How to stand out with creative content marketing

6 avril 2023

Earlier this year, we launched the Opportunity Report 2023: a collection of visions and insights from our experts to help you stay ahead in the new year. On 9 March, during our online event “Accelerating your business in 2023”, we brought these insights to life. One of the live sessions at this event was hosted by Ruth Nys (Strategy Director Content), who talked about ways to stand out with creative content marketing. In this article, we’ll share the key takeaways from Ruth’s session with you.

The need for creativity in content marketing

Our attention spans are shorter than ever, we skip commercials, and we click from video to video. In a world where consumers are bombarded with an avalanche of mediocre content every day, how can your brand stand out?

As it turns out, capturing and retaining the attention of your target audience is easier than you may think. Brands that become exceptional at creating amazing customer experiences will always have a competitive advantage and attract ideal prospects.

You can avoid falling into the same old boring marketing tactics trap by investing in creativity. Or, in other words: by making your customer experiences compelling, engaging, useful, dynamic, and content-driven.

Tackling marketing challenges with content

In our current context, brands and marketers face three major challenges all over the world — and content experiences can be the solution to all three of them.


Challenge 1: The attention deficit

Consumers no longer give out their trust as easily as a few years ago. They don’t fall for thinly veiled marketing tactics from brands, products, and services that don’t interest them — and they’re annoyed if these intrusive messages interrupt or interfere with what they’re doing.

Content experiences make your brand human.

In a world with more digital content than ever and less in-person interaction, audiences are increasingly looking for ways to interact, participate, engage, and self-select the content they are interested in. By creating well-crafted content that is focused on your customers’ needs, your brand can earn attention — even when it’s so hard to get.


Challenge 2: The content overload

The mountain of branded content is ever-increasing — and yet, audiences engage with very little of it. The fight for audiences’ attention is rough. All the while, creating content of various forms seems to become easier by the day. Anyone can do it, but few do it well.

Content experiences help you stand out.

When you’re creating a memory with your audience, you’re already doing better than a lot of other content out there today. Great content gives your audience a reason to listen to you, instead of one of your competitors. We need to be more consumer-centric than ever — and be laser-focused on differentiation.


Challenge 3: First-party data

Third-party cookies and data are being phased out. Brands are one algorithm update or privacy policy change away from losing access to audiences they thought was theirs — unless they have a strong first-party data strategy in place.

Content experiences help you build an audience.

Instead of buying an audience on a platform you don’t own, great content on your owned channels (website, newsletter, app, etc.) will help you create an addressable audience of your own that is interested in what you have to say. And, as the cherry on top: by integrating accurate, contextually relevant first-party customer data — whether explicit or implicit — we can make our content even more segmented, personalised, and relevant in the future.

The balance between branding and performance

Content experiences act as a unifier for brand and demand tactics. Branding campaigns and performance marketing alone won’t get you the desired results in today’s volatile context — one cannot exist without the other. 

Content marketing flips the traditional way of thinking in advertising on its head: instead of buying reach and then creating engagement with the audience, you first create compelling content and then gain reach with the audience.

Using the right combination of help, hub, and hero content, your organisation can attract, engage, and delight target audiences.

  • Help content: useful, helpful content that users are searching for;

  • Hub content: regular engaging content that demonstrates brand benefits;

  • Hero content: large-scale, ‘go big’ signature campaigns designed to generate mass awareness.

Content as a Service (CaaS)

How can you get started with content marketing? Maybe we can accompany you along the different steps in the process. With our Content as a Service approach — or CaaS — we would love to put the flavour back in your marketing and move your business forward. Allow us to explain.

CaaS is our holistic approach to content marketing. In order to generate impact with content marketing, you need different building blocks: a solid strategy, customer research, content planning, the creation and distribution of the content assets, a smart and efficient way of analysing your efforts, etc. At iO, we assist brands across the entire process — some organisations count on our experts for all these pillars, whereas others are looking for a partner to assist them with more specific demands.

Our teams can help you focus on building and attracting an audience to your brand-owned destinations. We can create valuable, compelling, and relevant content, based on a strong strategy, and distribute those assets to a targeted audience to maintain or create some kind of action — in B2B, B2C, B2E, and everything in between.

“Content marketing is not a magic formula, but it is a dedicated process to build addressable audiences and grow your business.”

Ruth Nys

Ruth Nys, Strategy Director Content


Let’s make it more tangible by sharing how we built an audience with content for Dutch e-commerce platform

The context

When the global pandemic hit in 2020, physical shopping became nearly impossible and brick-and-mortar retailers faced daunting times. All of a sudden, they had to start their own online sales channels — either by launching a webshop or on social media. saw a huge opportunity to share its expertise as a trusted e-commerce platform with Flemish entrepreneurs having little e-commerce knowledge.

Our task: to make’s thought leadership tangible so the company could attract new partners.

Our approach

To help’s thought leadership stand out, we made a digital content platform where local entrepreneurs were taught the fundamentals of e-commerce.

Through a series of powerful webinars, we inspired entrepreneurs to raise the bar — all in an accessible and convenient way. The webinars were not centred around as a platform whatsoever, but rather focused on sharing useful information and building an engaged audience.

The platform also contained whitepapers, checklists, FAQs, and tips and tricks for Flemish entrepreneurs.

The face of the campaign and the platform was Kamal Kharmach, a well-known comedian and presenter of the TV show ‘Andermans zaken’ — a behind-the-scenes view into entrepreneurship. Kamal and his show were a perfect fit with our target audience.

We added a launch campaign on relevant channels, including social, display, search, and radio.

The results

The e-commerce content on our dedicated platform was consumed by over 35.000 unique visitors and over 10.000 people registered for our webinars — leading to a sharp increase in sign-ups for the partner platform.

79% of these entrepreneurs signaled that they would recommend the platform to their peers and network, and the average feedback score for our online classes was 8.7/10. All in all, a successful content approach, if you ask us.

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