Does your company create content that does not have a direct sales pitch? Do you weave SEO strategies into that content so that search engines take notice? And, do you actively use social media to amplify the reach of your content? Congratulations, you are a brand publisher—or at the very least, you’re heading in that direction.
Brand publishing is an emerging aspect of digital marketing where content is created to capture consumers at various stages of the buying cycle. Brand design consultants Mark-making define brand publishing as “a marketing strategy where brands treat themselves not as advertisers, but as content publishers.” Often used interchangeably with content marketing, brand publishing is taking hold because of consumers’ natural aversion to traditional, in-your-face advertising.
So, in order to more deeply understand the concept, let’s look at how these three brands are leveraging brand publishing to grow their audiences.
Urban Outfitters: The Retailers of Good Cheer
A multinational clothing retailer, Urban Outfitters sells more than apparel and accessories to the hipster generation—they sell a vibe. They promote their vibe through a mix of blog content and social media, which speaks directly to their youthful, urban audience. Heck, even if you’re not a fan of the clothing, who can resist a recipe for glitter-rimmed eggnog shooters? And that’s exactly the point. Eggnog shooters have nothing to do with what Urban Outfitters actually sells, but their 2 million Facebook followers seem to be just fine with pretty pictures of clothing interspersed with do-it-yourself crafts and tiny cocktails. They use brand publishing to keep their brand top of mind with a steady stream of good vibes.
DriveTime: The Friendly Used Car Guys
DriveTime, a used car dealership, helps people with credit challenges find and finance a car. Along with this core part of their business, they’re also accessible to consumers at every stage of the car-buying game. The visually inviting DriveTime blog covers everything from how to save money during holiday travels to two rescue dogs with a hidden driving talent. Not only does the blog offer a balance between actionablae advice and heartwarming entertainment, they carry a friendly, approachable voice through all of their social media channels.
And, specifically on their Twitter page, there are humorous posts and photos sprinkled between the helpful blog content. Through their strategic approach to brand publishing, DriveTime has created a friendly, informative place for people to land whether they’re in the car-buying market or not.
Red Bull: The Content Behind the Can
Anybody with a pulse knows that Red Bull is an energy drink; however, visit their website and you might have a memory lapse. Red Bull takes brand publishing to a distinctively gutsy level with a dynamic website alive with content featuring high-energy people doing highly exciting things. Topping the high-octane site is a separate digital magazine, The Red Bulletin, that profiles everything from new hip-hop artists, to motorcycle legends, to hot cities you should visit—anything cool, and they’re on it. And, they don’t shove a can of product in your face. Ever. Red Bull uses brand publishing to establish a super-charged lifestyle mood fueled by culture and coolness.