“Every company is a media company.” – Gary Vaynerchuck.
Content marketing is unique. Unlike traditional advertising it creates two levels of value with an audience: educational and entertainment. Typically traditional advertising is all about the media spend to garner views for brand awareness. Content builds thought leadership, authority, and establishes a brand as a resource of educational value. Face it, people hate ads. But they love stories. Big brands and startups alike are shifting their investment from traditional advertising to more progressive content strategies to better connect with people and see a longer term payoff.
It’s not just the big boys doing it, but these 5 brands are killing it with content marketing right now. Take a page out of their playbooks on how to engage people with blogs, microsites, and original video. Check it out:
Zipcar, a car-sharing company built as an alternative to rental places, created their own publishing microsite. Ziptopia is filled to the brim with original content that really knows how to appeal to the diversity of their audience. From blogs about backpacking to videos on gender identity, Ziptopia has really grasped on to what it means to have a wide range of content. Videos like “One Family. Two Kids. No Car” show just how Zipcar goes above and beyond to put life into their content by letting their members, employees, and partners be apart of it. While their blog post “How to Travel Solo Like a Pro” is the perfect example of driving information and personality into their content. These stories build the lifestyle around the brand with inspiration of travel and living minimally.
Casper, the flagship mail-you-a-mattress company, created Van Winkle’s, an online magazine dedicated to the science, culture, and curiosities of sleep. Casper knows they aren’t selling mattresses. They’re selling you the best night sleep you ever had. So their content revolves around educating consumers on the science of it all. They have created an on-going outlet of content for a community of people who are interested in knowing more about sleep with the Casper name all over it. Every time someone reads an article on the Van Winkle’s site it establishes Casper as a brand synonymous with great sleep.
Marriott Hotels has taken web video content to the next level with everything from their “#WhyIWander” video series to their original short film “French Kiss.” They’ve stepped outside the world of traditional commercials and invested good time and money in an online presence with creative videos. These videos share traveller’s stories and engage the audience in a way that would make any viewer want to get away. Marriott’s online presence proves that online video content is not only for the Buzzfeeds of the world, but for all brands. It doesn’t matter how big or small your company is, video content is something that you can and should be doing.
Hipmunk, the travel search engine, owns their space with Tailwind, a content driven microsite for all travel tips and tricks. Hipmunk took its content marketing to a place Orbitz and Expedia have yet to conquer. It’s a bold and risky play with the web already oversaturated with travel and culture content. But it is a smart, long term move with an improved UI experience over many other travel content sites. It is simple and easy, just like the Hipmunk process. And that’s what content marketing is all about.
Remember that video of Jean-Claude Van Damme doing the splits between two Volvo trucks? That was perhaps the ultimate B2B content marketing play. Volvo Trucks is a content leader and their balance of education and entertainment is perfect. Their YouTube is filled with creative challenge videos, how-to videos, personal stories, and more content that rivals the production quality of Discovery channel shows. Their “Welcome to My Cab” web series that takes viewers inside customized truck cabs has received over millions of views and that’s only one of their content marketing channels. Volvo Trucks’ combination of great videos and channel distribution has allowed them to communicate their core brand value over and over to a captivated audience and that’s what has taken them to the top of the content marketing mountain in B2B.