An illustration accompanying an article on Nintendo's content marketing

Super Content Marketing Bros.: How Nintendo wins with content marketing

Super Mario. Zelda. Pikachu.

Nintendo is synonymous with famous video game characters.

But these days, it’s also become famous for another trait: Its stellar approach to content marketing.

Here are the lessons your brand can learn from Nintendo’s successful foray into content creation.

Why Nintendo creates content

Before we go any further, it’s probably worth asking: Nintendo makes video games. So why do they even bother to create content in the first place?

Because with Nintendo the challenge isn’t so much how you get someone to buy the initial device (in this case, Nintendo’s wildly popular Nintendo Switch).

It’s just as much, if not more, about how users do after they’ve purchased it.

How much time do they spend using it?

How easy is it for them to learn how to play new games?

How much money do they spend on new games?

These are the problems Nintendo seeks to solve with its approach to content marketing.

How Nintendo uses content

For Nintendo, content is all about improving the experience after someone purchases one of their devices.

Previously Nintendo’s job was pretty straightforward: Users would buy a cartridge from the store then go home and play it until it was time to buy another one.

But now, in 2019, that calculus has changed. The challenge now is: How do you keep users continually engaged once they’ve made the initial purchase?

That’s why one of the first screens a user sees after logging in to their Switch is a series of articles on how you can get the most use out of your device.

Nintendo regularly updates the screen with new uses for their device that they might not otherwise know about, news about newly-released games and events and promotions which they can take advantage of.

It’s all part of the Nintendo strategy to provide its audience with an awesome experience – and to continue selling – even after they’ve made a purchase.

Lessons learned from Nintendo’s content marketing strategy

Not all of us are in the video game business (unfortunately). But we can all learn lessons from Nintendo’s approach to using content to build a relationship with its audience.

Content can live anywhere

For people of a certain age, it’s difficult to imagine a video game system even being connected to the internet. From the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) to the Nintendo 64, video game systems weren’t connected online. They were stand-alone consoles. Any games you wanted to play had to come in cartridge form and there was no way to update them.

Now, that’s changed. Because devices like the Switch can connect to the internet, it changes when and where you can connect with your audience.

Think about the people you’re trying to reach – are there ways you can connect with them that didn’t previously exist?

Content can engage your audience after a conversion

Just because a person has already made a purchase doesn’t mean your relationship with them is over. There are all sorts of ways to maintain an ongoing relationship with them and nurture them down different pathways.

And content can play a major role in helping them get there.

For Nintendo, it’s not just about getting their audience to make a purchase. It’s about finding ways to continually keep them as supporters.

A great example of this: Nintendo continually posts updates to its games that improve gameplay and offer new features. To let gamers know what’s changed, they also release blog post updates.

That’s why, when a major updated was released for the popular game Super Mario Maker 2, the team released a blog post detailing all the changes. Now, gamers can use all the new features – thanks to Nintendo’s approach to content.

Content can help in unexpected ways

A video game creator as expert content creator? It wouldn’t be the first thought to spring to mind.

But it also underscores the unexpected ways in which content can help brands of all different shapes and sizes.

That’s why Nintendo is currently trying to build up the excitement for what is supposed to be its marquee new releases, Pokémon Shield and Pokémon Sword. To do so, they’ve started posting a series of blog posts looking at new Pokémon that will be added to the game.

For example: Check out this post on Sirfetch’d, a new Pokémon set to appear in Pokémon Sword.

It might all sound pretty inconsequential (or, at the very least, nerdy) to most. But for Nintendo it’s an unexpected (and frankly pretty brilliant) way of engaging fans.


People of a certain age grew up on a steady diet of Nintendo. Now that those people have grown up into marketers, content strategists and brand experts, there are still lessons to be learned from Super Mario et. al.

How will you use them to reach your audience?

Mark Brownlee is a digital marketing strategist in Ottawa, Canada.

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