fake content as a marketing strategy

What does a day of spoofs, pranks and general tomfoolery have to do with marketing for small business? Quite a lot actually, no joke.


Most of my favorite spoofs this year were videos of fake Google product launches like Google Tap (Morse code makes a comeback) and Gmail motion (love the lick a stamp motion to send) above. It’s understandable that Google would get into the game. They’re giant. They have hundreds of creative people on staff, and they have the means to produce realistic videos to sell their spoof.

On the other end of the spectrum is eyeglass purveyor Warby Parker, turned Warby Barker for the day, a relatively small business in comparison. Yet their website and video about a new line of eyewear for dogs was brilliant in its concept and execution. So much so that this niche brand made several national Top 10 April Fools’ lists. As a result, this relatively obscure company has found widespread exposure to a social media savvy and brand conscious audience. Not a bad marketing strategy for a small business.

Then there’s The Washington Post blog post titled, ‘Romney Drops Out of Race, Endorses Santorum’. Google’s sophisticated search engine failed to notice it was a spoof, and for a short time, the story led the top-breaking news headlines on Google News. Shortly after, The Washington Post took down the page and quickly explained it as a prank gone wrong. Still, both the original spoof and the steps taken to correct it, brought widespread exposure for the news source that typical Sunday morning headlines would not have achieved.

Now, I don’t think April Fools’ content was the highest priority in the content strategies for any of these businesses. Still, these clever bits of ‘fake content’ are a fun way for me to illustrate the importance of a content strategy for small business.

A content strategy is as important to marketing for small business as anything else you do. Content is how your audience gets to know you, what you do, what others think about you, and most importantly, why they want to work with you rather than your competitors. Content comes in all shapes and sizes including emails, website content and images, advertisements, even your business cards. But, the content you put on your social media sites (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.) is what broadens your reach like nothing else can.

So, what lessons can we learn from the best of this year’s April Fools’ spoofs as far as marketing for small business is concerned?

  1. content is king – Your reputation is built on trust, and as a rule, speaking the truth is at the heart of that trust. Still, in the right context, a little ‘fake’ content goes much further than no content at all.
  2. humanize your brand – This marketing catchphrase, made popular primarily by Facebook Timeline for brand pages, basically means connecting with each customer on a human level. How better to show your small business is human, than through humor.

What’s Next? If content still isn’t a part of your marketing strategy, make that a priority TODAY. Be sure that your human side shows through in all your day-to-day business operations.

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