Online marketing consists of many tactics, and there’s often some confusion regarding where content creation fits into the equation.
Content marketing is a subgroup of marketing built around developing and sharing both digital and tangible content that is relevant, valuable, and consistent. This content can take many forms but is designed with the intent to reach and inspire purchases from a specifically defined audience group.
Let’s break that definition down a little more. As far as marketing techniques go, content marketing campaigns are generally considered a long-term strategy. Most marketers don’t count on any “quick wins”, however it can make a significant impact over months or years of effort. Some types of content marketing are organic, inbound tactics, while others might be considered paid, outbound tactics.
Content marketing can be found on numerous platforms like websites, social media platforms, television, apps, in-person events, in your email inbox, or even in your text messages.
Like many other types of marketing, good content marketing must be built around a target audience group. The audience’s needs and desires will dictate the type of content created and topics that will be covered. While not every interaction with content marketing is a blatant sales pitch, each piece should encourage a positive experience with the brand that supports a customer’s interest in making a purchase.
What’s the Purpose of Content Marketing?
More than ever before, it’s important that customers feel respected, cared for, and connected to brands. With all the clutter and noise in digital marketing, quality, consistent information stands out from the crowd. Customers will begin to trust and appreciate brands they know go out of the way to make every interaction a positive one, whether they’ve purchased yet or not.
In 2015, The Harvard Business Review did a study on the impact of emotional connection to sales and found that “Fully connected customers are 52% more valuable, on average than those who are just highly satisfied.” Therefore, a high-quality and consistent content marketing strategy built around connection has the potential to significantly improve a business’ bottom line.
5 Strategies for Great Content Marketing
We know why content marketing is important for business, but how does one achieve grade A content? Here are five core content marketing strategies to use as a roadmap to ensure your content marketing efforts are built on a solid foundation.
Knowledge is power, and these days can be pricey. Providing value to your audience via free tips, advice, tutorials, or new information is a key method of cultivating a dedicated following. Every brand and industry has a product or service-relevant topics that customers are likely interested in. Creating content that provides valuable education not only serves your audience but marks the brand as a thought leader in the industry which will only serve your sales efforts.
Whole Foods grocers drive this point home with its beautifully organized Recipe Collection on the brand website. They’ve developed creative, step-by-step recipes for every meal using products offered in the stores, to make shoppers’ lives even easier by supplying the groceries plus snazzy new dinner ideas!
These days, people are so over the “picture perfect” fake approach to marketing and sales. They want to connect with real, human stories. Brands have been pulling back the curtain and getting real about what truly matters, while also delivering a key message. The results have been groundbreaking. One example of this is Buzzfeed’s “Women Get Photoshopped” video, which has garnered over 12 million views on Youtube.
Four women of varying appearances and backgrounds undergo an experiment where they allow a professional image editor for magazines to adjust their image to meet the “beauty standards” for their respective races and cultures. The women share their personal stories of learning to love their appearances and give reactions to the Photoshopped work. It’s not only emotional but an educational look at the world of media and marketing.
Delight and Amuse
One of the tried-and-true successful content tactics? Simply make people laugh and smile. Whether you’re leaning into jokes, wit, and humor, or are sharing images of the cutest puppies and babies on the web, a laugh can actually get you a step closer to a sale.
Smiling releases neuropeptides, dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins which are often referred to as “natural happy drugs” as they relieve stress and fight depression. Linking your brand to those happy feelings is an excellent way to cultivate happy customers.
Ryan Reynolds has mastered the art of delighting and amusing audiences beyond his films on the big screen. He brings his unique personality and sense of humor to his Aviation Gin commercials. This video content at first seems like a classic, serious liquor video, but soon viewers are joyously surprised to find that Ryan’s script is actually lovingly teasing the industry, while humorously speaking to the realities of why the “every person” might want to buy the gin.
Make it Interactive
Finding ways for your customers to feel like they’re part of the process is a fantastic way to build that emotional connection and trust. Whether it’s a customizable product suite, a personalized app experience, or savvy customer support links from in-person to online, there are many ways to create interactive content.
It’s hard to find a better example of interactive content than Walt Disney World. Among their numerous films, theme parks, books, and games comes an interactive mobile app to enhance the theme park experience called Play Disney Parks. This free app contains music, trivia, games, and more for families to enjoy while they wait in line for their favorite attractions.
Solving your customers’ problems by creating an interactive game? We’d call that a big content win.
Create Realistic Experiences
Just because we live in the digital world, doesn’t mean folks aren’t interested in getting active in real life, too. Content that bridges the gap and creates an interactive, realistic experience can go a long way to exciting audiences and spreading the word about your campaign.
The Murph Challenge is an example of highly interactive content. The challenge was created in partnership with Crossfit Gyms to pay tribute to and raise funds for the foundation of LT. Michael P. Murphy, who sacrificed his life in the military. Every year, competitors register and compete in the self-timed challenge, and upload their results on social media and to an online leaderboard.
26 of the Best Content Marketing Examples
Great content marketing can be found on every platform imaginable, both tangible and digital. Learn from the successes of the best of the best with these 15 examples of the best content marketing, on every platform.
Examples of Content Marketing on Websites
One of the most common homes for brand content is on a website. But there are so many more options than just your Home or ‘About’ page. Read on for four important pieces of an online content strategy.
High-quality blog content (like the one you’re reading right now) should not only provide valuable information and amusement for readers, but also follow the rules of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Blogging should reflect the brand’s personality and can consist of stories, research, checklists, recipes, advice, guides, and more.
Create & Cultivate’s blog hits all the right marks, with an easy-to-access interface and a variety of specific, helpful content. These pieces vary – from inspiring stories, to tips and tricks from experts, to recaps of the brand’s interactive events. While most content serves as a platform to share a brand’s offering, the emphasis is on providing immense value to cultivate a loyal following.
People love to feel like they’re getting a personalized experience, and a quiz is a perfect way to give it to them on your website. Setting up an automated quiz that leads users to a product or piece of content that meets their needs can help your brand stand out, make shopping more enjoyable, and help boost your bottom line.
An example of this tactic is Jenna Kutcher’s What’s Your Secret Sauce quiz. The small business and marketing educator uses her quiz tool to help bring clarity and a sense of direction to users, while also getting them into one of her automated sales sequences via email.
For any business dealing with data, case studies can prove to be instrumental to establish authority and outline specifically why a customer should pick you. This type of valuable content summarizes past successes or results and the process the brand took to achieve them. This is often done using charts and graphs, essentially using the data to tell a compelling story.
This Patagonia case study is a great example of how to make numbers fun and interesting for readers to consume. The team outlined their challenge, the philosophy and approach they took to the plan, and the end results. To creatively tell their story, they used a combination of data, maps, social media posts, and images from the experience.
Isn’t it a delightful surprise when your grocery store gives away free samples? Most of us will likely stop to take a look, try the cream puff, and maybe consider buying a whole box for ourselves. The same concept applies to content. Whether it’s an e-book, PDF-download, series of email lessons or videos, offering free information is a clever strategy to help expose your brand to more potential clients.
KlientBoost’s free resources consist of guides, checklists, and infographics, all free for readers simply in exchange for their email address. Offering high quality content for free helps users solve their problems and gives them a sneak peek into the quality of work they can expect from the brand when they go all in as a client.
Social Media Content Marketing Examples
Contests & Giveaways
You gotta give a little to get a little (or in some cases, a lot!). Social media contests and giveaways have a massive potential to maximize brand awareness, and make a few lucky winners very happy! A super example of this marketing strategy (pun intended) is Marvel Studios’ Contest to celebrate their 10 year anniversary.
One lucky winner would win the opportunity to attend the red carpet premiere of the Avengers: Infinity War film, a set visit to Captain Marvel, and more. All they had to do was share an image to social media of their favorite Marvel superhero memory and include the #Marvel10YearSweepstakes and character-specific hashtag to be entered to win. This garnered thousands of social media posts and hype around the film release.
For some brands, the most impactful content marketing doesn’t even come from their own team. With the rise of social media influencers, user-generated content (or UGC) has become a wildly powerful social media marketing strategy. Many brands will repost and create collages of content created by users’ real experiences with their products or services.
A successful example of UGC is GoPro. The action-oriented video camera brand has an advantage, seeing as their tool is actually used to make content. They lean into the angle by sharing the most impressive GoPro-made video clips to the official brand social media accounts. Fans are excited to see their content shared, and the GoPro team gets their pick of easy-access content.
To encourage users to share more GoPro content, they’ve branded several hashtags such as #GoProCommunity and a specific hashtag for just about every country in the world. These days, you can see approximately 6,000 new GoPro videos being shared online every single day.
Instead of working harder to attract new audiences to your brand, sometimes it’s better to go where those people already are. Influencer marketing has taken the world by storm, and for good reason. Influencers build a strong rapport with their followers, making them a powerful asset to share your story with up to millions of new social media users.
To celebrate the launch of the new show The Great, Hulu partnered with 14 social media influencers. The influencers were carefully selected based on their Instagram following, interests, and demographics. Then they were sent a box filled with branded vodka, shot glasses, playing cards, and instructions for a drinking game to play along with the show. Even Game of Thrones star, Sophie Turner gave the show a shoutout.
This influencer marketing campaign yielded impressive results: 87 pieces of branded content (74 paid, 13 earned), 519k impressions, 22.5k engagements, and an overall engagement rate of 4.34%.
Audio and Video Content Marketing Examples
If you want to keep up with the trends, your brand needs to produce content that is audio or video centered. Attention spans of consumers have decreased immensely – falling from 12 seconds in 2000 to only 8 seconds in 2020. Learn how to grab those short attention spans using audio and video content.
Youtube Video Series
It’s no secret that video content marketing is king in the modern world, and what better place to participate than the original video platform – Youtube. Whether you’re creating a series of information videos on your Youtube channel, or simply aiming to amuse, everyone can agree that a viral video can be a fast track to marketing success. Video content is also an excellent crossover to share with your social network.
Dollar Shave Club realized quickly that the key to success was bringing irreverent humor to the forefront, via their real-life founder. The personal connection and down-to-earth tone proved a smashing success, yielding a whopping 27 million views for “Our Blades Are F***ing Great”. Founder, Mike, has continued to show up in nearly every piece of Dollar Shave Club’s video content since.
Podcasts aren’t just for former contestants from The Bachelor or personal brands these days. Even product-based businesses can leverage podcast marketing to create engaging content. While it might take a little bit of creativity, think about how you can provide supplementary value to your audiences beyond just rehashing how great your product is.
The more creative the better, as McDonalds showed us. Their podcast, The Sauce is actually a murder mystery styled show, weaving an original narrative around their famously mysterious Szechuan Sauce.
This ain’t your average college lecture-style video. Webinars offer a unique opportunity to not only connect personally with customers but collect important sales data that can seriously increase sales. The king of webinar content strategy? Tony Robbins.
A Tony Robbins webinar is carefully planned around the brand’s key connection points that not only leave users feeling like they experienced something great but gets them hooked on buying more. Webinars are a powerful content marketing tool for personal or experience-based brands.
Another example of using A/V marketing to your advantage for your business is uploading tutorial videos of problems your customers frequently face with your product. Instead of explaining in text how to solve the problem, creating a video that covers the step-by-step way to solve it is a quick and productive method your business can use to communicate with your audience.
Let’s take a look at DropBox and how they create tutorial videos that they foresee or have noticed their customers struggle with on their website. It ranges from how to save images and videos in their system, to how to scan documents with their mobile app. Having this on your website will help to drive traffic since customers will visit your website to troubleshoot their problems.
More Digital Examples of Content Marketing
There are more ways than ever to attract, engage with, and convert potential customers using digital marketing. These two content marketing examples can easily be shared in a number of spaces like websites, email, and even in printable versions.
Another authority-strengthening tactic, e-books are longer pieces of content, quite literally the digital equivalent of a hardcover book. They can be on any subject relevant to a brand, but typically outline a brand’s story or great success and steps or lessons that readers can attempt to replicate themselves.
Linkedin’s Secret Sauce E-Book is a savvy content marketing example. After establishing their brand as a leader in the career and hiring space, they created this e-book as a means to let readers be a fly on the wall of their marketing department. By sharing their own trials and errors, and data-backed advice, they continue to build the human connection and solidifying their expertise.
White papers are research and data-oriented long-form content pieces that help establish authority and trust for brands. While a white paper isn’t typically your best bet if you’re looking for a humorous or emotional connection with an audience, it’s a powerful and straightforward method of providing an immense amount of information.
Unsurprisingly, many brands in industries such as technology, medicine, and engineering tend to leverage this content marketing strategy. One example is Google’s security white paper. In an answer to user concerns over the security of information, Google created an in-depth explanation of their security standards and processes that is free and easy to access for users around the world.
Unique Examples of Content Marketing
The world continues to evolve, and so does content marketing. These four examples are some of the most innovative new ways to engage with audiences online.
These days, smartphones are the standard, and consumers are on them a lot – on average 2 hours and 15 minutes each day. This means that designing a brand-oriented app can pay off big time. Content marketing via mobile app typically involves a service relating to your brand. It could be a series of video and audio content, charts and maps, a virtual look book, blog-style content, or games.
To take their bike rental service to a new level, Citi Bikes released their original Citi Bike App. This mobile app is packed with features to make riders safer and less stressed, such as map routes, drop off locations for the bikes, a timer to help avoid late fees, and more. The design isn’t just loved by users, it was a finalist in the 6th Annual Shorty Awards.
Email marketing isn’t just for direct ads these days, even for clothing brands. The key to content marketing via email is thinking outside the box. The apparel brand, Chubbies did just that with its innovative Black Friday email campaign in 2019.
Striking a chord with a chummy and casual tone of voice, the team talks to readers like they would with a bro over a beer, making it clear that they keep it real about these sales. They then proceed to tease an exclusive collection for the holiday weekend, an outline of the special ‘Thighber Monday’ deals, and an opt-in that puts you on an even further curated email list. When done correctly, email content can connect a brand more deeply with the audience, and sell in a way that feels almost natural.
It’s one thing to love a brand’s product or service, but it takes a bit more effort to truly transition from a product to a movement. Interactive experiences are expensive, yet impactful ways to build emotional connections with customers. Brand’s who use this strategy are often aiming to branch out beyond their original product offerings, and the clothing brand Aerie is a prime example of this.
Aerie’s marketing team made waves with its Spring 2014 campaign featuring the first ever un-retouched ad images, and a pledge to strike a new body positive note in the fashion industry. Since that time, the brand has expanded further, hosting a diverse group of yearly #AerieReal ambassadors. The 2020 Aerie Real Summit brought the campaign into customer’s homes with a full virtual conference with speakers and events, all in Aerie gear.
With so many different kinds of content out there it can feel like you’re never quite connecting directly with your customers. The text marketing platform Community – cuts out the middlemen of email and social media apps, and allows you to text your people instead.
This allows you to send mass messaging updates about new content or events as well as individual exchanges to users who add themselves to your address book. It’s booming for businesses and personal brands alike. Celebrities like Amy Schumer, J. Lo, Diddy, Kerry Washington, and more have all been early adopters of the service.
An underrated content strategy is infographics. Consumers scroll through 4,000 – 10,000 ads each day, so being able to capture your audience with a striking graphic to quickly tell your story is important. Data itself can be boring, but when it can be visualized, it becomes easy to digest for the consumer and a powerful way to quickly convey your message.
Understandably, a well-designed infographic is one of the best ways to increase engagement and an easy way to share your content and increase awareness. As you would expect, the human brain processes visuals better than text, however, make sure to choose the right keywords when creating your infographic in order to optimize your SEO and increase your Google ranking.
It should come as no surprise that sharing testimonials can be a powerful tool to establish trust and be a deciding factor for your audience to take action. And the best part is, there are many types of testimonials that can be shared. One great example is combining a testimonial with a call-to-action like Zapier.
It’s actually a strategy we are proud to use. We share testimonial links in our email signature for our current and prospective clients to look at to support our work.
Content Marketing Automation
Let’s first clarify what content marketing automation is – It’s identifying repetitive content marketing tasks and then automating those tasks through tools and applications. Essentially it helps you easily engage across multiple channels and helps you stay organized by keeping track of every prospect and client using a scoring system to deliver personalized content on every channel.
One great example of using marketing automation to your advantage is applying it to cart-abandoners, like Cleobella for example, who sends a personalized email of the item that was left behind. Showcasing the actual item that was left behind can remind the customer or even entice them to make the purchase.
Build on Trending Momentum
Remember the ice bucket challenge? There were 2.5 million people who donated to the ALS association and shared their videos on social media. Now we’re not saying to come up with the next trend or hop on the bandwagon because everyone is, but building on the momentum of a trend can certainly benefit your business because your audience is telling you what they want. You should prioritize relevance over reach in order to nourish your relationship with your customers.
A great example comes from Zara and how they quickly realized their target market, Generation Z, cares about social issues. Gen Z who are vocal on items produced in an ethical and sustainable way are willingly to pay a higher price to achieve this. Zara quickly pivoted their marketing strategy and announced their promise of ‘producing clothes in a responsible and sustainable way by stopping the use of synthetic materials derived from fossil fuels and to use nearly all sustainable materials by 2025.’
Even though this wasn’t a trend that everyone saw eye-to-eye to, it was important for Zara’s target market to build their brand on a meaningful and important topic that was a win-win situation for Zara and its customers.
Forums (Downloadable lists)
Saving your audiences’ time by providing them the answers they are looking for is another effective strategy that will build up your brand and drive traffic. You help them by providing easy solutions they can digest, whether that be in the form of a checklist or a forum are great tools that can easily be shared and grow your business’s awareness. Make sure to research what questions current or even potential customers are asking to provide a more valuable tool for your customer.
Another effective way to help your customer decide to use your service is to create an online brand community where your customers market for you. An example of this that we have in mind is Sephora’s Beauty Talk. Customers upload a photo of them wearing Sephora makeup and Sephora provides a link in the photo to buy the items used to create the look.
With Halloween around the corner, this tool is an effective way for Sephora to influence their audience in purchasing their product. Creating a community that feels connected over their brand is a simple and effortless way strategy.
A great way to communicate with your audience and reach new audiences is through emotion. It can be a powerful way to influence a decision, whether through humor or a tear-jerker, and if used correctly can be an effective marketing campaign.
Successful marketing campaigns such as “Like a girl” by Always, “Real Beauty” by Dove, and “Man your man could smell like” by Old spice all drive their message through emotion with their brand. Creating a topic that is talked about and shared quickly through social media increased their traffic and sales exponentially and it’s no wonder you saw so many of those commercials in the super bowl last year. Companies are quickly noticing how powerful marketing campaigns that spark emotion can be beneficial for their business.
Once you get your customers in, what better way to keep them and come back for more than having a customer loyalty reward program? Did you know 72% of adults belong to at least one loyalty program? This is an excellent way to create lifetime customers.
There are many successful examples of this, but because we haven’t been able to travel out of the country and we’ve been daydreaming of a getaway, let’s take a look at Delta Airlines loyalty program: Skymiles. As a member, you earn 5 miles for every dollar spent on a Delta flight, so the higher the price you pay the bigger the reward. These miles can then be used to get a free U.S. flight on Delta, do I hear Hawaii calling?
This next strategy is newer and an ace up one’s sleeve. Why? Understanding problems your customers experience can better equip you to solve and deliver the right solution. The best way to achieve this is by conducting interviews.
Successful companies like Johnson & Johnson use this opportunity to fully understand their product before launching by conducting interviews with executives and/or medical professionals who are associated with the product. Analyzing trigger points and key highlights of your product or service, you are able to strategically look at all angles and realize who your target customers are, how to develop your business messaging, and plan on how to promote your product or service.
Picking the brains of experts who can tell you what problems they’re currently experiencing will better equip you to provide an opportunity to solve and strategically market to your customers.
You will be in a better spot to communicate with your target audience. You can even step it up a notch and look at psychology theories that can better explain a customer’s behavior towards your product or service to know how to market effectively. Whether it’s pet food, eco-friendly products or healthcare services, using this strategy for your business will benefit you and increase your revenue and awareness.
What better way to have your customers hear about you than meeting them in person. 84% of event attendees have a more positive opinion about the brand, product, or service being promoted after the event. Either through attending conferences or hosting events/conferences in the industry your audience is in, this is a tactical promotional strategy many companies use to educate their customers and form a connection with them by creating an experience they can relate to your business.
Don’t worry, you don’t have to pull the Red Bull Stratos jump or create a piano staircase like VW did to get the buzz.
Need Help With Your Digital Marketing?
Creating impressive content is one thing, but what happens next? Many brands benefit from a combined organic and paid digital marketing strategy. Supporting your content with ads can help you reach thousands of ideal customers who have been waiting for your offer.
At KlientBoost, we help you reach your goals and make more money via intelligent digital advertising and creative conversion rate optimization. We can’t wait to learn about your project. Click here to get a free proposal from our team featuring optimization tips, competitor information, and custom pricing.