While many marketers discuss content marketing, the number of brands with sustainable programs that yield business results, is less plentiful. There are several components of a successful content marketing program — including content, process and strategy. Here are three examples of brands with elements of a successful program and possible areas of opportunity for increasing impact.

1) Liberty Mutual’s Content Broadens Conversation
Liberty Mutual’s Responsibility Project (shown below) stands out for using content to expand the conversation with its consumer beyond the brand’s commercial message. The bulk of competitor brands in Liberty’s category follow a “character-focused” narrative — everyone from Progressive’s Flo to Allstate’s Mayhem.

These characters, and their back stories, can be entertaining, but it takes more than a brand’s latest ad campaign to create, and sustain, ongoing consumer engagement. No matter how popular the campaign, consumers will eventually lose interest.

Marketers must understand their brands and audiences well enough to start broader conversations that get, and keep, consumer attention. Liberty Mutual’s content engage in “what it means to do the right thing.” The site quickly notes the right thing isn’t always black and white. This statement helps humanize Liberty Mutual in an industry not known for being overly emotional — and it helps prompt a discussion.

Area of Opportunity? Based on the frequency of content being published, it’s not clear if Liberty Mutual has an editorial process in place. An editorial process ensures steady, ongoing content that’s continually tailored to the audiences needs. This process also ensures content is created efficiently and has metrics in place to show the impact the Responsibility Project has on Liberty Mutual’s larger business strategy.

2) Redbull’s Process Turns Beverage Brand into Media Company
A scan of Redbull’s U.S. home page, its YouTube Channel or even its media room (shown below) does not turn up the words beverage or drink. In fact, were it not for the brand’s logo, these sites would appear to be more like lifestyle media than a beverage brand’s online presence. The level of content is impressive as the brand’s goal is to become a seamless part of its consumers’ extreme lifestyles.

To fuel these sites, as well as an offline magazine and other content initiatives, it is estimated Redbull spends 200,000 hours annually just capturing video. This impressive statistic is part of a significant investment in owned media. Redbull’s commitment to a culture of constant content involves a level of persistence that speaks to an editorial process that ensures content is published as efficiently as possible.

Area of Opportunity? The broad, constant conversation Redbull has started with its audience is an impressive part of a well-defined editorial process. But it’s possible the brand’s editorial process is not “closed-loop.” The importance of analytics in content marketing cannot be understated. Data from Redbull’s efforts online and offline can help improve the process and the content. It also connects their effort directly to the business of selling energy drinks.

3) Intel’s Brand Strategy Is All About Me (and you)
A string of content marketing projects from Intel show a clear strategy that ties back to its brand.

It started with the Facebook Video project, Museum of Me. Facebook users give Intel access to their profiles and Intel effortlessly serves up the online video equivalent of a stroll through a museum. Each video is dedicated to each user’s Facebook profile. The videos are shared well beyond Facebook by users who wanted to show off their profile in video form.

What About Me is a similar project — leveraging the popularity of infographics and Pinterest to try and rival the impact of Museum of Me. Facebook users playing along receive an infographic detailing their content focus on Facebook based, once again, on their profile information.

Soundplay represents a more product-focused campaign, tapping into gaming and music to help launch a new Intel product. The creative tie-in indirectly reinforces Intel while engaging the consumer most likely to need their product — inside a computer capable of making, or consuming, games and music.

While the above projects are not sustainable, Intel is smart to turn consumer interest into content. It’s IQ from Intel that learns from these brand-focused content marketing efforts and turns it into a potentially broader conversation and more sustainable project.

IQ from Intel curates content across three areas of editorial focus: life, media and planet to “narrate the impact of technology on our lives” and “connect readers to the trends and discussions that are moving our planet forward.”

The project could be driven by insight the brand uncovered through its campaign projects. Its editorial focus and staff shows a commitment to sustaining this site that was not possible in earlier efforts. It is a dynamic execution that should help sustain engagement and drive return visits.

Area of Opportunity? Even IQ from Intel shows a clear connection to Intel’s brand strategy. But as IQ from Intel is in beta, it is not clear if there is an editorial strategy in place to ensure an ongoing, broader conversation is established and sustained with the site’s target audience.

Build, Test and Learn to Succeed
All three brands highlighted above offer marketers examples of content marketing best practices. With the right editorial components in place across content, process and strategy, brands be able to build a foundation on which they can grow their content marketing program.

Optimized over time, these marketers will join the growing field of brands with sustainable programs that yield business results.

:: David Germano, vice president, content marketing






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