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They always say “content is king” and for a number of good reasons. It cannot be denied that different content speaks to a multitude of audiences, encompassing all ages, races, and genders. With the internet being a tough market to crack, you may ask, how can my brand’s blog post or a quick tweet pack a punch?

The best branding strategists know how to play the content marketing game. The most nuanced brands on the web seem to have mastered the art of drawing in audiences through clever posts, images and video. They embrace the idea that content marketing is a key pillar of their public persona. Here’s a list of some of the brands whose innovative techniques in content marketing set them apart from the rest.

Add humor. You don’t need to sound serious all the time.

Audiences enjoy witty content every now and then. The same monotonous, overly polished style of branding will bore people in the long-run. Jokes are more easily remembered, especially on social media. While other companies are afraid to take this risk, brands like Charmin hit the ball out of the park. Who would’ve thought this toilet paper would gain such a huge following on social media? Its Twitter presence is something you shouldn’t miss out on too.

Old Spice is another brand that is well known for incorporating wacky and ridiculous humor into its marketing content. Sometimes, these guys have no filter, but people love it. They continue to dominate viral marketing and are one of the names synonymous with memorable content.

A hard working man’s work is never done working hard, man.

A post shared by Old Spice (@oldspice) on

Identify your target audience and craft content specifically for them

They key to creating effective content is to fully understand the group of people you want to reach. Hitting the bull’s-eye when targeting audiences is a tricky thing so you have to do your homework first. According to an article on Forbes, “The better you know your audience, the more effectively you can create appealing content ideas, make formats decisions, handle positioning and placement, and promote the content.”

Intel’s online publication iQ is a great example.The team changed up its previous tactic of constantly churning out content. Instead, it switched gears from quantity to quality by putting out fewer pieces of content, but ones which the producers thought would resonate better with the audience.

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Luke Kintigh, Intel’s global content and media strategist, has for marketers who want to practice this method. He says, “You can do this by pulling insights and data to shift your budget around and reflect performance.”

GE is also another brand that has invested into specific content. GE’s marketing team has positioned the company as a storytelling brand with content crafted to align with its “imagination at work” slogan.

Meltwater shares how GE succeeded in taking technical content that was once intimidating to casual readers and turned it into stories that were relatable to all kinds of audiences, ranging from geeks to average readers. Another plus for GE was that it shared stories as videos.

The team would present content in various forms and aim to reach different markets. Examples include the “Breakthrough” series with National Geographic which featured some Hollywood celebrities that would talk about scientific breakthroughs in their labs, as well as The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon’s “Fallonventions,” in which they showcase mind-blowing inventions by kids.

Plan a distribution strategy

What’s the use of painstakingly creating high quality content without knowing how you’ll make it reach the right audience? Surely you wouldn’t want all your efforts to go down the drain, so you have to think of of an effective distribution strategy that breaks down the fundamentals of how you’ll actually get people to see, click, read, or watch – and of course, eventually purchase your products or services.

These days, when marketing depends a lot on online promotions, you need to bring the content to audiences so they can find it. Newscred points out:

“Remember, there’s no best-practice formula for content distribution. There’s only the best formula for your brand, which you’ll arrive at based on your content, audience, goals, analysis, and ongoing optimization.”

Cosmetics brand Elizabeth Arden, through a multi-platform digital campaign, pays tribute to its eponymous founder by providing a personalized and fresh take on the consumer experience.

With their main demographic being active and professional women, the content is aimed at inspiring and encouraging them with Liz’s famous quote to “go out and make their mark” just the way she did. Liz was featured across different digital platforms and marketing programs, even lending her voice to consumer e-mails as well as providing content and advice on the brand’s international websites.

Most celebrities these days are walking brands themselves. It isn’t a surprise when some of them turn to content marketing. Singer Lana del Ray’s team is a bunch of brilliant masterminds in this field. Her Tumblr account is a way for her fans be updated on her latest albums and projects, so when it was launched in 2014, the first posts were just GIFs from her music video “West Coast.”

Not long after, that post garnered more than 20,000 Tumblr notes. Because her fans are mostly millennials who love Tumblr, she effectively built a fan community on the platform – a smart move indeed.

How-to content and detailed quick guides

This is one strategy that is becoming more popular by the minute as audiences eagerly share this kind of content. Videos are usually the common method used but this can be tricky. It usually takes a lot of time and creativity to come up with an effective campaign.

The American clothing retailer Anthropologie knew just the right recipe for reaching its target market. And we literally mean recipe. The blog’s DIY drink recipes quickly became a favorite among their followers. They also feature other recipes and crafts.

One cool aspect about it is that these weren’t created to obviously drive sales, instead these seasonal videos were a trendy way to feature drinks of various flavors and ingredients that anyone can concoct. Think, enjoying these delectable refreshments while decked out in fashionable outfits – definitely Instagram worthy. NYE cocktails, anyone?

The thing about guides is that they’re super helpful and that’s why they often trend. Another great example is Intelligentsia Coffee’s brew guides. Whether you want to learn how to brew in a French Press or Chemex, the steps matched with beautiful photography makes one crave coffee.

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Create shareable visuals

Have you ever seen an eye-catching post in your feed that made you want to share it on your wall as well? Visual content marketing is a growing trend and top brands use this method to capture attention. Graphics are a great way to tell people about your company, boost awareness, and drive traffic without having to resort to long, wordy posts. Like they say, a picture paints a thousand words.

Starbucks has been a trailblazer when it comes to putting out aesthetically pleasing visuals. Many people have been obsessed with taking flat lay photos of their coffee combined with other items thanks to inspiration from Starbucks. The brand has a massive social media following and it always manages to stay true to what the company is all about.

Optical illusion: stare at the Iced #PSL long enough, and the 🌼 field becomes a 🎃 patch. Regram: @damericano

A post shared by Starbucks Coffee ☕ (@starbucks) on


From Nike’s motivational “Just do it” posts to Beats by Dr. Dre’s cool visuals coupled with short videos and images of celebrities using the products, the list goes on. Visual content marketing is a creative way to keep audiences engaged, as a 2017 study discovered people retain 65 percent of information gathered from visuals three days later.

Avoid overselling your brand

This is a common mistake that a lot of brands make, even some of the biggest names. But those who understand the ins and outs of content marketing know all too well that the best way to “sell” is by avoiding constant self-promotion.

You might think it undermines the entire goal of building brand awareness, but think of it this way: if a salesman incessantly followed you around and kept on shoving brochures in your face, wouldn’t you find that annoying? Of course you would. The truth is, nobody wants to be sold to. Nobody likes product-driven content every single time.

It’s important that you start creating and sharing content that inspires, guides, educates or brightens their day. You’re not asking for anything in return, you just want to impart a message sincerely. This strategy creates brand loyalists in the long run. Forbes writes:

”The point of content marketing is NOT to swamp people with ads or pitches; it’s to give useful, relevant information.”

Whole Foods Market practices this by educating, helping, and inspiring customers. You rarely see them post promos online. Instead they aim to brand the company as a lifestyle choice more than a grocery store. Whole Foods’ Instagram account is full of photos of scrumptious and healthy dishes. The effect? It’ll encourage people to be more conscious, cook healthy meals, and purchase ingredients from the store.

Image credits: Business 2 Community, ebyline