For years now I've kept tabs on what's been happening overseas in terms of social media and content marketing, collecting examples and case studies of individuals and companies that are leading the way in the space.
Now it's Australia's turn!
Content marketing in Australia has been picking up pace for a couple of years now. Google tells us the search trend for the term 'content marketing' is on the up, while according to one research report, spending on content marketing in Australia is set to increase by 61 per cent, with 12 per cent of respondents saying they will be 'significantly increasing' their budget this year.
Obviously this augurs well for the nascent content marketing 'industry' in Australia.
In the spirit of highlighting the positives locally, here are 11 excellent examples of content marketing from Australian brands (with a bonus three extra brand mentions at the end!).
What do you think? Have you got any others you'd like to add to the list?
I first wrote about TrinityP3 back in March last year when I interviewed Darren Woolley, the founder of TrinityP3 and key driver behind the brand's stellar content marketing efforts.
TrinityP3 is an independent strategic marketing management consultancy that assists marketers, advertisers and procurement with agency search and selection, agency engagement and alignment.
In the early days of Trinity P3, Darren's focus was mainly on trade media relations and B2B database marketing; today, while the company still maintains a growing database, most of Darren's focus is on the creation and distribution of content relevant to the marketing and advertising industry.
A well-maintained high quality blog sits at the heart of TrinityP3's content efforts, however the company also has a solid presence on SlideShare and YouTube, and is active across the likes of Twitter and LinkedIn.
If you're in the business of marketing professional services, you could do worse than keep an eye on what Mr D. Woolley is doing when it comes to content creation and social media.
Eco-friendly adventure travel company Intrepid Travel uses content and social media to connect and inspire its customers.
Its Intrepid Express Blog is all about "real travel, real traveller tales", and is jam-packed with photos and stories, travel ideas, tips and advice.
However, Intrepid has taken things a step further by entering into a partnership with The Perennial Plate – the filmmaking, travelling, sustainably-eating, chef and documentary-maker duo, Daniel Klein and Mirra Fine.
According to Intrepid's website:
Over 18 months, Daniel and Mirra will travel around the world with Intrepid, showcasing some of the most inspiring, intriguing and sustainable eating stories from around the world. Their culinary expeditions will take them to some of our most popular destinations, with tantalising taste treks through Japan, China, India, Sri Lanka, Spain, Morocco, Italy, Turkey, South Africa and Argentina.
Brilliant stuff, and I think this whole area of content partnerships is something we're going to see a lot more of in coming years, so at this stage, Intrepid are well ahead of the game.
The Perennial videos are notching up solid view counts, with the one below ('A Day in India') having been watched over a million times.
As you'd expect from a company that's focused on building a community of fans, followers and advocates of its brand and what it stands for, its efforts on social networks are also first class - it has over 147,000 likes (and lots of engagement) on its Facebook page, a solid following (35,000) on Twitter and, interestingly, some 760,00 people have them circled on Google+ (indicating that Google's social network is not the 'ghost town' some critics would have you believe!).
All of this makes Intrepid Travel a brand worth keeping an eye on when it comes to content marketing!
Women's activewear brand Lorna Jane continues to go from strength to strength in the content marketing stakes, both here in Australia and overseas where the brand is actively expanding.
What Lorna Jane does better than most brands is live (and effectively communicate) its philosophy, or reason for being - 'Move Nourish Believe'; so much so it has become a key content driver for the company.
Its standalone Move Nourish Believe website essentially acts as the brand's content hub - it features heaps of articles of interest and relevance to its target audience (i.e. it doesn't just bang on about Lorna Jane products but covers topics such as healthy eating, skincare, lifestyle and motivation, plus profiles of Lorna Jane 'active living advocates'); plus forums, videos, healthy recipes and details regarding Lorna Jane events.
On the social media front, Lorna Jane shows what it takes to build a community across platforms such as Facebook (close to 800,000 likes), Twitter (19,000 followers), YouTube (where its videos continue to rack up multiple of thousands of views), Tumblr (for daily doses of inspiration and motivation), Instagram (180,000+ followers) and Pinterest (17,000 followers).
The brand also has a free iPhone app that "Track your runs, walks and cycles via your iPhone GPS while you move to live an active life".
All in all a really classy marketing effort that, with a strong focus on social and content, genuinely adds value to the lives of its customers - a strategy that by all reports seems to be paying off for the brand.
In a video interview I recorded last year with Shawn Callahan from Melbourne-based 'corporate storytelling' consultancy Anecdote, he mentioned how blogging was critical in building awareness of the firm's expertise and developing relationships with prospective clients.
Indeed, today - coming up to nine years since it was first established - the Anecdote blog still acts as the 'engine room' of the company's overall marketing effort and provides the business not only with excellent Google 'juice' but also helps its partners to develop relationships with professional executives (read: potential customers) all around the world.
However, Anecdote doesn't just blog.
A monthly e-newsletter ('Anecdotally'), speaking engagements and whitepapers - along with the blog - form the core of the company's content strategy, while Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook all contribute along the way.
And then there is SlideShare. While Shawn has only uploaded six presentations on the slide sharing platform (with no uploads in recent years), most have thousands of views, with one ('The Essentials of Business Storytelling') attracting over 20,000 views. The content gift that keeps on giving, you could say!
The fact Shawn and the good folk from Anecdote have been maintaing a content-rich blog since 2004, potentially making it one of Australia's longest-running corporate blogs, gets a big tick from the PR Warrior!
Australian accounting software company MYOB made the decision last year to dig in and build a 'must-read' multi-author blog aimed fairly and squarely at the company's core target market - Australian small business.
Called 'The Pulse', the blog provides "news, views and ideas for your business" written by in-house staffers plus a solid roll-call of subject matter experts such as financial planner Liam Shorte, business coach Des Walsh, Natalie Giddings (marketing), Adam Turner (technology), social entrepreneur Melina Schamroth and leading blogger and digital strategist, Gavin Heaton.
The fact MYOB produces and commissions a regular stream of useful and informative articles shows great commitment to the cause.
However, more impressive is the company's decision to blog across a multitude of topics that are of interest and relevance to its audience, not just the obvious subjects such as accounting, tax and finance. The latter subjects are covered, of course, but the foresight to go beyond this and establish the blog as an information-rich small business resource is to be applauded.
(DISCLOSURE: I'm a regular contributor to the MYOB blog; this article, in which I list thought leaders on social media you should follow, had at time of writing racked up close to one thousand shares across social channels such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn - testament to the growing audience MYOB is attracting to its blog).
kikki.K, the Swedish-inspired retail chain that's home to all things stationery and home/office organisation, was established in 2001 by creative entrepreneur, Kristina Karlsson.
Today, the brand has over 70 boutique stores across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, plus an online boutique that services the rest of the world.
A stylish 'Inspiration' blog that reflects perfectly the style and substance of the kikki.K brand is the jewel in the brand's content crown; it's actively maintained and well structured in terms of specific categories (e.g. An Organised Life, Food Inspiration & Recipes, Styling & DIY Projects plus quick Q&A conversations with artistic individuals), while the Happiness Collaborative Project is a nice touch and comes from the heart of the brand's founder.
Extending the love of stylish stationery into the realm of social media, kikki.K also has a solid and, importantly, consistent presence across Facebook (52,000 likes), Twitter (8000 followers) and - naturally, given the visual appeal of the subject matter - Pinterest (8000 followers, well curated enhanced with copy, which is something you don't see often) and Instagram (15,000+ followers).
The brand has also tapped in to online publication platform ISSUU (although the content here skews promotional i.e. gift guides and look-books).
In essence, the Open Wealth Creation team of property specialists guide people step-by-step to build successful investment portfolios in the Australian market. Transparency via the relentless provision of relevant information - content that educates and empowers - has been the cornerstone of the company's content marketing strategy.
One of the reasons Open Wealth Creation's content efforts are having such a positive impact on the business is because the concept has been wholly embraced by founder and CEO, Cam McLellan (pictured).
Over the years Cam has amassed a substantial portfolio of commercial and residential property, and built a group of companies that employs over 100 team members and have been listed in five BRW fast growth lists. However, rather than 'hit the hippy trail' as Cam likes to say, he has committed himself to 'opening the kimono' and creating content that helps people better understand residential property investment in Australia.
Cam has written and self-published a book (from which he has also produced a free PDF mini-ebook), writes (with the help of his team) a regular blog (which includes articles and information-based videos), plus provides visitors to the Open Wealth Creation website with free access to a 13-part video education series (email required for the latter).
Does all this work? Cam says it does! Open's sales output has doubled and his office receives daily enquiries "that are all warm leads".
(DISCLOSURE: I worked with Cam and the team to help them develop and implement their content marketing strategy).
Let's not forget some of the big boys of Australia business who are also starting to flex their content marketing 'chops':
Give credit where credit's due, Telstra has been one of the leading lights when it comes to adopting social media for the enterprise (remember this Mashable article from 2009?).
Importantly, Telstra has maintained a corporate blog for many years, with posts written by a sweep of experts from within the organisation. The blog, called 'Telstra Exchange', covers technology, community issues and initiatives, as well as Telstra news.
The company has also produced
- case studies,
- audio podcasts,
- NEXT (newsletter for the enterprise)
- Reports (e.g. Towards a Clever Australia 2013)
- Ask an industry expert
Meanwhile, the brand's free magazine for small business - Smarter Business Ideas (sent regularly to 300,000 SMEs) - is a top notch content marketing initiative.
Whereas much of Telstra's content seems a little ad hoc in nature (but very extensive), Comm Bank's efforts appear more structured and focused.
The jewel of Comm Bank's content marketing is its Women in Focus initiative - "a community of women who are doing extraordinary things".
Women in Focus is brilliant, well thought out and executed, and is a genuine, active community, complete with forum ('Community Noticeboard'), events/event listing, publications and blogs, videos, Comm Bank Insights and social media channels. I also like the CommBank Entrepreneurs Hub, which contains a 'What Kind of Entrepreneur Are You?' video series.
Also of note, Comm Bank provides huge utility with its mobile apps, notably its Property Guide App, while its CAN portfolio of advice and tips is a valuable resource for the various stages of our lives.
Other initiatives include a thing called Signals ("Where you can learn about the spending patterns of other Australians just like you"). I'm not sure where this fits exactly in the overall scheme of things though :)
Netregistry provides online services such as web hosting, domain name registration and web design.
At the heart of Netregistry's content efforts is its well-maintained blog, which covers all things online marketing in a simple and sharp manner.
But wait, there's more (resources).
The company's stockpile of online videos is solid; I particularly like the way they've segmented them into relevant categories, along with transcripts.
Ditto with an e-book series, all nicely categorised for easy access.
Just in case you thought you had to be a big company or growing SME to do content marketing well, think again!
If you want to know how a professional services operator can build their personal brand via publishing platforms and social media, then look no further than Charles Badenach, a principal and private client adviser with the Shadforth Financial Group in Tasmania.
Where to start? Charles has cleverly built upon his social media and content marketing efforts, so much so that he has well and truly stamped himself as an authority in the financial planning space, not just in Tasmania but Australia generally.
For starters, there's Charles's blog which, along with a steady stream of news, is informative and written in a lively manner (very important with a somewhat dry topic such as personal finance).
His video efforts work well - a good mix of interviews with experts, clients with good stories to tell, plus Charles 'to camera' riffing on a particular topic of personal finance.
Have you got any other Aussie content marketing examples you'd like to add to this list?
Here are three other excellent examples of small business content marketing in Australia that should definitely make this 'awesome' list, but I've covered them before on this blog and in other forums - click on the links to be taken to in-depth VIDEO INTERVIEWS with representatives of each company:
- AUSTRALIAN WRITERS CENTRE - Why Valerie Khoo Rates Among the Best Content Marketers in Australia (and What You Can Learn From Her)
- FIREBRAND TALENT (awesome case study) - How to Use Blogging and Social Media to Grow Your Brand From Scratch
Read more on the MYOB Pulse Blog: 4 Companies Doing Content Marketing Right
UPDATE: I produce a podcast series called The PR Warrior Presents 'The Connected Brand' - episode 15 was dedicated to this article.
Check out the podcast series here.