Many companies (large and small, ‘business-to-business’ and ‘business-to-consumer’) have latched on to content marketing, understanding fundamentally that publishing your own interesting and relevant original content can be a key differentiator between your brand and your competitors’.
Many more are on social media, having opened accounts on numerous popular social networking platforms. Few, however, are undertaking their social media and content marketing with what I like to say “passion, purpose and strategic intent”.
Fewer still use social technologies and online publishing tools in comprehensive fashion to:
- humanise their business;
- demonstrate their knowledge, passion and expertise;
- deepen the levels of connection they have with existing and potential customers;
- build a tribe of fans, followers, enthusiasts, advocates and supporters of what it is they do and stand for.
Hence when I see a brand that ‘gets it’ – that is, they’re pulling together all the elements both strategically and tactically but also doing it with a sense of vigour and enthusiasm – then I like to spread the word!
So let me introduce you to The Goulet Pen Company.
Wow! Where to start with these guys? Firstly, some quick background (sourced from the company’s website):
The Goulet Pen Company originally began as a hobby in 2007 when co-founder Brian Goulet’s lifelong interest in woodworking led him to purchase a small lathe and try pen-turning “on a whim”. Brian made his pens on nights and weekends until late 2008 when he decided to devote his career to pen-turning.
In late 2009, Brian and his wife and partner in the business, Rachel Goulet, decided to “expand from writing instruments to enhancing the overall writing experience”.
Today, the Goulet Pen Company sells via its website (http://www.gouletpens.com/) a broad range of fountain pens and writing instruments, bottled ink, writing paper and accessories (e.g. sealing wax, ink cartridges, pen cases etc).
Welcome to Goulet Pens video
But that’s not what sets the brand apart from its competitors necessarily. It’s the relentless education and sharing of knowledge the company provides – the constant communication Brian (especially) has with the writing community – that not only increases Goulet’s profile and reputation but also deepens the level of connection the brand has with its customers.
Goulet’s mission is to enhance people’s writing experience, and they certainly do that … and then some!
Okay, let’s deconstruct what makes Goulet a bona fide ‘connected brand’:
The depth of content this small business creates would put many large organisations to shame; indeed if you’re a smaller business and you use time and resourcing (or lack thereof) as an excuse for not publishing original content, you might like to drop Brian Goulet a line to ask him how he does it, because as you can see if you check out his company’s website and blog, he really does produce a lot of useful information!
At the heart of Goulet’s content marketing efforts is a vibrant blog called Ink Nouveau (great name that).
The blog’s aim, according to Brian Goulet, is to “provide product education (with a bit of entertainment, as well) and to bring together fountain pen enthusiasts from around the world to share in a common passion”.
With an average of 221 blog posts published per year between 2010 and 2013 (an average of four-plus posts a week for four years), you could say that consistency of output has been one of the keys to the success of the Ink Nouveau blog and therefore the Goulet Pen Company business.
Weekly Goulet Q&A videos hosted by Brian and in which he answers people’s fountain pen, ink, and paper questions invariably attract regular audiences between 2000 and 3000; Goulet’s other (instructional skewed) videos often fare even better, garnering five, 10, 15 thousand views (this video on how a fountain pen works has attracted more than 37,000 views alone).
A weekly email newsletter and cool interactive tools such as ‘Nib Nook’ cap off an integrated content effort that truly is first class!
While Brian is the ‘face’ of the brand and the one who fronts the videos and produces a lot of the blog posts, his sister Andrea Goulet Ford has, as content lead, been instrumental in helping him steer the content.
Brian Goulet produces regular 'open forum' Q&A videos
People who have followed me here on The Connected Brand as well as my PR Warrior blog (and/or read my book microDOMINATION) will know that I have been consistent in saying that while creating and sharing your own original content is critical to marketing success today, so too is using social media channels to connect with the marketplace (customers and influencers) on a personal and human level.
Again, Goulet nails this aspect of the ‘new marketing’ game.
The brand is visible and active across multiple channels; its Twitter account (@GouletPens) is largely used for customer interaction as well as distributing the company’s original content; its Facebook page is actively managed and is a key forum for customers to leave reviews (which they do in droves – consistently of the 5-star variety!).
Given video is Goulet’s preferred medium, it’s understandable YouTube is a vibrant interactive social outpost for the brand.
The following numbers show how Goulet is growing its audience across various social channels:
- YOUTUBE – 9200 subscribers
- TWITTER – 4000 followers
- FACEBOOK – 6050 ‘likes’
- INSTAGRAM – 630 followers
- PINTEREST – 624 followers
Collectively, along with the Ink Nouveau blog, Goulet has a solid platform from which to tell its story, share its knowledge and ideas, and build its audience of fans and advocates.
At the end of the day, it is the passion of the people behind the Goulet brand that sets this company apart from the pack, particularly that of founder and frontman Brian Goulet who is somewhat of a ‘micro maven’ when it comes to fountain pens, ink and paper.
Goulet shows that passion can take you a long way. Your videos don’t need Hollywood budgets (indeed, they don’t need much in the way of budget at all) to be useful and effective.
Brian Goulet’s quest to share what the company knows and loves about fountain pens is truly on show for all to see – it’s his attitude and willingness to provide value relentlessly that drives the company’s content and social efforts, and therefore its marketing generally.
- Mostly everything Goulet does is instructional and provides utility; it is ‘evergreen’ content that’s interesting and useful if pens, ink and paper is your thing.
- Storytelling underpins their whole strategy – from how the company first started to the articulation of stories behind many of the products they sell; indeed, Goulet uses content not only to tell its brand story but also to introduce its team to the world – this ‘human element’ is a theme that runs throughout everything the business does.
- The brand is relentless and consistent in its social and content output, and it appears has been the case for some four years.
- Passion is critical, because it shows! Brian Goulet’s enthusiasm for all things pen, paper and ink is palpable and it draws in others interested in the same space.
I’ll leave you with this thought:
If you want to learn more about social media and content marketing in action, then set aside half an hour or so to study what Goulet is doing across all of its various online channels. In my opinion, it’s a blueprint of what to do when it comes to marketing in today’s noisy, social world.
* Hat-tip Sonia Simone for alerting me to the Goulet story; images sourced from http://www.gouletpens.com/ and http://www.inknouveau.com/
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