NEW YORK: General Electric, the conglomerate, is making greater use of content marketing, leveraging the opportunities provided by digital media to build awareness and directly connect with consumers.

Katrina Craigwell, GE's digital marketing manager, told Forbes that identifying the right material and distribution platforms, alongside balancing earned, shared, owned and paid media, was vital.

"Having a paid element in the mix often helps us build momentum behind a piece of content at launch, which is critical in terms of giving it the chance to take off if it can find broad appeal," she added.

The sprawling nature of GE's business, from financial services to energy, aviation and the Ecomagination initiative - centred upon eco-friendly products - means new media holds particular promise.

"One of our biggest challenges, and biggest opportunities, is communicating the depth and breadth of what we do in an understandable format, for a consumer audience," said Craigwell.

"Digital is the medium where we can help our audiences to discover our jet engines and steam turbines, in addition to knowing our light bulbs and appliances, in an engaging environment."

The sites for Ecomagination, Healthymagination, which focused on healthcare, and Txchnologist, an attempt to develop technologies tackling major global problems, thus present widely varying ideas.

GE Reports, the firm's oldest online content property, contains an official account of its activities, while seeks to "take a 132 year old brand, and create a modern, dynamic window into its businesses," Craigwell said.

More broadly, to ensure the desired viewers are exposed to the material it uploads, GE is increasingly turning to services like Instagram, the photo sharing hub, Tumblr, the blogging site, and Viddy, the social video property.

"The best way to create discovery is to plug into communities. We look at environments where people with interests in science and technology are actively creating and sharing content," said Craigwell.

When it comes to measurement, GE uses several tracking statistics such as unique visitors, dwell time and pages per session, alongside social media data including follower numbers and sentiment analysis.

"We've also been looking very closely at sharing," said Craigwell. "From the lens of brand awareness and reputation, the act of sharing is a key conversion metric."

Data sourced from Forbes; additional content by Warc staff