Five years ago only die-hard adrenaline junkies knew what GoPro was. Now it is a household name that posted $1.4 billion of revenue in 2014. While in essence GoPro is just a digital camera; timing, user enthusiasm and a decent content marketing strategy propelled this brand to success.
In 2001, GoPro creator and CEO Nick Woodman wanted to record surfing from his perspective. He thought it would be cool to relive his very own experiences and share them with friends. So he strapped a 35mm camera to his wrist and took still action shots while surfing. While it took several more years evolve into what it is today, in 2006 GoPro debuted its first digital video camera that recorded 10-second bursts with no sound. From there it began to gain in popularity.
Other things that were starting and growing in 2006: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, WordPress, MySpace (yes, I said MySpace), internet bandwidth and digital everything. Due to these platforms, GoPro was able to capitalize on a tech-savvy consumer base who wanted to share their experiences.
Most marketers will agree that some of the best content stems from user experiences. As Director of Content at Econsultancy Chris Lake stated, “The very best ads are conceived as shareable content experiences, and we’ve only just scratched the surface of what’s possible.” I’ll repeat part of that: shareable content experiences. The content created by GoPros mirrors the stories of their customers. It’s the epitome of visual storytelling and an implied slogan: Buy a GoPro and you can film your amazing adventures too.
User-Generated Content and Enthusiasm
What better way to tell a story about your amazing base jumping experience? Or show your epic snowboarding run? Or share whatever your passion is with the world? There are no words that can describe that feeling, but you might be able to share a tenth of what you felt with friends and family if you share your video with them. And who doesn’t want to brag about their great vacation or experiences? It’s this storytelling that mirrors the actual product and combines with user engagement to create enthusiasm.
Content Marketing Strategy- Being Social
User enthusiasm translates to a brand being able to capitalize on genuine excitement for their product by using a variety of content distribution channels to gain brand awareness and increase market share. What’s great about GoPro is they do this naturally. While some brands create content and try over and over again to publicize it and get it in front of consumers, GoPro increases its followers and fans by sharing what they think their customers would think is fun to watch, and could be fun to do.
A snapshot of GoPro’s social media show’s how extensive their network is:
- 8.5 million Facebook fans
- 1.35 million Twitter followers
- 4.4 million Instagram followers
- 2.8 million YouTube subscribers
And these followers, fans and subscribers aren’t all jumping out of planes or diving with sea lions every day, but video is informative and makes you feel something, increasing the likelihood you will share. Whether viewers walk away with a cool video to talk about or they’re inspired to start a new hobby, numbers of this magnitude don’t lie; people actively seek out content and share interesting and relevant videos. And if people like the video, they might create their own or just want to film an experience from their personal perspective.
Case in point: here is a photo of a head down skydiving formation. One person with a GoPro could’ve captured this image, but there are at least 8 GoPros visible, and more of those jumpers probably just didn’t mount the camera for this jump. Those eight people wanted to record THEIR experience.
Yes, GoPro has a cool product that literally produces exciting, vivid, highly shareable content. But the customers are the ones telling the stories and GoPro is simply sharing that with its networks. By posting these compelling videos and images, participating with their networks and asking customers to share even more, GoPro has escalated expectations for what good content marketing looks like.
Something to think about for your next content marketing piece: have you asked your customers to share their experiences with you about your product?