Content marketing is essential to nearly every marketing organization and the numbers speak for themselves — seventy-two percent of content marketers report that content marketing drives higher engagement levels and increases leads. Effective content marketing has also been shown to achieve a 60% rate of repeat customers and conversion rates that are six times higher in comparison to teams that don’t use content marketing.
And even if you are already using content marketing, you may be able to optimize your strategy to achieve even better outcomes. This guide has everything you need to get the most out of content marketing, including real-world examples and proven best practices.
Why Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a marketing strategy that leverages assets like blog posts, videos or social media posts to engage buyers, and it offers several advantages. It tends to cost less, and it often achieves higher rates of engagement than other forms of marketing because it attracts customers with information that they genuinely care about. Customers will want to see relevant content regardless of whether they are aware of your product offerings. This makes content marketing feel more organically intriguing and less heavy-handed than ads that blatantly aim to drive conversions.
Content marketing also provides an opportunity to reach broad audiences. Not only does it allow you to reach prospects whom you can’t engage through other channels, but your customers can easily share well-crafted content across social media, often unintentionally acting as brand ambassadors.
Although content like blog posts and videos are among the most obvious types of content marketing, you can execute campaigns with content that ranges from infographics and case studies to product demos and “cheat sheets” — as long as the content offers concise, easily readable information that’s of interest to your buyers.
To illustrate what content marketing looks like in practice, here’s a look at nine real-world content marketing examples that show how to successfully integrate content into your marketing plan.
Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO
Moz, which builds software to help marketers improve their websites’ SEO, has been in business since 2004 and achieves yearly revenue of around 70 million dollars. The company’s success rests, in part, on its ability to demonstrate thought leadership and authority around SEO. To do this, Moz offers a Beginner’s Guide to SEO that provides a comprehensive, multi-chapter breakdown of how SEO works.
The guide works well as a content marketing piece because it is designed to speak to a broad audience. Anyone seeking to understand any aspect of SEO can benefit from the content. In addition, instead of explicitly promoting Moz’s products, the guide presents genuine educational content. This gives it an organic feel and helps cultivate an image of Moz as a vendor that has mastered the art of SEO and wants to help the marketing community at large learn how to get better at SEO.
Oh My Disney
Oh My Disney, whose monthly traffic rate approaches one million visitors, is a case study in how to use multiple forms of content to build brand awareness and engage customers across multiple channels. The site offers a wide variety of content, including videos, articles, and quizzes, that address multiple facets of the Disney brand. The site covers Disney movies, theme parks, music, and more. Visitors can also easily share the content through social media as well.
As a broad, multi-channel content marketing asset, Oh My Disney gives Disney a great way to reach a large audience that wants to regularly engage with the brand. It also helps the company educate customers familiar with a single part of Disney’s brand (for instance, theme parks) about its other offerings, such as its streaming content platform, Disney+.
Buffer’s Multi-Pronged Approach
Buffer, which sells marketing tools that focus on social media channels, maintains a portal that also offers a wide array of content. Although Buffer officially labels the portal a blog, it offers much more, including tutorials, eBooks, and podcasts.
Buffer makes it easy for prospects to navigate through the portal by selecting topics that are specifically of interest to them. Buffer also posts on a regular, consistent basis so that consumers are always able to peruse fresh content whenever they visit the site.
But perhaps most importantly, Buffer offers content that elevates them as an authority in the field of social media, which bolsters its brand integrity. Some content demonstrates thought leadership in the social media marketing space. Other content consists of educational resources about how to run social media campaigns. Still other articles give readers a look into the internal operations of Buffer and its culture, which helps them appear transparent and approachable.
This marketing strategy appears to work well for Buffer — the company enjoys a market share of around 6.5 percent, a healthy figure that places it above most of its competitors.
Think With Google
Think with Google is a website where Google offers resources related to online marketing and brand-building. With more than 750,000 followers on LinkedIn alone, the site attracts a large audience. It provides excellent resources across a variety of formats, including long-form content, videos, and even useful tools, all easily accessible from its homepage. It even includes a podcast that was chosen as the Best Thought Leadership Podcast of 2020 by Adweek.
Although the site is sponsored by Google, it focuses on providing vendor-neutral educational content. It helps Google cultivate an image as a thought-leader within the realm of online marketing, which can in turn promote Google’s online marketing tools. The latter are highlighted on the site, but they are not the main focus of the content it hosts.
Indeed’s COVID-19 Employer Resources
While “evergreen” content that remains relevant for years is always a key investment for content marketers, content that focuses on current events or a trending need can also be beneficial.
Indeed’s resource center for employers to help them navigate this new normal is a prime example. The brand offers businesses content that addresses real and pressing challenges they face, such as which tax relief options may be available to them and how to rehire employees after a furlough. Because this type of information was not available from a single portal before the pandemic, developing the resource center was a way for Indeed to build brand awareness by creating content that addresses a critical and urgent need.
Some of the content also lightly promotes Indeed’s software tools for employers, but not so forcefully that the content reads like an ad or distracts from the genuine educational guidance that it provides readers.
Apple’s “The Underdogs”
Apple found an opportunity to highlight how its products can help employees who are working from home in this “Underdogs” video.
Without promoting the company’s products explicitly, this content demonstrates how they fit into the lives of workers struggling to stay organized while working remotely. Providing humorous content that jokingly but evocatively depicts many of the real challenges that employees face during the pandemic, it is both highly relatable and highly engaging for Apple’s target audience. With more than 26 million views, the video is a marketing success.
Spotify’s Wrapped Lists
Spotify’s Wrapped lists, like this one that focuses on 2019, is a prime example of content that is both easy to consume and easy to share on social media. Without promoting Spotify explicitly, the content demonstrates how convenient it is to find and listen to podcasts and music on the Spotify platform. In this respect, Wrapped lists can help draw in listeners who haven’t used Spotify previously and keep them engaged with other content once they have finished consuming the list.
There is also a thought-leadership element to the Wrapped lists. Because they present curated lists of podcasts and music tailored to a specific time period, they offer Spotify an opportunity to curate its image as a brand that understands cultural trends and can recognize what its audience is looking for.
The lists, which appear in the holiday season, have drawn steadily increasing followings year-over-year, as Google Trends shows.
BTS, a Korean pop band, has leveraged content across a variety of channels to build their brand since debuting in 2013. They have invested in content ranging from traveling in-person exhibitions to social media and videos, focusing consistently on constructing an image of the band as authentic.
By using multiple content channels to develop the characters of band members, BTS has been able to cultivate a relationship with listeners in which the band members are more than just musicians. To followers, they are multi-dimensional human beings to whom their audience can easily relate. This branding has helped propel the band to become the first all-Korean act ever to top the Billboard Hot 100.
Marketo’s Definitive Guides and Pillar Pages
As an experienced provider of marketing automation software, Marketo uses a range of Web content to demonstrate its authority in the marketing space. This includes definitive guides that offer marketers deep-dives into technical topics, like pipeline marketing and event marketing. Because these guides are gated, meaning they require users to register before downloading them, they help Marketo generate leads by collecting information about marketers who may be interested in its products.
Marketo also invests in ungated pillar pages on topics like marketing automation. These pages offer high-level overviews of marketing topics and highlight the ways that the Marketo platform can solve pain-points related to them. They also link to the definitive guides, integrating Marketo’s content assets together.
Tips for Content Marketing
As the examples above demonstate, content marketing can take many forms. But there are some general tips that marketers should keep in mind when developing content marketing initiatives:
Identify your customer: Effective content marketing starts with knowing your target audience and its needs. Determine which pain-points your prospects face and which types of content can help address them. Identify the channels through which you can most effectively reach your audience as well.
Be consistent: Don’t think of content marketing as a one-time investment or a set-and-forget type of asset. Instead, aim to generate and deliver new content regularly and consistently, in order to sustain engagement with your audience over an extended period.
Don’t go overboard with brand promotion: It’s fine to promote your brand within content explicitly, but don’t take it too far. If readers feel that the only goal of your content is to convince them to buy something — instead of helping them solve a problem or gain a new perspective, for example — it will turn them off. Seventy-four percent of consumers say they are already inundated with ads and don’t want to see yet more of them.
Focus on trends: Although content marketing need not always focus on a trending topic, content that addresses urgent needs related to a current event can be an effective way to engage your target audience.
Develop diverse content: Different forms of content appeal to different audiences, so develop a healthy mix to ensure that you’re not ignoring the needs of a valuable segment of your market.
Integrate your content: Along similar lines, include links within content to other content in order to increase engagement and reinforce messaging.
Make content shareable: Your content should be designed as something that readers, listeners, or viewers want to share with others. Providing buttons within the content that make it easy to post on social media is one of the easiest ways to encourage sharing.
Content Marketing Made Easy
With so many different types of content and channels at play, managing a content marketing campaign can be challenging — at least without a marketing automation platform like Marketo Engage. Marketo Engage simplifies the content marketing process by automating marketing campaigns, providing analytics-driven insights into marketing performance, managing marketing efforts across multiple channels, and much more.
To learn how Marketo Engage can help you make the most of content marketing, take an interactive tour today.