The Future of Content

American Express and Its Content Marketing Success

By January 13, 2014 No Comments

Leadership. Money. Marketing. Technology.

These are just a few of the topics that American Express’ Open Forum highlights—and just a few of the many reasons we absolutely love what they’re doing.

Welcome back to our series on the Kapost Top 50 Content Marketers of 2013. #10 on our holy-cow-are-these-companies-impressive list is, as you’ve no doubt guessed, American Express.

American Express Open Forum

American Express’ main content marketing initiative is the Open Forum—in their own words, “the online community that helps small business owners connect, share ideas, and make smart business decisions.”

Targeted at small business owners, the forum features content around topics like leadership, marketing, and money written by experts.

Why experts?

As Jennifer Eldin, VIP of Digital Innovation and Content Strategy says in one interview, “We found that leveraging the voice of experts in our space, rather than our own, has been really successful at driving engagement.”

In addition to expert articles, Open Forum allows registered users to share insights, ask for advice, and join conversations with other small business owners. They can even attend special online events.

A Different Approach to Brand

When talking about some of our other top content marketers—particularly Red Bull and Anthropologie—we talked a lot about brand personality and consistency. And, while it is a little less in-your-face, Open Forum’s consistent and audience appropriate personality and its effortless tie-in with the overall American Express brand is certainly worth a mention.

How do they do it? By combining the right experts, good curation skills, and a laser-focus on their audience.

So, What’s the Methodology Here?

While it’s always wonderful to look at what great marketers are doing, we also like to take a little time to assess the strategy, mindset, and thought process behind those successes. Here are a few things we’ll be taking away from our journey through Open Forum:

1. Highlighting subject matter experts in your content marketing efforts can be a great way to connect with your target audience.

2. Gather and use data to drive your decisions. As Jennifer Eldin says in one interview, “We’ve also started to leverage data to understand what people who are coming to us want to learn about.”

3. Make it about customer needs—not about sales. As you know, overly salesy content is a huge turn-off for most customers. So start with usefulness and the sales will follow.

Thoughts? Questions?

Anything you’d like to add? What have you learned from American Express? 

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.