One side effect of being a content marketer is constantly consuming other people’s content - hundreds of blog posts, eBooks, email newsletters and social media posts make their way into my line of sight a day.
There are some brands that stand out to me more than others, and not just to me as a marketer, but as a consumer - they’re the ones with the content that has some heart.
Here are my favorite NYC startups with great content for you below.
This NYC startup is taking the mattress world by storm. They provide just one type of mattress for a fairly low price, and they swear by its quality.
Not only that - they have a beautiful brand. The illustrations they’ve created to build the Casper personality are quite dreamy - pun intended - and that beauty has translated into great content.
What I love:
The Blog Name: Pillow Talk
Branded content names don’t get much more perfect than 'Pillow Talk' for a mattress company. Casper nailed it with the relevance, cultural reference and punchy breadth that most objective publications have yet to achieve.
Each image they choose has an emotional impact that resonates with the topic at hand, and you can immediately tell they’re all about sleep. What is it about floating stuff that automatically makes me think I’m dreaming?
Creativity and Snarkiness
It’s hard to write about sleep over and over again without, well, falling asleep. Casper’s marketing team faces the challenge of keeping readers awake, while also convincing them to buy. They’re up for the challenge, as demonstrated by this Sleeper’s Dictionary.
This recruiting marketplace is run by a very interesting CEO. Liz Wessel is only 25, and worked for Google for a bit before launching her first business, WayUp.
I had the pleasure of meeting her at a co-hosted party between BountyJobs and WayUp at the 2016 ERE Recruiting Conference, and haven’t been able to get enough of their content since.
What I love:
Actionable Tips and Advice
WayUp does a great job at not just talking about a topic, but getting right to the heart of the matter - what actionable steps can college students take to land their first internships and full-time positions?
Top-notch Reading Experience
Their blog is just really pretty. It’s got pretty awesome sorting capabilities, and it segments its resources by its readership, not topics - making it easy to find the resources that would be the most relevant for you right up front.
They stay relevant by incorporating pieces of pop culture their readership would be interested in - which of course means they write about T-swift.
A leader in the adtech industry, The Trade Desk is a demand-side-platform (DSP) empowering some of the most sophisticated buyers with programmatic advertisements. They partner with several other industry leaders, like Adweek, to give their content the best bang for their buck.
Only six years old, they broke through the adtech industry at a breakneck speed, due to their decision to build a platform with multi-channel targeting capabilities, and a business model where they work exclusively with agencies. Their expertise and leadership shows in the content they produce.
What I love:
The Trade Desk has a lot of data. Their platform’s ability to optimize ad campaigns across multiple channels at the same time - social, TV and mobile to name a few - is unique, and means they have insights that players in the industry can’t get anywhere else.
Content Structure and Design
They certainly make their content pretty, but more importantly, their infographics makes sense, and flow in a way keeps readers engaged. They can take a general holiday like Mother’s Day, and produce an infographic that’s short, captivating and relevant to their audience.
Newsjacking the Right Way
Adtech is lucky from a content perspective, because anyone can buy an advertisement. That means their relevant content spectrum is a lot wider than other businesses. The Trade Desk talks about global events like the Super Bowl in a relevant way to their consumers, and newsjack the right way.
Betterment is an automated investing service that optimizes investing options, including individual IRAs and 401ks. They have a lot of targeted and interactive investing content that I always read all the way to the end.
What I love:
When it comes to finances, I don’t want generalizations. While there are many best practices that one can follow when it comes to investment plans, the best advice is personalized. Betterment provides interactive content in the form of free calculators that help you make better investment decisions for your own personal portfolio.
Betterment does a really great job of showcasing their team through their content - an aspect of content marketing you only see in organizations that strive to make good hires. It builds trust with their customers and prospects, since their audience gets a chance to know the people helping to manage their money.
This investment platform does something really important - they talk about global news that’s important to their audience. As an example, they took the recent Brexit news, and explained to their audience how it may affect them, and their investments.
KISI is a universal authentication tool for businesses. The tool gives you smartphone access to your building, and increases security and efficiency for members of your organization that control access.
The content from KISI shines because it’s centered around one universal message - access to your building and office space can touch every aspect of your business.
What I love:
Enterprise technology companies have a tendency to only rely on their internal resources for expertise regarding any type of technical conversation, but this isn’t always the best way to go about it. KISI does a fantastic job of balancing their own voice with that of other industry experts, making their content even more credible.
Direct Customer Conversation
KISI uses their content to programmatically talk directly to you (and no, I don’t mean that as an oxymoron). You can build your own KISI plan right from their website, and get their feedback on the best results for you, all from filling out a form. It doesn’t really get more efficient than that.
There are a lot of reasons an organization might be looking to purchase technology. Each of those solutions will always do a great job telling you why their product is a good fit for your needs, but they don’t always do a great job of addressing how they fit in the wider picture. KISI does both - and they do it with fun videos.
TheSkimm is a fantastic morning news round-up for those of us who like the sassy side of writing. It’s a little bit unfair for me to call them out as a company whose content I like, because their content is their product.
One thing that TheSkimm does better than all the rest - they know exactly who they are and how to express that personality through content.
What I love:
The writers at TheSkimm have NAILED tone - and I really mean nailed it. They present the facts, with a little twist of humor in between the lines. Not only is it a fantastic way to get your morning news in short snippets, but it’s equally as entertaining.
Their content design is simple, clean, and ultimately achieves the goal of providing you with a visually pleasing experience that allows readers to focus on what they’re saying, not what they’re selling. It’s not just for their newsletter either - they provide short guides and overviews to bring you up to speed fast on some of the hottest topics of the day.
TheSkimm crew wants their readers to be as excited about their content (and the news) as they are, and they’ve come up with one of my favorite on-going marketing campaigns to make it happen. Skimm’bassadors are readers of TheSkimm newsletter that share the content with their own audiences every morning - and they get cool prizes like wine bottles and branded beach towels when they do so.
Gimlet media is another company whose content is their product - and it works because their content is awesome. This Brooklyn-based podcast company produces a variety of quality shows on some really cool topics - the internet, unsolved mysteries and science to name a few.
They’ve absolutely nailed the art of keeping their audience engaged (they even talk about how they do it in one of their podcasts).
What I love:
The Gimlet crew is really good at storytelling. They review each of their podcasts with a fine-tooth comb to make sure that the entire podcast is optimized for their audience’s entertainment. This is one of my favorites.
The one thing that will really get you hooked on Gimlet Media is their ability to catch your interest on topics you've never thought you wanted to know. They dig into the small details you wouldn’t immediately think are interesting, and they do it in a way that keeps you coming back for more. One of their producers even discovered he was accidentally speaking a secret code.
There’s something at Gimlet media for everyone. They produce shows on business development, the internet, podcasts, science, mysteries and surprisingly awesome things. So far, the only bandwagon they haven’t jumped on is true crime - but they’re getting close.
Rocketrip organizes your business rewards in a way that makes them ridiculously easy to understand and use. There are a bunch of ways you can get the most out of your travel rewards - both as a business and a consumer - and Rocketrip is the authority on how to do it.
As you can imagine, their authority on cheap travel tips makes their content ridiculously interesting to read and consume.
What I love:
Rocketrip does a great job of talking about their customers. They personally include them in their community, and make customer's use of their product easier by showing them how they can get even more out of their service.
I really can’t think of many things more complicated than trying to navigate travel rewards (other than maybe corporate insurance). Rocketrip dives into the hard-to-understand topics, and looks forward to the future to see how their industry will keep moving.
As a marketer, I love toolkits - mostly because I know how much thought goes into creating them. As a consumer, toolkits are my favorite pieces of content because the calculators, checklists, spreadsheets, and any other digital tools you can imagine, are tailored to work specifically for my individual needs - and Rocketrip nails them.
Managed by Q is making the process of keeping your office clean ridiculously easy. They keep your office clean with regular cleaning schedules, fully stocked with food and drinks, and generally running smoothly.
In addition to their fantastic service, Managed by Q has built a fantastic company culture (combating the traditionally negative stereotype of being a ‘cleaning person’) and created some fun and effective pieces of content from that culture.
What I love:
Company Culture Photos
The marketing team at Managed by Q has built a content strategy around images - which works for a cleaning company (because really, who’s going to read content about the perfect cleaning supplies?) The images help build what is really an envious company culture - and it’s perfect for tumblr.
Creativity to Blast Stereotypes
There’s a pretty strong stereotype around being working in the hospitality industry, cleaning homes or working as a maid. Managed by Q impressively blasts this stereotype out of the water by making the care of their employees one of their selling points. It works in the favor of their customers because happy employees are usually better workers.
Show, Not Tell
Finally, they don’t talk about how awesome they are, they show it. With employee testimonials, photos of impressively clean offices, and professionally produced videos that showcase their company culture, you don’t have to guess what it’s like to work for, or to be a customer of Managed by Q.
Poppin is an office supplies company that believes everyone should be happy at work. It shows with their product - fun colors, whimsical lines and trendy setups made by this company will make you excited to come to work (or school) everyday.
Poppin is meticulous about how they present themselves, their product, and their personality on the web. It makes for an enjoyable experience no matter how you consume their content.
What I love:
There’s no arguing against the fact that the Poppin people are fantastic photographers. The photos of their products achieve everything they strive for - fun, whimsy, organization and productivity. You have to see them for yourself.
When you’re shopping for office products, you probably want the process to be as easy and cheap as possible. The Poppin crew tells their story effectively, and they keep it short, sweet and to the point.
As a marketer who’s always looking for inspiration and ways to keep content relevant, keeping up with these brands reminds me and inspires to keep my content fresh, and to always entertain my audience while also solving their problems.