Over the past few weeks, I have posted several items on LinkedIn and my blog about Content Marketing. As we know, content marketing is a marketing program based on the sharing of quality, credible, and pertinent information – usually on a separate online platform – that generates traffic to a company web site and, along with it, interest in a company’s products and services.
One recent example of a successful Content Marketing campaign comes from an unexpected source: Sears. Sears has not had a good year for some time. Invariably, every time Sears releases an earnings report, it’s bad news. However, there is one area in which they shine, and that is fitness-related products. In fact, Sears is invariably listed as the largest or one of the largest sellers of fitness products in the United States.
One of the ways Sears’ marketing executives have contributed to this success is to start their own online publication called FitStudio that focuses exclusively on fitness-related topics. Sears turned to fitness experts in the industry to write for the site, and then leveraged the content by distributing to other Sears platforms on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other sites. Adds Julia Fitzgerald, Chief Digital Officer for the site, “Since we have a rich library of fitness content, we allow people to choose our content on multiple online sites.”
Sears’ success as a leader in U.S. fitness product sales is evidence enough of the return on the company’s investment in FitStudio. However, the company also measures how often people come to the site, how many new visitors they have, coupon redemption rates, and direct purchases of Sears products that have been referenced or discussed on FitStudio.
“FitStudio was the perfect solution for Sears to provide free content and expert advice from fitness professionals,” adds Fitzgerald. “[It has also become] a social venue—where people connect with others and fitness experts for information and encouragement— [while also] successfully selling the Sears brand of fitness equipment.”