March 1, 2016

3 Things Every Marketer Should Learn From Humans of New York

Jessica Chen


If you’re even remotely active on Facebook, you’ve probably come across Humans of New York. The account, largely referred to as HONY, is a photography blog started by Brandon Stanton in 2010. It has since evolved into a best-selling book (plus a second one!) and social media phenomenon that has taken the Internet by storm. Regardless of how different your brand may be, every marketer and content marketing agency could take some pointers from HONY and its cult-like community.

Here are three examples:

You Can Redefine Branding

Many companies “brand” themselves by throwing a logo on every image and calling it a day. But branding can encompass anything; it is not limited to a Pantone color or specific font type.

The images published by Humans of New York do not have any of those technical design additions, yet you instantly recognize a HONY post in your News Feed by the copy format and the photography style.

Mix It Up

Humans of New York has transformed itself into a media sensation, succeeding not only in blog and book form but also on social platforms like Facebook, Instagram and more.

It has featured people of all backgrounds and in various situations from all around the world. The stories themselves, while similar in presentation, range across the entire spectrum of emotions, which keeps users coming back for more.

Let The Content Speak For Itself

Brandon takes care to let the photo and subject’s quotes resonate without interruption. Unless it is essential to understanding the situation, he provides no additional context to each post. Because of this, he simply lets his content speak (powerfully!) for itself and allows the reader to interpret internally.

HONY is by no means a perfect brand from a marketing standpoint, but no one can deny the virality of its content. Its simple, straightforward approach is just one of the reasons it has been, and continues to be, one of the most influential media presences on the Internet.

Tags: Content Marketing, Facebook

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