fast forward a few more Las-Vegas-y months and the team at Ragu Spaghetti sauce came to our sales team and said they weren’t sure about the ROI from their ads. They weren’t getting many clicks or sales. They were spending a whole lot of cash, and not getting much for it.
But they had an idea: they had seen this thing on another site where bloggers were sharing their favorite recipes and there were ads or coupons in the articles. They were wondering if they could try something similar where the Nickelodoen bloggers wrote articles that mentioned how they used Ragu products in a natural, organic way.
And that my friends, was the day that content marketing was born… for me at least.
Enter Kim Kardashian, an Unlikely Pioneer of Content Marketing
Across the country on the Pacific coast, my pal Kim Kardashian was making some content marketing discoveries of her own. Kim started to realize that by sharing tons of little details about her own personal life using her own favorite products on her blog and on Twitter, she could really sell things, so she began creating content marketing campaigns of her own.
Kim shared stories of workouts in her snazzy new Sketchers Shape-Ups and raved about how wearing the shoes made her rear-end even sexier. Guess what? Sketchers sold a ton of shoes. So many, in fact, that Complex said that Kim’s endorsement of sketchers is the most defining sneaker moment of all time (shocking considering the fact that Michael Jordan endorsed, well, Jordans).
So, back to Nickelodeon.
Back in New City I was working on some endorsements of my own. I don’t want to brag but I made spaghetti, lasagna, and tiny fairy lights using Ragu sauce jars and glow sticks.
And while Complex hasn’t declared (yet at least) that my endorsement of spaghetti sauce was the most defining spaghetti moment of all time, I can definitely say that Ragu got quite a few coupon clicks from the recipe page for my souped-up spaghetti sauce recipe that had tiny chunks of broccoli in it.
Content marketing worked. People wanted the recipes and the crafts and the how-to-hide-veggies-in-sauce ideas. When they got those ideas, they were much more likely to click on a coupon or promo than they were if we just spammed them with spaghetti sauce jar photos.
So I began working in content marketing. After I finished writing about spaghetti, I wrote about the life-changing properties of diaper bags. After diaper bags, I wrote about strollers, butt paste, baby food spoons, and nursing wraps. Later, as my kids grew, I wrote about books, music, crayons, and slime. I cannot even begin to count the number of times I made and then wrote about slime.
Kim and Me, Me and Kim. Together, we were reinventing marketing. Ads were out. Blogs were in. Heavy sales were out. Marketing finesse was in. A few years later, our Nickelodeon site looked entirely different. Buh-bye flashy Vegas ads. Hello… content.
Take a peek and the wayback machine screenshot below from 2009.
- Take a Virtual Road Trip with Toyota was a content marketing campaign where all of us bloggers showed readers the cool places a Toyota could take families in our own hometowns.
- It’s Time to Play with Fruit Roll-Ups had article after article featuring fun games and activities that used, you guessed it, fruit roll ups.
- And perhaps my favorite, Date Night Ideas for Moms and Dads, featured date nights (obviously), but also highlighted great restaurants and products for date nights.
This may not come as a surprise to you, but these content marketing campaigns worked. Like, really worked.
There were plenty of “most defining moments” in diaper bag/fruit roll-up/slime history in those years. And those defining moments continue. Great content moves the marketing needle. Always.
Kim and I are here to proclaim once and for all that if you want to be a rockstar marketer, you should invest in content marketing. We believe it will help you grow your brand and scale your business and make sales. Lots of sales.
Okay, I have a confession to make: I don’t really know Kim.
I do know one of the 650 people that was invited to her second wedding to Kris Humphreys, which means I could argue that we are friends via 650 degrees of separation, but since I’m not one for technicalities, I figured I should come clean.
Regardless, I think Kim would agree with me. She knows that if you want to sell things and build your brand and do all the things that good marketers do, you have to create great content. Really awesome content that demonstrates all the advantages of your products while showing your audience exactly why they need whatever it is you are selling now.
Trust me, nobody bought Sketchers Shape-Ups because they saw an ad and they looked slick. People bought Sketchers Shape-Ups because my pal Kim told them to… on her blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter 423 times.
So what about your business? Are you spending thousands on ads and seeing numbers less than .1% when it comes to conversions? The solution could be to create a content marketing strategy.
Invest time, money, writing power and every jar of spaghetti sauce in your pantry into creating a content marketing strategy designed to support, enhance, and maybe even outperform your email marketing and paid advertising strategies.
I am convinced that a strategic, focused content marketing strategy can and will have a huge impact on your business. If you don’t believe me, trust Kim. She’s made millions off of it.
I want to convince you that you need a good, solid content marketing strategy in order to launch your business’s organic into a sales-making, lead-driving, marketing machine.
Are you convinced? Good.