Top 50 Brands Using Content Marketing with Positive Results

As a lead up to my next series here on the AYTM blog about content marketing, I want to share some brands that are using content marketing effectively to drive positive business results. This month, Clickz released a ranking of the top 50 brands in content marketing in 2012. It’s a great list of brands to benchmark, but some of my favorite examples were missing. Let’s take a look at the brands that are getting it right with content marketing.

American Express

AmEx Open Forum

According to the Clickz report, American Express is at the top of the list of brands leveraging content marketing the right way with its AmEx Open Forum for small businesses leading the way. I absolutely agree with this ranking. AmEx Open Forum is the model to follow when it comes to creating useful content for a specific target audience.

The content on AmEx Open Forum is written by a variety of contributors (both paid and volunteer) representing an excellent use of crowdsourcing. Most of the contributors have deep experience in their respective areas of business expertise, so the content is authoritative, trustworthy, and meaningful. With all of these influential contributors, American Express also benefits from organic sharing and increased exposure. It’s brilliant.

Whole Foods

Whole Foods Blog

Another company that made it on the Clickz list of the top 50 brands in content marketing in 2012 is Whole Foods. This company is another example that I agree with. Whole Foods succeeds in creating a diverse collection of content that appeals to a wide variety of consumers who like to consume content in different ways. For example, the Whole Foods Facebook presence, Twitter profiles, Flickr content, Pinterest pinboards, and online forum offer a lot of useful and shareable content.

The type of content Whole Foods creates is a great combination of company-related news and industry insights as well as consumer generated , entertaining, and useful information. For example, the company’s corporate blog and Facebook Page are just the tip of the iceberg. Many local Whole Foods stores also have their own blogs and Facebook Pages. Whole Foods is the model to follow for effective integration of social media, content, and traditional marketing on a national and local level.

Kraft Foods

Kraft Foods Pinterest

A brand that is missing from the Clickz report but I believe is a fantastic example of effective content marketing is Kraft. The Kraft social media and content marketing strategy has evolved over the years. Today, it leverages a great integration of varied content, branded experiences, discussions, and more to surround consumers with useful information that not only keeps them coming back for more but also gets shared.

There are so many examples of Kraft effectively using content to market its business, brand, and products, but I’ll highlight just a few. For example, Kraft has many Facebook Pages targeted to niche audiences. Whether consumers are looking for recipes, specific information about Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, or to support the Kraft Fight Hunger cause, there is a Facebook Page for them.

Kraft also does an excellent job of surrounding consumers with branded content so they can self-select how they want to interact with the brand and access the information that’s important to them. Want to get some Kraft recipes but you don’t like Facebook? No problem! Kraft also has presences on Google+ for recipes, a Kraft Recipes website, Twitter profiles, a Pinterest account with multiple pinboards, and an iPhone app!

But that’s not all. Kraft also has a great YouTube channel, the Kraft Cooking School, filled with meaningful content. An online forum on the Kraft website is an active place with members discussing recipes, families, health, and much more. In other words, this is a comprehensive and fully integrated content marketing plan that any brand can learn from.

Stay tuned for my upcoming series about content marketing where you’ll learn how brands can leverage content, pair it with market research, and realize real results from their efforts.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Gunelius
Susan Gunelius, MBA is a 25-year marketing and branding expert and President and CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She is the author of 10 books about marketing, branding and social media, and her marketing-related articles appear on top media websites such as Entrepreneur.com and Forbes.com. She is also the Founder and Editor in Chief of WomenOnBusiness.com, an award-winning blog for business women.