Content Marketing Lessons from Facebook, Twitter & Google’s “Year in Review”

Three pieces of content driving some serious sharing online last week are “year in review” stories from Facebook, Twitter and Google. Perhaps stories doesn’t do their projects justice. More than just breezy content, each story also holds lessons for brands and their approach to content marketing.

facebook year in review 2012It’s Not About You: Facebook
By tapping into each user’s last 12 months of activity, Facebook gets high marks for its year in review on two levels.

First and foremost, they do not make the project about Facebook. It’s about the life moments each visitor shared on Facebook.

Making the user the center of the story makes them more inclined to participate. And the project’s output, a personal visualization of each user’s activity, is slowly helping consumers get more comfortable playing with, visualizing and sharing their personal data.

Brand Lesson: To encourage consumer engagement through content marketing, consider what your brand enables the consumer to do instead of simply focusing on your brand.

twitter_year_in_reviewEngagement Curates Content: Twitter
While each company certainly invested in the creative and editorial behind their stories, the biggest investment was in development.

The code around each user’s project serves up content effortlessly and artfully. And Twitter’s visualization does a great job of taking a year’s worth of tweets and ranking them based on which ones got the most engagement.

Brand Lesson: User engagement, not Twitter, curates this visualization. It’s a reminder that as the definition of content continues to broaden, we must also continue to evolve how we curate and create stories.

Google-2012Emotional Connections: Google
Google stands out for tapping into the emotional stories behind some of the year’s top searches.

It’s Google Zeitgeist site is also unique from the others in that it doesn’t offer a public-facing, shareable “play with your data” option for users.

But Zeitgeist is a well-executed best practice in action. According to the site, Google “analyzed over one trillion queries to showcase what the world searched for in 2012.” It then walks through how Google did this.

Brand Lesson: Each of the sites have a simple way to show their platform in action through the year in review projects. While it’s all about the user, keep in mind there is always a way to ensure your brand gets the credit for an experience.

2012 Highights ties the user back to the emotion behind moments important enough to search on or to share across social platforms. The year in review projects are all notable and worth checking out if you haven’t already. Just remember the bigger lessons for content marketers.

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