Content marketing has been a hot topic for a few years now. Yet many companies still struggle to execute it effectively.
So what are the big name brands – the trailblazers – doing that the rest are not? And what can we learn from them that we can start using straight away to save on costs and get the most from our marketing spend?
1. Blog like Hubspot
From April to October 2018, Hubspot increased traffic to their blog by 45%.
There are hundreds of marketing software companies out there, but one that most of us have at least heard the name of is Hubspot. There is a good reason for this.
Hubspot takes content marketing very seriously, especially when it comes to blogging.
They write in-depth about topics their visitors care about – marketing, sales, customer service and industry trends. They make it educational and relatable. They have thousands of pieces of content including free eBooks, templates, infographics and marketing kits that people can download.
It’s no surprise then that their blog receives 4.5 million monthly subscribers.
What can you learn from Hubspot?
At least two things. Firstly, they really show the power of providing educational content that isn’t overly promotional. This strategy attracts a following and makes you eminently more findable on Google.
Google themselves estimate that 71% of B2B researchers start with a generic search. And I’m willing to bet that most generic marketing or sales searches will bring up a Hubspot blog post.
The second take-away is that content needs to be structured. After 10 years of blogging, Hubspot found that their visitor numbers had actually stagnated. The reason? They had lots of content but no structure to it. People struggled to find anything.
Hubspot went back to the drawing board. They delved deep into the data. They reorganised content by topics. They improved their methods of tracking what content was attracting the most visitors and which key words people were Googling. It’s doing this that helped them improve their traffic flow.
2. Build trust like Santander
Launched in 2016, Santander’s Prosper and Thrive website drew 200,000 social engagements in its first year, and has attracted more than two million visitors.
Younger generations, such as millennials, are a highly coveted group for financial institutions. They are, after all, the future. But they are unreceptive to traditional messaging from banks, and to make matters worse, the financial crisis also left many of them highly skeptical of the industry in general.
To reach out to them, Santander launched their Prosper and Thrive content hub. They refresh the website with a constant flow of articles about saving money, budgeting, renting, first-time mortgages, overcoming debt problems and more. In other words they address the concerns of young people.
This content marketing strategy has been a huge success. Santander tracked the number of new accounts opened as a direct result of Prosper and Thrive – in the first year it notched up 12 times its forecasted customer acquisition activity.
What can you learn from Santander?
Simply put, content marketing is a powerful way to open the door to audiences that are traditionally hard to engage.
The bank concentrated a lot of their effort in using brief financial and lifestyle advice to nurture new relationships and begin rebuilding trust with a ‘lost’ generation.
And this the key thing. Content marketing is a trust building machine. No matter how your business contacts its target audience – whether by blog, infographic, email, social media – the simple act of not being overtly promotional, of offering educational content, makes people less skeptical about your business.
3. Quantify effectiveness like Cisco
In 2008, Cisco used content marketing and social media strategies to save USD 100,000 on a product launch.
A decade ago there was a lot of skepticism about the power of social media and content creation. Yet, instead of using a traditional product launch – extensive print ads and a glitzy event – Cisco decided to launch a new router using only social media platforms.
According to Social Media Examiner, this meant utilising 22 blogs, 108 Twitter feeds, 79 Facebook groups, 2,000 YouTube videos and a launch event in Second Life, an online game.
The result was that they had 90 times more people at their launch event than normal. The number of press articles about the product increased by a factor of three. Overall, the launch cost just one sixth of previous launches.
What can you learn from Cisco?
The most obvious take-away is the remarkable power of using social media to get your word out there. Sometimes companies create online content and are just satisfied to email it and stick it on a blog. But this is fairly restrictive in terms of audience.
So don’t forget to make impressions on relevant social media platforms as well. We are missing out if we don’t utilise at least some of the most obvious ones such as YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.
Just as important is the need to measure the ROI. Otherwise, it’s tricky to know if your marketing strategy is working.
Cisco did this really well. They found that their online launch created more than 40 million impressions and led to the generation of an additional 1,000 blog posts beyond their own. It was only by keeping track of these impressions that the company could calculate just how cost-saving this brave (at the time) marketing decision really had been.
Think big, even if you’re small
Of course, not every company has the resources to create mammoth content marketing campaigns.
But this is why it’s important to make the most of the resources you do have. By creating a strong content strategy and employing the help of experts in content creation, you can achieve far more through your marketing.