If you were to take a poll of Microsoft’s Xbox Team asking what everyone’s favorite game is, you might expect to hear a lot of Microsoft games like Halo and Forza. In a video released in the run-up to the E3 conference this week, Xbox team members show that their tastes go far beyond products from the company that signs their paychecks.
Sure, there are a ton of Microsoft titles in this mix (including a shout-out to 2007’s under-appreciated Crackdown) but what really makes the video so intriguing are all the games that are exclusive to other systems. Forty-five seconds in, a woman states, “I work on Xbox and my favorite game is Tetris.” There’s a super-playful tone in her voice when she says it, and it hints at what I was thinking as I watched the clip for the first time – I can’t believe Microsoft’s putting this video up.
Adding information that doesn’t stick to the “party line” is what turns this video from another boring piece of “content marketing” into something that’s actually worth watching. I’m currently obsessed with Super Smash Bros. Melee, a game that came out for Nintendo’s Gamecube in 2001. Seeing that one of the members of the Xbox team couldn’t decide on his favorite game and instead brought in three Nintendo titles (including SSBM) made me feel more warm fuzzies toward the Xbox than they could ever have induced just by talking about their own software.
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the idea that doing content marketing means you can only talk about your own company. If you have to bring them into the discussion, it should be to make sure your company is presented in a greater light. Doing that, however, can quickly lead to the perception that your blog is just toeing the corporate line.
A big part of content marketing is talking about your company, sure. However, finding the correct time and place to praise your competitors can be the difference between creating blog-length commercials and creating compelling posts your audience will actually want to read.