Epic content marketing campaigns and why you should care
Strategic, relevant and inherently valuable, content marketing is a powerful technique used to attract, retain and trigger profitable customer action. Of course, not all content marketing campaigns are created equal, with some running circles around other. Needless to say, the big guns generally have it down to a tee. Want proof? Hold on to your keypads as we take a look at some of the most epic content marketing campaigns that made waves in 2015 and some retailer examples that fall into the same categories
1. A blog for every occasion - IBM
As a global technology and consulting corporation, IBM is a deity of its field. In 2015 it cemented its dominance with a powerful content strategy that saw it launch a handful of different blogs, all offering readers authoritative, expert level insight. Citizen IBM, A Smarter Planet, Software and Social Business Insight blogs are just the beginning. As IBM services a variety of different industries its efforts to publish niche content were admirable.
Retailer example: Scotts Menswear
Scotts is a multi-channel retailer for men’s clothing. The company made sure to have a successful content marketing campaign with a blog run by ex-Loaded editor James Brown. Content is around sports, films, fashion etc and targeted at a demographic which includes the Scott's customer. The success of the blog lies in the fact it doesn’t try to sell that much to the viewers. The blog only mentions products occasionally with a few links and pictures. It rather builds its identity through a culture that includes Scotts Menswear instead of only focusing on clothes.
2. Tapping into popular culture - Hootsuite
What to do when you want to create even more buzz around an already popular product? Ride on the coat tails of another ridiculously successful concept. When Hootsuite launched its ‘A Game of Social Thrones’ video we were wildly impressed with its bold attempt to cash in on the ‘Game of Thrones’ craze. Needless to say, it went viral. The lesson? Be fun, stay relevant and learn what your customers love.
Retailer example: ASDA
The supermarket retailer developed a channel called Mum's Eye View that was “brought to you by Asda”. Sponsoring a Youtube channel instead of creating an actual ‘Asda channel’ was a smart move. The supermarket set itself a target of 750,000 views in the first year. It achieved that after eight weeks. They knew a consumer wouldn’t care about following a supermarket. Instead they became partners with many producers who fed the channel with countless popular content and videos. Asda knew the branding was unimportant to the viewer, which is why you can barely see the Asda logo on the channel page itself .
3. The power of storytelling - Microsoft
Humans are intrinsically attracted to stories. Microsoft tapped into this trait in 2015 with its compelling ‘Stories’ blog that delved into a myriad of human experiences. It was personal, inspiring and steeped in oxytocin. As for what we can learn? Be human. While the stories barely touched on software, they did give people ‘warm fuzzies’ that will no doubt linger when they think about Microsoft in the future.
Retailer example: Mr Porter
Mr Porter is an online retailer for Menswear. Its website has a content section called 'The Journal' which has some very sleek and well-presented articles. For example they made an interview with Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau recently. They intelligently focused on the storytelling of the Chelsea manager instead of promoting sales upfront. However the journal it does post links to the clothes the interviewee is pictured wearing.
4. An honest approach - McDonald's
The ‘Golden Arches’ has its fair share of haters, but that hasn’t stopped it from launching genius content marketing campaigns. An online algorithm that answered real questions on the company’s food took on 450 queries a day, and didn’t hold back on publicly showcasing controversial content such as “do you serve black chicken?” What we learned is to be brave, bold and transparent. Your customers (and haters) will appreciate it.
Retailer example: Made.com
The online designer furniture retailer uses their Instagram feed to show how its customers use their furniture using the hashtag #madedotcom. This interactive social proof not only provides potential customers with ideas, but also builds trust towards the brand by suggesting to customers how many happy subscribers the site has had. It is also a great opportunity to promote the products indirectly through their customers. A great example of how a brand facilitates the conversation rather than driving it.
5. Creating heroes - GoPro
One second of visual content relays hundreds of words, or in GoPro’s case, a serious case of wanderlust. Do people fail to realise that it’s not a GoPro that creates ‘Heroes’ but a proactive approach to getting out there and seeing the world? No. And that’s what makes their ongoing awards campaign so damn effective. It rewards participants for the behaviours it seeks, creating a stronger bond between GoPro user and the brand and a bunch of content at the same time. Video content is powerful, don’t forget to embrace it.
Retailer example: Patagonia
This retailer sells clothing and equipment for the outdoors and this naturally lends itself to some great topics for content which fits very nicely with the products on offer. The content is displayed prominently on the site. The homepage is taken over by promotions with photos and videos from wilderness and adventures. It also has blogs covering climbing, skiing, trail running and more. None opt for the hard sell, but products are displayed in context along the way.