Content Marketing & Curation – Lessons from the Big Brands

Lauren Owens - December 26, 2013

More and more, the big brands are taking to content marketing in a big way – creating offsite blogs that deliver brand experiences in new and exciting ways.  Here are some great examples of how the big brands are tackling content marketing and curation, as well as some tips for implementing great content marketing campaigns of your own.

Target Gives Readers a “Bullseye View”

Target’s blog, A Bullseye View invites readers into the world of Target. Whether it’s a video of a photo shoot for an upcoming campaign, tips for dressing up a little black dress, or photos of the boardroom response to the Target data breach, Target is giving users a new way to experience the brand – one that is helpful and timely while also staying true to the brand.

Banana Republic Delivers in Style

Fashion brands are taking a cue from glossy magazines and delivering editorial-style content on a variety of platforms. Banana Republic has turned to Flipboard to curate a magazine that combines fashion and lifestyle pieces from around the web, and to Tumblr to offer an insider’s perspective of their brand. This includes interviewing their Senior VP of Operations Roy Hunt, and posting sketches from their new collection.

Patagonia Lives the Dream

Patagonia knows what its customers want – to get outside. While it can’t transport them to a snowy mountaintop in Patagonia, it can inspire them get there. They do this through a blog called The Cleanest Line, an actual print newspaper called The Drift (which has a companion Tumblr blog), and countless other efforts including a short film, a branded Tumblr blog, and a presence on just about every social media channel available.

Virgin Mobile Goes Buzz Feed

Virgin Mobile knows who its customers are and what they want – to LOL, listen and share. So it delivers them Buzz Feed-style humor, new music and more on an offsite blog Virgin Mobile Feed.

Coke is Everywhere

Two years ago Coca Cola launched 2020, its commitment to “Content Excellence.” Two years later the company has a dizzying array of content and content vehicles – a content site dedicated to showcasing the “Coca Cola Journey,” a Spotify channel, a Tumblr blog, a short film by Ridley Scott and a ubiquitous social media presence.

The Takeaway

You don’t have to be Coke – or produce short films – to “win” at content marketing. You simply have to go where your audience is – Spotify, anyone? – and create the types of content your audience needs and wants, and may even share.

This requires a deep understanding of your audience, and knowledge of the tools and resources available to you.

Notice that of all the brands highlighted above, Banana Republic makes use of plug-and-play content platforms such as Flipboard and Tumblr. This doesn’t make participation easy – they still have to create great content for their Tumblr blog – but it does significantly reduce the barrier to entry.

Getting Started

Before you set a budget, think about what you’d like to do. You can dream big and scale down from there. Maybe you can’t get Ridley Scott to produce a short film for your brand, but you can spend a little money to produce a series of videos, or hire a photographer to produce some great, non-product-related photography.

The idea is to think outside the traditional advertising model and deploy content that is true to your brand and your target audience.

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