“The bears stood on their hind legs and looked at us, sniffing. For one long moment, we had no inkling whether they’d leave or come after us instead of the caribou.”
This could be a teaser for a National Geographic piece or an excerpt from a lost John Irving novel. But it’s actually part of a riveting adventure story published in Experience More, a digital magazine from W. L. Gore & Associates, launched in May in partnership with Contently.
Each month, the brand that pioneered the category of performance outdoor apparel delivers eight original stories featuring everyday adventurers doing extraordinary things. For example, in this fall’s “Unknown” issue, readers have their pick of journeys on which to embark—from Jimmy Chin’s groundbreaking Mount Meru climb to one adventurers trek across the Wadi Qelt from Jerusalem to Jericho.
This isn’t Gore’s only effort in content marketing. As part of a broader global branding campaign, the brand had launched an educational, product-differentiating campaign page to help consumers peel back the layers of its advanced waterproof, breathable, and durable technology. But there was still something missing.
“We were doing a good job of talking about the technical differentiating benefits of Gore-Tex products,” said Josue Sierra, the North American digital marketing associate for Gore. “But we needed to better connect with consumers through our shared passion for the outdoors.”
With the strategic support of LaneTerralever, the lead agency working with Gore on this campaign, the team decided a high-quality monthly online publication would be the right approach. LaneTerralever was tasked with identifying the key resources needed—namely, a workflow organization tool and access to writers who could bring these adventure stories to life.
“The challenge was to find the right partner to collaborate in creating unique, original content that would inspire our audience to get outside and explore,” Sierra said. “Through LaneTerralever and Contently, we were able to set up a process that allowed us to make this happen each month.”
Using Contently’s platform, Libbie Miller, the content strategy director at LaneTerralever, was able to set up a comprehensive, efficient editorial workflow that flowed smoothly between all parties involved. The team also didn’t have to worry about capturing beautiful images for each story, since Contently was able to provide writers with backgrounds in photography.
“Thanks to the great support from our digital agency, and the processes and structure provided by Contently, it has actually been easier than most expected,” Sierra said. “By centralizing the internal process around one single Gore marketing team point of contact, we’re able to identify stories that require extra input, brand review, or fact-checking. This ensures we publish authentic, high-quality stories that consumers will enjoy reading, while increasing the reach of our brand campaign.”
All three companies were also able to work together to deliver content that seamlessly integrated Gore-Tex products when appropriate.
“Through the online magazine, we’ve been able to reach that balance where we’re highlighting our brand and technology while also engaging our consumers about the outdoor lifestyle,” Sierra said.
For example, Experience More is features a column called The Lab, which tells the story behind the Gore-Tex product technology.
To get the content in front of outdoor enthusiasts, Gore’s marketing team leverages LaneTerralever’s resources to execute a multi-tiered approach that includes email newsletters, paid social distribution, and Contently’s integration with Outbrain. To measure and report back on the success of their content, LaneTerralever relies on Contently Insights to track key engagement metrics.
“As a content strategist, I think there are a lot of vapid measurements out there that don’t actually mean anything at all,” Miller said. Through Contently, she’s able to check on metrics that tell her not just how many people are coming to the site, but also what people are doing with the content: Are they sticking around? Are they looking at more than one story? How far down the page are they reading?
“We can get a real sense of whether our content is hitting the mark or not based on those meaningful analytics,” Miller said. “We’re able to see that behavior unfold … and modify our strategy to make changes along the way to better serve our reader needs, and in turn, deliver on our brand goals.”
After just three issues were published, Sierra and the brand marketing team saw a 72 percent increase in visits to their content since launching Experience More in May, and a 23 percent week over week growth in organic search traffic. Sierra also found that visitors to the online magazine are spending 40 percent more time on site than they are on other campaign microsites that are part of the same effort.
Additionally, Experience More is generating impressive amounts of engagement, including organic lift and social shares. A story about a woman and her dog adventuring on their own through the Colorado wilderness was the highest-performing piece in terms of social activity.
“It’s nice validation to know that we’re not just putting out content, we’re putting out meaningful content,” Sierra said. “We’re making content that matters to consumers, and that we hope will encourage and inspire more outdoor recreational activities.”
With their fifth issue out now, and sixth and seventh issues in pre-production, Miller feels they’ve really hit their stride.
“Now that we’ve got our feet under us, it’s a matter of just improving the overall reader experience and starting to really grow this publication,” she said. This includes syndicating content with international partners, optimizing the packaging and presentation, and even tapping into video content creation. But no matter where Experience More may take Gore and its readers, these efforts always point back to the same goal.
“As an ingredient brand, we want consumers to recognize our products as enablers of great outdoor experiences,” Sierra said.