“If you’re not ‘all in’ with your content marketing program, you should stop,” said The Content Marketing Institute’s founder Joe Pulizzi at this month’s #CMWorld event. “Be all in or get all out. There is no halfway,” he said. This doesn’t mean you should attempt to do everything, but instead commit to what you’re doing, and do it well. “Deliver what your audience needs and the results that your executive team wants,” said Pulizzi in his latest blog.
With that advice in mind we’ve picked four of our favourite examples of content marketing ‘done well’ from companies who’ve gone ‘all in’.
1. Marriott International: Marriott’s Content Studio
“We’re a media company now,” Marriott International’s Emmy-winning vice president of global creative David Beebe boldly states. The former VP of Disney/ABC’s digital television group now leads Marriott’s global content studio which, in the first two years of operation, has produced a TV show, The Navigator Live; two successful short films, The Two Bellmen & Two Bellmen Two; a personalized online travel magazine Traveler; and has even dipped its toes into virtual reality with Oculus Rift. David Beebe said: “If we don’t start publishing, we’re not going to be around and we’re not going to be relevant.” Beebe believes the secret to content marketing’s success is great storytelling, from people who know how to tell great stories in a creative community. “We’ve partnered with influencers across YouTube, Instagram and other channels and also traditional talent in Hollywood, producers, directors, writers to create content for us,” he said. But the Marriott Content Studio is not a vanity project, it’s still very much a marketing initiative—which aims to engage with consumers, generate direct revenue and make the Marriott brand relevant. Journalist, co-founder and chief creative officer of New York’s Contently Shane Snow said: “One of the coolest [examples of content marketing] I’ve seen lately is from Marriott Hotels. They’re investing in it as a real initiative—it’s not some side experiment. They are clearly thinking of content in an innovative way.”
2. Cap Gemini: Content-Loop.com
“This is a great example of a B2B company using thought leadership to bring people closer to and engage with their brand,” says CEO of Marketing Insider Group and author of The Content Formula Michael Brenner. The Content-Loop.com, powered by NewsCred, is a fantastic example of how to curate content effectively. Cap Gemini uses licensed content from companies like Fast Company and The New York Times—publications they know C-Level executives are reading—and republishes them on their branded content hub. They use algorithms to find out which are the most popular pieces of content being read on relevant topics, which their curators then whittle down, and publish the top 10. They then use LinkedIn’s sponsored updates to target relevant executives to drive traffic back to their ‘Cap Gemini’ branded content hub. Once the users are on their site they are invited to connect with consultants and practice leaders from within Cap Gemini. “It’s really a soft conversion. But it’s an amazing customer experience,” said Brenner.
3. Kraft Foods: Food & Family Magazine/Kraftrecipes.com
“Content is the fuel that creates opportunity. When you’ve got a direct connection with consumers it opens up a whole new world of relationships with them,” said Kraft Foods’ former director of Data, Content & Media Julie Fleischer. The food manufacturer, which not only produces a print magazine that people are prepared to pay for (via subscription), and has a larger circulation than Food & Wine Magazine, has an online recipes website (where two thirds of the content comes from its users) with around 3.5 million subscribers. Kraft Foods concentrates its efforts on using content to engage with its consumers on five touch points: kraftrecipes.com, its Recipe By Email program, food&family magazine, the Kraft First Taste community (its word of mouth marketing program), and on social channels. Content marketing strategist and author Robert Rose said of this brand’s success: “Kraft uses its audience data to drive value for the business—from getting better research and feedback on products, tailoring ads through accurate segmentation to garnering greater insight about their customers’ preferences.”
4. Casper: Van Winkle’s
“Great brands don’t just ride shifts in culture, they contribute to them,” said Luke Sherwin, co-founder and chief creative officer at Casper last year. “Smarter brands realize that their products are just enablers to a lifestyle—changing the lifestyle itself can be more profitable than any change to your product,” he said back then. Fast forward to today and it’s been a little over a year since the New York e-commerce mattress company launched its own content hub, Van Winkle’s, under the editorial direction of veteran journalist Elizabeth Spiers (since left), with the aim of providing the public a new and fresh narrative on sleep. ‘Van Winkle’s will focus on the creative, social and scientific elements of sleep, and how it influences culture and lifestyle. Van Winkle’s will provide an authoritative, skeptical, yet accessible point of view to foster new conversations.’ The mattress company, named by Fast Company as one of the most innovative companies in retail, is definitely an example of a company that’s gone ‘all in’ with its content. At Forbes Under 30 Summit in Tel Aviv earlier this year Casper’s co-founders talked about ‘turning their sleep brand into a lifestyle brand.’ As Nikki Gilliland from Econsultancy recently observed: “The aim of Van Winkle’s does not appear to directly promote or sell Casper mattresses (the brand is absent apart from a couple of links at the bottom of the homepage)—instead, it looks to be an extension of the brand as a lifestyle. With syndication on the likes of Huffington Post, articles have previously garnered huge traffic.”