Creating Awareness With Content

Three inspi­ra­tional exam­ples of brands that gen­er­at­ed seri­ous aware­ness with their con­tent.

Erin Everhart By Erin Everhart from The Home Depot. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Con­sumers inter­act with a company’s con­tent before mak­ing a pur­chas­ing deci­sion more than ever. It’s also one of the biggest ways they find out about new com­pa­nies or prod­ucts. That puts a lot of pres­sure on mar­keters to cre­ate some­thing rel­e­vant and engag­ing. Still, we shouldn’t cre­ate con­tent just for the sake of cre­at­ing con­tent. Your con­tent needs to tell a sto­ry, and it needs to be tied back to your brand so con­sumers start relat­ing the con­tent their read­ing with the prod­ucts you’re sell­ing.

The assump­tion today is that all you need to do to be suc­cess­ful at con­tent mar­ket­ing, SEO, or real­ly any­thing dig­i­tal is cre­ate good con­tent. If you’re a big brand, that may be the case. You already have a fol­low­ing.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, if you aren’t in the top 1 per­cent of com­pa­nies imme­di­ate­ly rec­og­niz­able by con­sumers, cre­at­ing good con­tent just got a lot hard­er. Not only do you have to cre­ate some­thing that’s rel­e­vant, engag­ing, acces­si­ble, and share­able, you have to tar­get it to peo­ple who don’t know a thing about you.

How Do You Create Content If People Have No Idea Who You Are?

It real­ly isn’t hard to cre­ate con­tent that peo­ple want to share; just look at Buz­zFeed. You’d think the basic for­mu­la for any “good” piece of con­tent is an odd num­bered list that talks about a spe­cif­ic per­son­al­i­ty trait and visu­al­ized by GIFs.

Of course, this isn’t good con­tent. (Sor­ry, Buz­zFeed.)

Yes, good con­tent is share­able, but you don’t have to rely on lis­ti­cles to get shares. Last June, Buz­zSumo ana­lyzed 100 mil­lion arti­cles to see what types of con­tent con­sumers respond most to.

You have to take this into con­sid­er­a­tion when you’re cre­at­ing con­tent because if no one sees it, what’s the point?

But good con­tent also tells a sto­ry. It elic­its some sort of emo­tion. It encour­ages you to take some sort of action. It has a pur­pose. And, maybe most impor­tant­ly, it’s relat­ed to your brand or mis­sion.

Sure, there are steps to fol­low to make sure you cre­ate good con­tent that cre­ates aware­ness —research your tar­get audi­ence, cre­ate your mar­ket­ing per­sonas, brain­storm and iter­ate, launch, and report — but per­son­al­ly, I learn bet­ter from inspi­ra­tion. So, who’s done this well?

MahiFX – You vs. John Paulson

One of my favorite exam­ples of an unknown com­pa­ny that gen­er­at­ed seri­ous aware­ness with their con­tent was MahiFX, with their You vs. John Paul­son cam­paign in 2011, almost one year pri­or to launch­ing their online Forex trad­ing plat­form back in 2012.

Instead of putting up a stan­dard splash page while the plat­form was get­ting built, they launched an inter­ac­tive info­graph­ic on what would become their home page where users can com­pare how their salary com­pares to a high­er roller hedge fund man­ag­er.

(You can read the case study on Moz.) Why it works:

  • It was sim­ple enough to appeal to every­one.
  • It was spe­cif­ic enough to excite their tar­get audi­ence (poten­tial traders).
  • It was inher­ent­ly tied to their brand with­out being over pro­mo­tion­al.
  • It encour­aged peo­ple to take an action (sign up).


I’ve nev­er got­ten a Birch­box, but I’m in love with their con­tent strat­e­gy because they’ve pin­point­ed the one thing all mil­len­ni­al women fear and exploit it: the fear of miss­ing out.

Their Insta­gram is flood­ed with hap­py cus­tomers, give­aways, and last month’s box con­tents. And they’ve mas­tered the quick video tuto­ri­als.

But they also go way beyond skin deep by empow­er­ing women to have the some­times hard dis­cus­sions about beau­ty news and issues around the world. Does wear­ing make­up affect your self-esteem? Should women even be wear­ing make­up? How are women per­ceived dif­fer­ent­ly in oth­er cul­tures?
Why it works:

  • They tap into the basic human need of their tar­get audi­ence.
  • They mix short snip­pets with longer-form pieces.
  • They don’t rest on “what oth­er beau­ty com­pa­nies do.”

2012 Obama Campaign

OK, this isn’t entire­ly fair: Every­one should have known who Oba­ma was when his 2012 re-elec­tion came around, but how cam­paign man­ag­er Jim Messi­na and the team used data, con­tent, and social medi­ums to change Obama’s per­cep­tion is down­right remark­able.

Noth­ing was on acci­dent. They didn’t put out a sin­gle piece of con­tent that wasn’t sup­port­ed by data from the ini­tial tests they ran. Frankly, I don’t think there was a data point his cam­paign didn’t know about their vot­ers. They then took that data and cre­at­ed per­son­al­ized con­tent, from email mes­sages to land­ing pages.

But they also had fun with it. When Clint East­wood gave his infa­mous invis­i­ble guest speech at the RNC, even Obama’s team joined in on Twit­ter with jabs against East­wood.
Why it worked:

  • Every sin­gle deci­sion made was based on data.
  • Every piece of con­tent was per­son­al­ized.
  • They human­ized a pub­lic fig­ure to make him relat­able to every­one.

What are some of your favorite exam­ples of brands that have suc­cess­ful­ly cre­at­ed aware­ness with con­tent?

Erin Everhart

Written by Erin Everhart

Lead Manager, Digital Marketing - SEO, The Home Depot

Erin Everhart is an experienced digital strategist, content developer and search marketer. She's currently Lead Manager, Digital Marketing - SEO for The Home Depot and has previously worked agency-side for mid-sized business and Fortune 500 companies. She speaks regularly on digital strategy, content development and inbound marketing at conferences nationwide, including Pubcon, SMX and ClickZ Live.

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