Content Marketing All-Stars Q&A: Whitney Drake of GM

By NativeAI / October 31, 2017

How do you tell the story of a multi-billion-dollar, multi-national
company that has been around for over a hundred years? 

That is the challenge facing the Communications team at General Motors.

Every day they produce compelling content related to
the automaker’s activities across a host of different countries and brands.
These pieces come in a wide-range of different formats, including text articles, digital videos, and graphics.

How do they do it? How do they consistently create so much
great content? 

To find out we recently chatted with Whitney Drake, Manager of
Story Bureau and Analytics, at GM Communications.

Check out the full Q&A below:

Q: What role does
digital content play in GM’s communications efforts? 

A: Within GM
communications we look at digital content from both a proactive and reactive
perspective. We’re leveraging it to effectively tell our brand stories and to
ensure we are prepared to respond in the digital space.

Content has always had a significant role in our
communications effort, what we have changed is the speed and cadence in which
we bring digital content to life and how we measure it. We try to look at the
whole digital landscape and figure out where and when a story will have the
greatest impact, whether it is through timing, outlet, or assets. We’ve evolved
from the days of a just looking at a piece of content as a press release or
words on paper.

Q: What sorts of
pieces are you creating? How are they being created/what is the team like?

A: The team is
creating interactive speeches, images, graphics, videos and the overall
treatment of a creative activation. They are integrated from the onset of a
conversation to help guide creative production while also laddering back up to
the overarching objectives. We are looking to tailor assets to the medium we
want to hit and ensuring the team has all that is needed to do so.

Our team is centrally located but pulled in when and where
needed. We have a creative director, video and graphic production, broadcast
management, editorial, researchers, analysts and media experts that make up the

Q: We really like how
your News and
section covers a range of topics such as sustainability and
technology in-depth. How do you choose your content focus areas? How did those
become priorities?

A: Our news and
stories align with our business objectives. We always ask how does this story
align with our overall business priorities, how will it positively contribute
to moving our products, people and communities forward. We’re focused on
putting the customer at the center of everything we do and the stories we
produce are a reflection of that philosophy.


Q: How do you measure
the success of a piece of content? Which metrics do you pay close attention to?

A: We are 100%
focused on earned reach across the digital space. How many people are we
actually reaching, how often is a piece of content being shared, and is it
changing people’s perception and raising opinion and consideration.

Q: Finally, do you
have a personal favorite piece (or pieces) of GM content? Which pieces showcase
what you guys do well?

A: Immediately,
our work with the Chevrolet Camaro at Nürburgring comes to mind.

Lap time at the world famous Nürburgring Nordschleife,
known as the most challenging track in the world, has become the standard of
performance for manufacturers and tuners alike. So, when the new Camaro ZL1 1LE
was expected to time faster than any of its Chevrolet predecessors, we
knew there was an opportunity to generate heavy buzz.

We sent a film crew to capture it all (in-car, aerial, interviews, driver prep,
etc.) Then we researched the hottest racing video games for inspiration and
designed an interface to overlay the video, making it feel much more modern and

Three days prior to its release, we
posted a teaser video
on the Chevy Camaro Facebook channel. This post,
accompanied by targeted media pitches, generated 24 articles by key enthusiast
outlets. 54% of the articles embedded the Facebook post/video.


timed the announcement to occur on the first day of the Camaro ZL1 1LE media
drive where Chevy’s Chief Engineer and lap driver were in attendance – making
it easy for journalists to get the full story and conduct interviews. 

full 7+ minute video was posted on YouTube and embedded into the press release,
helping to generate 158 online news stories; 40% embedded the full video.
However, the biggest hit came from Camaro’s Facebook community. The video was
posted 30 minutes after the press release and quickly began generating heavy
views, engagement and shares.

Facebook video alone
received over 1.6 million views, with 74% of the views
coming from shares.


knew the Camaro’s time would garner coverage, but through integrated
storytelling and powerful assets, we transformed what could have been standard
coverage into a powerful moment in car history for enthusiasts across the

To date, coverage of the Nürburgring
Lap Video and teaser have generated 182 online and print news articles,
resulting in an estimated earned reach of roughly 2 million people.

Written by NativeAI / October 31, 2017