What makes a content marketing campaign effective? What is it about certain campaigns that lead consumers to engage? Are these campaigns better financed? Do the companies have more resources? Are their teams more creative? Of course money and resources are important and creativity is a prerequisite, but beyond that, the best campaigns serve the desired audience and skillfully present the company’s products, services and initiatives.
The following content marketing campaigns do an incredible job of both providing something useful to consumers (sometimes in unconventional ways) and showcasing their brands. These campaigns also show an astute understanding of their audiences. Without it, you’re just creating content for content’s sake.
There are a ton of great examples out there. For the sake of simplicity, we split them into two categories:
- Part 1- Campaigns as resources- These campaigns provide a resource that consumers can use to enhance their lives in some way.
- Part 2- Campaigns as brand-builders– These campaigns serve to build a community and culture that refelct their brands.
For each example, we will explain the campaign and then give tips for implementing it into your own campaigns.
American Express Open Forum
Open Forum is a business education resource that rivals the best you can find on the Internet. Its content is smart, easy to read and highly topical. You will find the content useful regardless of your industry or where you are at in your career. AMEX has taken the time to not only procure elite editorial talent but to find topics that are highly relatable. They were one of the first finance companies to create this type of resource and now you are seeing other companies such as Wells Fargo follow suit. The idea is to help consumers become better business people or more financially knowledgeable. By offering that value, those same consumers will more likely turn to AMEX when they need a business credit card.
How can I do this: Whatever your industry, there’s going to be something related to that industry that customers will want to do better. Closely examine how your customers interact with your products and services and look for areas around them that you can help with. For example, if you are a clothing boutique, consider creating a style guide or a blog that focuses on fashion do’s and don’ts.
Whole Foods Whole Story Blog
Whole Foods Market is a national grocery chain that sells natural & organic grocery items, housewares & other products. The Whole Story, Whole Foods Market’s official blog, focuses on various aspects of healthy living and healthy, delicious food. The blog is full of recipes and advice and is easily digestible for consumers. The visuals are engaging and many the recipes and solutions feature Whole Foods products.
How can I do this: Many view the blog as the “digital version” of the experience you receive at a Whole Foods- helpful, informative and enticing. Consider the essence of your brand and why customers come to you. Turn that insight into digital content. Make sure that the content solves a problem for your audience.
McDonald’s Canada Answer Center
Since the landmark documentary SuperSize Me (and maybe before that) questions about the quality of McDonald’s food have run rampant. That’s why McDonald’s Canada’s Answer Center is so intriguing. Visitors of their website can leave questions and receive answers. The questions aren’t always nice, however, they are not removed. It’s bold to allow negative commentary to exist in a public space, but McDonald’s Canada’s earnest answers show a belief in their product that resonates with their consumers and, ultimately, builds trust.
How can I do this: Honesty sells. In a world where there are so many sources of information coming from so many places, being able be honest about your product endears consumers. To do this, simply communicate on all platforms as often as possible with your customers. Not only will it build trust, but it gives you opportunity to view trends and easily adjust to them.
Help Scout- 10 Customer Service Stories eBook
Customer service is a tricky thing. Common sense will tell you to simply treat people as you want to be treated and you are, in essence, providing good customer service. However, it is more detailed than that and Help Scout, a company that creates invisible help desks for businesses, captures it with their “10 Customer Service Stories” eBook. The eBook gives examples of how businesses across a number of industries have provided outstanding service to customers and tips for providing the same service.
How can I do this: The best advice that you can give someone comes from personal experience and the experiences of others. It’s easier to relate to this type of advice, making it easier to apply it to your personal situation. Examine your customers closely. See what their needs are and find examples in business and life of companies that are accomplishing what your audience is trying to accomplish.
It is rare that a government website is lauded for having outstanding content. However, Gov.UK sets out to change that with an easy to navigate, information-rich site that gives simplistic instructions for accomplishing various government tasks. While this is perhaps the least sexy of the examples given in this article, when you need to learn about “disability living allowances” for example, clear instruction will prove invaluable.
How can I do this: If you sell a product for which instruction is needed, work hard to make those instructions as easy to follow as possible. Also, are there common issues that your customers deal with that you may be able to solve? If you’re a personal trainer, consider writing a series of articles about time management. Of course, you can write about nutrition or improving certain fitness techniques, but time management is a common barrier for those wanting to get in shape. If you can solve that problem for consumers, they are freed up to use your services.