Brian Goulet loves fountain pens. He loves the feel of the pen in his hand, the way the ink flows onto the page and the personal letters he can create with them. Goulet loves fountain pens so much that he decided to start a business selling pens and inks. In order to market his product, he set out to build an online community for pen lovers based around social media.
In just three years, this strategy has grown the Virginia-based pen aficionado’s business, The Goulet Pen Company, from a one-man band to a team of 21 people. So how does Goulet do it with a virtually-zero marketing budget?
Goulet is very active on his blog, Ink Nouveau, which hosts an extensive collection of self-made videos and written content offering best practice tips and insights, reviews and how-to guides on products like ink, paper and sealing wax. With the number of blog posts published since 2010 edging towards the thousand mark, it’s certainly worth checking out.
Goulet distributes his content across YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Pinterest and Instagram as well as through a popular niche forum, the Fountain Pen Network. With more than 22,500 social fans, his Q&A videos attract regular audiences between 2,000 and 20,000. This one has more than 45,000 views
Goulet’s content is also shared via the Goulet Communiqué, a weekly enewsletter that keeps pen lovers up to date on the latest and greatest in fountain pen technology and innovation.
Naturally, all roads lead to Rome. The Goulet Pen Company website provides a panoramic view of the company’s content strategy. Through the site, customers can purchase products, sign up to the weekly enewsletter, tap into Goulet’s various social channels, and get into contact with the man himself.
But which of these channels is the most effective? We asked Goulet for his thoughts.
Brian Goulet shares the secret to his content marketing success
“Each one of our content channels contribute to our overall brand and reach people in different ways. But the one thing I’ve personally felt is most pivotal to our company from the beginning has been our videos,” he said.
“The main reason for that is because a video gets across so much more personality than any of these other avenues of social contact. Body language is so critical in communication, and being able to see me talking in a video conveys a great deal more than I could in a written article. Not to mention, it allows me to display products that I’m reviewing or a technique that I’m teaching in great detail in a far more effective fashion than words or pictures.
“Another reason videos have been so important to my company’s growth is that no one else was doing them, or at least doing them well and with any kind of regularity. It’s very hard to produce high-quality content in video form on a regular basis, and this has been one way that Goulet has been able to stand out from other retailers, as well as other bloggers.”
His videos don’t have high production values, but they’re personal and really interesting. I didn’t expect to find myself watching the whole six minutes of a video showing the difference between a fountain pen and a ball point pen, but with Goulet’s expert commentary, it was fascinating.
The success of the videos is also due to Goulet’s consistency of output and dedication to getting them done. As with most content marketing, it’s a long-term strategy for success, not a short-term marketing campaign.
“I don’t know that videos would be worthwhile for everyone, though, as they’re incredibly demanding and deeply personal,” Goulet said.
“Putting yourself out on the internet in a video is exposing more of your character than what’s possible through other means of communication, and you have to be ready for that. If you lack confidence, enthusiasm for your subject matter, or you have some kind of unappealing aspect of your personality, it’ll show very clearly and could do you more harm than good. This is part of the reason why not everyone incorporates video into their marketing strategy. Not to mention, it’s a tremendous resource of time, energy, and technical equipment. But for us here at Goulet, it’s worked out really well.”