An Argument For Test-Driving: The Best Promotional Tool Is Your Best Content

As I’ve written about before, traditional media is pretty blatant with a lot of their web material.  They want you to watch TV, listen to Radio, or subscribe to Magazines.

So here’s my ideal solution to achieve the goal of getting more people to leave the web and go to a traditional platform…

Give them the content on the web for free.

Using your top content as a hook is the best way to increase the likelihood of a user trying out the traditional media property.  For old-media types, that’s a pretty insane and counter-intuitive idea.  (And that’s probably why not enough media outlets are doing it.)

The prevailing mindset is that if you let people experience the content for free, why would they go to TV, Radio, etc afterwards?  Answer: if you don’t give them a  test drive, they’ll never buy the car.

Audiences have an unbelievable amount of choice and power and everyone is competing for their precious time and attention.  So what’s going to win you new converts?  Ads or amazing content?  You need to give it your best shot.

Here’s how I see the decision tree for a brand new audience member:

OPTION 1

-I come to your site
-I see a promo for a show that grabs my interest
-I click on it and get a generic show description, a 30 second trailer, and information that the show is on TV tonight at 9pm.
-I might make a mental note to watch it tonight, BUT, my guess is that younger audiences especially will just move on to somewhere else on the web where they can consume content.
-Or they’ll search for your show on YouTube or BitTorrent and watch it where you can’t track them or make any money.  They’re GONE.  And they’re not coming back. 
-They came for a test drive, but you wouldn’t give them the keys, so they went to another dealer.

OPTION 2

-I come to your site
-I see a promo for a show that grabs my interest
-I click on it and start watching / listening / reading instantly
-If I like it, I will find out more about the show and likely make an effort to watch / listen / read again. 
-The test drive leads to increased likelihood of a ‘buy.’

Don’t get me wrong – not all of them will convert back to traditional media.  Many of them may greatly prefer your online offering.  And you may not make as much money off of them. But some WILL follow you to traditional media.  And they probably would never have found your traditional platform without the free web content.

There are some serious perks to this strategy:  you’re thinking multi-platform distribution, you’re bringing in new audiences that have never sampled your ‘traditional’ content, you’re setting yourself up for the future, and you’re increasing the odds that new people will end up on your traditional platform.

The win for traditional media is creating a win for audiences on the web.

So don’t use your promotional space to sell the air date and air time on the traditional platform.  If your content is so amazing, let the show sell itself. Make me care.  Make me click. Get me hooked on your program.  Make me want MORE.

And THEN, maybe I will also click on the TV or the Radio.

Have you ever done a test-drive on the web that’s led you to ‘traditional media’ to get more?

2 Comments

  1. John
    November 25, 2008

    Please for the love that is all holy, let this post reach the proper media dinosaurs!

    I am a prime example of what you are talking about. With both j-Pod and Dragon’s Den. Found both shows online. Watched them there and got hooked. The j-Pod site was especially great. And then after getting tired of watching them on a small laptop screen, I was pulled over to the big square thingy in our wall unit.

    If something is too hard to watch or relies on me remembering to come back later jumping through hoops, I am sorry as a father of 22 month old, and someone who regularly surfs the internets, you’ve lost me if you haven’t got me from the get-go.

    Reply
  2. John
    November 25, 2008

    Please for the love that is all holy, let this post reach the proper media dinosaurs!

    I am a prime example of what you are talking about. With both j-Pod and Dragon’s Den. Found both shows online. Watched them there and got hooked. The j-Pod site was especially great. And then after getting tired of watching them on a small laptop screen, I was pulled over to the big square thingy in our wall unit.

    If something is too hard to watch or relies on me remembering to come back later jumping through hoops, I am sorry as a father of 22 month old, and someone who regularly surfs the internets, you’ve lost me if you haven’t got me from the get-go.

    Reply

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