It's easy to get the connection between content marketing and business-to-business brands.
B2B purchases are typically complex, so education is required to ensure prospects understand the benefits of the purchase. Blog posts, ebooks and webinars are tools well suited to moving a business customer through this type of sales cycle.
The link between content marketing and consumer brands, on the other hand, is not as obvious. Consumer brands tend to have relatively simple sales cycles.
Thirsty? Pick up a Perrier. Hungry? Grab a Kit Kat.
Therefore, it may seem there's less opportunity to use content marketing tactics for a consumer brand's story.
Much has been written about the content these brands are producing.
But another consumer brand that's been putting on a content marketing show of its own is S. Pellegrino.
In 2011 S. Pellegrino, the sparkling mineral water from Italy, along with its sister brand Acqua Panna, launched FineDiningLovers.com, a digital magazine for food enthusiasts around the world.
The site is filled with mouth-watering images of gourmet dishes and desserts. For foodies like me, it's nothing short of food porn. In fact, after every visit to the site, I want to fire up the gas stove or make a booking at a trendy Toronto restaurant.
For the uninitiated, the website contains a wide range of food-related content, including:
Recipes such as this keeper on 5+1 Ways To Cook Porcini Mushrooms:
Seasonal ideas including this short history of gingerbread:
For a marketer, there's definitely a lot to admire about the site beyond the appetizing images and food ideas.
1: An online hub
For one thing, S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna understand the importance of establishing an online hub and building from there.
The brands repurpose content from Fine Dining Lovers on a number of social media channels, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest. And a large number of their posts, tweets and images link back to Fine Dining Lovers, which increases traffic to the website while also strengthening the brands' relationship to food.
It's worth noting that S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna could have focused their content distribution efforts entirely on social media, rather than building their own website.
However, the brands understand they do not control social media platforms. (Facebook, for example, is notorious for changing its algorithm in a way that negatively affects the reach of a brand's page post.) Instead, they wisely invested in a digital platform that they own and control.
2: Know your niche
FineDiningLovers.com puts a spotlight on fine dining-and only fine dining-although it interprets the topic very broadly . . . and with a sense of humour.
You'll even find funny videos about food on the site such as this one on the most poetic way to eat a banana.
3: International brand = international content
S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna are international brands distributed in over 130 countries around the world. FineDiningLovers.com embraces the challenges of finding relevant content from each of these markets and uses this approach to its advantage.
Rather than focusing solely on Italy, where the brand originates, it finds content everywhere from Japan and South Asia to New Orleans and San Francisco to Ethiopia, Cape Town, Istanbul and Moscow. In fact, it's difficult to find a country or major city that isn't represented in the magazine.
Universal digital marketing principles
Not all consumer brands have the resources to develop and maintain a site as extensive as FineDiningLovers.com. Yet even if your budget is small, there are still lessons you can learn from S.Pellegrino.
Know your niche.
Establish an online hub.
Use content that appeals to all your markets.
These principles are universal across all forms of digital, content and social media marketing. And for good reason. Every marketer must keep control of its brand's online presence-you'll be glad you did the next time Facebook decides to reduce your page's posts in its news feed.
Disclosure: S. Pellegrino and Acqua Panna are Polaris Marketing & PR clients. We do not work on FineDiningLovers.com. I was not reimbursed for writing this post. Opinions are my own.