The recent Automotive Buyer Influence Study found that 70% of car buyers used the web as a research tool before making their purchase. How much time did they spend in their research? On average, 18-19 hours. I don’t know what you’re thinking, but to me, 18-19 hours sounds like a lot of time to spend on research!
If web users are spending that much time browsing the Internet for car-related information, wouldn’t you want the majority of that time to be spent with your content? If so, it’s time to start developing a content strategy that will draw in those visitors! Let’s take a look at what’s working today for the automotive industry…
Because the automotive industry is so visually driven, your content marketing strategy should also have a big visual focus. You may not have the budget to create an advertisement like Honda’s Cog video, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be creative.
Check out the last section in one of my recent blog posts about Ford. In the final paragraphs, I discuss some of the problems Ford is facing with its brand, and how they’re using a new campaign (‘Go Further’) to address those issues. Embedded in the post is a link to a ‘Go Further’ TV spot that doesn’t even mention the Ford brand. The automotive industry is definitely getting creative with their forays into video marketing! ‘Go Further’ is just one of the more recent examples.
Social Platforms: Facebook & Twitter
However, social media platforms are proving to be even more popular for the automotive industry than video. While the automotive industry isn’t making any sales to speak of (yet!) from their social media presence, they are generating excitement and product interest.
Every single marketing person in the auto industry needs to see this Infographic from Mashable, which details how the major auto manufacturers are utilizing the major social media platforms. The data is a year and a half old, but still packs a powerful punch!
However, you don’t have to be an auto manufacturer to effectively make social media use a part of your content strategy. I would encourage you to at least use Facebook and Twitter. But – more importantly – have a presence where your audience already is! Then, integrate your social media with your blog posts through polls to increase your engagement levels across platforms.
Blogging & Guides
… which, of course, brings us to writing. Great blogs and lengthy, informative guides can be really useful tools in your content marketing arsenal. For a strong example, I’d recommend you check out Das Blog from Volkswagen. Though Das Blog is a little too self-promotional for many readers’ tastes, it does a great job with its use of tone. Note how Volkswagen doesn’t speak like a corporation.
Assuming you aren’t a car manufacturer, your blog (and overall content strategy) should focus more on valuable, car-related information. Everything from car memorabilia to trending news topics (like whatever car it was that Kanye might have been photographed driving around yesterday) is fair game.
As far as guides go, leverage these pieces to get conversions. Reserve your more valuable (and sales-y) content for your guides. Potential guide topics might be “Car Maintenance at the 25k/50k/100k Stage,” or “What to Look for in the Perfect Family SUV.”
Pre-Qualifying With Language
And, of course, this talk of writing means we have to bring up a few notes on tone. All of the content marketing that goes along with your company should aim at specific audience profiles. In order to be most effective, you should carefully use your language to pre-qualify leads.
Basically, you want to make sure that your blogs, social media pages, guides, and everything else that goes into your content strategy has a voice that reaches its desired audience. Take the difference between the Ford Mustang page and the Ford E-Series Cargo Van, for example. Same company, but very different language, right?
Of course, the language isn’t different because Ford hired two different copywriters with different approaches. The language is different because Ford knows what points about a vehicle should be marketed for success. Make sure you choose the right tone, and stick to it with consistency!
Intelligent Content Marketing
So, remember, if you’re in the automotive industry, your content strategy should include video, appropriate social media profiles, creative blogging, informative guides, and intelligent, pre-qualifying language.
What else does the automotive industry need to know for content marketing?