After three months of bringing you our brand publisher rankings, we’ve been noting some cool insights and trends in the data.
Time to share them with you!
We’ve distilled them down to five of the most notable insights from these best brand content marketers in the world. As usual the data comes from our Spike platform.
Read on to learn from the smartest content marketers out there and their stellar content hits.

1) Produce a Wide, Diverse Content Portfolio

Having a large number of quality content assets, working for you in the market, is one way to achieve content marketing success. A few of these number will likely resonate deeply with your audience and generate spectacular engagement on social media.
Executing a content strategy like this is akin to acting like a publisher, something brands seem to do more and more – driven by trends like network effect in the Internet and search engines.
We’ve noted numbers of brands delivering large numbers of content objects like this, with Oracle, DropBox and Microsoft doing exactly this in our July rankings. See chart below.
Total publishing volume for top brand publishers on social media in July 2015
Q – Best example of a brand delivering a deep, wide portfolio and achieving massive success?
A – Red Bull, which is consistently up the top end of our brand publisher rankings, recently taking No1 in August.

2) Keep Your Content Portfolio Focused, but Boost It via Paid Promotion

In contrast to point one, other brands take a different tack and find success by keeping their content portfolio strategically focused and narrow.
Brands executing this strategy invest lots time and resource to understand what really works with their audience, keeping their content closely linked to product, promotions and specific campaigns.
When playing a tight hand like this, top brand content marketers also invest heavily in landing pages for product ranges, specific products or Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives.
Paid social is also critical to driving this performance, in contrast to more publisher-like brands mentioned in point one. We’ve observed a range of UTM parameters in brand URLs, suggesting the tracking of a range of paid social campaigns – mostly from Facebook and Twitter.
Top examples of brands executing their content marketing in this fashion are Converse, GoPro and Coach in our July rankings (chart above) and Reebok and Toms in our August rankings. Get our rankings deliver to you each month in our newsletter.
Q – Best example of a brand working a narrow content portfolio to massive effect?
A – ICICI Bank which heavily promoted a campaign and set a NewsWhip engagement per article record in our August rankings. Screenshot of landing page below.

 ICICI Bank's engagement as analyzed by NewsWhip

[bctt tweet=”‘@ICICIBank set a @newswhip engagement/article record in August!’ #contentmarketing” via=”no”]

3) Tell Outrageous or Moving Stories to Inspire Your Audience

Story-telling is inherently human and we’re all inspired by stories, be they outrageous, moving, inspiring or even mundane and girl-next-door stories.
The best brand content marketers work this fact smartly, telling engaging stories in the narratives in their content, often far removed from their audiences’ urban/sub-urban lives.
It also helps if these stories involve one man or woman’s challenge to overcome something, conquer a fear or set a new record. When working this secondary human love for heroism, brands should also weave the human subject’s life and story into the great content story too.
[bctt tweet=”‘#Contentmarketing tip: tell outrageous, moving stories in your content, like @redbull!'”]
Q – What’s a killer example of story-telling by a brand in its content?
A – Red Bull, with many of its content hits involving powerful stories. This example, featuring free climber, Chris Sharma, climbing an enormous giant redwood near where he grew up in California is one of our favorites.

4) Support Content with Investment in Video and Rich Imagery

Support your content and stories with video and rich imagery to bring them to life and increase their social virality.
We’ve mentioned RedBull’s content already, but you should also note the quality of the video and imagery deployed by the energy drinks brand to power its content’s effect.
See the aforementioned Chris Sharma scaling that giant redwood below. Breathtaking!
Red Bull brand publishing content
Here are three great examples of content supported with quality images and video to check out – two from Red Bull and one from Microsoft:

Using such engaging imagery doesn’t just pay off in terms of on-page engagement, it delivers for brands in social streams too. Having a rich image in your shared links makes your content far more clickable in social streams.
BuzzFeed know this last fact better than almost anyone and here’s an example of their content, shared as a test in a Facebook social stream, with an image helping to induce a click. (The headline and meta text is pretty killer too!)
Buzzfeed acing use of imagery and content in social feed
Q – The best brand use of image and video in its content?
A – Red Bull. Ok, Red Bull love in over – we promise!

5) Hook into a Big Issue and Genuinely Add Value within It

Brands often align themselves with causes or missions, hoping to build brand equity from doing so. A brand’s consumers have things they believe deeply in, so naturally brands try to position themselves with respect to these.
This can backfire, when done cynically, but can also deliver great value when done well. This alignment also offers opportunities for integration into the brand’s content marketing.
The key is proving your believable, deep involvement with an issue or cause, as a brand. Half-baked efforts get sniffed out. However, smart, empathetically delivered efforts can pay off handsomely.
We observed Ben and Jerry’s creating the biggest brand content hit in our June rankings, with its ‘I dough, I dough’ campaign, worked artfully in the marriage equality issue. Screenshot of the landing page below.
Ben & Jerry's I dough I dough campaign
[bctt tweet=”‘Hook into a big social issue to amp your #contentmarketing, like @benandjerrys!'”]
There’s much for marketers to learn from this campaign. Here’s how we reported our thoughts on it back in July:

“This article and campaign was not just a cynical attempt by a brand to exploit a popular issue. Ben and Jerry’s have form and history here, whilst the page also showcases a range of relevant blogs about the issue, some involving their own employees, and also promotes calls to action to learn more and support the marriage equality movement generally.
The results? Over 135k likes, 13k shares and 10k comments on Facebook for Ben and Jerry’s I dough, I dough page, towering over its next most-liked content pieces. Now those are some marketing outcomes to take pride in.”

Q – Best recent example of a brand aligning with a cause or movement?
A – We just showed you. Ben and Jerry’s – without a doubt.
That’s it for our deeper insights into brand content marketing and social publishing success. As we get deeper into the data from Spike and these trends, we’ll report more findings to you in our blog. If you’ve anything you’d like us to research around brand content performance or brand marcomms, drop us a note to:

What Next?

1) Think real-time brand personality is an impossible dream? Not any more. Take a free trial of Spike to work interest trends to your audience and deliver faster, more relevant marcomms.