General Electric is a 125-year old multinational conglomerate with business spanning across aviation, digital, healthcare and more industries. So how does a company with a strong legacy stay relevant to its audience and craft a content strategy that’s aligned globally? If you need to understand GE’s Content Strategy, you will have to rewind back to 2014.
In 2014 General Electric revamped its content strategy to align it globally without losing the essence of being local in its approach when required. General Electric was always an early adopter of technology. The brand was the first to launch its presence on the social platforms like Vine, Google Plus, Instagram and more. GE’s Content Strategy has been supported by series of well-planned moves which has enabled it to drive substantial traction.
GE’s Content Strategy
In her key note for Content Marketing World 2017 Linda Boff, Chief Marketing Officer for GE shared few insights into how the brand approaches content marketing. GE’s Content formula is to be first on the platform, activate unlikely audiences and finding the human in digital. GE’s content formula works because the team is constantly looking for new ideas through its iterative process. Linda & her team understands the complexity of managing a brand that has such varied interests. The brands latest commercial is also trying to simplify this complexity by showcasing what the company does best ‘inventing things.’
We’re a company that does things that are complex and difficult, so finding ways to describe them in a way that’s simple and engaging is quite important.
– Linda Boff, CMO, GE
GE Reports & The Txchnologist
They started the task of aligning GE’s Content Strategy globally by hiring people who could reshape storytelling at the company. They hired Tomas Kellner, a staff writer at Forbes for eight years to bring a journalistic approach to covering innovation and technology breakthroughs. Earlier General Electric would release press notes and press releases for its business clusters on a weekly basis without getting anticipated organic coverage. Tomas Kellner knew what people need is a great story which they would love to share and not an another press release that talks about the brand.
GE’s news site GE Reports has built an audience of more than half a million readers since 2008.
The stories include an interesting mix for instance in a recent article GE reports covered how scientists are using sensors to study an active lava lake with the help of Predix (GE’s Industrial IoT Platform).
Tomas Kellner is instrumental in setting GE Reports, the brands content hub and scaling it. GE Reports has over 20K subscribers with stories revolving around the work done by General Electric in areas of tech, brilliant machines, and advanced manufacturing.
Every story needs to have some type of challenge, a protagonist, and something has to be at stake. You have to find it otherwise people will not read it. Many companies still tell their news through a press release, and you will certainly not find a flesh and blood protagonist there. But the press release is dead, or at least dying.
– Tomas Kellner, Editor in Chief, GE Reports
Besides GE Report the brand also has launched ‘The Txchnologist’ to explore the ever-changing worlds of science, technology, and innovation. It covers the world outside of GE and reaches out to a diverse crowd starting from aviation experts to tech lovers. Txchnologist includes stories that use a mix of images and videos as the blog is hosted on Tumblr. For a recent story, the blog explained how General Electric measures biometrics of Olympic athletes by attaching biosensors to LEDs. Txchnologist has over 170K followers and is the top contributor to the science and tech tracked tags on Tumblr.
Innovations – Breakthrough & The Message
General Electric has always been the first to innovate when it comes to branded content. Last year the brand launched ‘Breakthrough‘ television series by partnering with National Geographic. The television series produced by Brian Grazer & Ron Howard highlights scientific innovations from General Electric. The series gives GE unprecedented reach as it was telecasted in 171 countries and 45 different languages.
GE also launched its award winning science podcast ‘The Message‘ last year. GE partnered with ad agency BBDO New York, and podcast network Panoply for this initiative. The podcast hit no.1 spot on iTunes podcast charts with more than 1.2 million downloads. The eight-part podcast written by playwright Mac Rogers follows a fake popular-science series called “Cyphercast,” about cryptographers investigating mysterious alien transmissions.
GE partnered with NBC to create a segment on Jimmy Falon’s Tonight Show named ‘Fallonventions.’ The segment has short under ten-minute science experiments that the host Jimmy Falon performs with student volunteers.
Social At GE
Social Media is the centerpiece of GE’s Content Strategy. Besides promoting content from its content hubs, the brand was an early adopter of platforms like Snapchat, WeChat, and Vine. GE has become one of the only B2B brands that have mastered the art of creating user-generated content. #EmojiScience is a social initiative by GE to get younger students more interested and engaged in science. The website for Emoji Science features DIY videos presented in the form of a periodic table.
Social started (for GE) because we wanted to be having conversations with people: consumers, employees, investors, and anybody else that shares our passions. If that’s what you’re looking to do, then you’ve got to be where people are now spending their time.
– Linda Boff, CMO, GE
The brand also has led several campaigns from #6SecondScience on Vine to #Springbreakit to demonstrate the power of ‘super materials’ by crushing and blasting things in the past.
As a brand, GE is pushing itself constantly to create relevant, engaging and quality content for its audience. They do this by constantly experimenting and learning each time to improve the outcome. If you liked this article also read our other articles from insider series on Moz, Airbnb, New York Times & NetFlix.