Standing ovation: 10 top content marketing examples

Standing ovation: 10 top content marketing examples

In Feature by Peter GearinLeave a Comment

The Australian brands working hard to build satisfied and informed audiences using storytelling.


Brands embarking on a content program need many things to succeed. They need a good idea – at least one that resonates with a key target audience. They need people with the right skills and experience to produce great stories regularly, and persistence to keep going when times get tough. They need a management team that understands what they are trying to do and gives them enough budget to do it well.

They need to be clear on their goals. They need to be organised. They need to be both persistent and flexible – not afraid to change course if the content plan is no longer providing the business with a strategic edge.

There are precious few well-known, gold-standard examples of large-scale Australian content marketing. Our go-to bastions of success don’t tend to be soft-drink companies or technology giants with multimillion-dollar content budgets and global reach. Many of the brands leading the way in Australia are famous, some are popular, but content is just one of the many ways in which they spend their marketing budgets. Their content initiatives compete for funds and attention with conventional advertising and sales programs that push people into funnels – every year, every financial quarter.

The very existence of these programs may be challenged by executives with entrenched attitudes and biases against the effectiveness of content marketing as a way of producing revenue, reducing costs or raising awareness. While others parade dodgy metrics to support advertising or social media campaigns dressed as “branded content”, they continue to create something of value for real people – not themselves.

These 10 content programs are examples of what Australian businesses from a range of sectors have achieved using storytelling. The only criteria for appearing in this list is that they have a strategic purpose for regularly publishing content that is useful and relevant for their target audiences. Brand Tales believes they deserve praise and recognition for their quality and commitment.

The Blue Room

Bupa Australia launched The Blue Room in May 2015. Although the company is best known for its health insurance, Bupa runs aged care and specialist medical centres. The site raises awareness for Bupa’s healthcare services by focusing on four content areas – “Caring”, “Families”, “Healthier” and “Manage & Recover” – and offers valuable, trustworthy advice told in a compassionate and engaging way.

Typical stories:

  • How to diagnose dementia
  • Advice from experienced mums about the first 1000 days of parenting
  • Hearing aid myths

Direct Advice for Dads

This award-winning effort from health insurance provider HBF takes the healthcare advice idea and gives it a twist. The website’s angle is “practical advice for dads by dads”, and it has many interesting and often idiosyncratic approaches to dealing with some pretty confronting issues, especially those first-time fathers might struggle to understand.

Typical stories:

  • The right (and very wrong) way to change a nappy
  • How I (really) felt watching my wife give birth
  • Baby boys get boners too

Bluenotes

Many in the financial journalism sector were sceptical that ANZ could sustain a brand news site and maintain credibility. Well, former AFR journalist Andrew Cornell and his team have succeeding in producing a site that is relevant and, at times, compelling (even for those who don’t know their assets from their debentures).

Typical stories:

  • Beyond bitcoin: the open blockchain
  • Directors & governance in a time of concern
  • The danger of information overload at work

Firebrand Talent

Dependability and relevance are what matters to recruitment agency Firebrand Talent, which produces a blog that mainly covers careers, marketing, personal branding and recruitment. The site is bright and breezy but comes with solid information, and it features a consistent look and feel.

Typical stories:

  • Do you have a job, a career or a calling?
  • Five insights you need in order to find and retain the best digital talent
  • Are machines stealing our jobs?

Qantas magazine

Since being taken over by custom agency Medium Rare in 2015, this is now the best print magazine in the country. Bar none. That it’s produced by a brand and is free for Qantas fliers is irrelevant: it’s full of terrific photography and artwork, and great storytelling. It’s also available via an iOS app.

Typical stories:

  • Full tilt: A love letter to India
  • New in town: Australia’s hottest new restaurants
  • 7 things that define Melbourne

Pursuit

The University of Melbourne is already a leading provider of superb content, with intelligent and often groundbreaking information and commentary delivered in article or podcast form. Pursuit is the constantly updated collection of the university’s best work.

Typical stories:

  • 5 challenges that will make or break the gig economy
  • A ray of hope for pancreatic cancer
  • Tricking our tongues: Creating guilt-free cheese

The Pulse

Accounting software MYOB’s content effort was one of the original players in the branded blog field. The Pulse covers a lot of territory – money and legal, sales and marketing, lifestyle – but MYOB knows its core audience: Australia’s huge small- to medium-sized business fraternity.

Typical stories:

  • Funding hurdles holding young Australians back
  • Why company tax cuts just became urgent
  • Sacré beurre! The art of communicating price rises

Move Nourish Believe

Living in Lorna Jane World must be an amazing place, where everyone eats well, feels great and looks fantastic. Move Nourish Believe is full of great advice for those wanting to look sensational in lycra but it also offers support for those who need it, too. Lots of positivity here, girls!

Typical stories:

  • The benefits of having a ‘paw’sonal trainer
  • Full body workout you can do anywhere
  • Pot luck like a pro

Domain

Now separated from the once-mighty Fairfax Media, real-estate site Domain numbers have been popping thanks to buoyant capital city property markets. The switched-on Domain team produces great information and advice for buyers, sellers and renters … and has even delved into branded comedy, producing Avalon Now and others.

Typical stories:

  • Happily ever after: How to find your forever home
  • What to consider when refreshing your bathroom for sale
  • Australia’s affinity with the backyard

Canva

Not only has Australian design software company Canva changed the way businesses create content, it produces outstanding tutorials as part of its “Design School”. Following Canva’s advice, using its tools or tapping into its inspiration gives confidence to any budding designer or publisher.

Typical stories:

  • 30 inspiring quotes for teachers
  • How to design a pitch deck that makes investors say “YES”
  • Why weird works: copywriter Kira Hug on branding with personality

Do you think we’ve left out any outstanding Australia content marketing examples? Please let us know in the comments below.

Links & references

Brand Tales’ articles on Canva, Domain’s Avalon Now, Firebrand Talent, Move Nourish Believe and The Blue Room.

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