Branded Content

4 Brands Ahead of the Content Marketing Curve

Ian Tenenbaum HeadshotIt was really only a matter of time before brands realized how valuable original content can be as part of a marketing plan. Blogging, developing video, creating graphics, etc., has become so intertwined with marketing that it even has it’s own name: content marketing.

A solid content marketing plan not only increases social sharing and visibility of a brand name or logo, but it also works to establish that brand as an authority in their industry. A good content marketing plan can give a brand a voice and perspective.

According to Curata, 71% of marketers will increase what they spend on content marketing in 2014. And when you consider that in 2012, on Facebook alone, there were almost 700,000 pieces of content shared every minute, it’s safe to forecast even more content creation and shares in 2014. The impending (ongoing?) content saturation online will thus place more emphasis on the second half of content marketing: content curation.

In 2014, brands looking to establish authority in their industry and among their following will need to succeed at both prongs of content marketing: creation and curation. Here are a few brands that seamlessly use each and what you can take away from their content marketing strategies.

1. Red Bull: Few companies are as extreme in their content marketing as Red Bull is. With their logo all over films like the big budget “Art of Flight” in 2011 and the 24-mile free fall of daredevil Felix Baumgartner, Red Bull has taken content marketing to the next level. Take one look at the Red Bull Twitter feed and you will see a handful of large, beautiful-looking photos, both created and curated from fans, and always extreme. Red Bull has used content marketing to develop a mass of energy drink-thirsty fans and establish themselves as an authority in all things “extreme”.

2. GoPro: With a marketing plan that almost entirely consists of content curated from its customers, GoPro is the King of Content Marketing. Check out some of their recent tweets for examples:

Almost all of the content GoPro shares across their social media were in fact created by customers. Granted, GoPro has an advantage: their high-definition, easy-to-use action camera has caught on in the mainstream and cool clips require absolutely no knowledge of video production, so relying on customers to create unique content just makes sense.

Takeaway: If you have a product that allows or encourages users to be creative, use their creations! Not only will other fans be inspired by their fellow consumers, but your content creators will become even stronger brand advocates once their content has been curated.

3. Amtrak: Traveling by train hasn’t been nearly as popular since the commercialization of airlines, but Amtrak has recently seen a revival in sales that has more than a little to do with their coinciding push in content marketing. A newly designed blog and an archive of content including pictures of Amtrak from back in the 70s have made Amtrak a force to be reckoned with on social media. By sponsoring train trips for writers, photographers and videographers, Amtrak has a handful of brand advocates to curate content from. Take this image for example, which was shared after a sponsored trip for the blog Glass Duffle. The curated content reached over 1,000 Facebook likes and was shared over 100 times.

Takeaway: If your brand is a product or service that people can use, why not sponsor a blogger or other online authority to use it and share their experience. Once the experience is done, you’ll have content that you can curate for long into the future. The above Amtrak photo was shared over 6 months after the conclusion of the bloggers Amtrak-sponsored trip.

4. BuzzFeed: Coincidentally, content creation and curation can go hand-in-hand, as evidenced by brands like BuzzFeed. Almost all content on BuzzFeed comes from other sources. Take this blog post for example: 21 Unexpected Side Effects of Working 9 to 5. None of the content within the actual post was actually created by BuzzFeed. Rather, they curated a bunch of content that fit a headline they wanted to run.

Takeaway: While it’s an extreme example of curating content to create your own, there is a lot to learn from BuzzFeed. If content relevant to your industry and current topics exists, why not curate it, give it a fresh headline that reflects your message and share it with your followers. If the content is relevant enough and the headline clear, your followers will appreciate the share and your authority will thus increase.

What company do you think has the best content marketing strategy? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Ian Tenenbaum is the Vice President at Crowdtap, a collaborative marketing platform that allows marketers to capture the value of their customers throughout the marketing process. 

marketingAds_perform_021414 (1)