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?