Want to see modern content marketing at its
best? Then take a look at what a company founded in 1888 is doing.
Kodak, the storied imaging and technology
firm, has been at the forefront of the field over the past few years. Among
other things, the company has launched a highly successful podcast, built a large
audience for its blog, and engaged audiences through creative social media takeovers.
On top of all that, Kodak has come full
circle with content: it recently launched an old-school print magazine.
Recently we chatted with Joshua Coon,
Director of Content Marketing and Campaign Activation at Eastman Kodak, to learn
more about these efforts and to find out which trends in the space he’s
Check out the Q&A below:
Q: What’s your
A: I have a pretty diverse background.
Before Kodak, I worked at a sporting good
company, a durable goods company and I’ve worked on the agency side things as
I went to art school for illustration and
design. That process, of working as an illustrator and artist, informs a lot of
how I approach marketing and the work I do at Kodak.
Q: What is your role at Kodak?
A: I’m the Director of Content Marketing. I think of myself as
being the company’s storyteller.
A lot of what I do is tell stories about
the brand’s past, present, and future. I want to show the brand’s relevance and
its authenticity in the world we live in today.
Kodak has such an incredible history –
we’ll be 130 years-old next year – and I want to highlight that richness.
There’s also the incredible work being done
every day with our products – many of the biggest movies that come out in
theaters are shot on Kodak film. Photographers all over the world are capturing
moments and creating art on our film.
So, I’m focused on telling both those
stories from the past and those stories that are happening right now. It’s
really exciting – I have so much to work with.
Q: What is the benefit for Kodak of telling those stories?
Why is the company creating content?
A: It accomplishes a variety of things.
Kodak has this rich history, but it’s also
no secret that we hit rough patches with the transformation to digital.
Part of the reason to tell these stories is
to showcase the relevance of the brand today.
When I started here a lot of people were
asking why Kodak would keep making film. But there’s this passionate community
of folks who are still shooting on film – and now it’s having a renaissance.
It’s part of that embrace of things like vinyl records, printed books, local
food and craft beer – people want those more intimate, authentic experiences.
With our stories, we’re showing all the
incredible people that are using our products today and by highlighting their
work we showcase how both the current generation and the next are using our
products. Film isn’t a thing of the past in fact it’s used by some incredible
storytellers and artists the world over.
On the historical side, Kodak has a lot of
fans – they love our products, they love the history of the company – and
there are so many interesting things we can share. For example, the lunar orbital
mission that photographed the moon so the astronauts could safely land was
created not just with Kodak film, but with our engineers deeply involved is the
There are all kinds of incredible stories
that have never been told before.
Q: What sorts of pieces are you creating?
A: We’re not working with huge budgets here; we have modest
That forces us to be really resourceful. We
very much have a start-up mentality, and we look to accomplish as much as we
can with what we have.
For example, we started our podcast, The Kodakery, with internal resources. We produce the show in-house, we
edit it in-house, and we market it in-house.
It’s something that’s grown substantially
over the last couple of years. We’ve done interviews with everybody from
Oscar-nominated directors and cinematographers to New York Times best-selling
That came out of a looking at the types of
resources that we had available and making sure we spent budget in a way that
would give us the most bang for the buck.
Similarly, we have a lot of stuff happening
with our social media team which makes the most of what we can do. So, we do
Instagram takeovers that mobilize the photography community around the world.
Another interesting project from our team
is the Kodachrome Magazine.
We had all these great long-form interviews
from The Kodakery podcast, and that led us to launch a print magazine. Also,
the idea is that we’ve got this passionate analog community that’s looking for
And a really important part of our business
is print technologies – we make huge printers that print everything from
newspapers and magazines to packaging – so this was a way to showcase the
entire breadth of the company. By putting out a magazine using our own
technology we’re walking the walk and showing that we believe in print.
The magazine costs $20 a copy. We put it
out in May and the first issue sold out in 48 hours. So, we went back to press
and we’ve just launched issue two.
It’s a product and it’s also a content
marketing program. It’s analog now, but
over time we’ll start to share the content on Kodak.com and on our social
I’m really, really proud of both The
Kodakery podcast and the Kodachrome magazine. With them, we’re telling our
story through the stories of the people who use the mediums we create. We’re
showcasing their successes and how they are impacting the world.
Think about what George Eastman did. He
democratized photography for anyone and everyone. At every moment of modern history,
Kodak was there and in many ways we still are. Our channels now showcase how
we’re still a core part of creation.
The Kodakery and Kodachrome capture the
spirit of who we are now, why we’re relevant, and where we came from.
Q: Any learnings from launching the podcast? Any tips for
brands looking to make their podcasts successful?
A: Podcasting is a fascinating and a frustrating medium.
You’ve got all these different platforms
and different channels. There’s not a core distribution point where you put it
up and get full-picture metrics back. So, we’ve had to monitor the podcast very
One learning from our experience is that we
advertise and promote an episode many more times now than when we started. In
the beginning we would put it out and promote it a bit on social media and
Kodak.com, then move on to the next one.
What we found is that podcasts have a long
tail and that it helps to put them back out when they’re relevant. So, we have
an episode about the lunar orbiter missions, and when it’s an Apollo Mission
anniversary or there’s a NASA breaking news story we have it ready to share
After we release an episode now, we keep
re-sharing it. We find that we get new listens and new audiences coming in each
time. We also use a lot of assets that come out of a podcast – such as quotes –
to create sharable pieces like graphics and animated GIFs. That helps keep our
social media channels alive with new content. We try to maximize everything we
can from each episode.
Q: How do you judge the success of a piece of content? Which
metrics do you pay close attention to?
A: We use a robust set of
monitoring tools and analytics tools.
We look especially carefully at engagement.
For us it’s really, really important that when we put content out we’re seeing
conversations about it. We want to see people talk about it and interact with
To give you an example: we recently had a
great Instagram takeover Ben Stockley, a photographer whose image is featured
on the cover of the second issue of Kodachrome Magazine.
He took over our Instagram channel and
interacted. He talked to people, he answered questions, gave behind the
technical insights, he got really involved. That gives people a rich,
meaningful experience that adds value to their lives. And that is beyond just
what you can measure purely with metrics; it’s about a deeply positive
interaction with our brand.
Q: Final question: which content marketing trends are you
watching closely? What do you think might become important in the coming years?
A: I always find it hard to prognosticate because there’s
always a new thing that just explodes suddenly.
That said, one of the things that we’ve
learned from our experiences here at Kodak is that audiences – especially younger
audiences – don’t want to be marketed to. They don’t want you to just sell
them something. They want things to be useful and to add value to their lives.
Like what we’re doing with the magazine or The
Kodakery, I see a lot of other brands starting to generate longer-form, richer,
better-produced content. Brands are trying build relationships that are more
meaningful. I think that’s going to
continue to be a trend.