Content Marketing 101: Champions of Better Content

Successful content marketers know that better content requires hard work, smart strategy, and creative ideas. They’re focused on the editorial mission, not sales. Above all, they have an attitude of service to their audience.

It’s not easy to be successful in content marketing. In fact, only 20 percent of respondents in our Annual Content Marketing Survey think their current content marketing efforts position them as a thought leader in their industry. Respondents widely believe content marketing is important, and nearly half think they need to improve their efforts to truly be a thought leader.

Previously we identified some big obstacles content marketers face in executing successful content marketing programs.

Now we’ve gathered some of our favorite fighters in the battle to produce better content. Let these “Content Marketing Champions” inspire and challenge your current content marketing efforts.


Volvo: The Epic Split

Last November, Volvo released a YouTube video starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and the “stability and precision of Volvo Dynamic Steering.” Van Damme didn’t talk about steering – he did “the most epic of splits” while straddling two Volvo Trucks driving in reverse. Volvo’s stunt paid off: The video has more than 75 million views on Youtube.

What helped Volvo win a major content marketing success?

  • Personality. Van Damme is a well-known martial artist and actor. Volvo used his personality and skill set to create an “epic” video for viewers to enjoy, regardless of whether those consumers were familiar with Volvo Trucks.
  • Shareability. The video lasts one minute and 16 seconds. It’s a simple, clean, continuous shot in front of a beautiful sunset. The accompanying song is angelic and triumphant. This is a video that feels like entertainment, not an ad for Volvo Trucks, which makes consumers more likely to share it with others.


Intelligentsia Coffee: DIY Drinks

Intelligentsia’s Brew Guides teach coffee lovers everywhere how to brew the perfect cup of joe under any circumstance. The free how-to instructions make this brand a valuable resource to java-lovers everywhere.

Why is their strategy so effective?

  • Accessibility. The Brew Guides are easy to read and understand, with clear directions and illustrations. They’re also easy to print or download. Best of all, the guides are free. Intelligentsia is focused on helping people make better coffee, not selling them a product.
  • Relevance. Intelligentsia taps into the needs of a specific audience by tailoring how-to instructions to specific brewing tools and processes. Their guides serve people who care about coffee bean quality and milk steaming technique. Intelligentsia knows their audience drinks coffee for the taste and the ritual, not (just) the caffeine.


Kevin Spacey: The Storyteller

Content Marketing World 2014 invited award-winning actor Kevin Spacey to deliver the keynote address – and he delivered. He charged content marketers to “tell better stories” that are honest, compelling, and challenge the status quo.

Here are a few of our favorite quotes by Spacey that urge content marketers to be better:

  • On Storytelling:

“The audience has spoken. They want stories. They’re dying for stories.”

“It has always been about the story. The story is everything, which means it’s our jobs to tell better stories.”

  • On Channels:

“The audience wants control. They want the freedom to binge.”

“Give people what they want, when they want it, at a reasonable price, and the chances are they won’t steal it.”

  • On Voice:

“Stay true to your brand voice, and the audience will respond to it with enthusiasm and passion.”

“A computer can make the same sounds that Eric Clapton makes with his guitar, but it’s not the same as when Eric Clapton does it.”


olympic medals

We hope you feel ready to make better content that people want to read, share, and use. But wait! What strategy will you choose to become your own Content Marketing Champion?

Will you create better content with a team of dedicated writers and editors? Will you curate better content with a savvy content marketer who can repurpose and recycle ideas? Or will you outsource better content to a trusted service that has a tradition of excellence?

Don’t fret – our next lesson in the Content Marketing 101 series will help you decide which strategy best fits your needs. (And in case you missed it, find out what better content looks like and what the obstacles are to make it.)

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