Content is king in today’s marketing world, and the local king of marketing — Target Corp. — is providing an excellent example of a content-based strategy at A Bullseye View.
Recently revamped and relaunched, the site aims to tell “a deeper story” about Target to media members and other influencers, said Eric Hausman, who leads the communications team responsible for the site.
“It’s for those who are looking for a little bit more from us than you might expect from other channels — more than a tweet or a Facebook post,” Hausman said. “Brands are increasingly focused on content, and we’re lucky at Target to have such great content to share. There’s a huge appetite for this kind of content.”
Indeed, visitors to the site are up dramatically in the last six months, according to Compete.com. What do they find?
A mix of lifestyle, entertainment and company news, ranging from Target’s holiday hiring plans to star-studded charity events to tongue-in-cheek advice for surviving a zombie apocalypse (using products found at Target, natch).
Target is also using the site to reshape the way it interacts with the media.
“We’re actually breaking news on the site now,” Hausman said. “There are fewer press releases. We want the media to pick things up from the site. If they want to pick it up and repurpose it on their own site, that’s great.
“We did a story on the Tevolio line of dresses, and it got picked up on national TV morning shows. We did an item on dressing up mac-and-cheese, and the Huffington Post picked it up.”
Those are exactly the kind of results companies hope for when they adopt a content strategy. (By the way, Target is not a client of my marketing agency.) Of course, it doesn’t hurt when your content includes assets like Jay Leno, Solange Knowles and Maria Sharapova — as well as a link from the Target homepage with its 40 million-plus unique monthly visitors.
Looking for a second opinion, I asked Steve Wehrenberg to check out the site. Wehrenberg, the former CEO of Campbell Mithun, now heads the master’s in strategic communication program at the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
“This feels very valuable to me,” Wehrenberg said. “It seems like a great example of another new buzzword, which is brand journalism. In the past, the brand story was often told in expensive paid advertising campaigns; that’s how you conveyed the back story, the brand’s attributes and emotional benefits.
“Target is acting as a cultural curator; they’re grabbing things from cultural and entertainment and lifestyle. But they also slide in their own story. I think their big challenge, which is a big challenge for all these owned channels, is to get people to come to it.”
So give the ol’ Bull’s-eye credit for putting together an engaging, accessible site packed with a wide variety of content. Many companies strive for that outcome; few achieve it.