Why is Content Marketing important for your marketing strategy?
Content Marketing is the process of creating useful media content for prospects and customers in order to increase your brand appeal, add value to their lives and cement your brand values in their minds. It differs from other forms of marketing in that the content is useful for a sustained period of time: it’s as interesting and useful next month as it is next year. My view is that brands who invest in high quality content marketing create deep, long lasting and meaningful connections with their customers and it should be a part of every digital marketing strategy.
Content Marketing comes in many forms
John Deere was probably the first brand to do Content Marketing back in 1885 with “The Furrow” Magazine to educate farmers on new technology and business skills. Over 100 years later The Furrow has 1.5 million copies in circulation in 40 counties and John Deere is still a market leader. These days there are many options available for producing content media; the following list of content types is taken from this useful article:
- Book reviews
- Opinion post
- Product review
- How to
- Link pages
- Case study
- Research and original data
Brands can use these different forms of Content Marketing to add value to customer’s lives, connect emotionally with customers and really bring the brand to life. A good way to understand how brands are using these types of media to study examples of where it has been done well.
Five Brands that are succeeding at Content Marketing
My favourite examples of brands that are brilliant at Content Marketing are Apple, GoPro John Lewis, IBM and Red Bull. Let’s take each in turn:
Apple tend to create Content Marketing that creates an emotional connection between their products and customers. And they are masters in this craft. This video called ‘The Song’ is a great example: The Song on YouTube
The amazing and glossy adventure sports videos published by GoPro appeal to the target consumer audience. There are many video cameras on the market and GoPro’s Content Marketing is a clear differentiator between them and their competitors. This example is from the launch of the GoPro HERO4: So small. So Stoked.
John Lewis also create emotional connections with their customers through Content Marketing with a clever campaign each Christmas: they produce a video to get consumers into the Christmas mood. Having done this since 2007, UK consumers now expect John Lewis to produce a heartwarming advert each Christmas. It creates brand appeal around Christmas and throughout the year. Videos from the last two years are available here: 2014 Monty the Penguin and 2013 Bear and Hare.
The above three examples are all focused on video Content Marketing, whereas IBM use a wide range of approaches. IBM’s objective with Content Marketing is to cement themselves as a Technology Thought Leader to a Worldwide audience. Many of IBM’s employees produce & publish content on a daily basis and many of them have Blogs. Possibly one of the longest running Content Marketing projects is IBM’s Watson; this R&D project won the US TV Quiz show Jeopardy in 2011 and IBM recently invested $1Bn in bringing it to market as a product. IBM was also famous for their Deep Blue chess playing computer that beat Gary Kasporov in tournament conditions in 1997.
Probably one of the best known Red Bull campaigns is the Stratos Project where Felix Baumgartner was sponsored by Red Bull to sky dive 39km from the edge of space. The Content Marketing that accompanied this event included Blog posts, videos, a dedicated website, and even mentoring from the previous World Record Holder Joe Kittinger. The campaign was a masterclass in Content Marketing and told an incredible story.
As a bonus example one of my personal favourite content marketing projects is the video of an Audi R8 on a rolling road with it’s engine cover removed. Apparently the car goes from stationary to 200mph and back again: Audi R8 V10 Plus on YouTube. Brilliant marketing to the petrol heads with 2.3million views and it has led to even more content marketing on how and why the video was made.
Content Marketing is important, vital even, for brands to build powerful connections with prospective and current customers. The following tips will help you as you watch and learn from the World’s greatest content marketing efforts:
- Become an authoritative master of your subject
- Make your content appealing to your audience
- Share your content on social media
- Tell your brand’s story and be human
- Focus on a single powerful theme
- Produce high quality content
- Augment content with amazing visuals
How can bring your brand to life with Content Marketing? I’d love to hear your views.