As inbound marketers, you might say we give thanks to our customers all year 'round. After all, our entire philosophy rests on creating customer-centric content. But how thankful, really, are your customers for the content you serve up to them? Are you really preparing a feast your customers will "Oooh" and "Aaaah" over? Or are you serving them something they can get anywhere, something that's not particularly special or worth celebrating in any way?
It's certainly worth taking a good, hard look at your content to examine whether your customers actually feel thankful for it. So, how can you tell? First, look at whether anyone is actually saying, "Thanks!" A "thank you" in content marketing terms could look like social sharing, direct Twitter comments about certain pieces of content, reviews left on your Yelp page or blog comments.
If you don't see evidence that folks feel grateful for your content, how do you turn that around? One of the best ways is to find content people are thankful for. Search for things like "best content marketing examples" or "content marketing awards" to see examples of content that gets noticed and publicly rewarded or think back on content you've shared with others. Looking back on 2013, here are some pieces of content I distinctly remember sharing with friends and colleagues.
Why I'm Thankful: "Follow the Frog" is a Rainforest Alliance content campaign that blew me away the first time I saw it. I immediately shared it with marketing friends who work in the non-profit and public sectors, as well as content friends who specialize in video. The concept is funny, stylish, and rings true in that oh-so-perfect way. And it turns out I'm not the only one who feels this way. "Follow the Frog" got tons of love online, including a nod from the prestigious TED "Ads Worth Spreading" initiative. (Follow that link to watch the video.)
Why I'm Thankful: I don't usually feel particularly grateful for brand-sponsored ads that show up in my Facebook newsfeed, but Tiffany & Co. is one brand that makes itself as welcome in my feed as my actual friends. This app, which I was able to send to my phone directly from Facebook, was worth at least half an hour of fun. I was able to "try on" different styles of rings by taking a picture of my own hand and use the app to super-impose a custom-fitted image of a T & Co. ring on my finger. For a piece of marketing content, this app packs a big punch as it's both useful and entertaining. Thank you, Tiffany & Co!
Why I'm Thankful: This simply delightful employee send-off from Velocity Partners' Creative Director Doug Kessler is one of my favorite blog posts of the year. While I could have named virtually anything Velocity writes (I love it all!) as an example of content I'm thankful for, this particular blog post—if I'm being honest—is the one I shared the most with my friends, marketers and non-marketers alike. In classic Velocity style, this is a blog post that holds nothing back and is, at its core, full of heart and soul.
If reading this list has inspired anything, I hope it's been the desire to create content that gets on lists like these. And the reward for doing that goes way beyond just glory—it extends far into the future, when the customers you have now will still be with you, along with scads of new ones you've acquired along the way.
What content are you thankful for? Share in the comments below!
Stephanie Kapera is a Strategic Accounts Manager for Kuno Creative and writes about content marketing, buyer persona development and inbound marketing strategy for Brand & Capture. She lives and works in Raleigh, NC.