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boss brands at content marketing

15 Businesses That Are Boss At Content Marketing & How You Can Be, Too

“If only I could get more people to my site, they’d see how cool we are.”

Great, but it’s not just about getting the traffic, but keeping it. So, how do you do it?

One way to succeed big time is by creating some really, really good content marketing.

That’s awesome, right? But now you’re wondering, “How do I do that?”

I’ve got you covered with some inspiration.

boss brands at content marketing

There are a bunch of companies who are getting content marketing right, from brand new startups to tried and true giants who only get better and adapt to it over time.

To get your juices flowing and tweak your brain with some perspective, let’s look at these companies who are dominating the content marketing arena.

And since you want to know how to do it, too, we’ll take a look at the end on how you can use what they’re doing right to help you create what makes the most sense for your own business. I’m using an 8-point system upon which I’ve based why these particular companies are masters at content. We’ll dive in to all that later.

Ready? Let’s go. I’ve divided up the fifteen winning brands into seven segments of categories. Then, keep reading for the 8 points that make all these brands stand out. Enjoy!

I. The “Taste” Makers: More Than Just Another Drink or Meal

1. Coca-Cola

On the face of it, it’s just soda pop, but this iconic brand has positioned itself to be synonymous with emotion. Their content is vivid and fresh, and they’ve figured out how to stay current yet nostalgic at the same time. Creating a feeling of inclusion and diversity is key for them, because they clearly understand their consumer is everywhere. On their site, they post a lot of content about current events (especially sports), which further appeals to and brings in current readers and consumers by their interests.

coca-cola content

And by pushing a feeling of comeraderie, it makes you genuinely believe the way to someone’s heart is through sharing a Coke and a smile. To still be able to evoke that sense with your content after 130 years is pretty stellar.

On Twitter, they pull in celebrities to talk about why they love Coca-Cola, making them even more relatable to “today’s” market.

2. Red Bull

“Red Bull gives you wings,” and they definitely ensure their content drives that home. This energy drink has become the gold standard by which all others compare, and for good reason. Their marketing has been pushing their extreme sports/lifestyle tone since day one and has continued that intensity even they’ve grown.

One thing they win at online that you might not have known about is in interactive cartoon collections. It’s some of the most creative stuff I’ve ever seen, and solidifies that content marketing is done very well when you bring in custom artist illustrations (I do this quite a lot to make a good point, see my copyrighting vs. copywriting cartoon here). Check it out at My Wings and Flying Planet – be sure you have a few minutes before you click. 😉

red bull content marketing

And, they show the deep global roots of their product in The Red Bulletin.

3. Whole Foods

Whole Foods is touted as “America’s healthiest grocery store” for a reason. This brand truly wins at everything. Not only are they known for their name, but they’re known for their mission, purpose, and values–which they convey excellently online. One way they win (out of many) is by putting emphasis on the consumer. 

whole foods content marketing

“Your Stories” is a featured tab on their home page, right next to Our Stories; and it goes to an Instagram feed where anyone posting with the hashtag #foods4thought can be featured. Good move, Whole Foods, good move.

II. Fresh, New Stories with a Colorful Edge

1. Poo~Pourri

You already know how much we love this adorable site. They call their visitors Poo Pals, have an Alice in Wonderland meets every iconic music video theme ever intro that will make you blush, giggle and dance, and a slogan that touches on hidden concerns.

poopourri content marketing

But what makes them queens of content marketing is how in your face they are with what their product is in a way that makes you feel like they don’t just know you, but get you. And it’s pretty. Their entire site—how they present the product, the fonts they use, and the colors they’ve chosen—is beautifully whimsical. Even their social media icons are uniquely them.

2. Squatty Potty

“Healthy colon, happy life” sums it up in one wonderful slogan for this creative company. One way they absolutely win is the clarification of exactly how the product works on their home page.

squatty potty content marketing

Oh, and their superbly creative YouTube video story that involved a prince, rainbow ice cream, and a pooping unicorn that won with 24 million views to date. (Involve all those protagonists in a story, and you can’t help but win.)

(And all evidence to the contrary, we promise we’re not obsessed with bum issues.) However, when someone takes on a subject matter that is so uncomfortable in a way that makes you readily embrace it, you’ve got to sit up and notice. Or squat, in this case. Different from the cute Poo~Pourri, Squatty Potty gives a medical reason for their product, but in a way that’s so relatable, you can’t resist it. No bells, no whistles, just straightforward yet creatively crafted content. 

III. The Movers: Cars Taken to a New Level

6. Subaru

Subaru tapped into the depth of why you want a car that runs well like no one else did. They’ve done a great job of creating content that marries the durability of their product with the emotional resonance that creates.

subaru

Turning a car into a friend as opposed to a status symbol isn’t new, but how they do that and continue to play on that feeling to keep you coming back for more is a winning combination.

7. Mini Cooper

When you think Mini Cooper, you’re thinking something cute to zip around in and they know that. So they’ve created content marketing to change that perception. Their campaign “Those Who Defy Labels Define Themselves” is a great tool to give them a more serious tone while maintaining their aspirational feel.

It’s sleek and beautifully created, using personal stories and the very opposite of “stereotyping” (rather, what we all have in common) to build a relationship with their consumers. It’s not just about a “car” anymore.

IV. The Shakers: Brawn with Heart

8. NFL

These guys are one of the best examples ever of understanding your consumer and keeping them engaged. While other league sites definitely get their fans, the NFL has a way of staying dynamic and vibrant even in the off-season. With up-to-the-minute stats, live highlights, fun games at NFL Rush and more, you’re immersed in football and everything that stands for. Besides all the sports glamor, they even run some donation campaigns for great charities that help combat hunger in other countries.

nfl

Their approach is very rah-rah, which completely reflects the whole of what they embody, and it is carried through even when they are presenting their community involvement. That consistency goes a long way towards establishing and maintaining a strong relationship with their consumers.

9. Nike

This is one of those companies that have engaged their core consumers so well and consistently for so long, it’s imperative to bring them up. They follow a formula that’s as simple as possible: know your customer and reach them. Period.

nike

They’ve reacted to the desire for sustainability, concerns about childhood obesity and fair treatment of their craftspeople by creating a link to Nike Better World, which outlines their efforts to address all of that in an active, realistic way. Their content marketing goes beyond their “Just Do It” catchphrase, while all the while making you feel you can. 

V. The People Pleasers: Your Style, Your Way

10. The Land of Nod

“Design for kids and people who used to be kids.” It’s on the homepage and you believe it, because they show it. The Land of Nod doesn’t belabor their obvious adorableness by being overwhelmingly earnest and nuanced. Their goal is to sell that “handmade with love” feeling, so they let the product talk for itself as well as highlighting their artists with a “nodcast” on their Nod Network to support what they know their consumers want.

land of nod

11. Free People

Can you say visual? Add to that the beautiful boho style Free People is known for, and you have their entire basis of online presence. Their site is 100% visual–and it’s stunning.

free people content

A flowing, beautiful product is Free People’s trademark and it’s reflected in their content. From how they present their fonts to their photos and everything in between, the whole Boho Chic style is presented for your full immersion. There is a consistent prompting for viral sharing so that all of their customers feel they have a voice and content is consistently updated to reflect how on trend and in the moment they are.

VI. The Perception Changers: Taking the Everyday to the Next Level

12. Saveur

This magazine giant of the culinary world has mastered embracing the net to give a broader perspective on how to engage with food. It’s visually stimulating and delves into how to create true dining experiences in a way that shows they clearly know their readers/consumers well. They’re ahead of the curve more so than a lot of print mags: they’ve figured out how to keep their ink-on-paper magazine relevant by bridging the two beautifully with an entire online portal called Magazines, where you can browse each issue.

13. Stouffer’s

Frozen food has come a long way, but Stouffer’s doesn’t sit back on their laurels. They were one of the first to create a different perspective on what to do with and what to expect from your frozen entrees and their content marketing clearly reflects that. It doesn’t focus on the convenience their products afford, but the different ways to enjoy their food to make a difference in your life. And their site makes you salivate–don’t look below if you’re hungry.

stoffers

The flow, the look and the feel all draw you in and makes you forget that this is just a bunch of stuff you’ll find in your grocer’s freezer while still appealing to the simplicity their customers seek.

14. Blue Apron

Cooking’s a chore for a lot of people. As much as they wish they could have a home cooked meal, they simply don’t like doing it. Blue Apron has figured out how to change your mind about that, and their content marketing is as simple and natural as their products. From the moment you get on their site, you’re met with a video explaining how all of this works and you get engaged instantly: the tagline itself defines very well what you’re about to watch.

blue apron content marketing

It makes you feel comfortable even if you don’t normally cook. While they certainly aren’t the only service like this, they’ve created a way of engaging their consumers that pulls you in and keeps you there.

VII. The Unavoidable: Making a Must Easy

15. TurboTax

Death and taxes are inevitable, but if you have to endure the tedium of the second, finding a business that presents its content in a way that makes you want to do them is pretty freaking awesome. Intuit Turbo Tax has figured out a way to get you in and out as quickly as possible while also making you feel like you know what you’re doing. They’ve also created some pretty cool tools that keep it from feeling so sterile with colorful icons, straightforward instructions and interesting links. There are contests, information on how to throw Turbo Tax Parties and more. You can also access their YouTube channel, which runs very funny and completely relatable commercials that basically talk you off the ledge of filing taxes. All of this is created to assure you that Turbo Tax gets you and will be so user friendly, you wouldn’t want to go anywhere else, and it works.

One simple way that Turbo Tax wins in their online presence is simply how well they’ve defined their product as soon as you land on your home page–they guarantee your tax returns, with a picture of a woman actually seeing her tax returns in dollar amounts. Talk about visually showing your product value!

turbo tax marketing

Your Content Marketing Barometer: An 8-Point Win System

Each of these companies hits the 8-point system I’ve set (read below) as our barometer. That means that for your business to win with content marketing, you also have to be able to create something that will hit those on the head. And this (drum roll, please) is how you do that:

1. Readable

Your copy needs to be clearly written, reflect the tone of your company and convey your theme.

2. Visual

People are visual beings, and offering eye-grabbing graphics will keep them engaged and wanting more.

3. Radical

Even if you’ve discovered something unique and new to sell or offer, you want to stand out as much as possible while doing it, so think out of the box and take leaps people will notice.

4. Shareable

Offer content that provokes conversation and prompts consumers to forward and share it in any number of ways.

5. Findable

Make sure your site is easy to navigate so that those nuggets you’ve created to get some buzz aren’t so hard to find you’ll lose visitors.

6. Actionable

The point of content marketing is to market your service or product and that means you want to have calls to action to get people to do that, but be careful not to hard sell.

7. Understandable

This covers a multitude of things from stringing your thoughts together in a way that makes sense to clearly conveying what your company stands for and is offering.

8. Accessible

Your content marketing should be something people can relate to so they don’t feel spoken down to or excluded.

Conclusion

Nailing your content marketing not only gets people coming back to your site, but staying and sharing.

When there’s enough buzz, things will start to take off and you’ll feel the benefits.

I know that creating great content marketing takes some finessing, and no one expects you to be an expert on your own. Check out our content strategy services and get a feel for how, with a little help, you can push your content into the upper echelons.

Know a brand that’s inspired your content marketing to take the next level? Share in the comments!

content in 2016

Strategy Success for Content in 2016: Reach Out to Millennials

It’s that time of year…

December 1, and it’s time to think about how to truly nail your content in 2016. I’m not touting a lose-weight-fast or get-rich-quick New Year resolution (those are usually broken by the next week). I’m talking about long term, dedicated strategy–and a vantage point that will get you winning content this upcoming New Year.

Right now, there are about 80 million millennials living in the US. That translates to about ¼ of the total population and since this group wields a buying power of about $200 billion dollars, they’re currently the single most lucrative market in all of advertising.

That said, you probably want to reach out to them with your content in 2016, right? They will be a bigger demographic than ever next year – they are the big, smart, and buying crowd YOU need to attract. Just how do you go about it?

We have some tips to help.

content in 2016

10 Tips to Effectively Market to Millennials with Your Content in 2016

1) Get authentic

Millennials spend about 25 hours each week online and they want authentic content. Buttoned-up ‘50s style marketing tactics don’t work on this crowd and they’re scouring blogs, social media, and websites for content they can truly connect with.

In fact, 43% of millennials rank authenticity as more important than content when they consume news and, as a result, they’re on the search for content that mimics their feelings, opinions, and passions while also offering unique value and a distinct voice.

Take Taco Bell, for example, which recently began a program to reach out to millennials with its “Millennial Word of the Week” program. This program makes the brand appealing, approachable, interesting, and relatable. Plus, since the whole program is curated by Taco Bell employees the same age as millennials, it’s authentic, which is what millennials have been looking for this whole time.

2) Focus on inbound

Have you ever been curious how many millennials will gladly navigate away from your page due to an unwelcome or intrusive ad? The grand majority of them, that’s how many. In fact, according to Wired, millennials alone have killed off several outbound marketing tactics that are inauthentic, invasive, or not valuable. What’s more, 84% of millennials just plain don’t trust traditional advertising, which creates a sticky situation for advertisers.

This is true because millennials know what they want, they’re tech-savvy enough to find it online, and they’re not willing to suffer websites that make them sit through unwanted or intrusive ads. When millennials spend time online, they’re doing research via social media, blogs, websites, and YouTube, which means that inbound marketing tactics are the best and the only way to reach them. By focusing harder than ever before on creating and distributing high-quality, relevant content that actually meets the needs of millennials and helps to answer their questions, you can ensure that your site doesn’t earn a swift “back” click.

3) Strive to be informative

Possibly more so than any generation before them, millennials are hungry for information, and this means that they’ll support businesses that are dedicated to offering informative content. Millennials are drawn to eBooks, videos, tutorials, blog posts, how-to’s, and customer reviews more than they are product listings, and this means that if you can create content in 2016 that offers an expert’s perspective on an everyday challenge, millennials are going to bite.

This is because millennials are 247% more likely than their older counterparts to be influenced in sales decisions by blogs and social media. With that in mind, consider offering tutorials and videos for your millennial customer base. Keep in mind that considering their tech-savvy nature and their propensity for sharing, they’re much more likely to share your video than they are to pull your flier off of a bulletin board and pass it around to their friends.

4) Focus on tailor-made

Millennials are plentiful, powerful, wealthy, and what else – oh yeah! They’re smart too. This means that millennials have a stronger-than-usual B.S. detector and they’ll be onto you in an instant if you create content in 2016 that’s meant solely to get into their pocketbooks.

Instead, focus on creating educational content that caters to their interests. One great way to do this is to focus on selling a lifestyle rather than a product. This means that you should be showcasing the ways in which your product, good, or service can help enhance their lives, produce unforgettable experiences, and equip them with great stories. Trust us, these things are far more valuable to millennials than product descriptions on some stagnant web page.

5) Get collaborative

42% of millennials want to help companies develop products and services and that’s why it pays to use them as a resource when creating products for consumption. Consider, as an example, Lays’ “Do us a Flavor” campaign in which they encourage consumers to come up with the next potato chip flavor to be marketed in stores.

Campaigns like this make millennials the co-creators of a company and increase the likelihood that they’ll buy your product once it hits the market. It also engages their sense of self-expression and personal branding, helping to fuel the values of individuality and uniqueness in marketing, sales, and beyond.

6) Consider the difference between usage and ownership

According to HubSpot, millennials prefer to use things rather than own them. Rather than owning housefuls of things they only seldom need, millennials would rather pay full price to rent items when they need them. Consider examples of this like Uber, Airbnb, Spotify, and Rent the Runway, a popular rental clothing site. To apply this to your content, consider creating forms of content like classes, webinars, and eBooks that millennials can rent rather than buy.

7) Offer a full-spectrum experience

Unlike their Baby Boomer parents, millennials may actually enjoy the act of shopping more than actually purchasing items. This explains the popularity of sites like Pinterest and Etsy and provides a definite edge for any content creator that can master the art of providing a web-based exploration experience for audiences. To apply this to your content, link content with social sharing sites like Pinterest and ensure that everything you create is designed to effectively inspire and engage your millennial audience into activity.

8) Optimize for mobile

Millennials live on their mobile devices and if you’re not optimizing your content to accommodate that, you’re going to miss out on a great deal of business. In 2015, active social media accounts saw a 23% increase, which equates the creation of over 300 million accounts.

This means that all of your content, social, and other sharing should be optimized for mobile. To do this, pay attention to in-stream photo requirements for sites like Twitter and ensure that you’re embracing content forms like vertical video (very few mobile users ever rotate their phones to watch videos). This holds true for everything except for YouTube, in which case horizontal videos are still king.

9) Get on the video train

In 2014, Facebook began slogging into the world of video content and sharing and, by 2015, Mark Zuckerberg announced that more than 3 billion videos are shared and viewed daily on Facebook newsfeeds around the world.

The reason for this is that 67% of millennials believe that videos produce more relatable content than TV. What’s more, 63% of millennials report that they would try a brand or item recommended by a YouTube personality quicker than they would one recommended by a television personality. While this trend may seem startling, it’s a clear call to marketers everywhere to start producing more video content. With platforms like Snapchat, Meerkat, and Periscope on the rise, it’s obvious that video content is truly the content of the future.

10) Be fluid

Millennials are the most tech-savvy generation in history and they’re also the most innovative. While they play a large part in consuming the content of today, they’re also behind the scenes, developing new tech, producing new apps, and altogether changing the world as we know it.

While the previous 9 tips hold true for today and the foreseeable future, it’s important for marketers to continue to be fluid and adaptable with their content. This means not getting stuck in boxes or being afraid to try new things. As millennials continue to change the world, content will need to change to keep up with them and the marketers that can accommodate this are the ones that will succeed.

Conclusion

It’s an exciting time to be a marketer and as we draw closer to 2016 one thing is sure: millennials have and will continue to inform the direction of content far and wide. This is a great thing, though, as it drives innovation and positive change, and the marketers who can embrace it and continue to reach out to millennials through their content are the ones who will experience content marketing success as they continue to publish even better content in 2016.