63 Sales, Marketing, and Content Professionals Share Examples of Great Content Marketing
Content marketing is everywhere, but not all content marketing is exceptional. As content marketing continues to grow in popularity as businesses realize the value in using content to connect with and engage target audiences, the volume of content on the web (and in the real world, too) increases, as well. That means it’s more and more difficult to stand out from the crowd with content marketing, despite the variety of formats content can now take (think: infographics, slide decks, videos, white papers, and more).
What makes great content marketing? Uniqueness, relevance, and aesthetics are all important to varying degrees. Calls-to-action (CTAs) can help you generate more value from your content, but they don’t work equally as well in every case. To gain insights into what makes great content marketing today, we asked a panel of sales and marketing experts, as well as business owners and content professionals, to answer the following question:
“What are your favorite examples of great content marketing, and why?”
Find out what our experts had to say below.
Meet Our Panel of Sales and Marketing Experts:
Rosemary Brisco founded ToTheWeb in 1995 and since that time, has been delivering high-impact results to her clients. She and her team of online marketing experts work with B2B companies in the San Francisco Bay Area to drive more sales leads to client websites.
“Great content marketing is hard to describe but when you see it…”
You know what it is. It’s done in a way that doesn’t make me feel like I’m being marketed to, that the content piece was created purely for my benefit rather than to generate inbound links. After spending six months cutting back on hundreds of email newsletter/updates, I’ve whittled down the list to a small handful of trusted sources.
Companies that do a great job are:
Content should be a pleasure to read, as in this example. This guy takes an idea, creates a blog and a SlideShare file, and often spins it into a podcast or infographic. That’s one piece of content with at least four consumption options.
Visitors love checklists, but Velocity finds ways to make there checklist enjoyable to read, such as in this example.
Think with Google is content that arrives in my inbox every few weeks and the content can be consumed really quickly because it’s well-written, to the point, and usually includes data points that I can use with clients.
Kristina Quinones is the Customer Experience Manager at Edgar, a social media management tool that keeps your updates from going to waste. She lives in New York with her husband and their three sons.
“Great content marketing entertains and informs the audience while…”
Delivering a clear opportunity. And it does it without needing to be sales-y or pushy in any way, because in a quality piece of content, the value and benefits of whatever it is you’re actually selling is well-communicated. Kissmetrics, Marie Forleo, Help Scout, and even Denny’s are examples of companies who’ve perfected the art of content marketing.
Everything published by these folks demonstrates an affinity with their respective audiences and provides something interesting and educational (or in Denny’s case, LOL-worthy). The audience benefits with new-found knowledge and insights (and laughs), and the companies benefit by building brand awareness and industry authority.
Kieron Mayers is a Marketing Manager for an IT company, novice golfer, cricket watcher, and more who blogs at Medium.
“The best bit of content marketing I’ve ever seen is…”
They targeted me on a social network with a banner for a slim wallet, which I clicked and then subsequently saw the video.
James Armstrong, Digital Marketing Consultant based in the UK, and owner of Caveman Store.
“The three examples of truly great content marketing that I have seen are from different brands, with different levels of cost involved, including…”
This superbly satirical blog post from craft brewers Brew Dog, is a triumph.
Neatly skewering Russian President Vladimir Putin’s homophobic stance during the 2014 Winter Olympics, this very timely content earned them great engagement on site and on social media, as well as some very authoritative links/mentions in the media.
The production of the accompanying imagery being the only cost involved, this campaign was very cost-effective.
The throne and broadsword, constructed by an artist and blacksmith using irons provided by the Golfing company, cost a pretty penny (just over £3000) but the traffic, engagement, and links earned more than made up for the cost.
It’s a great example of humor and topical content gaining good traction.
Finally, there’s a brilliant, cheap-but-cheerful bit of content genius from Roman Blinds Direct, who used their apprentices and work experience staff to source some truly unique design concepts for new blinds.
The designs earned the small brand more blog traffic and engagement than they’d ever seen before, and briefly saw them on the front page of Reddit. Brilliant returns for a low-cost campaign.
Rachel Parker is the Founder and CEO of Resonance Content Marketing based in Houston, Texas. Resonance Content Marketing helps clients grow their bottom line by building solid relationships through customized content. The company’s client base ranges from Fortune 500 companies to solopreneurs, all of whom are realizing the benefits of content as a strategic asset.
“One of my favorite examples of great content marketing is…”
BlendTec (and no, they’re not a client) and the Will It Blend? videos on YouTube. Since 2006, they’ve been transforming the routine practice of stress-testing a product into a fun, quirky, Mister-Wizard-esque romp featuring CEO Tom Dickson. Check out the latest Star-Wars themed blend as just one of many great examples.
Jordan Scheltgen is a Managing Partner at Cave Social, a digital agency helping medium to large-size companies create and execute social/content strategies.
“When I look at companies doing a great job of content marketing, the example that comes to mind first is…”
GrooveHQ. I stumbled across their blog a couple months back. It’s a place where they’ve decided to document their journey as a startup, being as transparent as possible. Their combination of storytelling coupled with actionable advice for others is a win. It endears you to the brand. I manage a content marketing agency, and I can say, they’re really knocking it out of the park when it comes to their content marketing.
Disclaimer: I have zero affiliation with GrooveHQ, I just genuinely enjoy following their blog.
Chandru is a writer and a blogger at Around.io. When he’s not writing, he’s thinking of new ways to promote content.
“The best example of content marketing comes from…”
The ad guru himself: David Ogilvy.
Some of his best work wasn’t really ‘ads’ but great informational content. Like ‘How to Create Advertising that Sells‘.
He wasn’t selling anything. He was informing. Educating. And that’s always the best way to do content marketing.
But here’s where it gets better: He combines the idea that you should inform rather than sell with five amazing but very simple writing techniques, and produces this great ad, which is probably one of the best-known ads for Rolls Royce.
What’s great about the ad besides the fact that it sounds more like an article than an ad? Here we go:
- It features a headline that just works! Piques your curiosity right from the start!
- It gets you hooked at the sub-heading! Ogilvy knew most people just skim through things. So here’s a sub-heading you can only try to skim through, but you know you’ll stop to read the whole thing now.
- It’s a listicle! No one wants to read long-winding paragraphs. There’s a reason list-style posts seem to do so well. Ogilvy had it figured out a long, long time ago.
- It has a classic consistency in tone. The content has a tone that is discernible right from the start – official!
- There’s a call-to-action at the end. Almost every one of his content pieces tells you to do something at the end of it. All great content marketing starts with getting the reader to act on something, right?
Celina Levin is a Technical SEO Associate with Majux Marketing. She helps client sites keep looking good and constantly up-to-date.
“One recent great example of content marketing is…”
Big companies getting involved in podcasting. General Electric is producing the podcast, “The Message,” which is comprised of short sci-fi episodes detailing an investigation of an extraterrestrial message week by week. It’s intriguing, short, and a unique way of getting GE’s name out there. Podcasting is a growing market thanks to big podcasts like Serial. Podcasting is a great way to put out interesting content, and still remain top-of-mind with your target audience – it’s smart and very on-trend.
Leveraging more than 20 years of proven leadership and management background in sales, marketing and IT, Joseph understands that even with the most innovative products or marketing strategies in place, an extraordinary company of any size grows and prospers through its most crucial asset — its people. Joseph currently leads The Intelligence Group as its CEO, guiding the organization with appropriate governance mechanisms.
“Content marketing is relatively new and many businesses are still trying to figure out how best to integrate it into their overall marketing strategies. We advise our clients by giving tips and examples. Some of my favorite examples include…”
Connect with your audience.
Many businesses struggle to create content. However, customers can do that for them. Arcade Fire, for example, asks its fans to submit their own photos during the band’s Reflektor tour. The band wins for receiving great, free content as well as fans’ engagement. The fans win for having their photos spotlighted.
Don’t be afraid to be creative and different.
Old Spice is well known for their hilarious commercials. They also have awesome content in social media to help build their brand. Old Spice is also one of the early business adopters of Imgur, and it paid off big with a huge, loyal audience.
Build a community.
Beardbrand started in 2012 with only $30 and today generates over $100k per month in revenue. Its founders were passionate with the bearded lifestyle and earned a big following on YouTube and social media with engaging content – all before launching the business.
Today, Beardbrand still maintains its great content. For example, in the product pages featuring beard oil, there is a short YouTube video on each product page, such as this one, describing the proper technique for applying the product.
Aalap Shah is co-founder of SoMe Connect, a social media agency based in Chicago. Our team works with both national and local clients on search, paid search, and social media with both national and regional clients. He is passionate about #STEM and serves on the board for Illinois Mathematics & Science Academy and the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship.
“An example of great content marketing is…”
Lincoln Electric Company’s Arc Magazine. This publication is a great print and online resource that promotes welding as a profession. This type of publication highlights the importance of building a community of professionals and building content that is specific to the audience with relevant content that allows them to share, engage, and promote the company to other companies looking for their services, as well as to promote the welding occupation overall.
Johnny Crosskey has dedicated his 17-year career to the art and science of strategically conveying ideas to audiences on a variety of platforms, including media relations, social media, and content marketing. Crosskey is currently the content marketing manager for Absolute Mobile Solutions, a digital marketing agency based in Tampa, Fl.
“One of the best examples of content marketing I have seen is…”
Chipotle’s Scarecrow video and game for the iOS platform. The video follows the journey of a melancholy scarecrow as he progresses through a world dominated by factory farms. The animated video and accompanying music is stunning and it does a tremendous job of promoting Chipotle’s anti-factory farm message.
It also does a great job of subtlety selling the notion that Chipotle uses fresh ingredients without outright saying, “Hey, we use fresh ingredients.” The Scarecrow video speaks to what Chipotle is in a creative and beautiful way while illustrating why factory farming is harmful to our society.
Sarah contributes to the HighSpeedInternet.com blog and researches he intersections between Internet connectivity and wellness. She’s also a big fan of productivity apps and the Internet of Things.
“One of the best examples of content marketing that I’ve come across is…”
I think this interactive speed tool is a great content marketing example. It’s not fluffy content for the sake of simply having content on a site to fill space. It’s interactive and centered around the user – focused on solving a problem.
Using something like the Internet Speed Calculator is both simple and efficient, as well as visually appealing. Answer a few questions about your home and general online activities, and you’re done. You’ll know within a few clicks the exact Internet speed your home or office needs.
So beyond ease of use and a simple design, it responds to users’ needs and questions. One great place to start for others who want to generate content is to start with tools like Google Search auto-fill and Google Keywords to see what terms and questions people are already searching for that relate to your brand. This ensures your content is user-focused rather than brand-focused.
Alexander Ruggie is the PR Director for 911 Restoration, and he has been in the advertising, marketing and entertainment industries for more than a decade. When Alexander isn’t crafting strategies and campaigns to help homeowners in need, he is trying to save the world, one well-worded idea at a time.
“This is one of the most awesome examples of content marketing I have found…”
Apple’s Shot on iPhone 6 Billboard Series.
My favorite is image number four – if you take a look at it, it spans multiple floors of this whole building and is enormous to say the least.
The reason that this is such exceptional content marketing material in my opinion is because when people think of a camera phone they think of something cheap that needs Instagram filters in order to make it look good. But iPhone went a completely different route with this ad campaign and with the technology in the camera by advertising how it can take pictures that are worthy of being on a building, by taking pictures with it and putting them on a building. Brilliant.
Eric Ebert is the Marketing & Communications Manager for Lookeen, the ultimate desktop search.
“In terms of the best examples of content marketing…”
This video from the US Navy is a great example.
There are several reasons why this is great:
- It hits on a current trend.
- It’s not easily repeatable (most people don’t have jets).
- It’s not overly promotional.
- It’s in a video format (which is becoming more important for brands).
Almost one million views on YouTube in the last four days and many articles.
Eyal Katz is Head of Marketing at AdNgin, an ad optimization platform for publishers.
“The single most important factor that makes for successful marketing is…”
Having a great product. If your product is content, then having a great piece of content makes marketing that much easier. Take Dollar Shave Club’s promo video, “Our Blades are F***ing Great,” as an example. Over 21 million views on YouTube and reportedly thousands of new customers from day one of launching the video. Why? First, Dollar Shave Club knows their audience like the back of their hands. Second, they’re not afraid to be bold. Third, it’s memorable, unique, funny, and makes you want to share it, which has apparently happened several thousand times.
Petar Jovetic is an Account Manager at Impression, a leading digital marketing agency based in Nottingham, UK. He specializes in SEO, eCommerce, and content marketing and has worked with a broad range of clientele, from local businesses to large established brands.
“One of the best examples of content marketing I’ve come across is…”
Gazeboshop’s Guide to Motorcycles on the Big Screen.
Great content marketing is content with purpose, has a clear objective and reaches a clearly defined audience. It may capture a certain type of search traffic, promote a certain type of product or event, or even assist the user in their site journey. This Guide to Motorcycles on the Big Screen creative content piece was created to help promote the UK event, Motorcycle Live 2015. The piece is hosted by Gazeboshop, who are holding a stall at the event to promote their range of Gazebos. The piece is light-hearted and unassuming that Gazeboshop are experts in the field of motorbiking.
Instead, it promotes Motorcycle Live 2015 in a fun way and by extension, promotes the Gazeboshop brand and how the product may be ideal for motorcycle mechanics/manufacturers/garages who may need a gazebo for their outdoor work. The piece is also responsive, meaning it works perfectly on all devices and the social share icons mean it’s highly shareable and promote-able.
Ron Vatalaro, MBA, is a Digital Optimization Specialist for Bisk Education.
“Good content marketing…”
Gives the audience a reason to feel better about themselves after having read, viewed, or shared it. Information empowers people to be better versions of themselves, and as a content marketer you want to be your audience’s go-to source of information for your area of expertise.
Currently we are compiling data for a survey we took of 400+ healthcare professionals to get a sense of job satisfaction, salary levels, and education of individuals working in the Health IT field. The results will be released after the new year. This information will be unique, visually engaging and it will empower individuals to make informed decisions about their future career and educational goals. You can see the teaser page where the results will ultimately be displayed here.
Carly Klineberg is the Head of Content for Rebel Hack. She has a BA-Hons in Multi-Media Journalism with a background in direct sales marketing and content marketing, specializing in tech startups. Rebel Hack helps technology startups find traction, scale and build sustainable growth engines.
“Some of the best examples of content marketing are…”
Those that inspire, enlighten, and motivate the reader.
In marketing, content is an umbrella word used to describe anything from video, the text on the main pages of a website, podcasts, blog posts, downloads, product descriptions (I could go on) and there’s some brilliant examples of this kind of content.
The idea is to educate your readers about not just your product, but to share your knowledge to help your readers, inspire trust by showcasing your expertise and appeal to customers who aren’t yet ready to consume your service or product.
Hubspot does this incredibly well with their blog here, standing out in a sea of terrible content crammed full of SEO keywords. As marketers themselves, they have an advantage, but no matter what kind of product or service you sell, you can take some tips from these guys. From free downloads, tips, to detailed blog posts offering in depth information for various levels of experience and compellingly titled posts.
Pay attention to their blog titles, how they structure their blog posts and downloads, and how they attempt to capture leads and take note!
Matthew is New Breed‘s Lead Marketing Strategist. He specializes in developing successful inbound marketing programs and is a HubSpot expert.
“The most effective example of content marketing I know of is…”
HubSpot’s Website Grader is one of my favorite examples of effective content marketing for a couple reasons. The first is that as content marketing becomes increasingly crowded it’s forcing companies to become increasingly creative in their content efforts, white papers and ebooks aren’t as effective as they used to be. HubSpot was way ahead of the curve on this, launching this site in 2007 (and they would actually mail you a report as a follow up!) The second reason I think this is great is that the grader offers incredibly actionable improvements that prospects can make to their websites, making it incredibly compelling for prospects to engage further. Clearly, great content like this can withstand the test of time and is a great investment for marketers.
Frank Strong is an Atlanta-based PR and marketing professional and pens the blog Sword and the Script.
“One of the best examples of content marketing I have found is…”
A Pediatric Prescription for Effective Content Marketing. Effectively, a California-based pediatrician published his first-ever YouTube video and in three days earned 3.6 millions views and tsunami of media coverage.
Why is it effective? He did one thing every content marketer should strive to do: answer customer questions.
In the video, he answers a very pressing question for many parents with newborn children – how to calm a crying child. His novel technique is gentle, authentic, and makes comedic as he uses the term booty shake.
His purpose is clear: to help new parents. He’s not trying to sell services, or earn white paper download – he’s just trying to help. It’s a great paradox of content marketing: when we stop selling and start helping, we’ll be more successful.
Trishna Mitra is a Digital Marketing Specialist with Abernethy Media Professionals.
“Content marketing can happen in both macro and micro moments…”
Macro can include anything from video campaigns (e.g., Always #LikeAGirl or Hootsuite’s A Game of Social Thrones), blogs (e.g., Seth Godin or Hubspot), and even email, like this JetBlue campaign. What makes their content great is that there’s an overarching strategy of relatability. The Always #LikeAGirl campaign appeals to people, regardless of gender, on an emotional level, whereas JetBlue and Hootsuite generate feelings of relatability through humor (look at the copy on A Game of Social Throne’s video).
Micro moments are more subtle. Take, for example, 404 pages. By nature, 404 pages are errors either because of a broken link or a mis-typed URL. However, smart marketers will turn those accidental moments into a positive. If you look at Coca-Cola, Lego, and even TechCrunch, you see how they’re able to push their marketing agenda in what could be a frustrating moment for a customer.
Lingke Wang is the Co-Founder of Ovid Corp. Ovid helps consumers who have an unwanted or unaffordable life insurance policy reclaim the money they’ve paid into the policy by selling it to an investor.
“The best example of great content marketing that I have seen is…”
QuickSprout’s Advanced Guide to Content Marketing. When I first began learning about content marketing, I did a lot of research and gathered a variety of resources. I did this through looking at content marketing blogs, reading articles, and searching through google. Among the items I read, this was the most valuable one. Additionally, I also found this piece often being cited by other blogs or articles. It is a piece I frequently refer to today and that I send out to people who ask about good guides to content marketing.
Here are the reasons why I believe it is such a successful content marketing piece:
1) It adds value to the reader. Without a doubt, this piece added so much value to me as someone who was learning about content marketing. It’s clear, well designed, and easy to read. The information is highly relevant, and provides actionable advice. I refer to it even today and I imagine this is the reason why others cite the piece. Furthermore, this piece of content is extremely comprehensive and covers all the important aspects of content marketing. Most other articles out there only cover one or two topics, but I was able to get both a broad and deep understanding of content marketing strategies by just reading this one piece.
2) It builds credibility. QuickSprout is a content marketing software tool. With such a epic piece like the one provided, I had no doubt that QuickSprout was a highly reputable tool and that I could trust the company. This is especially important in today’s digital age where there are so many products that have nice landing pages but cannot deliver. The piece provided me confidence that I was willing to sign up on QuickSprout’s website and did not mind engaging with the company’s sales team.
3) There’s no obtrusive marketing. The article is just an article. That’s it. There wasn’t any giant buttons asking me to sign up on QuickSprout or any sections promoting their product. This felt authentic to me and I was more willing to trust the piece and the company.
Lakeisha Singletary is the CEO of a full service digital marketing agency called Elevate Digital Media, Inc. Elevate Digital Media provides web design and development, mobile app development, and online marketing services. The company assists corporate, high-end, and celebrity clients with increasing their brand awareness to the Millennials, and keeping them at the cutting edge of digital marketing.
“There are several excellent examples of content marketing that I’ve encountered, each with a standout approach…”
James Wright did a video review of Patti Labelle’s pie and she sold $2.3 million worth of pies in one weekend.
American Apparel is an Instagram powerhouse. From the awkward poses to the apparel, they engage on a level that’s understood by their audience. Without a doubt their brand speaks young, fun, and energetic.
Lastly, is TED. This is in it’s own category because it really reaches individuals on a whole new level. According to its website, TED is “devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less).”
TED’s mission says it all. It is an organization that is devoted to one thing – ideas. Good ideas. Powerful ideas. World-changing ideas. Forward-thinking ideas.
Angela von Weber-Hahnsberg
Angela von Weber-Hahnsberg is the VP of Content Marketing for Marketing Zen. From capturing the perfect voice for a company’s blog to crafting just the right copy for a webpage, Angela von Weber-Hahnsberg is passionate about making words work for Marketing Zen’s clients.
Leveraging her years of experience writing articles and blogs for both print and online publications as well as digital marketing content for various industries, Angela leads the MZ content marketing team to produce quality SEO- and social-friendly content that converts.
“One example of a content marketing campaign so great it goes viral is…”
Actually one the Marketing Zen team put together for a client of ours. This client sells call center software for 911 dispatch centers – programs that help train dispatchers, record calls, and make response times more efficient. Its customers are the managers of those dispatch centers – the people who work with their team of dispatchers every day, spend their time training and supporting them, are good friends with them, and who probably worked their own way up through the ranks and were once dispatchers, themselves.
So when we started brainstorming ideas for a content marketing campaign that could go viral for our client, we made it personal. What would grip the hearts of dispatchers and their supervisors alike? How could our client show its customers that they understood them and were on their side?
We decided to write a touching tribute to 911 dispatchers, from the first person perspective.
We imagined this heartfelt tribute would inspire dispatch center managers to share it with their dispatchers, and with other managers, so they could share it with their own teams. We imagined it being printed out, framed, given as a gift, circulated in an email, included in a newsletter. We hoped it would let our client’s customers know just how much they cared.
We took this tribute and posted it on our client’s blog, and then shared it across social media. Dispatchers instantly latched on to it, sharing it over and over again, on Facebook dispatcher pages, with friends who were dispatchers, on their own pages. At one point, it became a victim of its own success – a competitor actually copied and pasted the text of the tribute, without giving credit to our client as the source, and shared it with their audience! And as if that weren’t bad enough, it immediately began going viral on the competitor’s Facebook page, as well! We acted quickly to rectify the situation, insisting that the competitor give credit where credit was due, and soon the campaign was back on track, with our client firmly in the spotlight.
To this day, that blog post is the most popular one on our client’s site – and it’s been quite some time since we ran that campaign. It just goes to show that a focus on the customer really does create incredible content marketing momentum.
Izzy Squire is a Digital Outreach Executive at quba.co.uk.
“One of the best examples of content marketing I’ve ever seen is…”
The John Lewis Christmas TV advertisements, year on year.
Take this year’s advert: ‘The Man on the Moon.’
Not once is a John Lewis product mentioned in the advert. Its sole purpose is to say ‘Hey there consumer, remember us? We have the same values and/or interests as you. Look!’ and that is exactly what Content Marketing is supposed to do. It’s supposed to be a ‘remember us’ nudge, which at the same time provides something valuable, interesting, and/or entertaining.
This year the theme of the advert is ‘Spreading the Christmas spirit of giving, as well as an undertone of not forgetting the elderly and/or isolated during the festive season.’ And if that doesn’t pull on your heart strings I don’t know what will. It is the stuff Facebook shares are made of.
- It is relevant to their customers: family orientated people.
- It highlights how the brand and the consumer are similar.
- It is unique.
- It is entertaining.
- It only has a hint of branding.
It is perfect!
Chris McCarron is a Director at Gogo Chimp.
“The best example of content marketing that I’ve encountered is…”
The free web comic Spinnerette. Taking this month as an example, the comic-book has had 1,044,674 page views. This is an exceptional achievement that rivals the mainstream comic-book brands. However, Spinnerette doesn’t have a budget for advertising of any description.
Their comic-book has been reviewed and linked to by popular authority websites such as The Examiner and Comic Book Resources. Through Kickstarter, the comic-book has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars which has helped to produce new books and a line of merchandise.
The most important lesson that I’ve learned is that high quality, original content that’s free can be incredibly powerful way to create, market, and build a brand that rivals the giants. Spinnerette has also taught me that throwing money at PPC or social media advertising isn’t always needed.
David Mercer works at SME Pals helping entrepreneurs and small business owners get established online (and from home).
“One of the greatest examples of content marketing that comes to mind is…”
We worked on a piece of content marketing that has worked brilliantly for the RankTracer Enterprise (RTE) service. RTE allows you to monitor the sales of competing products and receive alerts when they experience high sales volumes (in real-time). This allows you to see what marketing and promotions strategies they used that were successful. This, in turn, allows you to build your own playlist of strategies that have worked for others in your niche.
But getting this message across to visitors on a single landing page is not easy, so we decided to write an article talking about this. The response was fantastic because people could actually see the process working (via the screenshots and examples in the article), and RTE experienced a sustained bump in conversion since the publication of the article to our blog.
I think the reason the article succeeded was because we tried to be useful and informative, but also convince people of the underlying concept of monitoring competitors’ sales. We didn’t only show ‘how’ to do it, we also showed ‘why’ it is useful, by listing potential benefits, like these:
- Build a database of successful strategies to use: If competitor A is rocking radio interviews and killing it in the sales, add that strategy to your own playbook. If competitor B ran a competition that generated plenty of engagement… in the playbook it goes. Basically, whatever they do successfully, you can find out about and emulate/improve on.
- Find strong new influencers: Knowing that a certain writer/journalist wrote a story/article/review on your competitor means that they might be a useful contact down the line. Knowing everyone your competitors know is a great opportunity to be a more effective network marketer.
- Piggy-back on trends: Is something trending that one of your competitors happens to be lucking out on? Turn the tide by recognizing that trend and get ahead of the wave. You might be able to steal the day before anyone else even knows what’s happened.
- Source better products: If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. It may be that the products you chose are simply not as good, cost-effective, or exciting as other products on the market. At the very least, you are in a position to make an informed decision to change. This can help avoid wasted time, money, and effort selling items that aren’t ever going to be popular.
Essentially, what makes for great content marketing is providing useful information on the one hand, and driving traffic that already understands the product/service on the other. People who are already convinced of something before they arrive at a site/store will always result in higher conversion rates because they already know what they want.
Born In Tegucigalpa, Honduras and raised in Managua, Nicaragua, Jesse Till has had his multicultural background influence him in his marketing efforts. From learning more languages and living in developing nations, his growth came from a nurturing childhood and a profound interest in connecting with people from all backgrounds.
Since moving to the United States, he’s managed to continue to pursue his creative dreams and push through the noise as a social media strategist for Chatter Buzz Media.
“Living in Orlando, there’s one company who has really shined this year in the content marketing arena…”
Orlando City Soccer. A recent addition to Major League Soccer, the Orlando City Soccer Club has not only injected passion among the citizens of Orlando and Central Florida, but they’ve managed to create some of the most remarkable content marketing campaigns, in particular their social media.
As you can see, they love to engage their audience and it responds. Even during games, Orlando City Soccer is active on social media and encourages the entire city to participate. Even if you don’t watch the game, you know about them, know the scores, and have a favorite player; all through social media.
The fact that Orlando City Soccer Club has turned Orlando into a Soccer City (despite having theme parks and other sports teams) is remarkable, and it’s large in part from their social media efforts.
Ryan Scott is the head of inbound marketing for Lean Labs. His marketing experience ranges from colleges, to SMBs and tech startups.
“This may not be what some would consider ‘content marketing,’ but it’s actually an excellent example…”
Sainsbury produced a video almost four minutes long depicting a powerful Christmas event during World War I, in which soldiers came out of the trenches to celebrate Christmas together in peace, before returning to their sides and resuming the fight. This is a real piece of history few people know.
Sainsbury invested a ton of money in creating this ‘ad’ and it went viral, spreading like wildfire because of the historical accuracy and the emotional impact it produced. It wasn’t about “our chocolate.” It was about emotional connection. It moved people.
While it was an ‘ad,’ it was essentially a four-minute movie. It was content marketing at its most genius.
The best part about it was, it wasn’t about “Sainsbury.” It was about people we could identify with. Too many people make all of their content about themselves and why they are great. The best content marketing connects with the people. It’s about them, not the brand.
Curtis Boyd is the CEO of a Los Angeles based Online Reputation Management company, Future Solutions Media. The company services over 900 customers nationwide.
“When it comes to the best example of content marketing, I would point you to…”
Infographics don’t have to be flashy or highly animated to be super informative. This infographic by BazaarVoice shows the statistics of consumers worried about fake reviews and consumers wanting more anti-fraud systems in place online. The design of the infographic really demonstrates just how much more important the content is than the graphics of the infographic itself.
John Turner is CEO/Founder of UsersThink, a tool that delivers user feedback on demand for website landing pages, helping to increase conversions and improve usability and UX.
“One of the greatest examples of content marketing is…”
The video for Dollar Shave Club, “Our Blades Are F***ing Great.”
With a minimal amount of promotion, the video took off, spread like crazy, and made millions laugh, all while being a pitch session for their service.
That one piece of content helped their business explode, giving them more than enough traction and exposure to help them raise nearly $150 million to date.
By focusing on their unique skill-sets (the CEO who stars in the video has an improv background) and trying to hone their brand in what could otherwise be a commoditized business, they were able to reach massive scale on the back of content marketing.
Alex Berman is Chief Marketing Sumo for InspireBeats and all-in-one lead generation and outreach solution for SaaS startups and B2B companies. He’s responsible for generating over $12 million in inbound leads in the last year.
“Great content marketing knows exactly…”
What a user is looking for, and speaks to needs and wants they might not even know they have. That’s why my favorite piece of content is Neil Patel’s post on the Best Times to Post to Social Media. It’s an infographic with super actionable data and clear takeaways. It doesn’t waste time with story or narrative, just pure advice. This is the article I send to every new marketing hire.
Ryan Bennion is a content marketing enthusiast who enjoys creating engaging content for InternetServicePartners.com. In his free time, Ryan is a sports enthusiast and die-hard basketball, college football, and LeBron James fan. He is also a huge collector of unique styled socks, specifically Stance socks, and has nicknamed himself as the counterpart to a sneakerhead, a sockhead.
“The best example of great content marketing is something that is both…”
Trendy and engaging with your audience. The best form of interaction that we have seen in our content marketing has been quizzes like, “Which NFL team are you?” or, “What do your Snapchat habits say about you?”
This specific example engages users who are either interested in the NFL, a very popular topic around the office or water cooler around this time of year, or Snapchat, a millennial-focused app that used most often by those who communicate strictly through pictures and video. We have been able to generate traffic for two very specific audiences through social media because site visitors want to take the quiz, which has no monetary value, and share it with their friends to see if they match up.
We have learned that it is important to stay up-to-date on current trends in social media and the national news because newsjacking is a great opportunity for some quick exposure to new audiences. Our struggles have been connecting with the younger generation and these particular interactions have been vital in targeting the millennial audience. The value of being identified as a true San Francisco 49er fan or having the same school habits as Harry Potter are viral material in the social world.
Daniel Bliley is the Director of Marketing at Passport.
“I recently saw an amazing example of content marketing…”
This infographic by Relate (Zendesk) is great for several reasons:
1) Engaging. Very, very engaging. The animations and reveals when you scroll make you want to keep going, and thus, consume all the content.
2) Quick. It doesn’t take a long time to process it. It hits really fast, and gives you the option to investigate further if you would like. People love choices.
3) Visual. They have replaced words with images, and that makes for an easier and friendlier experience for users.
4) It is informational versus salesy. It creates trust between Zendesk and the reader.
5) It encourages sharing. This helps the content make a bigger impact.
Matthew Steffen is Forbes Magazine’s #1 consultant who avoids the B.S. Matt Steffen leads a winning team of marketing experts that specialize in crafting ROI-driven promotions that fuse seamlessly with your customers’ behavior.
“Without a doubt, the best content marketing program I have ever seen is…”
Movoto’s Real Estate blog, which features all sorts of informative and entertaining articles with regard to real-estate, such as, “Which are the Best Zip Codes for Your Marriage?” and, “These are the Best 10 Suburbs for Education in America.”
I first discovered this content marketing gem on Facebook as one of their articles about Philadelphia (where I live) had gone viral, and a friend of mine had shared it on their wall. While I was reading the entertaining article, I realized I was reading a blog by a real estate company, and not a gossip website.
The genius in this content marketing strategy is Movoto has taken a seemingly boring topic such as real estate, and made it a sexy, informative, and controversial series of topics everyone can enjoy. As a result, the brand easily drives more organic site traffic which naturally increases the amount of leads they collect of people thinking about looking for a home.
Also, whether Movoto realizes it or not, they have positioned themselves as a subject matter expert with regard to where people should live and why. The lesson here is simple: Create content around your brand that caters to your market’s curiosity and desire to be informed, and entertained.
Juliana Crispo is the Founder and CEO of Startup Sales Bootcamp.
“There are many great examples of content marketing. I’m always trying to get better at content marketing myself, but…”
This particular deck did well as a content marketing piece for my business because it had lots of personality, social proof, and was immediately actionable for people. I also put some effort into promoting in on various channels I wanted it to be.
I also really like Close.IO’s marketing for their free sales course.
Stefanie is the head marketer for tech startup, Grobo. She can talk for forever about creative digital marketing campaigns and ninjas.
“One of the greatest examples of content marketing I’ve seen is…”
John Lewis’s Christmas Commercial last year featuring Monty the Penguin was the best, most integrative Christmas campaign I’ve ever seen.
Visually, the commercial was beautiful and very well shot. The story line was simple, but won the hearts of its viewers as they shed a tear for Monty’s desire to be loved, and sighed with joy as Monty found the female penguin, Mabel.
However, the best thing about this campaign is that it didn’t stop at just a commercial. It incorporated a host of other marketing platforms. The ad featured a hashtag, #MontyThePenguin that trended globally. Twitter accounts for Monty the Penguin and his girlfriend, Mabel the Penguin, were created and highly active, telling the story of Monty and Mabel’s romantic dates. Antarctic-themed interactive spaces were installed in various John Lewis locations, where people could explore Monty’s world using virtual reality. An ebook app about Monty’s life was developed, and of course, people could buy all sorts of Monty-themed paraphernalia.
With so much content based around Monty the Penguin, consumers could spend hours exploring the world of Monty, lost in John Lewis’ brand.
Lesson learned: Consumers want to learn more about you (or your imaginary character/brand), so give them as many ways possible to get to know you and interact with you. The more they feel like they know you, the more they stay loyal and advocate for you.
John Stokman is a Marketing Strategist at ilos Videos, a startup in Minneapolis that makes screen recording for customer support reps and marketers really easy. Among other things, he loves living in Minnesota and writing music.
“There are so many different examples of incredible marketing, but I have done the hard work and narrowed it down to one…”
Recently, Buffer (a social media scheduling tool) posted on their blog about the fact that they had lost about half of their social media traffic in this last year of 2015.
Coming from a company that is supposed to be the leading expert in Social Media, reading the post at first was fairly alarming and quite frankly, scary. So why in the world would I think it is one of the best examples of content marketing?
Because it was brutally honest. With Buffer, it is clear that we are on a marketing journey together, which means that when we fail at something, we share it and learn from it. It is extremely rare to see this kind of honesty. Because of this post (which blew up with over 5k shares) I have a deeper respect for Buffer, their tools, and the journey we are on together.
Now that, my friends, is incredible marketing, turning something that seems terrible, and completely flipping it around into something incredible.
Mansi is a Content Catalyst at WiseCalvin, where she aims to add zing to every piece of content that is shipped out from their dashboard, be it an eBook, an infographic, or a simple tweet. When distracted, she logs her muses at her blog, anoshoflife.com.
“When I think of great content marketing examples…”
OgilvyOne’s A Day in Big Data comes to my mind. The single webpage with all of its simplicity was able to introduce you to Big Data, and leave you captivated. To date, this single page boasts of close to 10k shares online.
Recently, I stumbled upon The Nothing App, which caught my attention instantly with the kind of funny content it had. However, as you finally go down you realize that it was all a joke – and what isn’t a joke is the need for fresh, clean drinking water in third world countries. The call to action at the end hits you hard. The page is not meant for downloading an app but to redirect the individual to the donation page and the Charity Water website.
In terms of content marketing, the lessons from both the above, A Day in Big Data (educational and marketing) and The Nothing App (the marketing campaign) are simple: Be concise, be clear, and be creative to hit hard and make the right impact. They show that content doesn’t have to be boring and a wall of text, and that marketers don’t need to complain that content over the Internet has reached a point of saturation.With a little creativity, anyone can stand apart.
Scott Severson is the president of Brandpoint, a leading content marketing services and software company. Scott is an Internet trailblazer and a passionate advocate of digital content marketing. Scott was previously the Director of Internet Business for North American Membership Group, a consumer lifestyle publishing company with more than 20 million readers.
“Among my favorite examples of content marketing, I’m a big fan of…”
The Filson Life campaign. Filson Life connects me with a brand that I’m fond of through great storytelling and imagery. I haven’t seen their data so I cannot speak to whether or not it’s a shining example based on their results, but I can say that it speaks to me and that’s what good content marketing is supposed to do. It should connect us with the brand on a personal level, while inspiring, educating, and entertaining us.
Melanie Deziel is an award-winning branded content strategist and author, and the founder of The Overlap League, the native advertising industry newsletter. In her prior role as the first editor of branded content at The New York Times, she conceived of and wrote in-depth pieces sponsored by advertisers, including the “Women Inmates” piece created in partnership with Netflix and Orange Is The New Black and this feature on The New York City Ballet presented by Cole Haan, which earned the OMMA for Best Native Advertising Execution in 2014 and 2015, respectively.
“Some great examples of content marketing that I’ve seen include…”
The New Zealand Herald debuted their branded content team with this immersive piece about the future of tech, in partnership with Spark. The piece is loaded with multimedia, written by a genuine expert, and packed with data and related insights. It’s an interesting read and well-designed, to boot.
This piece, hosted on Wall Street Journal and sponsored by the Netflix original series Narcos, is a fascinating and factual look at the Medellin cocaine cartel, launched in time for the premiere of Narcos Season One. It’s a great way to tap into the true story that inspired the show and generate interest in the topic. Layer in the multimedia and the engaging design, and you’ve got yourself a winning example of content marketing.
Everyone has a favorite teacher, and this piece from A+, created in partnership with Strayer University, taps into that. The heartfelt video shows individuals talking about the teachers who most deeply impacted their lives, none the wiser that said teacher was listening off camera. The reunions are touching and the message is clear: education is invaluable and teachers are instrumental. This is a great example of a brand recognizing that their content can talk about how their offering makes people feel, not just what their offering is.
Known as the Small Business “Chief Marketing Officer”, Javed is an accomplished and engaging speaker, and experienced voice over talent. He’s been a featured presenter at multiple professional association conferences, workshops, webinars, and media outlets, and is a regular session host across many Canadian Chambers of Commerce. Khan is President of EMpression, a marketing services company.
“There are a few excellent examples of content marketing that come to mind…”
Video is fast becoming one of the core pieces to a marketing puzzle; in fact, it’s the future of content marketing. Studies show that more than half of companies are already making use of the medium, a figure that’s predicted to rise as more and more realize the possibilities.
Consider these facts:
- According to Forbes, 59% of executives would rather watch a video than read text.
- According to 3M Corporation & Zabisco, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000x faster by the brain than text.
- Mobile video viewing was up 127% year over year; moreover, it accounted for 27% total of global online video views in June 2014, up from 21% in February.
It is naturally engaging and, in an age of information overload, it’s vital for small businesses to offer content that is easy to digest; if not, consumers will simply move on. Video does this very well.
Heres a great example of content leveraging video to relay a Christmas Message.
Martin Harrison is co-founder of content service Copify.
“I think we are seeing travel brands leading the way in content marketing…”
Which is hardly surprising when you consider that Michelin was a pioneer in this field. I recently wrote a piece on this for tnooz.com.
In particular, I think Oyster.com’s photo fakeouts and Airbnb’s destination guides are great examples of visually impressive content that really grab the reader’s attention and deliver genuine value for users.
Grayson Ervin is the Founder of CigarsFor.Me. Being in a niche market that isn’t allowed to advertise on most PPC platforms, Grayson has had to master the techniques of both content marketing and inbound marketing in order to grow his business.
“Some of the greatest examples of content marketing include…”
The HubSpot Blog – When I think of content marketing the very first thing that pops in my head is the HubSpot blog. HubSpot is one of the pioneers of content marketing, so this really doesn’t come as any surprise. What is surprising is how successful they’ve been at it year after year. They’ve segmented their blog into three different divisions: Marketing, Sales, and Agency. In the past 24 hours, those three segments have been updated with a combined 11 articles!
But their content doesn’t just stop with the blog. Every article has a call to action that’s offering another piece of free gated content such as a guide, checklist, eBook, whitepaper, or report. The gated content allows for them to start converting their blog visitors into leads.
The MintLife Blog – MintLife is the blog for Mint.com, the financial budgeting application. I give Mint.com a ton of credit for creating MintLife simply because they were fully engaged in content marketing before it was well known. The financial services industry isn’t exactly known for its cutting-edge marketing, which also makes Mint.com thought leaders in that sense. They do a great job of always posting content relevant to their niche, yet it never comes off as a sales pitch. In fact, MintLife doesn’t use any calls to action in any of their posts. They keep it very casual and informational, which is exactly what the reader is looking for.
Backlinko – Backlinko is one of my favorite examples of content marketing done right. Brian Dean, the founder of Backlinko, has only posted 32 articles on the site since 2010, yet he averages over 90,000 readers every month. He is the poster child for quality over quantity. He also creates some great videos, which is another very effective form of content marketing. He currently only has seven videos, and one of them was just posted today. The most impressive part of what Backlinko has accomplished through content marketing is their #1 rankings for incredibly competitive keywords such as on-page SEO. Backlinko is a true David vs. Goliath story that shows the incredible power of content marketing.
Hubert is the Executive Creative Director of TBWA Group Vietnam. During his career, he has created campaigns for brands such as General Motors, Microsoft, WWF, Popcorn Time, Xbox, Land Rover, AXE, Haagen-Dazs, and Vodafone.
“There is one company that rewrote the book on content marketing…”
Dollar Shave Club. Their launch video, “Our Blades Are F***ing Great,” instantly exploded, leading to 12,000 unexpected orders overnight. Not prepared for such traffic, their servers operated at a dial up-like crawl, almost crashed. Within three months the video had an easy 5,000,000 views. A year later, Dollar Shave Club had 330,000 subscription-paying customers. The video won a slew of awards, in turn creating more buzz, and today sits at 21,000,000 views. (Gillette just announced they are suing them; revealing how big a competitor they’ve become.)
But that’s not what makes it a great case study in content marketing. Many global brands get similar results, putting their content in the hands of professional advertising agencies who spend months researching, ideating, and crafting content.
What’s so inspiring about Dollar Shave Club is this: The video cost $4,500 to make, was shot in a single day, and was filmed inside their own warehouse. Paid media came in at $0.
“Our Blades Are F***ing Great” is a case study that should have any company, no matter how small, thinking, ‘Hey these guys did it, why not us?’
Why was “Our Blades Are F***ing Great” such a success? It was incredibly original, unexpected, and hit a cultural nerve. What company features its CEO dropping f-bombs straight to consumers? Most brands take themselves very seriously, and here was one that was making fun of itself. And the Internet loved them for it, taking them in as ‘one of our own.’
The key word is unexpected. Consumers really love those ‘I did not see that coming!’ moments, and if done well, they are drawn to the company behind them the same way that they’re drawn to their ‘new favorite actor’ because of a particular role or movie.
Joe Goldstein is a full time operations manager and SEO professional specializing in contractor service industry marketing with Navolutions.
“One of my all time favorite pieces of content marketing is…”
The world map at Phil’s Fish Market in Moss Landing, because it’s the ultimate perpetual content marketing machine. Instead of engineering a giant piece of brand storytelling, spending a small fortune on exposure, or desperately trying to promote the product, Phil’s map harnesses natural human behavior to create and market itself. It’s totally effortless, and I mean that in a good way.
Customers contribute to the board because it’s simple, painless, and satisfying. It’s something to do while waiting for a table, an opportunity to add to a spectacle, and a chance to put just a small part of yourself on display.
People share their own contributions on social media because they find them noteworthy. They get to say, “I guess I’m not the first person from Australia to visit,” or, “Minnesota represent!”
People share and discuss the entire board because they find it interesting. Head over to Reddit and you’ll see comments like, “Apparently more Icelanders have been there than Hawaiians,” and, “I want to meet the guy that lives in the center of Lake Superior,” which in turn create their own conversations.
Finally, the board gets so much exposure that even The Huffington Post picks it up as a curiosity, giving the restaurant a massive visibility boost and direct SEO benefit.
The beautiful thing about this content is that it didn’t take a lot of budget, planning, paid promotion, or technical skill to gain astronomical exposure. It just required a map, a place to hang it, and a bucket of pins. Customers naturally want to contribute to it, discuss it, and share it without any help from the business, and every step of the process is totally frictionless. As an added bonus, it also adds to the brand in a meaningful way: you see that people from around the world have visited Phil’s, implying that it’s worth a long trip.
Brent Hale is an online entrepreneur who specializes in building authority sites in various tech-related niches. Outside of his online business pursuits, he is a gamer, fantasy football fanatic, tech enthusiast, and father.
“One of my favorite content marketers is probably…”
Brian Dean of Backlinko.com. Backlinko has only been around for a few years, but Brian has quickly become the go-to resource for obtaining SEO-friendly backlinks. Really, though, what he is teaching (and what he is doing) is good content marketing that just so happens to land you good backlinks.
Take his most popular post, for example. The post is 17 Untapped Backlink Sources and is basically a rundown of the best whitehat backlinking techniques he uses to rank his posts high in Google’s search results. If you read the 17 sources he mentions in the post, you’ll find that most are just incredibly smart content marketing strategies centered around conducting effective outreach campaigns.
Ian Lam owns a team building company, Cohesion.sg, providing novel games such as Bubblesoccer, archery tag, and laser tag to corporate clients.
“I believe that an example of great content marketing would is by…”
QuickSprout’s Advanced Guide to Content Marketing. The reason why it works is because they are able to concisely package their information into bite-sized bits for customers to digest it. The meat of the article is a link away, which keeps customers staying on the page for a longer period, thus improving their SEO. This also reduces the bounce rate back to search results as users are able to understand the article’s value proposition quickly. Overall, a fantastic piece of marketing.
I think brands needs to take a step back and focus more on their customers. At Cohesion, we are a strong advocate of customers promoting our brand. We have a blog series called Snapshots that shares our success stories with our future clients. What this does is to build trust as well as help you generate more content for your websites. People want to hear from other people that your services are great. It is often ineffective hearing it from the horses mouth.
Todd Damon, along with his father, Ron, own and operate Wood Werks Supply, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio. For over 25 years, the Damon family has grown their business to be among the largest woodworking suppliers in the nation. They serve customers through a large retail store in Central Ohio, and an e-commerce store at thisiswoodworking.com. Todd also owns and operates the Axiom Tool Group, a manufacturer of small-format CNC Routers for the woodworking and DIY industries.
“One of the most effective examples of content marketing that I have seen is…”
Home Depot has a DIY Projects and Ideas section on their website that has a wealth of information. From how to hang a Christmas wreath to choosing paint colors that work in living rooms. We are in the Woodworking industry so do it yourself articles, videos and tutorials are crucial. I’m constantly looking at Home Depot because I think they are the kings of content marketing.
Kirsten Bailey is the Founder and Owner of 5 Starr Salon and Spa.
“One great example of content marketing that’s helpful to me personally is…”
Even though I run a salon & spa, I consider it very important to keep-up on fashion trends.
TheBlondeSalad.com does a fantastic job talking about all things beauty. From designer bags to invest in to necessities for a walk-in closet, this site has it all.
I am constantly able to converse with my customers each day and a big reason is because of the awesome articles that I read from this site.
Sean Smallwood, P.A.
Sean Smallwood is the owner and founder of Sean Smallwood, P.A., a law firm specializing in divorce and family law in Orlando, Florida.
“One of the best examples of content marketing I’ve seen is…”
Han-Gwon Lung wrote an amazing piece for Entrepreneur.com on How I Tripled My Salary in Less Than One Year After Getting Fired.
This really hit home with me because I moved to Orlando to accept a position at a law firm only to find out they had rescinded their offer. This forced me to open my open practice, which ended up being a blessing for me and my family.
I respected everything that Lung’s article was simple yet it hit on five main points that I incorporate with my business each day.
Boni Satani is an Inbound Marketer at Panamaxil.com, a Leading Technology Company offering market-proven telecom switching, wholesale carrier business solutions and mobile financial solution. His interest lies in PR & SEO. In his free time, he is either reading a book or lurking on Reddit.
“I have a few favorite content marketing examples, one of which is actually the future of content marketing…”
1) Interactive Infographic
Here’s a fantastic infographic iOn Interactive. The infographic titled, “Roadmap to Revenue.” The information is nicely presented in both graphics and text.
Why I love it: One of the graphics – Car keeps moving through different “toll gates” [sections of the infographic] – which is cool and interactive. I would say we will see more infographics like this in 2016.
A fantastic infographic from Brian Dean (Backlinko).
The infographic succinctly explains all the important on-page SEO factors using text and images.
3) Interactive Post
A blogpost from Brian Dean on 153 different SEO Tools. He does this by providing tons of options and filters like Free or Paid Tools for Link Building, Keyword Research, and Content Optimization. It’s a delight for marketers since it makes it so easy to quickly discover a tool.
4) A Text + Graphic Post
This is one of my favorite posts. This post by Buffer explains everything you need to know about the best time to tweet. The post is so detailed and very well written that you don’t realize its length until you finished reading it.
Kristina Jaramillo is a NY Times recognized social media expert whose articles are featured on top publications and websites like Forbes, MarketingProfs, Salesforce and Social Media Examiner. She’s even featured in LinkedIn’s own Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn.
Using her unique LinkedIn lead-to-revenue marketing approach since 2011, Kristina has been helping sales and marketing leaders at Fortune 1000 organizations, tech companies, professional service firms and SMBs get more marketing qualified leads and revenue opportunities. One client gained more sales opportunities than all other marketing initiatives combined. Her website is GetLinkedInHelp.com.
“My definition of great content marketing is…”
Content that goes beyond reach. Views, likes, comments and shares are not good measures for content marketing success. The best content marketing pieces are the ones driving next step actions. For example, Lawson Abinanti from Messages That Matter is creating sales conversations with posts like The State of the CPM/BPM Market: Companies Continue to Struggle to Position Effectively.
With this post on the LinkedIn publishing platform, he provided an in your face assessment of the big players in the industry and how most of them were struggling with their positioning. He showed how SAP made the best progress of all the CPM vendors as they went from no position to making a compelling claim. He also shows while SAP is doing a well-done job in positioning this solution, IBM is not with their CPM solutions. IBM is using transform – one of the most overused tech buzzwords – and they basically duplicated a competitors positioning. He’s also showing how Infor, SAS, Oracle, and many others are also falling into the me-too positioning trap. This post gained nearly 600 views in a short period of time.
But more importantly (as I said before views does not equal success), Lawson drove next step actions as 3 dozen high quality tech marketing leaders opted in for his ebook after reading the post. This includes the CEO, CMO, and other marketing decision makers at one of the companies he assessed. He has also used this post to open his prospects’ eyes and get them to a sales conversation.
Lawson has also completed assessments with the CRM imdustry and the business intelligence industry which also drove next step actions as he challenged common thinking and common practices. Other challenge content that Lawson created was also a piece that challenges how IBM was positioning their TM1 solution. Messages That Matter acquired a new client that is a TM1 reseller as a direct result of Lawson’s article.
You want your content to drive next step actions that leads to revenue – that’s when you know it’s a success.
Monica Eaton-Cardone is the co-founder and COO of Chargebacks911, a risk mitigation and chargeback management firm that specializes in fighting friendly fraud.
“One of the most impressive and effective content marketing campaigns of recent years is…”
That employed by New Belgium Brewing. Ditching the sportscast commercials and other tired marketing tropes of the beer industry, the company pushes forward and covers all of its bases with a highly effective, integrated campaign. They’ve clearly mastered the art of social media promotion, their “Beer Mode” app has tens of thousands of downloads in the app store, and their annual “Tour de Fat,” a traveling carnival celebrating beer, bikes, and creative flavor, can draw more than 25,000 attendees each year.
The Tour de Fat is really a brilliant campaign, seamlessly melding New Belgium’s brand identity and aesthetic into every aspect of the event. Food, drinks, street art, mass bike rides, and games couple with bicycle education and advocacy, raising as much as $150,000 for cycling-related nonprofit organizations as the festival travels along its route each summer.
The company’s social media presence is what really ties it all together though. New Belgium is able to use blogging and social media to smooth over all of these different facets of their approach and create a clear, distinct brand identity. Few companies out there seem to have such an innate understanding of this syncretic approach, coupled with an implementation that just feels so perfectly natural and organic.
Rick Novy offers freelance copywriting services through Rick Novy Tech and Copywriting, LLC.
“Great content marketing is a relative thing, and depends greatly upon the…”
Business or person posting the content. For a company with great visual appeal, in the fashion industry, say, they’ll want to make use of visual social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram. A company selling inline skates would make better use of YouTube or Vimeo, where demonstrations and lessons could be posted frequently. For a business-to-business entity, in many cases LinkedIn makes the best choice because their content is often going to be more written than visual. For a company that’s family-oriented, Facebook makes a great platform, but the content needs to be visual here, as well.
Most of all, for content to be great, it needs to be shareable. For that to happen, the content must be informative or entertaining, short enough not to lose peoples’ attention, and have an eye-catching aspect. Think memes.
But it isn’t enough to simply post good material. Social media used correctly is interaction with customers and potential customers. Look at the McDonald’s Facebook page and their post on December 30, 2015. All the comments (at least at the top) are complaints. McDonald’s swiftly responded to the complaints with requests for more information so they can address the issues.
This isn’t flashy, but it’s one of the most effective subtle forms of content because it demonstrates a company’s willingness to take complaints seriously. A company might not satisfy the specific person complaining, but it’s more about telling the rest of the world that complaints matter and they’ll get swift attention. That’s content meant for people on the fence, and it’s a great way to turn something negative into a positive.
Markelle Harden is the Director of Content at Get A Copywriter, where she helps guide content campaigns with creative strategies for both social and SEO initiatives.
“The best content marketing examples demonstrate…”
The combination of useful, helpful content for a specific target audience, and a CTA that drives further brand engagement.
For example, links from QuickSprout’s Twitter account to new blog posts currently bring up a full-screen size overlay that reads, “Follow Neil Patel on Facebook – Get free marketing and business advice!” Neil is a trailblazer in rolling out new content marketing initiatives, and he’s found a way to drive his audience from QuickSprout’s Twitter account to his Facebook page. Why is this valuable? Facebook audience insights gives marketers persona information that can be used to create persona driven content campaigns.
Resource sections on websites are another example of great content marketing that combines useful, helpful content with a CTA that drives further engagement. Sites such as Get A Copywriter and Vertical Measures have a Resource sections, and each page contains a CTA that invites the audience to subscribe to an email list or send a general inquiry. AppSense takes the Resources section a step further by providing on-demand webinars for their target audience.
According to the 2016 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends Report from the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs, 88% of respondents say they use content marketing, but only 30% of respondents say their organizations are effective at it. The same report found that the top priority for B2B content creators is to create more engaging content.
Great content marketing isn’t effective unless it drives business leads and sales. If a piece of content doesn’t invite the audience to engage with the brand or capture lead information, it’s not valuable.
John Niggl is head of marketing at InTouch Manufacturing Services, a quality control firm in Shenzhen, China. He has worked in Sales & Marketing here for two years now, and content marketing is a major part of his day-to-day responsibility.
“One of the best examples of content marketing I’ve stumbled upon recently is…”
Canva’s article covering 14 Time Management Tips Just for Creatives. What I like about the article is how the graphics are interspersed between each tip section are very artful and creative. Several appear to have actually been created with the Canva app itself, which is a marketing technique the company is known to employ and fits nicely with the written content they post on their blog.
Another example of great content marketing is seen in the way that Brian G. Johnson has marketed himself, his blog and his recent book, Trust Funnel. The hyper-excited tone he takes to videos and the in-your-face-style, personal portraits seen on his website and social media channels help his content and personal brand stand out among others. He’s even been known to throw in a karate kick in some of his videos and presentations, which give them an added boost of energy.
The last example of great content marketing I’ve noticed in recent months is common among some of the best in the online marketing industry. Dan Harris, Russel Brunson, and Guy Kawasaki have all written very detailed, very value-driven books to help would-be marketers improve. What sets these marketers apart is the way they’ve used the Kindle platform to tactfully insert links into the pages of their books to other content offers and promotions on their website. They’ve all managed to do this without coming across as too “salesy” or promotional. You could be reading Brunson’s book DotCom Secrets at one moment, taking in helpful and actionable advice. And in the next moment, you might be subscribing to his email marketing list to continue receiving value. These authors are effectively selling more than their books. They’re also growing their mailing lists and, in turn, upselling their readers on other products or services. All the while, they’re delivering value and growing an enthusiastic following.
Bastian Heynen is from Haan, Germany. He taught The Linguistics of Branding & Advertising at Heinrich Heine University and is now with netzkern AG in Wuppertal, a full-service digital agency, working as their Junior Online Marketing Manager.
“A great example in Content Marketing from Germany is…”
EDEKA’s Christmas YouTube Video (this link takes you to the video with English subtitles) – all from its depressing start to its (at least to some people) surprising ending. The reaction to the video ranged from celebration to disgust, and the publicity effect for EDEKA was enormous with 45 million views and growing – plus dozens of brands publishing similar videos referencing the original. It was clearly the winner of the holiday season, and it shows that you don’t need TV ads to reach millions of people.
Cynthia Readnower is an author, columnist, owner of Skinny Leopard Media and award winning Life Coach. She spent years in sales and marketing positions for Fortune 500 companies and has owned two restaurants and other small businesses. She received her M.B.A. from the University of Dayton and grew up in Dayton, Ohio. Her interests span the gamut of changing the paradigm of how business is done, drawing out the potential in all people, and using creativity in all aspects of life.
“As a social media manager, in great content marketing I look for content that is…”
Clean (no words to offend), has lots of visuals, is not TOO copy heavy, and is a quick and easy look-over to get to the gist of the content. It shouldn’t look like a white paper. Shorter paragraphs with headings are best. This post on Hello Glow is a good example. It has nice images, short paragraphs, and gives straight forward content with no searching through it to find the actual meat.
Another good example is this post at Lifehacker. This is great because it has a colorful, easy to read infographic. Infographics are big because they combine all the elements: brevity, color, image, and information.
Rebecca Xiong is the CEO of GrowEpic. A serial entrepreneur, marketer, and data geek, Xiong holds a PhD from MIT.
“In terms of content marketing, I’m a big fan of…”
Chris Makara’s work, in particular this list of 500 definitive social media tools.
It’s a great example of content marketing. First, it’s got built-in virality. Most people like to share useful content and comprehensive lists of tools are a great resource. More importantly, most of these lists will want to share with people that they made the list. You then have 500 people motivated to promote this post. You can see here how much it’s been clicked on using bit.ly links alone: 2,000+ clicks! That’s the kind of numbers most of us content marketers would kill for (just kidding).
Secondly, it has a great call to action. A couple of paragraphs down, there’s a yellow box with a discount offer and a chance to receive experts’ opinions on their favorite tools, which you get by leaving your email. The best content not only attracts users but carries them through to conversion.
Gavin Goodvach has been in the role of Head of Content for two leading video distribution advertising networks, AnyClip Media and now Vexigo. He has managed video distribution and partner relationships with leading producers such as Universal, Warner Brothers, Tribune Media, Turner, and more. His focus has been on monetization of content, distribution of video, content marketing, and business development in the area of video across all platforms. He is also a member of the TV Academy. He is currently Head of Content at Vexigo.
“My favorite examples of content marketing all focus on video marketing…”
1. GE – Just about all the videos on the GE YouTube channel rock but some of the best are:
These videos are fun and bring technology to life. They are very subtly branded and are so entertaining that you want to see more and more. I have spent hours on the GE channel and go back frequently for new content.
2. AmEx Unstaged – It’s an interactive concert experience with clips of collaborations between famous artists and directors and various behind the scenes looks. This kind of content frustrates the heck out of me because no one sees it on YouTube! The Taylor Swift behind the scenes clip has 1.3 Million views. It sounds like a lot, but it’s nothing when you compare it to this video by PiewDiePie that received 1.4 Million views in 20 hours today. Everyday Genius by Kari Byron features tips and trick to solve everyday problems like how to pack a suitcase and how to Peel an orange. These are really entertaining and useful clips, sponsored by AMEX for the enjoyment and education of the viewers. Great content marketing.
3. Columbia Sportswear – For this video, Directors of Toughness, Columbia chose two of its employees to travel to some of the most extreme destinations in the world and prove how tough they and the Columbia products are. They’re so engaging that the overt product placement is totally organic. Another example is Tested Tough Gert vs Tim, which are very funny thirty second spots.
Katie Bagley is a Corporate Marketing Associate at Blue Fountain Media.
“One company that does an excellent job with content marketing is…”
LUSH, an international cosmetics brand that has made a name for itself as a company that sells products that are handmade from natural ingredients. They have a YouTube channel that is dedicated to their North American branch, and they use their videos to showcase those features that make their business stand out. The diverse and informative content on their page highlights a variety of their products and shows exactly how they are made, who is making them, and what beneficial ingredients are being used.
LUSH takes pride in their fresh homemade cosmetics and their content is used to emphasize that. Some videos show where in the world they get their all natural products – from Spanish almonds, to Ecuadorian rose petals, while other videos highlight some of their company values such as charities they are involved with, and which products they are selling as a campaign in support of different causes. Their YouTube channel has become an amazing outlet for their branding efforts. They are promoting their work, while educating their audience. Forget Netflix, you can spend hours binge-watching LUSH videos.
Some of their best examples include How it’s Made: Rose Bombshell Bath Bomb, an informative YouTube video, and this charity video in which LUSH is campaigning to #banthebead as a way to remove microbeads from cosmetic products, and promote their facial scrubs using all natural ingredients.
Daniel Levine is a Content Marketer at RJMetrics.
“Several great examples of content marketing come from…”
Chubbies, the “radical short shorts” company, which is a fantastic example of a business that’s built their brand almost entirely on their content marketing efforts.
Here are some examples of their content:
To get around Facebook’s GIF restriction, they instead publish GIF-like videos that loop on a user’s feed. Chubbies understands what content their audience wants, and they come up with clever ways to deliver it to them, at all costs.
Their videos are amazing. Here’s one about their newest male model search. You don’t need to be Chubbies’ target customer for you to love this video, and share it with everyone you know.
To me, companies can learn a lot from Chubbies’ creative marketing techniques, their ability to establish a recognizable brand, and their commitment to improving their efforts each time they create a new piece of content. They target a specific audience and are unapologetic, which makes them likeable and genuine.
MONEYBALL FOR SALES AND MARKETING
MARKETING CONTENT MANAGEMENT BUYER’S GUIDE
HOW TO BUILD A SALES PORTAL
Further Reading from the Docurated Blog: