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How to Follow the Lead of the Most Powerful Content Marketers

How to Follow the Lead of the Most Powerful Content Marketers

In this infographic, learn from three companies that have taken content marketing to the next level.

Content marketing is an exciting new term for marketers, but it’s been a part of marketing from the beginning. Some companies, like Michelin, have been producing innovative content for over a century. The tire company is the creator of the Michelin Guides, which have given rise to Michelin Star ratings for restaurants. It’s the epitome of thinking outside the box—“Plug food to sell tires?”—and the guides have become a cultural phenomenon.

On the flipside, younger companies like GoPro and Red Bull allow users and sponsored celebrities to do the majority of the marketing for them. They emphasize user-generated content, which helps create a fanatical fan base while promoting the company. Wildly successful in their marketing efforts, both companies plan to have in-house media divisions that can stand on their own.

Companies can try to emulate the successes of these three brands by operating under the assumption that content is a “core mandate.” It takes patience and experimentation to find the right content marketing niche for your business, but once you find the right campaign, success will follow. Learn more about how these companies evolved and found their way in this infographic.

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What we can learn from Michelin’s The Michelin Guides

  • 1900: First edition, covering France, released
    • Written for motorists—3,000 cars registered in France at that time
    • Included information motorists would find useful
      • Gas stations
      • Mechanics
      • Hotels
    • Initially handed out for free
    • 400 pages
  • 1912: Over 600 pages
  • 1922: The price of the Guide was changed to 7 francs
  • 1926: Started the Michelin star ratings for restaurants
  • 1927: 990 pages
  • 1955: Included a “Bib Gourmand” category for moderately priced restaurants
  • Today
    • Country-specific guides are published across Europe
    • City-specific guides are available in the US and Japan
    • Michelin stars are benchmarks for cuisine of the highest quality
  • How it stands out
    • Niche audience: Fans and connoisseurs of food
    • Tells the story its way:
      • Written by anonymous inspectors
      • Passionate about food
      • Extremely discerning palates
    • Found the right platform: Book, website
    • Covers topics its audience wants to learn about:
      • The quality and consistency of the food served
      • The mastery of techniques of the chef
  • TAKEAWAYS: What marketers can learn from the Michelin Guide

    • Think outside the box—“Plug food to sell tires?”
    • Change your content as necessary to keep readers interested
    • Be consistent and publish on a regular basis
    • Provide a reliable quality of work readers can trust
    • Build a reputation as a thought leader and expert
    • Michelin Inspectors are required to have extensive education and experience in the culinary field
    • Provide excellence to your readers

What We Can Learn From GoPro

  • 2004: First camera debuted
    • Self-funded
      • Founder Nick Woodman invested $30,000
      • $35,000 from his mother
      • Two $100,000 investments from his father
    • Sold for about $30 each
  • 2005: Grossed $350,000 in sales
  • 2008: Exceeded $8 million in sales
  • 2005: Woodman appeared on QVC 3 times to sell the camera
  • 2010:
    • Revenue reaches $64 million
    • Sales and marketing spend: $13,860
  • 2012:
    • 2.3 million cameras sold
    • $521 million gross profit
    • Sales and marketing spend: $116,855
  • First quarter of 2014: Sales and marketing spend: $41,341
  • 2015:
    • 6.6 million cameras sold
    • $1.6 billion revenue
  • Social media standing
    • YouTube
      • Nearly 4.1 million subscribers
      • Over 1.2 billion views
      • At least 6,000 GoPro-tagged videos are uploaded every day
      • 388 videos from athletes sponsored by GoPro have more than 50 million views each
    • Facebook: 9.7 million likes
    • Instagram: 9.4 million followers
  • How it stands out
    • Emphasizes user-generated content
      • Buys the rights to users’ videos
      • Polishes them
      • Posts them to its owned channels for additional distribution
      • Inspires users to believe that they can “be the hero”
    • Relies on valuable partnerships
      • Well-known musicians
      • Over 130 professional athletes
        • Including Felix Baumgartner, of Red Bull Stratos fame
        • Also partners with NHL and ESPN
      • Travel brands
  • 17 Marriott hotels
  • Virgin America Airlines features a GoPro channel
  • TAKEAWAYS: What marketers can learn from GoPro
    • Create an enthusiastic user community
      • New app allows users to create and share video clips from a camera or mobile device without needing to download the full video
      • Lets people share their lives more quickly and easily
    • Partner with complementary brands
      • GoPro and Red Bull signed a multi-year, global partnership
      • Includes content production, distribution, cross-promotion and product innovation
    • Give customers their 15 minutes of fame by using user-generated content
      • Widely accepted due to the fact that it is both powerful and affordable
      • Relatable in a way that polished, directed, scripted advertising is not
    • Concentrate on your content
      • GoPro may create a sustainable media division like Red Bull Media House to monetize content

What We Can Learn From Red Bull

  • April 1, 1987: Red Bull Energy Drink was sold for the first time in Austria
  • 1988: The Red Bull Dolomitenmann is born
    • One of the toughest extreme sport relays on the planet
    • Combines mountain running, paragliding, kayaking, and mountain biking
  • 1992: The first Red Bull Flugtag
    • Teams build homemade, human-powered flying machines
    • Judged on their flight’s distance, creativity, and showmanship
  • 2007: Red Bull Media House opens in Europe
    • Expands to Hollywood and New York City
    • Home of Red Bull’s massive print, television, online, and feature film production
    • A totally separate division of the company
    • Focused on making amazing content
    • The goal is to become a profitable enterprise on its own
  • October 14, 2012: Red Bull Stratos
    • Felix Baumgartner jumped from 128,000 feet (24 miles) from one of the biggest helium balloons in history
    • Had more than 8 million live YouTube viewers
      • Video now has over 32,645,000 views
    • Had more than 8 million live YouTube viewers
    • In less than 40 minutes, post-event pictures on Facebook received:
      • Nearly 216,000 likes
  • 2015: 5.9 billion cans of Red Bull were sold in 169 countries
  • How it stands out
    • Introduced its content marketing around and about the product
    • Content is never directly correlated to the drink itself
    • Aligned its brand unequivocally and consistently with extreme sports and action
  • TAKEAWAYS: What marketers can learn from Red Bull
    • Marketing is the responsibility of the entire brand and every employee
    • Content is a “core mandate:” Make sure your content is inspired and effective
    • Take the concept of the brand as a media company literally
    • Support the core essence of why your brand exists
      • For Red Bull, it is literally “to give you wings”
    • Become a global media empire covering all media segments
      • Video
      • Mobile
      • Online
      • Print
    • The media may become profitable, but focus on creating brand value that offsets investments in paid advertising
    • Make content that audiences can consume any way they prefer


Don’t be afraid to experiment with your content marketing. Like these companies, a unique idea may become the next campaign that helps drive your company’s success.

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