Content Marketing: Tell Your Self-Storage Story Through Compelling Content
Copyright 2014 by Virgo Publishing.
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Posted on: 02/21/2013



 

A guest installment by Christina Alvino , Marketing Manager, Guardian Storage Solutions

The marketing landscape is constantly evolving in new and exciting ways. Instead of pitching your self-storage product and services, build your audience by delivering consistent, valuable messaging that connects your customers to your business in a meaningful way. This new path is called “content marketing,” and I’m looking forward to taking you through the essential steps needed to begin your journey.

I will be discussing this important topic at length during my education session at the Inside Self-Storage World Expo in Las Vegas. Titled “Using Content Marketing to Tell Your Self-Storage Business Story and Engage Customers,” the session is part of the Marketing track and will be presented on April 4 at 10 a.m.

The biggest challenge facing marketers in any industry is that consumers have simply shut themselves off from the traditional world of marketing. They own DVRs to skip commercials, ignore print ads and even “surf” the Web without noticing ad banners. Today’s technology-saturated household has two desktop computers, three laptops, a digital camera, two cell phones, a scanner, three TVs, eight remote controls, three DVRs, some type of gaming device and at least one Kindle, iPad or other tablet. Audiences now expect content when, how and where they want it.

As self-storage operators, there are additional hurdles you must overcome to not only engage with but stay connected to these hyper-connected consumers. There are three issues that immediately come to mind:

  1. Dealing with the stigma that self-storage is a commodity
  2. Standing out from the competition
  3. Finding a way to compete against big budgets

In this age of consumer-driven hyper-connectivity, how do you attract and convert prospective tenants while working to overcome these industry hurdles? Well, you tell your story through content marketing.

In order to do that, let’s first define it. Marketer Joe Pulizzi coined the term, describing its core as “a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

For the sake of our discussion, content marketing is not:

  • A way to discuss your identity as a company
  • Trying to figure out a unique “position” to differentiate from competitors
  • Trying to figure out taglines and brand statements

Content marketing is about telling a story through compelling content while delivering your message to consumers on the marketing channels of their choice. The kicker is these stories should not be about you. The customer doesn’t care about you, your product or your service. They care about themselves, their wants and their needs. Therefore, the story should be about them.

What are you doing for them? You’re not a self-storage company; you’re a home-organization expert or a business cost-reduction solution. Find an angle that fits your story and be consistent.

As we begin our journey during my expo session, we’ll answer four important questions:

  1. WHO do you want to tell your story to? We’ll work through developing buyer personas. Keep in mind, there will be more than one.
  2. WHAT story do you want to tell? You already have content created. It’s now time to creatively and cost-effectively transform that content to enhance value.
  3. WHERE do you want to tell it? There are more than 40 different content-marketing channels. We’ll explore the top 10 channels that make the most sense and work for the self-storage industry.
  4. HOW are you going to manage the strategy you create? Build a plan, create a calendar, monitor your success and, most of all, continue creating new content!

Good content marketing is alive. It’s your story; it’s always evolving; it’s about emotion. People don’t by what you do, they buy why you do it. Good content marketing tells why you do it.

I strongly encourage you to register for the Inside Self Storage World Expo, April 3-5, and I look forward to seeing you during my session.

Christina Alvino is marketing manager for Guardian Storage Solutions, a self-storage operator with locations in Pittsburgh and Denver. She is also president of the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Marketing Association. Prior to joining Guardian, she spent nearly a decade marketing in the hospitality industry. She may be reached by e-mail at cma@guardianstorage.com or on Self-Storage Talk under the username calvino.