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You’re Already In The Content Game

Whether the size of your content team is 50 people or zero, you’re already in the content game. If you’re not publishing content, the chances are good that your customers are creating it on your behalf.

The Content Around Us

Apple has no social media presence to speak of. As of this writing, however, there were 173,411 photos on Instagram tagged #applestore and 6,859 tagged #geniusbar. (For the record, there were also six tagged #geniusbarmyass.) While it can be great to have ardent fans of your brand posting flattering content about your brand, that isn’t always what happens.

Trader Joe’s notoriously doesn’t use social media, but that hasn’t stopped multiple “official” accounts from cropping up on Twitter. A fan account called @TraderJoesList (“Retweeting what you’re eating!”) has over 47,000 followers–many customers confuse the account for the real thing, and use the account to interact with “the brand.” In this case, the brand is actually a woman named Natasha Fischer, who uses the account to generate her own income by encouraging users to send her money via Venmo, use her signup codes for services like Uber, and promote other companies. (It’s hard to imagine the people behind the real Trader Joe’s brand encouraging people to download the 7-Eleven app.)

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There are ways, however, to leverage the social content that consumers are creating for your brand. As I mentioned in my last post, COACH recently collaborated with visual commerce platform Olapic to create #CoachFromAbove, a curated page on their main website that pulls in (moderated) pictures of customers wearing the brand’s shoes. That content, in turn, is made directly shoppable, completing the loop.

The same principle is beginning to be applied to actual product pages as well; seeing how other customers have integrated a product into their own life can be both instructive and inspirational, as well as helping give a brand a more human face. (Read on for more on product pages as content.)

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GoPro, the video camera maker focused on an extreme sports crowd, has decided that even though they are in the business of making a physical product, what they really want to become is a media company. They are well on their way: their YouTube channel has 1.6 million subscribers and 400 million views, and they boast nearly 1.7 million Instagram followers. Their users create an enormous amount of content for them–from surfing and skydiving videos (including Felix Baumgartner’s sound-barrier-breaking stratos jump), to biking, skiing, and more pedestrian pursuits.

Company founder Nicholas Woodman recently told the New York Times,

"I think GoPro is producing some of the best short-form content out there today. There’s a phenomenal opportunity for us to leverage GoPro as a media brand."

Think about what your brand could look like if it was a media company. In my next post, we’ll take a look at creating your own content and ensuring your brand’s voice.

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