Content marketing boosts sales. Content marketing has an awesome ROI. Content marketing will make you filthy rich, blah, blah, blah… you’ve heard it all. And, you know what? There’s some truth to it. Content marketing is incredibly effective.
BUT. And, this is a big but… it has to be creative. You can’t just get a WordPress blog, create a Twitter account, and watch the cash start to flow in. You can’t just hire any old writing service, and then turn back to your desk either.
Creative is the key word that should always be attached to content marketing. When you use creative content marketing you can start defining your brand in some pretty big ways. And, really, brand-definition is essential to getting results!
Let’s take a look at some of the major strides some well-known brands have made with creative content marketing.
A giant in creative content marketing, Starbucks is always setting the bar high. This past winter, Starbucks released a Valentine’s edition of its Cup Magic app. With the phone app, users could point their camera at a special Starbucks Valentines Day cup, and then watch as the cup came to life on their phone in an interactive way. Really, you just need to see it.
The phone app is free, of course, and it was a huge success for the company. There’s no direct intent of marketing a product. Rather, Starbucks focuses on providing customers with something that is meant for pure entertainment purposes. Meanwhile, the company continues to define the brand as something special, a few steps out of the ordinary!
Whole Foods is getting a lot of attention for their use of Pinterest. While a lot of companies are jumping on the Pinterest train, Whole Foods is actually using it to help define their brand. Many brands think they can just post pictures of their products or the occasional industry-related Infographic. Boring.
Very little of the content on the Whole Foods board is actual product. Rather, the company is defining their brand as a lifestyle brand by engaging with customers’ interests. One of the most popular boards, for example, is Super HOT Kitchens. Obviously, the grocer isn’t involved in kitchen remodeling, but it’s a customer interest, so they make a point of talking about it in order to further brand development!
I love how Patagonia is engaging with its customers to better define its brand. The clothing company is known for being environmentally friendly, a big selling point they’ve pushed since the very beginning. But, now, they’re making serious strides in showing customers that side of their company.
The Footprint Chronicles detail each textile mill and factory the company uses in its supply chain, giving details about what goes on, what languages are spoken, and the gender ratio. Plus, it’s all packed into a clean, interactive map. Customers get a better sense of Patagonia as a global company, and they can connect the product they wear with the people behind it!
Small Business Bonus
Here’s a bonus example for you of how a small business has been able to define its brand in a huge way. Purple Feather is an online content company in the U.K. that provides online marketing and copywriting services. They’re a small business, and they handle mid- to large-sized clients. But, you might recognize them from this video. Oh, yes, I suppose I should mention that it has over 14.3 million views. And, the company’s name and website is only displayed for the last few seconds of the nearly two-minute long spot. Talk about powerful content!
Your Small Business
Remember the same principles that big business is using can be applied to your small business, as well! If you’re looking for suggestions on how to incorporate some creative techniques into your content marketing strategy, make sure to check out Sonia Simone’s post at Copyblogger. Also, don’t rule out a writing service – especially if you aren’t comfortable handling the content on your own!
Lastly, focus on your customers’ interests, and not your product. It might sound counterintuitive, but when your content marketing engages with your customers’ interests, they will start choosing to engage with your product!
What creative content marketing strategies does your company use to help define your brand?