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A story told well is worth its weight in gold

7 June 2016 Article by Susan Young

At its heart, good content marketing is about telling stories.

But not just any story – it needs to be your story, told in a way that’s never been done before.

Here are some of my favourite examples of brands that have created something valuable, relevant, and consistently useful to a very specific audience – and, in my mind at least, serve as proof that content marketing done right can open hearts, minds and wallets.

Bacardi’s graphic novel

One recent campaign I’ve fallen in love with is Bacardi’s graphic novel. Bacardi wanted to share their epic brand story and history with 20-something-year old guys, but soon realised there were a few obstacles standing in their way.

Most 20-somethings won’t consume anything that’s not on a smartphone or tablet. And most of them don’t want a history lesson. So Bacardi teamed up with with online magazine Vice to help transform their rich and colourful history into an action-packed graphic novel.

So far so simple, but here’s the genius bit. Their partnership with Vice enabled them to leverage their blogger network, exclusively releasing the final graphic novel one page per blogger at a time. This Dickensian technique meant the novel was downloaded 50,000 times on bacardi.com, with a reach of 700 million.

Microsoft Stories

Now, onto an example about technology – and oxytocin. Apparently, a good story prompts the body to release oxytocin, the ‘feel-good’ chemical. Microsoft produces software. And there’s nothing particularly feel-good about that – or is there? Microsoft thinks there can be, and their Microsoft Stories blog proves it.

This somewhat old-school, geeky company has put together a world class content creation team who are making beautiful, interactive and inspiring content from the inside out. Their team of five has a nose for sniffing out incredible human-experience stories of challenge, triumph and redemption that really pull at the heart strings – and get the oxytocin flowing.

At one point, while watching a story about how NFL hero Steve Gleason is battling ALS, I found myself almost thinking of switching from Apple… and then I came to my senses. 

Red Bull Stratos

And finally, an example from our favourite Austrian energy drink. Red Bull is renowned for its exceptional marketing activities, so it’s hardly surprising that it features amongst my top three.

It has around 30 different multi-media channels and social networks, giving fans multiple options to view their content in a huge range of different formats – and it’s particularly good at repurposing content.

The content in this case was the Stratos project, which saw Felix Baumgartner jump into the record books from the edge of space. Among other things, the mission itself was repurposed as blog posts, a gallery of images and videos which include interviews with the project team, and also show the capsule, weather conditions and Felix’s equipment, interactive infographics hosted on the Stratos

Microsite, and the event streamed live via their Youtube channel to 8 million people. Not to mention content that was posted via the Stratos Facebook and Twitter networks. One event, one billion uses. Now that’s content marketing done right.

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