Why Casper is betting on content marketing

Casper, the disruptive new mattress company as it is currently known, knows that it is not in the business of selling mattresses but in the business of providing a good night’s sleep.

I stumbled upon a bunch of job openings at Casper that very obviously reveal that Casper will soon be launching a (subtly) branded editorial site focused on “all aspects of sleep and various nocturnal adventures.”

Their in-house marketing team right now consists of paid acquisition, experiential and partnership skill-sets. With this editorial venture, Casper will now add solid content marketing chops to its marketing team.

Even though I am in agency land, the fact that Casper is building an in-house team instead of working with an agency, is exciting to me. It signals that the young company is embracing the potential of what content can do for the brand. Here are the three clear benefits of Casper’s marketing strategy:

Affinity — By being in the business of providing a good night’s sleep, Casper is already hinting at other products that help do that — everything from pillows to blankets to alarm clocks. As Casper builds its suite of products, its editorial project will begin aligning the brand to its larger mission. Which is smart. No amount of paid media or experiences is going to build that type of affinity.

Search — There’s long tail of search to consider. The most relevant social channels for Casper (Instagram, Facebook) are not exactly Google friendly. It makes sense for Casper to build its audience on its owned platform versus investing that time and money towards pumping more fans/followers on “borrowed” media (social channels). I remember for a client I recently worked with the CPF (Cost per follower) on Twitter was about $3. Which is bonkers for a start-up like Casper. And even if you are on Twitter or Facebook — you’d still need interesting content to share and program your channels with. Editorial content to the rescue!

E-Commerce: For an e-commerce brand, the only metric that will eventually matter is conversion. In my experiences with editorial projects for retail brands (without naming names!!), we’ve seen editorial content drive purchase consideration by as much as 40%. We’ve also seen referral traffic to the retail site grow 2x — 3x. And great content = greater distribution via social. Which means, social works harder to drive sales.

So even though Casper will only have one product at launch and it may not talk about the product at all, as the editorial site builds more momentum, audiences and trust, the product recommendations will flow seamlessly with the editorial content driving greater clickthroughs and eventually very easily trackable sales.

Content and commerce strategies also have some obvious dangers. There is absolutely no dearth of content regarding sleep and nocturnal adventures on the web. Casper’s challenge will be to differentiate its content and its point of view from what already exists. Additionally, the world doesn’t need another listicle on how to sleep better. Casper’s efforts will need to transcend the usual bullshit content linkbait. This is a brand with massive potential and it could very easily hurt its brand by imitating the “industry standard.” Casper must create a new standard — the way it has with its business model. It will need to explore newer forms of content formats, play with tonality and humor and most of all, add some creatives to its staff. Former reporters and journalists alone will not be able to acheive breakthrough for this effort — it needs to bring in the best from the advertising, editorial, publishing and PR worlds to make that happen.

Exciting few months ahead for the brand!

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