Over the past few years, I’ve tried bringing in examples of content that businesses and others can create and share as part of an inbound marketing initiative. This year, I tried something more along the lines of my scavenger hunt approach and gave students this assignment for an in-class activity in early September.
We had already talked about these various types of content, so I felt like students would understand what to look for.
Find one example of the each of the following types of content being used by brands (B2B or B2C or nonprofits, doesn’t matter which) to provide helpful information to customers and/or to tell the brand story.
Copy and paste the link in to your response in a comment to this WordPress post on the class blog.
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You’re looking for branded content. Using Google will probably be the fastest way to find examples, But you can also just visit websites of brands you like, or check out their social streams, and find many of these examples.
Video (Can be YouTube or other)
Slide deck (Use Slideshare)
Ebook (more likely to be professional services, health and fitness coaching)
White Paper (this will mostly likely be B2B)
Online magazine (or article that tells story about history of the brand)
How-To Guide or Quick Tip related to the product
How To Guide or Quick Tip related to the general activity the customer would be interested in
- Not specific to the product or service itself.
Recipe that tells you how to use the product
Photo with a quote
My Thoughts, Post Assignment
With rare exceptions, undergraduate students don’t comprehend how e-books, “white papers” and slide presentations can be used for business marketing.
When we discussed white papers in class before the assignment, one student acknowledged that creating white papers was part of her job the previous summer. I was thrilled to have an actual live example of how these fit into the marketing plan. Unfortunately, white papers were described as “boring.”
The students who were working in the classroom mostly needed help finding the white papers and ebooks. Those who searched independently typically brought in less-than-great examples because they found them in white paper aggregators, rather than in the context of a business website. In the future, I would give them examples of specific brands using white papers and ebooks and and narrow the scope of their search.
I had the students present their examples in class so we could talk about them. Most had examples from brands they understood (food, fashion and similar consumer products).
I think this is a useful exercise and I’ll use it again. But, unfortunately, as with most assignments I need to add more specific instructions. Metaphorically speaking, I’m a forest-person. Students right now are very focused on trees and how to identify trees and need a map to find their way through the forest.