How Big Brands Are Using 2013 ‘s Top Content Marketing Strategies: Part 1

Earlier this year we wrote about the top 10 content marketing trends to watch for in 2013 and each week we share tips on how to employ our favorite content marketing tactics, so what’s next? How about a list of brands taking their content marketing above and beyond by using some of these techniques and strategies!

The list below tells you why these brands stand out and which content marketing tactic or trend they excel at. With a little guidance from them (and us!) you can incorporate any of these techniques into your own content marketing plan, too.

Here’s the first part of a two-part series highlighting how some of today’s top brands are effectively using 2013’s top content marketing strategies…

1. Whole Foods 

Natural food store giant Whole Foods doesn’t stop at providing its shoppers with a wealth of natural, organic and health food options — their content marketing strategy is bigger and juicier than any other grocers we’ve seen! Their company blog, “Whole Story“, covers recipes, health news, social responsibility, sustainability tips and everything else you can imagine their community may be interested in.

With contributors varying between staffers, health experts, suppliers, producers and marketplace employees, they’re champions of employee branding — putting their employees at the front lines, allowing them to share their unique knowledge and showcase their passion for what they do inside and outside of the marketplace. 

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When you think Intuit, a few things probably come to mind: finances, taxes, money, bills… But don’t stress — Intuit really puts the fun in small business finance with their blog, “Small Business Blog“.

What makes their blog stand out from other SMB blogs? Community driven content! They answer the questions their users and readers need to know — adding value to their content and keeping their readers coming back for more.

Directed towards small and medium-sized business owners, entrepreneurs and anyone else who may need some guidance when it comes to handling their money, they cover everything a business owner may need, including tax tips, environmental responsibility, the hiring process, marketing and small business management.

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3. Verizon

With a number of big name and smaller pop-up cellular service providers out there, it can be difficult for brands to differentiate themselves from their competitors. Besides sales, promotions and carrying the latest gadgets, how can these providers attract and retain customers? With content marketing, of course!

Verizon is taking their business’ content marketing strategy past their products and carrier services and providing their customers with a resource they can use regardless of device or service plan:  their app review blog “The Recapp“. Rather than touting their own products and services, Verizon employs a mix of original and curated content from third-party app review sites to make “The Recapp” an informative and subjective source for finding new and exciting apps.

What’s the takeaway here? Curated content. Pulling content from other sources adds depth to your content marketing strategy and allows readers to get a fresh perspective.

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4. Birchbox 

Social interaction is one of the hottest (and most important!) trends in content marketing right now — and smart brands can’t help but embrace the opportunity to connect with their customers in real-time.

So which brand has done social best? It might just be beauty-focused start-up Birchbox! As a relatively new brand, Birchbox is making big waves on social media. With engaged profiles on all the big name networks like Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and uber-sharable content on their blog “The Haute Box“, Birchbox is a social media powerhouse. 

With various topics and columns, including letters from the editor, interviews, product reviews, how-to’s and style guides, creating the bulk of their blog’s content, readers are never bombarded with the same boring stories. Mollie Chen, Director of Content for Birchbox, says of the brand’s content marketing strategy in an interview with, “We give our customers useful articles, videos, and blogs in order to gain their trust, communicate with them, and keep them coming back to our site.”

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5. Anthropologie

Unlike other clothing lines like Tory Birch or Kate Spade who use their blogs as a platform to provide fashion advice and editorial pieces, trendy clothing store Anthropologie has opted for a more image-based blog — and we know how important images are in content marketing thanks to our Zemanta guest post “Images — 10 Reasons Why You Need Them In Your Content“.  

Far beyond the typical trends to watch, must-haves and fashion-forward spotlights, “The Anthropologist” is dedicated to sharing artist stories and uses images to promote a lifestyle, offering a stunning visual experience and telling a story all their own!

Still not sold on their unique take on imagery?  Despite the surge in brands using social photo sharing apps like Instagram, “The Anthropologist” uses only professional writers, photographers and filmmakers to fill their pages.

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Regardless of industry, content marketing is all about relating to your customers and finding the basis of conversation. Creating and curating content that makes consumers come back again and again can be a challenge, but getting to know your audience, developing your voice and using the strategies that work best for your brand is a recipe for content marketing success. 

Like what you see here? Join us again next time for “How Big Brands Are Using 2013’s Top Content Marketing Strategies: Part 2″! Be sure to share your favorite content marketing examples with us in the comments below or connect on our social networks —  TwitterFacebookLinkedIn or Google+.

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