The audience-building plays that inspire a content marketing evangelist

LinkedIn’s Claire Austin on the brands that show the value of consistency and community in content strategy

November 23, 2018

The audience-building plays that inspire a content marketing evangelist

Content marketing varies hugely depending on where in the world you are. Across regions, markets and cultures, marketers encounter audiences with very different expectations of how to engage with brands. They also work within marketing cultures that have their own views about the role that content can play for them. This creates different challenges for content, different perspectives on content strategy, and different forms of inspiration.

One of the most fulfilling things about working within an international marketing organisation is the opportunity to tap into all of this content marketing diversity. That’s why I made the move from LinkedIn’s San Francisco offices to London, two and a half years ago. It’s also why I jump at the opportunity to spend time with my colleagues from different regions, touch base on the way that their clients are using LinkedIn, and see how content marketing strategy is evolving where they are.

This latest episode of The Sophisticated Marketer’s Podcast came about because of one of these opportunities. During her time at the multi-award-winning agency King Content, Claire Austin established herself as one of the smartest content marketing strategists in Asia Pacific. She’s now bringing all of the experience to bear as LinkedIn’s Content Marketing Evangelist for the region, setting up marketers for success on our platform. And she’s a fantastic source of insights and ideas that apply to marketers wherever they are.

That’s why, when I heard Claire was visiting London, I grabbed the chance to invite her to our pop-up podcast studios at LinkedIn’s London office. This was a great chance to compare notes, discuss how to address the challenges that content marketing still faces, and trade inspiration from the brands doing the best work on LinkedIn.

Why Tolstoy would have made a great content marketer

For Claire, the greatest challenge in content is persuading organisations of the value of building an audience over time. She’s fond of quoting Leo Tolstoy to make the point that, “the greatest warriors are time and patience,” and she believes that it’s organisations’ lack of patience that often hinders their success. As she puts it, “content isn’t about getting results very, very quickly – it’s about building an audience over time.” Build a content strategy around consistency and community and you’ll reinforce your brand’s authority, amplify the impact of future activity, and be able to complement your paid media strategy with an organic one.

During our conversation, Claire shared three examples of brands that embody her approach to building an audience through quality content over time. They are brands that have established real authority in Asia Pacific and elsewhere by putting their audience first – and I believe they’re worth learning from wherever you practice content marketing.

Click on the link below to hear our interview in full, including Claire’s advice for tackling short-termism in content marketing and aligning paid and organic activity around a longer-term play. Then scroll down for her three examples of brands getting it spectacularly right over time:

GE Reports

GE is rightly famous for a long history of innovative, boundary-pushing content marketing. That includes the Cannes Lion-winning podcast, The Message (a disturbing science fiction drama that illustrates the medical power of sound) and Unimpossible Missions, the irreverent and innovative video content series that leveraged technology to prove that you can talk to walls, fight fire with fire and unring a bell. However, nothing quite epitomises GE’s long-running commitment to content like GE Reports, a magazine-like content portal that sets out to compete with the likes of The Economist and The Wall Street Journal – and succeeds. It exudes authority, passion and commitment, both to human progress and to GE’s highly informed, highly relevant audience.

The Wolf from HP Studios

The Wolf first appeared in the LinkedIn feed in early 2017: six minutes of swashbuckling, cinematic storytelling with Christian Slater eating up the screen as a ruthless hacker exposing the shortcomings in printer security at unsuspecting firms. From that Cannes-winning debut, HP Studios has built an entire B2B film franchise with three seasons of trailers and short-feature-length films that culminated in the launch of the 20-minute True Alpha late this summer. The brand has established compelling characters, given readers a consistent reason to pay attention whenever a new film hits the feed, established HP as the go-to expert on cybersecurity, and set businesses worrying about their printer security like never before.

Tech Revolution from Lenovo

Claire is a big fan of Lenovo’s Tech Revolution platform – a new content brand that collates and curates the latest thinking on technology and innovation from across Asia. It’s eclectic, engaging, audience-focused and completely devoid of any obvious product plugs for Lenovo itself. In fact, you have to look quite hard to even spot the Lenovo brand at the footer of the page. This is yet another great example of investing in building an audience and sector-wide authority, from a brand that won a LinkedIn Marketing Award for its Think Progress content brand last year.

New to The Sophisticated Marketer’s Podcast? you can catch up on all previous episodes here.