Interruptive marketing—where businesses bombard potential customers with ads and promotions—is out, and content marketing—where businesses publish relevant content and media—is in. As such, businesses and brands have gone to great lengths to improve their content marketing game in the last year, and many companies have completely revamped their content marketing strategy.
In fact successful companies’ online marketing practices are now entirely customer-centric, focused on presenting content that is interesting and informative and appropriately timed rather than sales-oriented material foisted on customers. Here’s a look at six companies with the best content strategies of 2014 and what you can learn from them.
Chipotle, the Mexican grill company that offers burritos, tacos, and bowls, capitalized on the benefits of using videos for content marketing in the release of their 3 minute, 22 second short film in 2014. However, Chipotle didn’t just stop there. Instead, the video was part of a broader content marketing campaign they named the “Scarecrow,” and is a mobile game and website in addition to a short film.
Chipotle created both the film and game to bring light to the negative aspects of processed food, simultaneously naming Chipotle as a better, and more sustainable, option. The video has received more than 11 million views, and the game has received upwards of 400,000 downloads. Using multimedia, Chipotle advertised their product, connected with their customer base, provided something interesting and engaging, and created something that went viral.
AirBNB, the travel company that helps travelers connect with home and apartment owners for accommodations, improved their content marketing in two ways in 2014. First, like Chipotle, they created an awesome video, the difference being that AirBNB used the help of their customers, inviting them to create short clips showing a traveling piece of paper and to send the videos in to the AirBNB team. Once AirBNB had the clips, they created a short film, approximately four minutes long of paper airplanes, paper boats, origami, and other paper creations exploring the world. They not only created a film that inspires people to travel, they did so by engaging their customer base in a unique and interesting way.
The second reason AirBNB has one of the most epic content marketing campaigns of the year is its unique neighborhood guides. The guides are editorial-driven, beautifully laid out, and contain information that’s very relevant to the audience.
Qdoba, a Mexican grill that offers everything from burritos to nachos in a fast-food style, makes our list of content marketing epic examples from 2014 for their use of social media. While it’s often overlooked, social media is a crucial component of content marketing, and Qdoba did it right when they held a vote on their Facebook page. The contest allowed customers to vote for their new favorite Qdoba queso.
While a lot of companies hold votes or contests on their Facebook pages, Qdoba’s was particularly engaging as it showed the results in real time. This tiny feature of Qdoba’s vote energized Qdoba fans and customers, generated buzz, and showed how many people were engaged.
You know them for their commercials featuring adorable bears, but in 2014 Charmin got clever and created a mobile app appropriately (or inappropriately titled) “Sit or Squat,” which allows customers to find public toilets on the go. In addition to the app, there’s also a site customers can access.
Sure, the app is creative and clever, but its real brilliance resides in the fact that once a customer finds a public toilet, they can then rate it based on its sit-ability (if it’s a nice restroom), or if a person should opt to squat (if it’s not so nice) instead. Did we mention it’s brilliant?
No videos, no contests, just the exemplary taste blog, created by Williams–Sonoma. Filled with storytelling imagery and content evoking a lifestyle that includes Williams-Sonoma products,(bakeware, cookware, cutlery, kitchen organization products, etc.), taste provides customers with information about how to do everything from make brownies with raspberries to can your own tomatoes to smoke baby back ribs. With tantalizing, relevant headings that grab the readers’ attention like “recipes,” “entertain,” and “live,” the blog is perfectly organized, easy to navigate, and elevates photos of fresh fruits, veggies, baked goods, and gardens to the level of near-art.
British Airways makes our list of most epic content marketing examples of 2014 with their newest campaign #lookup, featuring children on posters who point every time a British Airways plane flies overhead. The poster not only features the child pointing at the plane, but shows the plane’s real flight number as well as the destination that the plane is arriving from. The #lookup hashtag encourages people to share the campaign via social media, and the project in itself has got a lot of people talking. The billboards provide neat information to consumers, while showing off their services and acting as a central asset in a broader campaign — a great example of cohesion between offline advertising and online content marketing.
Content Marketing Epic Examples from 2014 – What’s to Be Learned?
When it comes to content marketing, the companies that have done it right consistently deliver authentic stories, try to connect personally with consumers, use arresting visual content, and think creatively. Plenty of companies can check one or two of the aforementioned qualities off their list. For elite content marketers, they’ve trained themselves and their organizations to live them everyday. So can you.