5 Real-Life Lessons About Content Marketing

Barista in Cafe
Content marketing can sometimes feel like a complicated beast. With so many forms of digital content it’s not easy to figure out what works best for your brand. Trying your hand at video, dabbling in new social media strategies and writing valuable content for your audience takes time and means researching your customers thoroughly. Here are 5 real life marketing lessons from brands that have taken a risk that’s paid off.

Video is a powerful way to create engaging brand content
The Victorian Metro Trains video marketing campaign ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ is still one of the most virally successful marketing campaigns globally. Viewers all over the world have seen the tiny cartoon characters killing themselves in terrible and unfortunate circumstances. And it’s all for a good cause. Metro wanted Australians to be more careful around trains and needed to create awareness to help prevent unnecessary deaths and injury. To get people to take notice, they had to try something unique. Working with McCann, they were able to create a highly effective video campaign that asked people to respond by making a pledge to be safer.

After the video was released it became an instant viral hit, topping charts all around the world and even climbing up the iTunes rankings. A smartphone game was created and parody versions of the song were made. The campaign triumphed above and beyond expectations and saved lives in the process.
Today the Dumb Ways to Die campaign remains the most shared public service campaign in history.
Watch the story behind the Metro campaign at McCann — Dumb Ways to Die.

For affordable, professional video production and VSEO that gets viewing results, call us to setup your free planning meeting with our videographer.

UGC – Let the audience tell their own stories
User Generated Content is huge! And the reason it’s big is it’s amassing lots of participants, making it a winning marketing strategy for many brands, not least of all Tourism Australia.
I could write an entire post on the brilliant marketing behind Tourism Australian — and I wouldn’t be the first to do it, but instead I’ll focus on their incredible social media efforts.

Tourism Australia
Credit: Search Engine Watch

In 2014, the Tourism Australia Facebook page was the most popular destination page in the world.
The marketing strategy doesn’t miss a beat and the ‘try anything’ mentality has certainly been paying off. Tourism Australia made headline with their 2013 commercial ‘where the bloody hell are you’ — and whilst it may have ruffled a few feathers over the pond, it hasn’t stopped them testing ideas and trying new things, something any content marketing team should aspire to.

The latest success has come via the form of user generated content (UGC). Australia.com visitors are being asked to upload photos they’ve taken of places in Australia. Sounds simple, almost too simple — but it’s worked to the tune of millions of uploads and followers. The Australia.com Facebook page has 7,827,323 likes as I write this, and the photography is stunning.
What the team does so well is collate UGC, and by doing so they build a community of brand ambassadors who share, comment and talk to each other about how amazing Australia is. It essentially markets itself because of the clever strategy and framework created by the marketing team. If you want the inside info from the horse’s mouth – read it on Search Engine Watch.

Australia.com Instagram

Highly targeted content and social media marketing
It’s time to talk about the household undies label that your best mates want their kid to be the face of. Yep, it’s Bonds. Successful for over 100 years, Bonds just keep getting better at selling underwear, and their marketing team has a massive role to play in that success. Bonds have so much going on in their marketing arsenal that we can learn from, but I’ve taken just a few snippets to use an examples.

Bonds have managed to keep Australian tennis hero and all round good guy Pat Rafter as a brand ambassador for years, and now they’re using blogger influencers and other Aussie heroes to champion socks and underwear. The clever use of social influencers can be seen throughout the content marketing output, from social to their printed and digital magazine.

This mini article featuring blogger Pauline Eaborn is featured in the May edition of ‘the brief’. The tongue-in-cheek titled magazine is clever and full of content for their target markets. In the latest issue there’s a cut-out mother’s day card, stories from Aussie icons and lots of bright, bold images of their products.

Bonds really know how to target men, as well as women. Their ‘very comfy undies’ strapline has been taken quite literally in their video series talking to men about exactly what goes on in their downstairs.

Bonds relate to modern families, especially mums — they have their eye on the people pulling the family purse strings and target them with just the right content.
Bonds use their social media profiles to connect to products and invite viewers to shop the look. Everything is connected, easy to find and really well photographed. It’s a holistic marketing strategy that is very difficult to pick holes in.

Websites don’t have to cost the earth
Ecommerce has made it possible to set up a business with very little money to get you started, whether you hire a designer or not. Building a website doesn’t have to be an expensive and stressful experience, and with the right people and the right environment it can actually be hugely enjoyable.

Most modern websites come with all the bells and whistles, including design, security, shopping cart tools, CMS and social plug ins, making it easy for brands to manage content creation and updating in-house. Use apps, plugins, and services like MailChimp to deliver a seamless service to your customers — use your website as your central content hub. Get great SEO advice from third parties and make sure your site is being discovered by your target audience — you want to have a sales environment that’s user and sales-friendly.

New South Wales Central Coast brand, The Critical Slide Society, are an inspirational young clothing company with global success behind them. The surfer/artist founders Jim Mitchell and Sam Coombes have created a lifestyle brand with quality products and brilliant content marketing. TCSS used Shopify to create their site, but there are lots of alternatives to choose from depending on your requirements (WordPress with Woocommerce is great for ecommerce too). Check out TCSS for website inspiration and make sure you take note of the great work they’ve done with their blog.

Investing more money in content creation, less on web development, can pay off big time and leave you with a brand to be proud of. Make sure you choose an ecommerce website that you can easily control and manage yourself.It is also important to embrace offline customer experience, like the Kyle store, to bring your brand to life.

eCommerce mover & shaker
Credit: TCSS

Stand out even if it means being controversial
Aussies love taking the mickey and poking fun at each other, and a bit of controversy never goes astray. That’s why characters who set tongues wagging are a great content marketing tactics. Sam Kekovic – love him, or love to hate him, the man’s a legend.
Don’t be un-Australian is the Meat and Livestock Australia Day campaign that even vegetarians like myself can’t help but giggle at. This ad campaign is all kinds of wrong, but Australia knows what it means when Sam Kekovic appears on the screen. It’s lamb time.

But in all seriousness, what can marketers take from this? Controversy and humour make great viral campaigns. In fact, this is really about emotion. Kekovic makes you laugh, and he makes some people really, really angry. But every Australian knows who he is, and every thong wearing, singlet slinging bloke and sheila knows that lamb is a traditional dish served on Australia Day. And that’s working out pretty well for Australia Meat and Livestock sales.

These five real life content marketing lessons can be used to drive your content strategy in a new direction, or breathe some life into stale output. The best piece of real life advice would be to test ideas, to try and not be afraid to fail. Do something different. Do anything.

Patrick Foster, guest ecommerce writer & marketer
Patrick Foster guest eCommerce writer
Ecommerce marketer with 10+ years in the industry. I’m currently writing as a side hustle – I love to create content for entrepreneurs and business owners that helps them succeed in digital.