June 10, 2014

Big Brands are Doing Big Things with Content Marketing

It’s no secret that a vast majority of both B2C and B2B companies have already adopted robust content marketing initiatives. But what might surprise you is that despite all of the recent content marketing spend over the past few years, 58 percent of companies still plan on increasing those budgets this year, according to the Content Marketing Institute. That’s because no matter the vertical, businesses big and small are reaping the benefits of successful content marketing programs.

In today’s digitalized world, customers are presented with more choices than ever before, meaning brands must differentiate themselves from their competitors. One way to do that is by implementing robust content marketing initiatives. Content marketing is a method through which companies supply their target audience with a steady stream of content—from blogs to news articles to videos to webinars and everything in between—in order to add value and build strong, mutually beneficial relationships.

Don’t believe that it works? Let’s take a look at some industry juggernauts who’ve mastered the game of content marketing:

  • Wells Fargo: Most people think a bank is simply a place you store your money. But the fact is these financial institutions can be a whole lot more. It can be a place in which consumers go to learn banking best practices and helpful tips and tricks. Just take a page from Wells Fargo’s content marketing program. The bank shares stories about everything, from the difference it is making in communities to how tellers feel when children get excited over lollipops and everything in between. “We like interesting stories that demonstrate the way we help our customers, our communities and each other,” explains Arati Randolph, the company’s director of internal communications and official storyteller. “We aim for nice visuals and a powerful narrative. We also built the site to be easily accessible. It is based on responsive design so it looks great and works well on mobile devices.” As Randolph says, in addition to creating stories that truly add value, it’s important that brands do so in a way that is easily accessible as well.
  • American Express: Short of reducing bills, how can a credit card company possibly add value to its customers? Just ask American Express. American Express understands that small business owners need all the help they can get, particularly in this difficult economic climate. That’s why the credit card company launched OpenForum.com, a website that offers tools for small businesses as well as pertinent small-business-related content. While small business owners benefit, so too does American Express, as many of the tools are linked to the company’s products. What’s more, there’s also American Express Unstaged, the credit card company’s live streaming concert series. That’s right: A credit card company streams on-demand live concerts for free. How’s that for added value?
  • Marriott: The hotel chain’s “lifestyle brand,” Renaissance Hotels, is marketed toward business travelers who view trips as a way to both get the job done and soak in the world at the same time. That’s why the brand pushed forward with two separate content marketing campaigns: The Navigators platform gives business travelers the ability to quickly explore what there is to do outside the walls of their hotel, while the RLife LIVE program gives them access to a wealth of information pertaining to art, music, film, food and drink. The hotelier recently launched a website for Renaissance, which serves as a central hub for all of the information related to its hotels across the world. And that information is promoted on social media channels, starting conversations and increasing engagement.

Beginning Your Company’s Journey

While the three brands above are well-established, that doesn’t mean smaller-sized companies are immune from realizing success on their own content marketing initiatives. So if you’re a business owner thinking it’s time for you to go the content marketing route, you might be curious as to how you get started. Keep the following tips in mind:

  • Consider your audience. Your loyal customers are vital to your brand’s success. Though they might make up 12 to 15 percent of your customer base, they can account for up to 70 percent of your sales. While your most important goal is to keep your existing client base happy, you also want to expand your reach with content marketing initiatives. So devise content that has cross appeal.
  • Define your objectives. As is the case with much else in life, in order to be successful, you’ve got to have a plan. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish before investing in content marketing. Do you want to establish your brand as a thought leader? Do you want to educate your customer base? Do you want to generate more leads? Figure out exactly what it is you want to do and then push forward accordingly.
  • Invest time and resources. It’s one thing get excited about dipping your toes into the pool of content marketing, but it’s another thing to actually follow through with your plans. All too often, brands launch blogs only to find them proverbially collecting digital dust in just a few short weeks. So perhaps most importantly, don’t let your content marketing plans fall on the back burners. Avoid this by investing the appropriate resources. Whether those resources are deployed in house or externally through a content strategy vendor is completely up to you.

No matter the size of your company and no matter the vertical, it’s entirely possible to be extremely successful in your content marketing endeavors. The time to get started is now. So what are you waiting for?

Edited by Brooke Neuman

Comments powered by Disqus

Related News