Content-content-content! You hear the term nonstop. Seriously – within the world of marketing ‘content’ most definitely trumps ‘selfie’ as word of the year! But what does content marketing really mean for your business? To put it in the simplest of terms, content marketing means you create information that your target audience values, loves and shares.
Many companies are focusing on content marketing now, but who’s doing it best of all? Read on and learn from masters of branded content.
The best content marketing often involves storytelling that engages the audience, and Cisco shows off its storytelling chops in various ways. It continually publishes new stories on its content platform: The Network. The company also produces an endless stream of engaging videos, including a web documentary series titled “The Network Effect,” which focuses on the inventors who built the telecom network and its corresponding impact on the world. More recently, Cisco launched “The Internet of Everything,” a content platform covering a $19 trillion global opportunity. The company’s YouTube channel is filled with storytelling examples, as well, including everything from client case studies to entertaining deep-dives about the ways in which technology touches niche industries such as the same-day delivery market.
Who’s rocking the B2B blogosphere? That would be Eloqua, the marketing automation company that explores innovation and revenue generation in its popular blog: It’s all about revenue. They understand the important difference between B2B and consumer blogs, using this channel to nurture relationships and share information that holds value for its customers. Eloqua cites these two stats that back their strategy: 39% of B2B marketers name blog posts their most valuable content asset; 55% of B2B professionals turn to blogs for business information.
Another example of B2B blogosphere awesomeness is the analytics software company KISSmetrics, which essentially built its business on top of a meticulous blog-building methodology that took blog visitor numbers from zero to more than 350,000. The blog now accounts for approximately 82% of the company’s site traffic and over 70% of leads!
Video is more profitable than ever. As it turns out, entertainment and advertising make quite the pair in the realm of branded content! Fidelity Investments walks the line between B2B and B2C, providing solutions for both audiences. Take a look at Fidelity’s YouTube channel, with more than 100 videos to educate viewers on broad topics like how to invest, as well as support customers seeking information about its services. But where Fidelity really excels is in its heart-felt video, “Saving for Skydiving,” which 100% succeeds in driving home its message: “A great story is worth saving for.” How? The video is authentic, relatable, believable, inspiring, and totally adorable (four cute kids acting out this spunky Grandma’s story of skydiving at 90 – come on!). It was a total win for Fidelity’s brand image, appealing to customers across the board!
4. SOCIAL MEDIA
Possibilities are virtually limitless for creating and promoting your branded content via social media. Draw inspiration from General Electric, which is killing it in the social media department! In August 2013, GE leveraged Vine, Twitter and Tumblr to create, share and host branded six-second videos as part of its #6SecondScience Fair campaign. As one of few B2B brands at the time to truly master Vine, GE won us over with its incredibly visual and engaging campaign. The majority of content was user-generated and shared via Twitter and Facebook; the six-second videos were then posted on GE’s banded campaign homepage on Tumblr. By using multiple social sites to tell its story, GE succeeded in capturing a diverse audience. And, thanks to its timely release around back-to-school, the campaign was relevant and sharable. All in all, GE deserved the positive press it earned for making geeky cool!
5. WHITE PAPERS, EBOOKS, WEBCASTS & MORE
HubSpot has seen tremendous success in acquiring new customers via inbound leads from content marketing. For years they’ve churned out useful branded content – the operative word being ‘useful’ – which has helped them earn widespread recognition and trust as an industry thought leader. From white papers and webcasts to videos and ebooks, HubSpot does a brilliant job of creating the content we crave and promoting their brand, simultaneously. Even if you’re not investing in their software, chances are you’ve downloaded a piece of their content – Bingo!
We’ve seen thousands of infographics in passing on the web; that long scrolling image is starting to get stale. Thankfully, Fast Company won’t let that happen! The incredibly progressive media house entertains and informs its C-level audience with their original and entirely compelling “Infographic of the Day.” Not only is the company promoting the heck out of their brand by giving the people what they want (quick and powerful information bytes for the short attention span), they are executing a highly successful SEO strategy wherein they leverage social engagement to boost social sharing and drive results.
7. MOBILE APPS
There is no shortage of professional mobile applications, but when talking specifically about branded B2B content, it’s Salesforce that comes to mind. Salesforce understands its market: busy sales and marketing professionals on the go. Its Salesforce1 Mobile App does more than optimize the website’s features for mobile. It brings something new to the table by connecting its user’s apps, devices and customer data in real-time, and offers distinct value from both a sales and marketing perspective.
According to WebDAM, 45% of US mobile marketing campaigns employ app downloads. Mobile apps as branded content work by successfully reinforcing the quality of your brand. Release a quality application, and you’re on the right track. But remember – B2B mobile apps should bring something new to the table. With limited storage space on some devices, you must help your users understand the unique value of downloading your app vs. visiting your mobile site.