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What your business can learn from Michelin’s content marketing strategy in 1900

Jul 22, 2016 / by jugglingswords / In Business, Content marketing, Uncategorized / Tags: , , , , / Leave a comment

What we can learn from a 1900 Michelin guide

Everyone knows the tyre brand Michelin but did you know that Michelin’s content marketing strategy in 1900 paved the way for much of what we do today?

Michelin produced its first ever guide in 1900 making the brand a content marketing visionary (even if they didn’t see it at the time).

So why did Michelin do it?

Michelin had a problem. They were known for producing quality bicycle tyres and had stepped into producing car tyres. The problem was, there were only around 3,000 cars in France at the time so they needed a way to create demand for their product.

It was simple really. They needed more car owners to sell more tyres to, so they came up with the Michelin Guide packed full of useful, quality content about where to stay, where to stop, where to eat and maps. The first Michelin guide was published in 1900 and it was a massive success.

It helped to build trust in their audience who eventually became Michelin customers. Perhaps the most incredible thing about what Michelin’s content marketing strategy all those years ago was that they resisted the temptation to sell in the guides. There are plenty of businesses around today who could take a leaf out of Michelin’s book (or perhaps that should be guide).

JUGGLING SWORDS’ JOHN DURRANT EXPLAINS WHY WE CAN LEARN A LOT FROM MICHELIN’S FIRST GUIDE IN 1900.

So what can we learn from Michelin’s content marketing?

To be useful to your audience: Michelin’s guides became essential travelling companions for French tourists because they were so useful. For your business, are you creating content that’s useful? How does your strategy stack up against Michelin’s content marketing?

To inform and educate: Too many businesses continue to see content marketing as a wasted opportunity to sell their products. The whole point of content marketing is to give away something of value in order to gain trust. To that end, content which is informative and educational can be an extremely powerful tool. Content that blatantly sells a product can be a massive turn-off. You’ve been warned!

Content marketing isn’t just online: As a digital and content marketing agency, we at Juggling Swords are probably guilty of thinking only about online marketing for our clients. But the reality is, content marketing is a very effective form of offline marketing too.

Michelin’s content marketing proposition might have originated in 1900, but even today they produce their guides in tangible format in 23 different countries. The lesson is that thinking about a magazine or a guide, perhaps even a book could be a fantastic content marketing proposition for your business. Print is not dead, despite what others might say.

Juggling Swords is an Edinburgh social media, digital and content marketing agency. For more marketing techniques and tips that you can implement in your business, sign up for our FREE weekly email newsletter here.

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