So, what are some examples of content strategy done well?
Before you hear what we think, take a moment to reflect on your own experiences.
Which businesses go beyond self-promotion and provide you with compelling, relevant information that can help you succeed? Which business sites are a breeze to navigate and seem to anticipate your next question before you do? Which sites do you visit regularly - not only learn about what's new today, but for reference? Which business sites have become a gathering place for their own particular digital tribe, where the discussion boards are full of questions and answers that matter to you and the comments that accompany blog posts can sometimes be as informative as the post itself?
Of course, the answers will vary depending on your interests and the industry you are involved in, but every site on your list likely shares a few things in common:
- You can find them at the top of a Google search for numerous keywords related to their area of expertise;
- You see them mentioned regularly in social media conversations;
- You probably feel at least a modicum of brand loyalty because their content is so damn useful to you. If you're already a customer, you feel like they're with you for the long haul. If you're not a customer, you're favorably inclined to consider their product or service when you make your decision.
These things aren't a coincidence: they are the result of a content strategy.
So, what do we like? Honestly, that's not terribly important, because you have your own list already. But since you ask, take a look at Kodak. Sure, having a brand name that literally defines photography in American pop culture - "Kodak moment," anyone? - means you don't have to worry much about product awareness, but that only gets you to the customer's door on the web; your content is what gets you invited in. And Kodak's content strategy delivers enough useful information to keep users coming back through every phase of the buying cycle - and beyond.
For shoppers, there's plenty of product information and user reviews to pore through. But as well-executed as that part of the site is, it's only the first link in a relationship chain that Kodak forges through customer support and community building. The content ranges from beginner to expert, and there is also information geared specifically for businesses. With plenty of tips, project ideas and opportunities to share and connect, the site provides an umbrella destination for anyone who makes digital photos and videos (i.e. pretty much all of us).
Another site that really gets it in terms of providing content to its audience is HubSpot. Because LyntonWeb is a HubSpot certified partner, this may sound like a shameless plug, but it isn't: the site is loaded with how-to information on inbound marketing, including a must-read blog and free, downloadable webinars featuring some of the leading voices in the industry. Seriously, you could spend weeks soaking up the content on this site and use what you learn to grow your business without ever spending a dime.
Of course, that's not HubSpot's goal - or Kodak's, for that matter - but by implementing a content strategy that puts your success first, these companies gains followers, influence, trust and, in the long run, customers.
A few others we like are Dell, Caribou Coffee, Approva, Intelladon and Ounce Labs. These sites serve different clienteles and different markets, but they all provide their audience with the content, navigation and tools that can generate leads, drive sales and build loyalty. And that is what content marketing is all about.