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What We Can Learn From Major Content Creators

Did you know that over 500 million hours of video are watched on YouTube every single day (Wordstream)? With the massive amount of video content constantly being released and watched, how should you as a marketer determine what kinds will generate the biggest buzz and reach the largest audience? There are millions of brilliant creatives out there producing content daily, so it is important to recognize those that are successful at gaining views and engagement. We’ve outlined some of our favorite major content creators that repeatedly stand out and top the charts.


National Geographic

National Geographic has been the gold standard of photography since 1910—for over a hundred years! Obviously, their photographic quality is unparalleled and highly revered worldwide. Nat Geo’s multimedia expertise extends to video, and the media outlet has recently been producing equally impressive film products. As an organization that focuses on Journalism, Nat Geo’s social media accounts share moving and important stories that span many topics. With over 44 million likes on their Facebook page, the company has found this to be a useful platform to share content.


National Geographic creates beautiful video content intended to educate and inform. This remarkable 360° video of lion cubs in the wild gives viewers insight into a scene that is likely foreign to them. It is organic, well narrated and unique. With 3.1 million views in just a month, it is a highly successful video.


National Geographic also enjoys the use of live video for subjects like experts on a safari in Africa. Live video adds to the authenticity and relatability of the video and quickly garners viewers who can come, go and return as they please.  


Learn from this well-known brand by emulating National Geographic’s strategies. Focus on quality, not quantity. Stay current with trends and new technologies like 360 video and know your audience and platform. Ensure that your video is authentic with live video that is organic and raw. Use your expertise to your advantage by sharing uncommon or unique audience to incite interest.


360: Lion Cub

Watch as a young lion and his mother struggle with their pride’s alpha male in this stunning 360° film by National Geographic Explorer Martin Edström.

Posted by National Geographic on Thursday, June 22, 2017



The New York Times

The New York Times, a successful media company known for its newspapers, employs videojournalism and uses Facebook Live to broadcast the news. The brand provides an intellectual, somewhat liberal approach at current events around the world. NYT is well respected and has a large following and circulation rate.


Since the paper isn’t free, social media provides additional platforms for storytelling to reach a broader target market. Individuals who don’t pay for a subscription benefit greatly from the source’s free online content such as that provided on Facebook. Video provides the perfect opportunity to broadcast the news to those who don’t have access to the print version. NYT has excelled in creating content by using these videos to share relevant material, create buzz and promote their content.


One video we particularly liked was a documentary style piece about spending time and living in the vibrant city of San Francisco. “36 hours in San Francisco” sums up the New York Times’s take on the best things to do, see and eat in this thriving center.  Expositions of San Francisco residents and restaurant/ bar owners give an inside look with a personal touch about the city’s best qualities. Beautiful shots emulate the city’s character and various different narrators boasting about what they love encourages the viewer to want to visit (or even live in) San Francisco.


It is effective because it provides a lot of positive facts about the California hub and provides an in-depth look for those who have never visited. The video is successful at portraying the vibe of what it’s like to spend 36 hours in this city.


Copy the New York Times techniques by doing thorough research before production day and fully understand what you want to encapsulate in your video. Furthermore, interview real people who are passionate about your subject. Let them tell their stories with personal touches for added interest. If you are creating a documentary–especially about a particular place–include a wide variety of B-roll shots to go as in-depth as possible.


36 Hours in San Francisco

Spend 36 hours in San Francisco, a city that's constantly reinventing itself.

Posted by The New York Times on Friday, July 14, 2017




One cannot discuss major content creators without crediting tech giant Apple. Needless to say, Apple clearly knows how to successfully market their products–most notably, iPhones and Macs. The company’s extraordinary accomplishments have not only been a result of the most innovative, forward-thinking technologies but also due to advanced marketing tactics. Over the years, Apple has famously been a leading marketer, made clear by their understanding of various market segments across the world, and ability to create emotional brand attachments and chart-topping achievements. Not to mention, Apple holds the #1 spot as the world’s most valuable brand at $170 billion, Google following at $101.8 billion (Forbes).


One recent trend that Apple has hopped on board with is a shift towards lifestyle video marketing. We particularly liked “Earth,” a compilation of stunning short clips all shot on iPhones by Apple users. The video expresses an appreciation and love for our planet, narrated by late astronomer and author Carl Sagan. Not only does Apple promote its brand values–working to save the earth–but it displays the iPhone’s stellar camera quality and key feature of user-friendly products. Released during the NBA Finals game after the U.S. exit from the Paris Climate Accord, it is also a political statement.


The takeaway: Apple’s marketing technique with this video is simple yet effective. Instead of producing their own footage, the brand takes advantage of their consumers skills. It is a way to promote individual artistic talent created with Apple products.


Spoon University

Spoon University has been killing the lifestyle content game in 2017. This site is a resource driven by college students focused around food for millennials. Traffic for the site cumulates in 4 million per month, likely from individuals of other generations along with millennials (because who doesn’t love food). Articles and videos are constantly released from college students across the world, including healthy recipes, clever hacks and boozy ideas. Spoon University’s videos are creative, colorful and fun. The Facebook page links videos to an accompanying full recipe article, an ease of access to the website.


This inventive video serves as as a strong example of creative content. The visuals of tie-dye ice cream cone cake pops are appealing and mouthwatering. The caption incites curiosity and oversized text instructions make the recipe easy to understand. Overlayed music, sound effects and use of emojis contribute to the feel of the video, but it is still interesting to watch without sound (Facebook auto plays videos muted). The video links to a full recipe with equally appealing photographs and gifs. It’s still branded, though, with a small logo in the corner and another logo graphic as the closing shot.


Spoon University’s videos, especially this one, are notable because they are inventive and perfectly tailored to their audience and current trends. Content is millennial friendly, adjusted to appeal to young adults looking for a quick, fun recipe. The material is original and serves as both entertainment and an instructional video. We like the short length–one minute is ideal for viewers to hit play and watch in full. The fast-pace video is a quick bite that doesn’t take long to consume.


Tie-Dye Ice Cream Cone Cake Pops

The best thing to put in an ice cream cone? Tie-dye cake.

Posted by Spoon University on Saturday, January 21, 2017




These established brands have been successful in part due to their unique and creative content that stands out again and again. Though your budget may not be as big as Apple, remember that quality always trumps quantity. Get the most out of your skillset and creatives to make stellar videos that are original, innovative and will cause your viewer to yearn for more. Always know your platform and audience and align your strategies as necessary. Speak with real, passionate people about true stories instead of conjuring up something to fit a mold. Authenticity will shine through as a result. We can’t stress enough how critical it is to stay current (or better yet, ahead) of trends and technologies to rise above your competition.



Sophia Gribbs Marketing InternSophia Gribbs is a marketing intern for Green Buzz Agency. She enjoyed researching some of the brands she respects and admires.


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