Although summer is still officially with us for a couple of more weeks here in the United States, it sort of unofficially ended last Monday with the Labor Day holiday.

Among other things, the Labor Day weekend is a big time for rummage sales. For those of you unfamiliar with this concept, a rummage sale is where you take everything you have but no longer want, lay it out in your garage or driveway on tables, and sell it to passing strangers.

2011-02-12_Yard_sale_on_Green_St_1You can find a lot of great stuff at rummage sales—for very little money. How many excited screams have been heard on the Antiques Roadshow after a rummage sale find was discovered to be of enormous value? “You paid two bucks for that? Well, it’s worth two million!” It’s also possible to find things no longer made, or just the tool you’ve been looking for but can never find.

It seems like a very random and inefficient way to get rid of unwanted stuff, and to find treasures, doesn’t it? I mean, the very definition of the word rummage is, according to Google, to “search unsystematically and untidily through a mass or receptacle.” One might wonder how much is actually sold, and how much is left over and stacked back up in garages, waiting for next year’s sale. There’s no way for potential buyers to target what they are looking for … and in fact they may not know. They may just be hunting for the fun of what they might find. So the seller has no way—outside a tiny newspaper classified ad or social media post—to attract people looking specifically for what they are selling. There is, in contemporary parlance, “no app for that.”

Seeing all the sales last weekend—seeing all the different items and people swarming the roads looking for bargains—got me to thinking about content marketing.

Yes, you read that right.

Rummage_Draper_ContentRummage sales made me think about content marketing.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, the content marketing approach focuses on creating and distributing useful educational materials to customers and potential customers. That content can be articles, case studies, white papers, graphics, technical documents, videos … the list is a long one.

As an external communications specialist for Draper, it’s my job to help produce content that is relevant to those in our various markets. And we have a lot of content—including videos! Content marketing is a very big part of what Draper does to get people familiar with our products and, hopefully, help them decide to buy them.

Here’s where the rummage connection comes in. Making folks aware of specific content can be a daunting task. We use social media, emails, blog posts, and other means to get the word out, but sometimes it feels like we have so much that people get lost. Instead of searching specifically for what they want, they seem to be rummaging for content. I have been taken aback more than once by someone asking for something we have, and wondered, “Why didn’t they know we have that?” Or I will hear a question about the benefits of a Draper product and think, “We have a case study on that.”

So I thought I’d use the Draper blog to compile a list—a one-stop rummage guide, if you will—of content we have and how to find it. Feel free to bookmark this post so you can come back and use it!

Case Studies: Looking for examples of how Draper products are used in the real world? We have case studies—articles about Draper products in use—on all of our product lines. These stories are great both for getting ideas, and for showing someone just how our products fit in various types of installations. Click here to find a complete list and, while you’re there, read a few!

White Papers: A white paper is a sort of report—more authoritative and in-depth and less of a story than a case study—that provides details on solutions to particular problems. In a way, white papers put forward a problem, and then the solution. We have white papers on specifying gym equipment, key considerations of external shading, and many other subjects. You can see our full online library by clicking here.

Case studies, white papers, and other content add value to marketing through storytelling and expertise-sharing.

Case studies, white papers, and other content add value to marketing through storytelling and expertise-sharing.

Technical Documentation: Whether you need a specification, a submittal form, installation instructions, wiring diagrams, BIM objects, or technical drawings, Draper has you covered. We have a great deal of technical content. There are a couple of ways to find this. Relevant technical content can be found on each product web page. We also have a handy search tool here.

Continuing Education/Certification Courses: Draper offers a number of classes to help with earning continuing education credits for the American Institute of Architects, Green Building Certification Institute, the Interior Design Continuing Education Council, and InfoComm’s CTS certification. Click here and here to  find the specific classes offered.

Videos: In content marketing, video is king right now. Everybody wants to be able to watch a video to see how your product works, or how to put it together. Draper continues working on growing our video content library, but we already have tons of how-to and informational videos. You can find them in our website video section or on our YouTube channel.

Photos: Draper has always been known for our great photography. We have plenty of high-resolution images of all of our products—some simple product shots and others showing them in beautiful installations. To access these, you need to register for our Pro Portal. It’s free and easy. Just click here to get started. You can also find lots of images and ideas on our company Pinterest board.

Finally, I will mention that thing you’re reading right now: the Draper blog. If there is a topic you’re curious about try using the search box on our blog. Chances are we’ve posted something about your topic. And if we haven’t, contact us and let us know so we can fill the gap!

After all, there’s no sense in everyone rummaging around, at random!

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