Probably the Content Marketing was used for the first time by the brothers Michelin. The brothers invented the pneumatic tires but they had a problem. In Paris most owners of a car were only driving in Paris where the roads were not to bad. So why should they buy pneumatic tyres because in Paris is everything.

Michelin
The brothers Michelin started the restaurant guide (Michelin Guide) and collected all very good restaurants outside of Paris. Now the car owners had reason to drive outside of Paris. And as the roads outside of Paris were quite bad there was a reason to buy pneumatic tyres. So Michelins tyre business was growing and besides of that their restaurant guide became the standard for haute cuisine.

More background you can find on the following movie.

Lego
There is a company who makes plastic bricks. If you put them together it is an excellent toy for children (and grownups). Generations grew up with Lego but product is quite easy to produce and so too copy.

So Lego created stories around their plastic bricks. Stories in the form of amusement parks, movies and games (for platforms like PlayStation ans Xbox).

The positive side effect is that the stories generates extra income. Actually it is the oposit of companies like Disney who have content as a core business and create the toys based the stories (mostly sold a license)

RedBull
Probably RedBull is one of the first movers who introduced energy drinks in Europe (found in Thailand if I am correct) but the reason that we all know Redbull is because of their visibility in high performance/high risks sports. RedBull gives you wings is the story. If you see RedBull’s website and online TV-channel you would almost forget that it is about an energy drink.

Red-Bull-Stratos

Coca Cola
Coca Cola likes their consumers to generate the conversations. It is called their Liquid & Linked content strategy.

It is well explained in the following movie:

Saxo bank
A little different example is Saxo Bank. Saxo Bank is an online stockbroker who created tradingfloor.com.

This a platform that enables traders to discuss their trading. And as you understand these advices leads to more trading for which you can use Saxo Bank.

Albert Heijn
Albert Heijn (AH) is a leading supermarket chain in the Netherlands. It is part of Ahold and also the base of Ahold. Quiet some time ago started publishing a free magazin with all kind of usefull tips for cooking. Tips who are really appreciated by the user. But to prepare the food you need to buy ingredients. To make it easier Allerhande already prepared a shopping list for AH off course. Besides of that I expect Allerhande added some unique ingredients that you can only by in AH.

I don’t think AH invented this way of Content Marketing but they definitely made it big in the Netherlands.

Unbounce
The Noob guide was introduced by Unbounce (a SaaS supplier of Landingpages). In Online Marketing it is very hard to take the right actions. Unbounce introduced the Noob guide, which is a guideline of actions you should take. With Online Marketing landing pages are important to convert the visitor. All actions in the Noob guide lead to a landingpage. And as mentioned Unbounce delivers these Landingpages.

The blog
Most straight forward example is the blog. Many people think that starting a blog is the same as content marketing. Off course a blog is a tool for content marketing but it is about the content. The content needs to engage your audience and preferable extend it with a new audience so a potential audience for your product but in a way you move this audience a small step in the direction of buying your product.

I hope this post give you some idea’s to setup your own stories and based on this an own content marketing strategy.

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