The Future of Content

What IBM Can Teach Us About Content Marketing

By November 25, 2013 No Comments

Early this month, we announced the Kapost Top 50 Content Marketing Brands—a list of brands whose content marketing efforts are generating big wins and real successes. IBM, one of the early adopters of content marketing, snagged the #3 spot on our list, and for good reason.

First, let’s talk about IBM’s content.

We love that IBM not only produces a lot of content, but prioritizes quality, engages with influencers, and displays an impressive range of channels, content types, and target audiences. In particular, we’re impressed by their…

1. Video.
IMB uses video to demonstrate and educate on not only their products, but also the ideas behind them. On their research page, you will find videos discussing topics like cognitive computing and data use.

2. Influencer relationships.
IBM appears frequently in content outside their website. How? By working closely with key influencers that already have the ear of their target audience.

3. Social aggregation.
On their Voices page
, IBM has aggregated ideas, articles, and other socially shared content and categorized it for easy consumption. Everything from IBM’s news mentions to tweets from the strategy team gets funneled through here.

4. Targeted content…for just about everybody.
If you’re a C-suite executive, IBM has a portal full of the latest thought leadership, news, case studies, and solutions. If you’re a small or medium sized business? They’ve got a magazine.

They also create content for their target industries and for developers.

This is some of the most extensive targeting we’ve seen. And we’re definitely impressed.

3 things we can learn from IBM’s successful content marketing:

So, now that you have an idea of what kind of content IBM is creating, aggregating, and managing, we’d like to dig a little deeper. Because the strategy and mindset behind these successes is just as important as the tactics that emerge from it.

Luckily, in a late 2012 interview with CMI, IBM’s Clare McDermott offered some deep insights into these very topics. Here are three things we learned from the interview (which you can check out yourself here).

1. Work with influencers.
IBM works with bloggers and writers who already have influence with and a network of their target audience.

2. Target. Target. Target.
As McDermott says in her interview with CMI: “Midsize businesses have very different needs than enterprise companies. The needs of TB Bank, for instance, are very different than Chase Manhattan Bank.”

Which is why IBM has created so many focused portals and resources, each with a very well defined target audience in mind.

3. Measure your successes.
IBM has a very sophisticated tracking system that tracks their content marketing leads as they move through the sales funnel and, ultimately, into the sale.

This, of course, makes it easier to see what is and isn’t working, what they should do more of, and what they should do less of.

Care to add an insight of your own?

As always, we’d love to hear from you in the comments or by email. What do you love about IBM’s content? What lessons will you take into your own content marketing?

Gigi Griffis

About Gigi Griffis

Gigi Griffis is a world-traveling entrepreneur and writer with a special love for inspiring stories, new places, and living in the moment. A former content strategist, she now spends her time writing books, blog posts, and articles about adventure, travel, and entrepreneurship. You can follow her at gigigriffis.com.