In my last post, I called out examples of marketers including Nissan, Pepsi and the Standard that are getting it right when it comes to creating brand content, and shared a few ways we’re repositioning the Xerox XRX +0.9% brand through content, like the launch of HealthBizDecoded.com, a new web hub we created for people in the business of healthcare. Wearing the hat of publisher is a major shift in the way we traditionally approach marketing and communications. Change is never easy and every day we’re learning what works and what doesn’t. Most of all we’re willing to experiment, to fail and to try again – all with the objective to shift legacy perceptions of Xerox and associate our story with content that connects. A few of our takeaways:
Know your purpose. Decide what you want to achieve with your branded content and how it ladders up to your big- picture marketing strategy. Are you there to inform, educate, entertain? Purpose will vary from brand to brand, but what’s most important is that what you do is believable and relevant—and it doesn’t sell to your audience.
The New York Stock Exchange nails this. At 225 years old, the NYSE is impressively embracing new brand journalism with its magazine-like site The Big Stage. Its purpose is to inform and inspire and it certainly does that for me, as an investor and an executive looking to freshen up another legacy brand. With great visuals, profiles, and Q& As featuring NYSE-listed companies and their executives, The Big Stage gives readers a more personal way into financial news beyond the stock ticker. This makes this long-lived brand more relevant than ever.
Be relevant to your audience. Speaking of relevance, it’s important to ask who will receive and care about your content. What are their concerns and why should they care what a marketer has to say? Adobe’s CMO.com, a site aimed at informing senior marketing executives, has relevance down to a science. Editors curate top stories daily from leading business and marketing trade publications, in addition to publishing original, interviews and thought pieces. This smart content is spot-on for my peers and me and makes CMO.com an important part of our daily media diet.
Create quality content. Branded content showcases thought leadership. So how do we differentiate our brands in an increasingly commoditized world? By demonstrating our expertise and engaging our audience in a way that is accessible and brand-authentic.
Creating Clutter-Busting Branded Content
How to Balance Motherhood and Career (if You’re Not Marissa Mayer)
Forbes Leadership Forum
Behind The Brand: CMO Christa Carone Explains Xerox’s ‘Innovative Spirit’
McDonald’s Canada does a nice job of this with its “Our Food Your Questions” site, where the company answers consumer questions like “what kind of beef do you use to make beef patty?” and “do you use any filler on your chicken nuggets?” The site demonstrates that McDonald’s is transparent and credible.
Tap seasoned editorial talent. There’s a lot of chatter about the brand “newsroom” but it’s absolutely essential to think like a publisher with an editor leading the way. We’ve tapped a former journalist—a former AP staffer— to oversee a team of writers and videographers to run our content sites. It’s still early days but we’ve directed our editor to approach the role with a tough but fair eye.
Being nimble is important, too. Former journalists know how to react quickly to breaking news and events. I wouldn’t be surprised if a former journalist was part of the Oreo team that seized the moment during the Super Bowl with that attention-grabbing “You can still dunk in the dark” Tweet.
Share content widely. This is one of those – duh, but of course–tips. Yet, an important reminder to share and share alike across all of your owned media – and to give it extra pushes through paid and earned. If it’s really great content, don’t you want it everyone to enjoy it? For example, Procter & Gamble PG 0% got more mileage out of its “Best Job” Olympic campaign featuring mothers of Olympic athletes by releasing video snippets of the effort on YouTube well before the launch of the broader campaign. Forrester says 45 million people watched the videos.
Creating purposeful, relevant content with a seasoned editor who knows quality and understands distribution is key to succeeding as a content marketer. And, speaking of success, figure out how you’re measuring it. Stick with your goals. And, if you’re not meeting them, be like any good editor. Find a new angle and a different way of telling the story.