7 Lessons We Can Learn From Big Brands Using Content Marketing

Big brands are diving into content marketing. They’re clunky beasts with colossal budgets. But more budget doesn’t mean more success. Some attempts are quite simply, pants. Others are incredible. So what can big brands teach us about content marketing? Here’s 7 lessons we can learn.

Let users personalise your content – Volkswagen – onething.com

7 Things we can learn form big brands to improve our content marketingVolkswagen’s new site onething.com is brilliant! It seems VW have realised that people don’t watch their TV adverts. They’re not relevant. Their audience want something that speaks to them. Something that makes a connection.

onething.com gets visitors to enter the one song, one place, one food, one kiss, one sports team and one movie that they love. Then it personalises a film with their inputs.

Most of it’s success is novelty value, I guess. But surely there’s value in personalisation? If nothing else, they’re spending time with your company, and building a bond with you.

Really understand your personas – P&G – SuperSavvyMe

7 Things we can learn form big brands to improve our content marketingP&G have been very effective at targeting mums with their portal SuperSavvyMe. They’ve really honed down into their persona of a mother. Kids. Beauty. Cooking. Cleaning.  They’ve got some really on-topic articles like this “30 minute time-for-me escapes”. Then they’ve got coupons on the site to promote their products. This helps P&G track the ROI of their website.

The more you get into the brain of your target audience, the more you can connect with them.

Actually create or collate content – Pepsi – Pepsi Pulse

PepsiPepsi’s content marketing efforts have royally failed. Despite having an enormous budget, and millions of “likes” on the Facebook page. Their site Pepsi Pulse, is devoid of content. Each post is only getting ~10 “likes”. Even their blockbuster Beyonce post only received 143 “likes” at time of writing. It looks like they’ve tried to emulate something similar to the Virgin Mobile Live site. The difference is that Virgin keeps posting great, share-worthy content. Whereas Pepsi just pushes brand messages like “Live for Now”.

Your content can’t be vacuous. There’s got to be value somewhere. If it doesn’t entertain, inform or “wow” people, your content marketing will just be another Pepsi.

Try out different forms of content – Confused.com

Price comparison site Confused.com have really rocket-charged their content marketing. Their site is jam-packed with blogs, guides, apps, news, tools, calculators, articles, games, infographics and videos.  If you’ve got the budget, try a range of content. Then find what works best for you.  Confused.com created an infographic on “the most confusing road signs ever”, and got over 2000 shares. Whereas their most popular blog article has only 179 shares. In response, Confused.com are creating more infographics.

If you can test different forms of content, do so. You’ll see what’s most effective.

Avoid talking about yourself – GE – Ecomagination

GE has launched a site called ecomagination. It’s a thought-leadership blog for green living and green technology. It has 95,000 likes on Facebook, but most content struggles to get more than 10 likes. Their content appears to revolve too much around themselves. It’s more of a press release site than anything else.

They could do so much better if changed the style of articles. They could showcase awe-inspiring news. And then mention that they created the technology behind it. Your content needs to inspire your audience. Few people care about your company. Or your products. Your customers care about how you can solve their problems. Don’t make GE’s mistake. 

Integrate your products into great content – General Mills – Tablespoon.com

General Mills created Tablespoon.com. It’s stuffed with tasty recipes and treats. It’s beautiful. They’ve been imaginative at integrating their products into content. Here, they combined hot chocolate with their cereal brands. It’s great example of how they can “soft sell” through content marketing. If you can promote your own products while creating content people want, then you’re onto a winner.

Create evergreen content – Colgate – Dental Heath Centre

Colgate’s Oral Health Centre is an excellent resource about dental health. It’s a trusted source of medical advice. It answers people’s questions. The content doesn’t go out of date and will always be useful. Create evergreen content, and your customers will get value from it for years and years.


Big brands have embraced content marketing, but they’re as prone to mistakes as the rest of us. If we can learn lessons from them, we’re better for it. Our content marketing can be insanely good and we can avoid expensive disasters.

Do you disagree with above? Have you seen any amazing or awful examples of big brands using content marketing? Comment below!

Author Bio: Alex Clifford is Content Marketing Executive at Virally. Virally empowers marketers to run hosted content marketing campaigns, make their content more social, and gain deeper insights when their content goes viral. Visit Virally’s blog for more tips on content marketing.

1 Response

  1. Rank Watch says:

    A very simple and a unique guide. Really helpful for all those looking for some serious get-in in the social media world for their brand promotion and engagement. I really loved the topic about confused.com. They are very diverse and so is their content structure. A good follow-up and learning tool.

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