Nearly every major company has embraced custom content as a means to build brand awareness and form relationships with customers. According to the Custom Content Council, 78 percent of Chief Marketing Officers think custom content is the future of marketing, and the majority believe it’s more effective than traditional advertising, direct mail or public relations.
First of all, it helps to know that “content” is a catch-all term for a wide range of “creative assets” companies might use to put themselves out there – blog articles (like this one), white papers, Facebook posts, tweets, videos, infographics, print magazines, etc. But simply creating content and hoping it gets noticed isn’t going to move the needle. On the overcrowded Internet, the only voices who are heard are the ones who offer something truly worth the audience’s time. This is what’s known as high-value content.
Generally speaking, high-value content is something you produce that your target audience finds especially interesting or useful. It’s not about tooting your own horn; it’s about solving your audience’s problems. More importantly, high-value content is something that they’re eager to share – by emailing it to their coworkers, linking to it, reposting it, retweeting it … whatever. The payoff is two-fold: First, adding high-value content to your web site boosts your ranking on search engines; secondly, everyone who sees your helpful branded content is one step closer to becoming a loyal customer.
I could go on, but in the spirit of helping, I’ll share some real-life examples of what high value content actually looks like. Here are 5 diverse examples from some industry-leading companies.
- Fed-Ex has a separate web site focused on helping small businesses win customers and boost their profits. Importantly, few, if any, articles say anything about Fed-Ex shipping services.
- Panera Bread’s Pinterest page contains a variety of boards that have little to do with Panera’s menu. Rather, they follow themes that promote the culture Panera seeks to exude – from heart-healthy exercises to recipes for wholesome meals.
- In this infographic, Dell offers compelling statistics from a global study it commissioned about home-based workers. It’s not selling computers, but it certainly provides information of interest to Dell’s customers.
- With Rosetta Stone TV, the language learning company’s YouTube channel goes beyond instructional videos to explore exciting world destinations and offer complementary travel tips.
- As you’d expect, Whole Foods uses its Facebook page to post yummy recipes, but they also engage their audience in meaningful discussions about organic foods, GMOs and other hot topics.
As these examples show, great content marketing relies on great design and great writing. But most of all, it takes a commitment to SELL less and HELP more.