GoPro video cameras are best known as the staple gear for anyone that likes to jump off stuff, or for cyclists to wave in the face of angry bus drivers. And as guest writer Russel Cooke explains, this propensity for hyper-engaging user-generated content that puts you in the driving seat should have every marketer thinking outside the box.

Great content marketing requires a marriage between a company’s products and services, and the content that describes it. GoPro is one company that manages to successfully marry the two all while delighting and exciting the consumers. You’ve probably heard of these small, but extremely powerful cameras, which gives them an equally powerful advantage – they’re purpose-built for incredible user-generated content.

It’s user-generated content that easily showcases the power of the GoPro and the superior quality of its high definition video. In fact AdAge recently reported that it would take almost three years to watch all of the video content that GoPro users uploaded in 2013. While the camera practically markets itself, GoPro the company continues to deploy a content marketing strategy that has so far moved it from a niche brand to household name.

So, how has it done this?

GoPro taps fans’ passion for the product

The GoPro marketing strategy team searches the web for the best and coolest videos shot with their cameras. They actively seek out emotional and impactful content that they can share with the rest of their fanbase, whether it’s ‘extreme’ and unique content or simply the beauty of everyday life. The GoPro YouTube channel is filled with curated videos. They leverage the passion of well-known users by sponsoring athletes like skateboarder Ryan Sheckler and snowboarder Shaun White and using these partnerships to boost brand awareness in these athletes’ fanbases. With point-of-view video content, GoPro puts the viewer in the driver’s seat of a multitude of experiences.

They know social media

GoPro boasts 7.9 Facebook fans, 1.17 million Twitter followers, almost 3.2 million Instagram followers, and over 2 million YouTube subscribers. Visual content is successful on social media and as today’s audiences are more crunched for time than ever, they appreciate short and compelling visual content more than longer and harder-to-digest written content. The brain also has something to do with this preference, as images process 60 times faster than words. GoPro takes advantage of this by posting compelling photos and videos to its social profiles and participates in conversations within the comments section of their videos on YouTube. They also encourage their fans to share content with them on social, which boosts engagement.

The ultimate storyteller

Customers respond better to marketing messages that aim to connect with the audience. As with visuals, the human brain is actually affected by storytelling. Research published in The New York Times showed that the human brain finds it easier to remember and understand stories over facts and data. Stories stimulate the brain and have the potential to change how people act in life. Consumers want stories. Nielsen reports that 92% of consumers reported that they want companies to create advertising that feels like a story.

The GoPro team is skilled at creating content that appeals to their key customer personas . It is a brand that knows its audience and produces relevant, shareable content that caters to them. They are adept at using the internet to create meaningful connections with their fans, and turning those fans into brand advocates.

The key takeaway is that in today’s ever-evolving marketing landscape, new creative opportunities arise in the blink of an eye. People are enthralled by new tech, and so it follows that great content marketing stems from content that gets the consumer genuinely excited. Brands wishing to emulate GoPro’s success must go beyond the ordinary and create unforgettable, unique and shareable content.

Read more: How To Create A First-Rate Content Marketing Strategy