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6 Companies That Are Creating Engaging Online Content

6 Companies That Are Creating Engaging Online Content

When it comes to content, there is definitely a time and a place for infographics. But I don’t think I’m completely alone when I say that sometimes a lengthy scroll through a static image populated with fun/quirky, well-designed (sometimes) icons that’s educating me on anything from cancer awareness numbers to stats around buffalo wing consumption during New Year’s, just doesn’t quite do it anymore. I want something new and fresh to consume as far as content is concerned, and below are a few companies that have recently helped me scratch that itch.

1. Allen Communication

As of a few years ago, quiz taking became all the rage in the content world and is still a very popular, and many times effective, method of content marketing. But many companies create a QZZR of TypeForm account, pump out a few template quizzes, and call that good. A little too predictable if you ask me. Allen Communication recently released an interactive quiz on microlearning, a method of employee and consumer training that is on the rise, to encourage engagement and interaction among users. The quiz is a complete screen takeover that serves up 12 questions and lets you know if your answers were correct or incorrect on the spot. It also has built in social sharing buttons. Sort of a breath of fresh air to see quizzes taken to a new standard.

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2. Excedrin

While it’s important and impressive to be able to produce content that provides value to a target market, it is also more impressive to plan for that content to live in multiple formats and be able to promote that content across multiple channels. Excedrin accomplished both objectives with a smaller budget than many of their competitors. The Excedrin stories campaign hones in on the target’s need for specialized headache relief, and comes with a web-based education hub, email templates, video and social media banners.

3. Quiznos

This next one is pretty tasty, pun intended. Not only do I enjoy Quiznos’ sandwiches, it turns out their revamped content marketing strategy is just as good in its own right. Quiznos Toasty.tv channel is an online hub of parody TV shows like House of Thrones (a mix between House of Cards and Game of Thrones) or a show poking fun at Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake’s apparent bromance on many episodes of The Tonight Show. The goal here really seems to have been to up the relevance of the brand by increasing the chance of it playing a role in social conversations. On that front, Quiznos’ Toasty.tv has most definitely delivered.

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4. Sprint

We have all become so accustomed to clean, beautiful, sleek design that when a brand doesn’t come to the table with it, we write them off immediately. I suppose one of the largest reasons Sprint’s piece made my list is because not only does it obviously sport the quality of design I’m describing, but just like Excedrin, Sprint has crafted their idea to live in multiple online arenas. Think slideshares, ebooks, videos and resource centers. Strategic content is beautiful content indeed.

5. Lenovo Think Progress Campaign

One thing you might notice from each of these picks is each company’s refusal to turn to the quick fix or easy way out when it comes to content. Blog posts and infographics have their place, sure, but sometimes you need something bigger. Sometimes you need to create a resource center housing 8 websites in 7 different languages that help users locate all of the content marketing efforts of your brand, and that is exactly what Lenovo produced. Their Think Progress hub has been able to increase the value of the leads they receive by 63%.

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6. Mindful by Sodexo

Finally, we arrive at a recent piece produced by Sodexo, one of the world’s largest food-services and facilities-management companies. Sodexo created an entire sub-domain called Mindful. This resource center allows users quick access to healthy dieting tips and plans, but also healthy living information as well. Tools, education, and Mind/Spirit submenus can all be accessed from the main menu, and the site can also be accessed in English or French. Couple all of this with beautiful design and smart UX and you’ve got a very well crafted resource that I know has made me happy and many other users happy as well.

It turns out that great, innovative content is still all around us. Part of what I am trying to get at is that simply making a piece look beautiful is not enough. It is important, of course, but there needs to be strategy baked into the process as well. Maybe well designed infographics or a well written blog post is all some companies need to hit their goals. But I am always ready to salute those companies who take creative execution and strategy to the next level by skipping the easy way out and creating something that will truly delight users.

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Featured photo credit: SaaS Marketing Strategies/Seven Atoms via flickr.com

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Paisley Hansen

Freelance Writer

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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