Content Marketing for 2013 – An Introduction


Let’s face it, we love our buzz words and content marketing is the buzz of the moment. But beyond the hype is a strategic and focused approach which is designed to lift your brand above the noise and offer your customers a rich and engaging experience.

While traditional advertising and marketing tactics are far from dead, the growth of social media, mobile and the web in general means that your customers want more than just a clever ad campaign to convince them they need your product above all others.

Having a great website just won’t cut it anymore and brands are focusing more and more on good quality, highly engaging optimised content that draws consumers back to their owned sites and social media profiles. It’s no longer sufficient just to tell people what you do, you have to demonstrate it by becoming ‘publishers’ of content that embodies your values and captures the attention of your audience.

One of the best examples of this was the Red Bull campaign which saw Felix Baumgartner parachute back to Earth from the edge of space. Watched by 8 million people live and with over 32 million views to date it was a turning point for content marketing in 2012. According to one ad exec, the stunt could be worth around £10m in ad spend in the UK and around £100m worldwide and captured Red Bull’s value set perfectly.

If you missed it here it is.

Consumers are looking for more than just information and are now far more likely to go to a brand’s Twitter or Facebook profile than their website when deciding on a purchase. According to a recent survey, 51% of respondents said they would be more likely to make a purchase after ‘Liking’ a brand on Facebook, and 64% after ‘Following’ it on Twitter.

As brands try to capitalise on this they are cautiously dipping their toes in the world of social media, writing blogs, producing white papers and sharing video content about their organisation. But brands need to go beyond just having profiles and sharing content and develop a much more strategic approach to embedding content marketing into their consumer engagement activity.

You need to be committed to make it work, and this means getting to know your customers and delivering content which is designed to reach your target audience and keep them coming back for more. You’ll need to think creatively about the opportunities within your organisation and begin building enough resource to manage it properly.

One of my all time favourite examples of taking a creative approach to customer engagement is BlendTec’s Will It Blend campaign which has shown that with the right approach, a small budget can take you very far. In 2007 the company’s Marketing Director was charged with increasing sales of its product and while following the production process he witnessed the research team blending all kinds of different objects to test the product’s blades. Obviously this process was designed to allow them to make statements as to the toughness of the blades as a selling point. But what was spotted straight away was the interest this process might generate from consumers if they could see it happening.

And so, armed with a video camera and a blender, the company CEO Tom Dickson made a short film blending various food and non food items and uploaded it onto YouTube. The video went viral instantly with over 6m views in the first 5 days. Customers went nuts about the videos and began suggesting other items that could be blended which then drove the next set of videos. And so this has continued with videos still being made now.

The first video cost around $100 and each one is low cost with just a blender and whatever item is up for destruction. The campaign however saw sales increase by over 700% and brand awareness go through the roof. The YouTube channel currently has over 500k subscribers and over 220m views and there appears to be an endless supply of items for blending.

The success of the campaign was built upon the understanding that blending stuff is fun to watch and the stranger the better, the video of the iPhone is a personal favourite and the campaign appeals to so many people. But the silliness of the content doesn’t take anything away from the brand itself, in fact seeing what the blender can reduce to mush is a fantastic endorsement for its quality and strength (key selling points for any blender owner)

Here is the iPhone video which is just great fun to watch.

BlendTec shows how important it is to take a creative approach to content creation, considering opportunities outside of the marketing team’s office and showcasing the parts of your industry that will resonate with your audience.

Over the next few weeks we will be publishing a series of posts looking at the different aspects of developing a strategic content marketing plan from generating ideas, managing risk to delivery and evaluating success.

We would love to know what you’re already doing or if you have specific questions we can answer so please leave your comments in the box or contact us on Facebook or Twitter.

Written by Felice Ayling

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