For a lot of brands, content marketing can be a tedious process that’s based on a lot of hit or miss strategies.
With an end goal in mind, many business owners and marketing professionals set out to accomplish a certain benchmark — increased traffic, higher conversions, more conversations, increased social media fans and followers and so on.
They think that writing the right content with the right keywords will be enough, or that their fans can be counted on to spread the message to help accomplish that end goal.
More often than not, this is not the case.
Instead, too many efforts fall flat. Campaigns may produce results, but not with the overwhelming feeling of achievement that comes from studying the numbers and seeing the proof first hand.
The benchmark may have been met or maybe not, but, after time, all of these standard content marketing efforts begin to blend. It’s a content marketing rut and too many companies are stuck inside of it. Have you been there?
Creative Content Marketing
This is where creativity comes in. Brands that understand the fact that content marketing truly knows no boundaries, and that the sky is the limit when it comes to making efforts that produce desired results based on strategic online content marketing.
Brands that see the best results from content marketing campaigns:
- Understand that thinking outside of the box increases interest and leads to big results.
- Know that content marketing is a viable strategy when combined across multiple media channels and disciplines.
- Take on every content marketing campaign with a sense of purpose.
- Know their target markets inside and out, and cater to them no matter what.
- Use content marketing to establish brand ambassadors for long term success.
- Think forward in every marketing opportunity, toward the future and limitless possibilities.
Brands that Got It Right
Content marketing is an evolving practice, sometimes based on science, sometimes on creativity. Either way, what worked in the past might not work in the future.
The 5 examples listed below demonstrate what can happen when content marketing is taken to the next level; when it’s the focal point of an outreach strategy.
These brands got it right; there’s no plainer way to explain it. Check out these awesome examples of content marketing campaigns at their finest.
1. Heineken’s Instagram Contest
Heineken, a Dutch brewing company understands that there target market cares about sports, especially tennis. They also know that their followers are most likely to engage on Instagram, rather than the more traditional social media networks. With these thoughts in mind, they created a campaign like no other.
By putting 9 pairs of tickets to the U.S. Open Men’s Final up for grabs, they started the @crack_the_us_open Instagram account.
Fans that followed the account were then taken on a virtual scavenger hunt based on clues and code words. Commenting on the proper photo of the day before other followers led to rewards in the form of additional clues, all leading to a final, grand prize photo.
Fans that made it to the end were entered into a contest to win tickets to the tennis showdown. It paid off for Heineken as well; the brand got 1,400 Instagram followers on the contest account without the need for directing visitors elsewhere.
Why it Worked
Heineken created a sense of buzz and excitement around their brand. Furthermore, they created their own marketing channel, which can be used for future promotions. Simple, fun, creative and far from mainstream, this campaign was a success.
Have you considered using a non-mainstream channel for your content marketing initiatives?
2. Coke Zero’s Ugly Sweater Contest
Near the end of last year, Coke Zero set out on their own creative marketing strategy path by publicizing a virtual “Ugly Sweater Contest.” By accessing a specially created “Ugly Sweater Generator,” users were able to put their childhood nightmares and creativity to the grind.
Completed designs were made public and the winners were chosen by user votes; winners received actual copies of their creations.
The initiative was so successful that it shut down the site to do an overwhelming traffic level — if you’re going to be creative, make sure you’re prepared! However, this hiccup did not take away from the success of the campaign.
Why it Worked
Coke Zero played on the fun of the holidays. By creating a vote-dependent contest, they received high traffic levels inside a branded environment that spread their message and initiatives; talk about content marketing at its best.
What have you done to use your current community to bring in new followers and fans? Could a contest based on votes be the solution?
3. Chipotle’s Scarecrow Campaign
More along the lines of traditional content marketing with a twist, Chipotle created the Scarecrow campaign in 2013.
The campaign combined an animated short film with a mobile, interactive game for viewers. It touched on the subject of industrialized processed food and showed the negativities associated with it. At the same time, it highlighted its own, more sustainable alternative method of food production.
Why it Worked
Chipotle’s campaign touched on a controversial subject in a way that put viewers in the driver’s seat. It sparked hundreds of blog posts — all bringing attention back to the brand — and was viewed over 11 million times.
What are your thoughts on creating an interactive viewing experience instead of a text-based campaign?
4. Charmin’s Sit or Squat Tool
Charmin’s Sit or Squat Tool helps visitors find clean public toilets based on their locations. In the world of long commutes, business travel and a frantic rush to achieve the American dream — white picket fence, a new modular home in a good neighborhood, 2 kids and a dog — this seemingly simple tool goes above and beyond, while bringing a sense of simplicity and “rightness” to society.
Based on crowdsourcing, the app allows fans to review recent restroom stops, to add photographs and to help make finding a clean place to breathe simple. It’s also been a huge success.
Why it Works
In direct opposition with short-term content marketing campaigns, Charmin created a movement. This tool, based on fan interaction, brings the brand to life, while building a community of vested followers. It’s something that can continue into the future without hindrance.
How could you engage your community further? Is there a tool that’s not out there right now that you could stand behind to bring attention to your brand and usefulness to your target market?
5. Microsoft’s Child of the 90’s Campaign
Microsoft had a target audience in mind; then they went after members of it in full force. Their Child of the 90’s campaign brought back the memories so many of their young-adult consumers and potential consumers had locked away: Treasure Trolls, Lisa Frank, Wallet Chains and more. They used a simple commercial to reach a market that may have overlooked the brand for newer, more buzz-worthy trends.
Why it Worked
Fans want the opportunity to look back with rose-colored glasses. Remembering when things were simple is just as true for Millennials as it is for Baby Boomers. They reached an overlooked market by bringing up memories, establishing the fact that, while the brand is not the newest or flashiest trend, it’s still relevant to the younger market.
What matters most to your target market? How can you use what’s dear to them to reach out?
Think of the examples above as a springboard for your own marketing campaigns. How can you reach out to a new community while building brand recognition and appeal in 2014?
Remember, content marketing has no limits and carving a new path can lead to big results. Think big in 2014.
Michelle is a blogger and freelancer. She’s written about almost every topic under the sun, and loves constantly learning about new subjects and industries while she’s writing. In her spare time she enjoys spending time outdoors with her dogs. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.