NPR & Content Marketing Genius

May 8, 2013
Content marketing lessons from NPR

A longer commute to the new Digett offices means I spend much more time listening to the radio. I started listening to NPR a few months back, and recently it occurred to me that it’s the poster child for successful content marketing.

Great content, all the time

When I first started listening to NPR, I was under the impression I’d be hearing mostly about politics and news. There’s plenty of that—especially in the morning—but there’s also shows on scores of other topics: books, music, food, call-in, games, technology, finances, general human interest, and lots more.

This is a company that knows its audience (educated individuals who are interested in learning more about all manner of subjects) and provides them with the information they want to listen to, read, and share.

Obviously it takes a small army of reporters, writers, technicians, and other staff to keep a content machine like this going. But if you develop your buyer personas and find just a few individuals willing to champion your content marketing cause, you can routinely create great content that attracts your ideal customers and leads them down the funnel to purchase.

Social media smarts

Many NPR reporters and the shows they host have their own Twitter handles. These accounts are updated frequently with NPR show info, links to interesting and/or fun content, and conversations with followers.

Social media is not easy, but taking time to learn which platforms your audience uses and how to best interact on those platforms can go a long way toward turning prospects into warm leads that convert.

It’s not about them

Not only is NPR commercial-free, it’s self-promotion free too. The hosts don’t shill themselves or any kind of products, and they do their best to present multiple opinions on every story. Often their only call-to-action is a quick, “Learn more about [subject] at npr.org.”

The only time any self-promotion happens is during annual pledge drives, when employees ask listeners and members for donations to keep NPR commercial-free. Even then, the requests are worded in ways to build up the listeners — not beg for, annoy, or guilt them into donating.

Companies have to sell if they want to survive, but the way you promote and sell your products and services affects your success. Be empathetic, be helpful, and provide tons of value in exchange for your customers’ loyalty.

Related articles