4 Lessons in Content Creation from 6 Fortune 500 Companies

Content creation and marketing are the lifeblood of many companies. They successfully raise search rankings and improve the online presence of a brand through digital marketing.

It’s not always easy to get it right, though. The competition is fierce, and at times you can feel overwhelmed by how much further you have to go.

When that happens, don’t feel discouraged! Instead, look at some of the Fortune 500 companies that went from startup to wildly successful, thanks to their focus on content. They found success through well-worded and promoted content, and you can too!

To highlight the success of some of these organizations, the digital marketing company Single Grain, which has helped dozens of startups and Fortune 500 organizations to find reach success in content creation, ran an analysis of some of the top digital marketing campaigns on the Internet.

A strong emphasis on content creation was a key goal in their findings. Here’s what they found.

Mint: Spend the Time and Money on Quality Content

The niche of personal finance is terribly crowded, but Mint found a way to rise to the top. Not only did it develop a useful financial tracking tool that consumers loved, but Mint also put a lot of emphasis on the content it circulated.

“Mint committed to publishing hundreds of high-quality content pieces — from informative blog posts to viral attention-grabbing infographics,” says Eric Siu, co-founder of Single Grain. “As the result of its digital marketing efforts, the tool gained a massive online following before being sold to Intuit for a whopping $170 million.”

The biggest lesson was that although content creation and marketing can seem expensive and time-consuming, it can be worth every penny and every minute you put in. That’s what it takes to create high-quality content that will stand out from your competitors.

American Express: Allow User-Generated Sources

The credit card company American Express built a foundation not just on its services, but also on an information-sharing platform. The firm’s Open Forum website is a collaborative platform that allows guest authors to share insights and ideas about anything financial.

This content successfully raised American Express search rankings and branded it as a thought leader in the financial industry. Allowing collaboration on its site gives the firm free content, but it won’t accept every guest post.

Editors screen submissions carefully to make sure they meet preset quality standards. The site manages to maintain a high domain authority in this way. As a result, it’s at the top of search engines for financial and credit-related queries, and the business has managed to build a highly reputable brand.

The takeaway according to Siu is, “Good content marketing strategies draw on a range of user-generated sources to both grow online communities and minimize financial investment.”

Zappos: Make Your Content Measurable

The apparel site Zappos keeps its website content fresh, fun, and inviting with a diverse blog that appeals to the target audience. Blog categories are varied and run from company culture, lifestyle, charity events, and design ideas to style recommendations, weddings, and so much more.

There’s something for everyone on these pages, as is the case with the Zappos product catalog. The content creation is all paid for by Zappos, but the company is very intelligent about it.

It makes sure that the firm’s income is enough to sustain the content creation and that its online marketing is highly targeted so as to be as effective as possible. Zappos makes more money off of its content than it puts into it.

“Content marketing is the way of the future, but it must be managed appropriately to be effective,” says Siu, referring to the firm’s highly targeted content creation platform. “Online content marketing campaigns should strive to produce measurable results in proportion to the resources committed to them.”

Dollar Shave Club: Have Some Fun!

All the content on the Dollar Shave Club’s site, from the landing pages to the company’s video ads and blog posts, is entertaining and highly targeted to the firm’s audience.

The startup is one of the first subscription box services, which means it had a fresh idea designed for younger people. Dollar Shave decided to embrace this rather than try to fit the same serious, sexy, or corporate appeal of previously famous razor companies such as Gillette.

The firm took the challenge of content creation and allowed its personality to shine while answering the kinds of questions young men have wanted to know, such as: “Is it Bad to Pluck Nose Hairs with My Fingers?” and “Do I really Need to Wash My Hands After I Pee?”

“Don’t be afraid to have some fun! DSC doesn’t take itself too seriously (or at all seriously, for that matter),” says Siu to characterize the main takeaway from Dollar Shave’s content marketing campaigns. “They’ve made something as tedious as buying razors and shaving hilarious and entertaining. And that’s what stands out in people’s minds.”

Konica Minolta: Infuse the Content with Thought Leadership

Konica Minolta regularly calls on its executives to pen their own content for the company’s Business Innovation Center blog. It’s been a way to propel the company’s position as a thought leader in its industry and it can do the same for other companies that opt to include personal insights from their team. This approach to blogging also creates a more personable image for the company and humanizes the brand.

“We’ve received more positive feedback from the blog posts that my colleagues and I have posted and provided a way to put a face to our thought leadership position in innovation and technology,” states Ekta Sahasi, Vice President, Business Innovation Center North America.

Insightly: Create Separate Sections for Tips and Product News

So many blogs mix their product news and content that toots their own horn with the helpful advice-focused content. That leaves blog readers with the task of sifting through the product and company news that may not be their focus in order to scroll to the tips they are seeking.

You don’t want your blog readers to become frustrated. Instead, Insightly separates these two main functions of their blog with a clear menu selection as though there are two or more separate blogs. That way, if a reader wants to find tips, they can be connected to that valuable content in seconds. Plus, if they are really interested, they can click on the other area that offers company and promotional information.

Content creation should represent your personality while fitting in line with your company goals. Take it from the above organizations, which went from startup to wildly successful. Be consistent with your quality content, and you too could eventually be held to the same high standard.