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Content and Competitive Advantage: What Content Marketers Can Learn from the World Series

Content and Competitive Advantage: What Content Marketers Can Learn from the World Series

This post is the fifth in a five-part blog series centered on the digital marketing topics that we most frequently discuss with our brand customers. Read on!

As I type, excitement surrounding the World Series is present all over the city of Boston (Brightcove's hometown). We're a city that loves sports, all of our sports teams (go Lobsters!), but the Red Sox making it to the World Series is a really big deal--especially when you consider the disheartening 2012 season us fans were forced to endure. Professional sports, of any kind, and the athletes that excel within the industry are awe-inspiring. I'm intrigued by people (normal humans, really) who reach the highest echelons of an incredibly competitive, physically taxing field. And, well, World Series teams are really just the best of the best.

The Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals are in the race for the biggest prize in baseball for many reasons: athletic talent, a love for the game, the teams' coaching staffs, team management and more. But when it comes down to it, the two teams are on baseball's world stage because each player and the teams as units embraced any and every competitive advantage that they could this season, i.e. hitting power, speed and agility, good health, etc. Some of these factors are in the control of the teams and individual athletes, others are innate or environment-driven. Either way, they require hard work and dedication to maintain.

Competitive advantage in marketing can be viewed in the same way. Some brands are blessed with certain assets and attributes, while others they have to work very hard to achieve. But, as marketers, it's all about using the tools that you have at your disposal for the biggest benefit. And owned content is one of the most valuable, most powerful competitive advantages--all because brands have control over its failure or success.

Content--whether it's a video, a blog post, an infographic, a social media update, a meme, a Pinterest board, etc.--offers brands an opportunity to tell their story in an authentic, entertaining, informative manner. Other than a stellar earned media hit that 100% extols the values of a brand (and those can be few and far between), there is nothing better for brand affinity than well executed content. If you have something to say: conceptualize it, create it, self-publish it and promote it. And like anything in life, business--or sports--make a commitment to it. Don't mail it in. Here are three great examples of brands that really "get" using content for competitive advantage:

  • Oracle Eloqua- Eloqua is a marketing automation tool, so it makes sense that the company does content marketing well. But, the breadth of the resources the company offers on its website and social properties is impressive any way you slice it, from its "Modern Marketing Essentials" library of helpful marketing and content planning tools, the integration of contextual video across its website and a robust blog, Eloqua does a tremendous job of making its online properties hubs of valuable information.
  • HubSpot-The king of inbound marketing needs no introduction. HubSpot practices what it preaches with an arsenal of content that educates, entertains and delights.
  • PUMA- We talk about PUMA a lot--but it's worthy of the praise. Its deployment of video is fantastic; but, the brand also produces a variety of content about its Creative Art Network, and initiative to promote creative initiatives globally--making its website a destination for people who might not be looking to purchase athletic apparel (but might, while they're there).

What other brands are using content to competitive advantage? I'd love to hear from you in the comments. Oh, and, go Red Sox!