If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past decade, chances are you’re familiar with Silicon Valley’s wildly successful, technology-based startup businesses Uber, Buffer, and Airbnb.
And if you have been living under a rock, welcome to a world where engaging content means billions of dollars in annual revenue for marketing savvy businesses—businesses that were a mere twinkle in their founder’s eyes just months before hitting the ever-elusive yet highly coveted billion dollar revenue mark. Yes, these three commercial venture high rollers—Uber, Buffer, and Airbnb—have a lot in common when it comes to content marketing.
So what exactly do these companies have in common when it comes to content marketing? The answer to that question is quite simple—engaging content. These three multi-billion dollar businesses offer undeniable proof that engaging copy is more than just trendy buzzwords spewed forth during techy sales meetings with newbie CEOs who are barely out of diapers. Engaging content is a genuine, bonafide way for a company to gain exposure, build loyalty, and generate interest from millions of potential customers.
Successful companies like Uber, Buffer, and Airbnb realize the power of engaging copywriting, and if you own or manage a business, it’s time you realized its power as well.
Engaging Content: It’s More Than Just Words on a Webpage
By now you’re probably thinking, “Ok, engaging content is a big deal. But what exactly is engaging content?” (Either that or you could be thinking about… “A cinnamon raisin bagel and a vanilla latte would be totally awesome right now.”)
How 3 Companies Are Using Content To Kill It In Revenue
But assuming you’re thinking the former, let’s take a moment to clarify the difference between content and engaging content. In other words, let’s take a moment to clarify the difference between run-of-the mill, off-target content and stellar content that engages a company’s target audience and facilitates exponential company growth. Immensely profitable companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Buffer only use content that is very engaging in their marketing campaigns, and the results are nothing short of awe-inspiring.
- Uber: Engaging Content Means Videos. The peer-to-peer driving company Uber uses videos as a primary source of content marketing. But we’re not talking about mundane videos of cars cruising around a city block picking up a guy in a suit who happens to need a ride to the airport. No, Uber is much too in-the-know when it comes to engaging video content to churn out something so dry and uninteresting. Instead, Uber focuses its video content on the unique and diversified people who drive for their company or who use their services as a way to get where they need to be. In one of Uber’s blogs titled, “Your Drivers. Our Partners. Their Stories.” you can watch a video that details the lives and experiences of some of Uber’s drivers. Upon watching the video, you immediately feel a sense of relatability and you gain a better understanding of how the company operates. And even though each driver mentions several times throughout the video that working for Uber is the best job they’ve ever had, it doesn’t come across as contrived or preachy. Instead, it’s done in a way that helps establish company trust and helps portray Uber as a company that listens to and cares about its employees.But the best and perhaps most engaging feature in Uber’s video is the people; the everyday citizens just like you, just like me, and just like the people who are most likely to use Uber’s services. Using real drivers instead of actors in their video helps Uber connect with their customers on a more personal level while still demonstrating the value of the service they have to offer. You get to see faces and names of real people associated with the company, and then you realize that it’s these same people who may be giving you and your toy poodle Mr. Bojangles your next ride to the dog park. You feel a sense of neighborliness, a sense of connection, and perhaps most importantly, a sense of being totally comfortable with using Uber’s service. The video’s sincere, relatable realism speaks to Uber customers, potential customers, and potential drivers alike, which is a huge factor in why the company is now worth an estimated $40 billion.
- Airbnb: Surprise! Print Media Isn’t Dead! And For Airbnb, It’s Actually Quite Engaging! Yes, you read that correctly. When it comes to engaging content, print media can be just as useful, worthwhile, and successful as a webpage or video. Who knew, right? Actually, Airbnb knew. The hospitality website, which connects travelers with home owners willing to rent a room in their house, recently launched their print media venture Pineapple, a magazine that caters to both Airbnb hosts and travelers. Airbnb chose the name “Pineapple” for their magazine because the fruit was a symbol of hospitality in colonial New England, and hospitality is what Airbnb is all about.But what’s so compelling about Airbnb’s first magazine addition is that it came with a simple yet poignant mission statement that tells the reader the main purpose and focus of the magazine: “to explore our fundamental values: sharing, community and belonging,” and to “inspire and motivate exploration, not just within the cities featured, but within any space a reader finds themselves.”Why is this message so important, and why does it fall under the category of engaging content? Because the primary purpose of Airbnb is to connect people who have a need for something with people who have something to offer. In other words, Airbnb’s basis for operations is human connection and bringing people closer together in the name of travel, adventure, and exploration. People who are most likely to use Airbnb’s services are those who value the importance of everything in Pineapple magazine’s mission statement—exploration, sharing, and a sense of community and belonging.You can follow Pineapple’s engaging mission statement throughout its glossy, picture-loaded pages (again, kudos to Airbnb for its use of engaging visual content) as you read articles like the interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist, the curator of the Serpentine Gallery in London, where he discusses “architecture’s role in bringing us closer together.”There they are again; those magic words that are so near and dear to Airbnb users’ heart—”us”, “closer”, “together.” Without people wanting to connect with one another, or be close with one another, or share experiences and learn from one another, Airbnb as we know it would cease to exist. The fundamental human desire for connectedness and a sense of belonging is the driving force behind Airbnb’s success and subsequent multi-billion dollar profit. And don’t think for one second that Airbnb’s content management team doesn’t realize this.In fact, just last year Airbnb launched a new brand awareness campaign in which a symbol called a “Bélo” was unveiled as the company’s new logo. According to Airbnb’s company content masterminds, “the bélo is a universal symbol of belonging.” On the company’s blog site, they describe why they chose to create a new symbol to represent their company by saying, “So to represent that feeling [of belonging], we’ve created a symbol for us as a community. It’s an iconic mark for our windows, our doors, and our shared values. It’s a symbol that, like us, can belong wherever it happens to be.” If a statement like that can’t secure brand loyalty from millions of community-minded, travel conscious users, than I don’t know what can.
- Buffer: Engaging Content: OMG! Social Media is Buffer’s #BFF :). All chat jargon, hashtags, and emoticons aside, every good content marketer knows just how crucial social media is for business exposure and success. And with that said, it’s no surprise that Buffer uses social media as a primary part of its engaging content strategy. After all, social media is the reason Buffer was created in the first place. Buffer helps businesses manage their social media accounts so they can reap the ultimate benefits of strong social media presence and exposure.So let’s think about this for a minute. If the service you provide helps businesses manage their social media accounts, it’s nothing short of a given that your own social media accounts will be brimming with engaging content, relevant posts, and perfectly timed updates, correct? Not surprisingly, this is the case with Buffer. However, Buffer still deserves a lot of credit for realizing something very important; something which is the exact reason why the company exists in the first place—engaging content on social media is a really big deal.
Be Engaging With Your Content, And The Sky Is The Limit
So we now know that using engaging content in your company’s marketing strategy borders on sheer genius. No, I take that back. Engaging copy doesn’t just border on sheer genius; it blasts through the border like an armor-plated combat tank and takes sheer genius as its unsuspecting prisoner.
But the truly great thing about engaging content is that it’s totally accessible to everyone. With compelling content, there’s no reason why your company can’t see the same magnitude of success as Uber, Buffer, or Airbnb. Pick a medium in which to show off your engaging copy—be it videos or podcasts, print media, or social media platforms—and do what the great successors before you have done. Know your company’s mission, know your target audience, and know how to produce amazing content that engages your audience and compels them to explore your company further.
Yes, engaging content truly is the bread-winner in most successful businesses. And yes, your business can use engaging content to reach more customers, build brand loyalty, and maybe, just maybe, hit that ever-elusive yet highly coveted billion dollar revenue mark. Dream big, engaging content users. Dream big.
Photo credit: onwardstate.com