It’s easier for users to find, share, and create content than ever before. And users are doing just that. This more active—and involved—audience is ideal for the continued growth of a smart content publisher. In fact, consumers’ enthusiasm for content is a great opportunity for content publishers to extend their brand and their audience, in ways that simultaneously are more personalized and reach a global scale. Weather is, of course, one of the most personal forms of content out there.
AccuWeather.com is the number one weather website with the top-ranked mobile website in the U.S. We provide more than 12 billion global data requests each day and continue to set record-level growth rates in digital traffic, increasing unique users by more than 50% across our Web and mobile sites.
To direct and build on this tremendous growth, we’ve established six basic content marketing principles. They help us serve weather content, grow our brand presence, and build audience relationships worldwide:
1. Content needs to be available when and where users want it. Throughout our history, AccuWeather has made a point of adapting quickly to all new platforms, including Web, mobile Web, smartphone apps, tablets, and connected devices. Now, we have one of the leading websites in the U.S. and worldwide, and we have award-winning apps for all major platforms.
2. There are rewards to being an early adopter on new content platforms. In 2005 we began talking directly to our audiences through messaging boards and then through online photo galleries. When social media grew to a critical mass and became a viable way to reach users, it was natural for us to continue the conversation there. Now, we have nearly a million fans on social media, and it’s increasing every day.
3. Conversations need to be two-way. Social media isn’t about promoting services and offerings to followers; it’s about listening and interacting with an engaged audience. Weather has a very personal impact. The live feedback we get not only gives us a snapshot of what our audience values, but it also help enhance our stories with on-location reporting, pictures, and commentary.
4. Content needs to be relevant, timely, and personalized. This principle holds especially true for weather. We continue to push the boundaries of personalization with new products, such as AccuWeather MinuteCast, a unique “nowcast” set to the user’s exact GPS location.
5. Crowdsourcing is the next logical step to content marketing. Social media allows users to connect with the content that they consume. Crowdsourcing takes it a step further by allowing them to participate at any given moment. Recently, AccuWeather launched a unique crowdsourced weather tool, AccUcast. It allows users to post their current weather and road conditions and see their, as well as others’, contributions in an interactive map view, making them more profoundly part of their weather than ever before.
6. Focus on what you do best. AccuWeather’s brand name communicates our most important product: accurate weather. No matter how our audience receives their forecast—on watches, through smartphones, or in their cars—they know that they’re getting information that they can trust. Brand consistency isn’t just a matter of keeping a consistent design palette. We know what our audience wants and deliver on our fundamental brand promise in everything we do.
The wealth of available data is continuing to grow exponentially, and it stands to reason that the ways people access that data will grow with it. By staying focused on our core values and listening to our content consumers, we continue to strengthen our relationship with a growing and highly engaged audience.
About the author:
John Dokes sets the direction and velocity of marketing for AccuWeather as its newly appointed CMO. He has more than 20 years of marketing experience with world-renown brands, including Marvel Entertainment and Viacom-MTV Networks. He is helping to reinvent AccuWeather brand for both customer and business audiences.