The old adage "you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar" holds true for digital marketers today. This is especially true for the technology industry, where the "honey" is valuable content that makes understanding technology, and its application, easy for consumers.
We're in a time of unprecedented growth and innovation. That's where the need for strong content marketing comes in! Content marketing is your ace in the hole when it comes to delighting customers and attracting new ones. Below are three great examples of content marketing initiatives that, when emulated, can bring success to your business as well.
1. Speak to your brand's area of expertise
GE's ecomagination site is brand journalism at its finest. Launched in 2005, ecomagination's content speaks directly to the brand's greater purpose, turning traditionally complex environmental subjects, like clean technology and sustainable infrastructure, into digestible topics. From zero-energy buildings to the potential for wind power, GE combines journalistic pieces with shorter posts that speak to the company's achievements and goals when it comes to resource efficiency.
Beyond informing consumers and educating readers, ecomagination's greater mission is to deliver valuable insights to key stakeholders and partners that share in GE's pursuit of green energy solutions. The site positions GE as a thought leader when it comes to the reduction of greenhouse gas, water use and the improvement of energy-efficient operations.
Tip: Identify your area of expertise, and create content that voices your brand's ultimate business and social objectives. Tout your performance by producing or licensing content that aligns with your brand's overall mission and purpose.
2. Humanize your brand
If your computer broke down in the early days of personal electronics, you packed it up and sent it back to the manufacturer for repair. To solve for this frustrating process and create a more personal, hands-on experience, Apple developed a retail concept complete with free in-store workshops, youth programs and individual lessons for existing customers.
Apple-using industry experts are frequent guest speakers at retail locations. By playing host to successful, well-respected individuals who use their products in daily life, Apple is cleverly aligning their brand with the notion of success, positioning themselves as thought leaders in a variety of industries. Last year, Apple hosted painter and illustrator William Low at their west village retail location, where he addressed his acceptance of digital media as an artist in an evolving landscape.
These unique offerings help customers to better understand their Apple products, providing them with tools for optimal use. Furthermore, the in-person element heightens Apple's visibility, humanizing the brand through direct employee-to-consumer interaction.
Tip: What can you learn from Apple's retail strategy? You don't have to build out a full retail offering in order to follow their lead. In fact, it's possible to take a page from Apple's strategy by creating exclusive online tutorials, Webinars or instructional videos that educate your consumers and highlight the advantages of your products. Want to attract brand evangelists but don't have the budget or brand cache to attract industry leaders for free? Try featuring your own consumers in videos. This requires far fewer resources than hiring professional talent, and guarantees you'll get authentic, from-the-heart testimonials that highlight your strengths and speak directly to your audience.
3. Inspire creativity; get your consumers involved
In an effort to capitalize on the increasing popularity of mobile as a global platform, Mozilla Firefox launched Firefox Flicks, a crowd sourced content marketing campaign that calls upon users to create their own videos on the subject of the mobile web.
Through this campaign Firefox succeeds in a variety of ways. First, the campaign lays the foundation for the promotion of their latest mobile operating system, Firefox OS. Next, it leverages their social consumer base, encouraging them to create on-brand, promotional content. Lastly, the campaign speaks to their credibility by partnering with industry-leading judges, including: Catherine Ogilvie, marketing general manager for Europe, the Middle East and Asia at Dolby, Robert Harvey, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Panavision and Edward Norton, famed actor, director and producer.
Prizes are distributed throughout the entire contest run, creating multiple chances for consumers to win, which in turn increases the likelihood of participation. Entrants have the opportunity to win cash, gift bags with Firefox swag and the opportunity to have their original film produced by the judges using professional equipment.
Tip: Stay on top of industry trends, and leverage your knowledge of innovation and the marketplace to create engaging content marketing strategies that leverage this insight. Launch new initiatives or services in tandem with crowd-sourced contests; in doing so you'll automatically generate free buzz around your product offerings. Remember to create engaging and fun incentives when it comes to contests. This will generate more entries and result in increased social sharing and participation over time. Firefox successfully leveraged the rise of mobile when promoting their new operating system, creating a fun, user-driven contest that has rallied support and generated buzz.
As a technology company, you have an incredible opportunity to open up the lines of communication with your customers, share your knowledge, and solve problems with, and for, your consumers. Take the actions highlighted above, and you'll be well on your way to using content marketing as a powerful tool to grow your business.
A version of this post first appeared on The Bureau, NewsCred's content marketing news portal.