Three successful content marketing campaigns reveal the importance of one key ingredient when it comes to crafting content that resonates with your customers.
A recent survey of more than 500 digital marketers found that most businesses publish content daily. So, why do some brands fail and others succeed at content marketing?
In this article, we’ll take a look at the finer details of what makes content marketing succeed. Then, we’ll share step-by-step instructions on how to create your own similar campaigns.
Audience research is the key ingredient to successful content marketing. In the examples below, you’ll learn how 3 companies rose above the competition by targeting highly-specific audiences.
Read below to discover how Four Seasons, Direct Advice for Dads, and Denny’s Restaurant make their content marketing a success.
Content Marketing Example 1: Four Seasons Magazine
The Four Seasons Resort Hotels chain knows their customers well. One glance at their blog tells the story of a business that’s paid attention to their customers for many years.
What’s extraordinary about their content is the way they’ve tailored it to serve the interests of so many different buyer personas. Despite the multiple personalities and lifestyles of their audience, they maintain a structure and brand messaging that sets a solid foundation.
For example, their blog, “Four Seasons Magazine,” begins with a choice of 3 categories: Discover, Taste, and Thrive.
The “Discover” section tailors content to readers who travel to experience a wide variety of activities, including surfing, golfing, and polo.
The Discover section doesn’t end with popular activity-related travel. Four Seasons Magazine also include new activities that are likely to appeal to the same crowd.
For example, “5 Experiences You Can Have Only With Four Seasons and NetJets” is a smartly-worded headline that speaks directly to this customer’s interests.
The blog’s “Taste” section appeals to customers seeking food and fun from around the world. It includes expected topics like “A Local’s Guide to Mexico City,” but doesn’t stop there.
As in the “Discover” section, “Taste” offers a balance of general interest topics alongside subjects tailored to specific niche audiences.
For example, Cognac, Instagram, and Truffle-hunting topics are balanced with more general content like location-based travel and food festivals.
Four Seasons keeps their social media simple by sharing personal messages that tell compelling stories.
For example, an image of a bartender topping off a refreshing drink is posting with the message “You never need an excuse to drink a Margarita.”
To create a Four-Seasons type of content strategy:
- Get to know your customers personally.
- Create a large database of detailed buyer personas.
- Offer compelling content to highly specific personas.
- Include a balance of general topics alongside highly-targeted content.
- Balance the wide variety of topics with consistent formatting, style, and brand messaging.
- Publish consistently and share across social media with personal comments.
The Four Seasons approach to content marketing is successful because they know their customers. Because of that, they’re able to publish articles that appeal to unique micro-niches. They combine that with a big-picture approach, and also offer content that appeals to mainstream customers.
This balances specific niche topics with mainstream subjects that appeal to everyone.
Content Marketing Example 2: Direct Advice for Dads
When HBF Health Insurance wanted to build a national audience of young families, they turned to Mahlab agency for help. Less than two years later, they’ve amassed over 65,000 Facebook followers and received international recognition and awards for the results.
Direct Advice for Dads (DAD) is a blog that offers information about fathering. Baby brain, relationships, and step-dads are among the popular topics covered.
DAD’s content strategy takes a head-on approach to addressing tough topics that most publishers avoid.
The blog confronts emotions and tricky issues with brutal honesty. This fills a gaping hole in the parenting market.
For example, “Some other guy is teaching my boys to ride bikes (and it hurts like hell)” is a first-person account of one man’s experience. He shares his story and explains how he resolved his issues in a healthy way.
Another taboo-busting article, “Do men lose their mates when they become dads?”, shares the fears and concerns of a new dad as he enters fatherhood.
Why did Direct Advice for Dads excel so rapidly? You might be inclined to think there was some amount of luck involved, but that’s not the case.
Mahlab agency began research at the early stages.
First, they identified an underserved gap among their key demographic - young families.
Next, they did extensive research and interviews. This helped them determine what content, style, and format would be most compelling to their readers.
Finally, their launch campaign targeted more than just dads. They also targeted moms, knowing moms would pass the link on to their friends and spouses.
Direct Advice for Dads is a great example of how extensive research can make your content marketing a success.
To create a DAD-style type of content strategy:
You don’t need a big ad agency to follow in DAD’s footsteps. Learn from their content marketing strategy and follow these steps:
- Begin by researching audiences to find a content niche that’s underserved.
- Conduct extensive buyer persona and market research.
- Use your research to plan content, develop your style, and promote to your target audience.
DAD proves that taking the time for extensive research and strategy prior to building your business is a smart move.
Content Marketing Example 3: Denny’s Restaurant
Denny’s approach to content marketing breaks all the rules. Their blog contains no beautiful images or articles that inform the reader. In fact, their entire content marketing campaign is built on memes and cartoons that many would consider juvenile.
In an interview with Adweek Magazine, Denny’s CMO John Dillon explains that the goal is to expand on the experience of their restaurants. So they create a “welcoming, comfortable place where family, friends and complete strangers can all come together and have fun conversations.”
Denny’s sets itself apart with content that aligns with their goal.
For example, their Tumblr-hosted blog is filled with silly memes meant to inspire laughter and light conversation.
Instead of leading you to a thought-provoking article, selecting a post brings you a larger image. There’s no article or further information to make you think or learn. The content stays true to its purpose of fun and doesn’t ask you to think or get serious.
Denny’s Twitter feed continues the quirkiness with images and comments that their customers find hilarious.
In addition to the blog, Denny’s hosts a separate website called “The Grand Slams.” The site offers video cartoon episodes with characters based on menu items from their Grand Slam breakfasts.
For example, “The Great Meat Debate” episode 23 is a parody of a political debate.
To create a Denny’s-style type of content strategy:
- Know your audience well. Humor can be risky, so proceed with caution and be sure your approach fits your audience.
- Play on the personality of your customers to create content that distracts them from the stress of everyday life.
- Incorporate a massive amount of visual and video content.
Denny’s approach to content marketing is risky, but they know what their customers respond to.
They’re able to create their own set of rules, thanks to a deep understanding what drives customers to their restaurants.
Audience Research Is the Key Ingredient to Successful Content Marketing
Examining the success of the Four Seasons, DAD blog, and Denny’s reveals one key ingredient: audience research.
Learn how to do effective audience research and make the most of tools that can help you.
Most importantly, get to know your customers personally. The time you spend in conversation with them offers insights that can skyrocket your content marketing efforts and set you ahead of the competition.