Did you know that as per Demand Metric, content marketing is three times as effective in lead generation as compared to other methods of outbound marketing? Some of the top content marketing examples have made this very clear. And the cherry on top is that it costs at least 60 per cent less as compared to the traditional outbound marketing measures taken by brands. Over the years, brands and marketers have moved from direct product advertising to educational content marketing because it had a clearly significant impact on their Return On Investment (ROI).
In recent times, when the world was under the impact of the pandemic of Coronavirus, content marketers were making the best use by reaching out to people stuck in their homes during the lockdown. Brands have shifted focus from what they want to sell to what the consumers actually need, especially when it comes to content. Content marketing is not a promotional strategy, it is a way for brands to connect with consumers and directly talk to them about what matters to them.
The concept of content marketing is simple. When your customer googles something, say ‘homemade ice cream’ for example, if he/she finds content that is actually relevant and directly helps the customer, then it is an example of successful content marketing. There may be search results that show you products for your search, while there may be some results that add value and help you increase your awareness.
Here are some of the best content marketing examples that every brand should take inspiration from:
Here is a brand that has aced the idea of content marketing through their blog. Vinebox is a company that delivers wine per glass in vials to its customers on a subscription basis so that they can get to taste new and upcoming variants of wine in the market without having to commit to the whole bottle of something they are not familiar with.
Check out their blog. It has everything you need to know about wine and where it comes from. You can find expert tips on how to swirl your wine as well as the things that matter when you select a wine. Their products include a variety of wine including organic wine, so they have also written specific blogs that talk only about organic wine.
Now think about it for a minute.
If you were to subscribe to a quarterly subscription of wine, wouldn’t it be great if the brand engaged with you through these informative posts that make you even more aware of the product you are selecting and the right ways to consume it?
This is one of the best content marketing examples for wine enthusiasts as it is not just the product that introduces them to the new variants of wine in the market without having to purchase the whole bottle, but also the blog gives them entry to the whole new world of wine-drinkers worldwide.
A true hub for all marketers, HubSpot is another example of content marketing done right.
If you are wondering why, here’s your answer.
Hubspot is a platform for businesses to educate themselves about marketing and also expand in their respective markets. In addition to offering learning tools, courses, certifications, and various other resources, the platform also sells softwares that focus on extensions and integrations, marketing tools to increase traffic and focus on lead conversions, CRM softwares, and various sales tools that can help companies in increasing productivity.
Now imagine, if a company like this that promotes growth and digital marketing, did not grow or follow the digital marketing protocols themselves, would anyone believe in them?
This is probably the reason why they have maintained a very well-researched blog with in-depth knowledge of topics that relate to their products. They are also continuously updating their learning resources and e-books with the latest upgrades and trends to keep themselves at the top of their game.
Look at this image from the HubSpot blog:
If you look for any of these topics and search on Google, HubSpot will always be among the first five results. This is the example of the type of content marketing, that practices what it preaches. Of course, we don’t need to remind you of the multiple benefits of blog marketing itself.
A comprehensive guide to product marketing will educate its readers about the essentials of it, as well as self-market their resource tools, making it a perfect element of the many content marketing examples that promote authenticity, credibility, engagement, and top-notch value for readers.
Coca-Cola is one product which is present literally everywhere. Billboards, vending machines, airports, markets, shopping complexes, banners, event sponsorships and partnerships. There are very few and limited people on earth who would not have heard of Coca-Cola or tried at least one Coke in their lifetime.
Now ask yourself this.
A brand that is worth $74 billion and is responsible for 1.7 billion beverages being consumed on a daily basis, why does it need a strong content marketing strategy?
Does it really need one?
Despite what you think, the “Share a Coke” campaign by Coca-Cola is one of the most discussed content marketing examples in the world.
In 2011. Coke launched this campaign by personalizing the sticker on the bottle with the names of the people. Consumers could either get a personalized bottle with “Share a coke with Nick” or any other name or look for their own name or a friend’s name in the stores. It was only a matter of time until the campaign gained momentum as consumers started posting their pictures with their personalized Coke bottles.
Now it may seem like a very simple idea to you in hindsight, but what it did for such a huge brand was a very effective content marketing example. Not only did it help in building an emotional connection with the consumers by asking them to share a coke, but it also engaged customers in a way that it led to the user-generated content being shared excessively throughout social media.
In India, the brand launched a generic campaign using the names of the relationships like dad, mom, brother, sister, etc. in Hindi as well.
On most occasions, great ideas are the ones that sound the most stupid.
A toilet paper company, Charmin, which is based in the US. and belongs to Procter and Gamble, launched an application called “Sit or Squat”. This application dealt with the most important issue that travellers throughout the world face when it comes to public washrooms.
Think about how many times you have faced a problem in finding a clean toilet on the go?
This application allowed its users to track the nearby restrooms to check which ones are clean and which ones are not. In the restrooms that are clean, the users can use the facility while sitting and in the ones that are not so clean, they can squat.
Now if you think about it for too long, this may sound like a silly idea.
It is not even effectively a solution. But this platform allowed users to interact with other users, rate the restrooms, and give feedback.
The same silly-sounding idea gave a toilet paper brand the platform to engage with potential customers in a way that it made the app indispensable for the users. It is interesting to note that while this does not directly promote the toilet paper itself, it helped Charmin build a strong and involved customer base and got more people talking about it.
If this isn’t an interesting and successful content marketing example, we don’t know what is.
Going viral is the new trend.
To ascertain the success of any content marketing example, check the virality of the content piece.
Hootsuite is a popular name among the various social media management platforms that exist today. Even though they might not have the popularity of Coca-cola, they are a renowned name in the industry.
Their product is simple. They help brands do effective social media marketing and management. They create engaging content posts for companies and individuals, manage all their social media platforms, and help brands improve engagement with their audience.
Using the Game of Thrones (GoT) popularity, Hootsuite came up with a promotional video for its brand. It was a parody of the GoT opening title theme song, with different social media channels like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Google Plus as different kingdoms and Hootsuite the binding force that brings the kingdom together.
This video went viral. It got more than a million views within a very short span.
Now how did they exactly manage this?
We all know that GoT has an insane following. Each of us would know at least one person who gets up early or sleeps late or adjusts her/his schedule just to watch the show live. What they brilliantly did was reach out directly to those millions of GoT followers. And to top it all off, they did it right when the finale of GoT was almost about to be aired.
Not only did this campaign directly appeal to a wide audience, but it also created a buzz, gave people something new and relatable, and made the best use of existing viral trends in the content industry.
If you haven’t seen the video yet, make sure you do! This is one of the most clever, innovative, and ‘simple in hindsight yet difficult to think of’ content marketing examples the marketing industry has ever seen.
The popular Indian food delivery and dictionary app Zomato, also popular for its content marketing on social media, tried a similar post on Game of Thrones.
The relatability that such viral issues bring to the brand is iconic.
Burberry is a name that needs no introduction.
This luxury brand has gained worldwide attention through the content marketing milestones it has set in the industry. One of the most popular content marketing campaigns by Burberry was the digital kisses campaign. As a part of the campaign, an application was created that allowed users to send virtual kisses to anyone through screen impressions.
The idea was simple.
Users had to choose a lip shade, press their lips on their mobile screen on the app, and then send the kiss to virtually anyone.
And to make it even more interesting, they partnered with Google to help the users track the kisses via Google maps and keep track of the journey of the kiss using Google street view.
A beautiful content marketing example by a luxury beauty brand, this campaign ensured maximum user participation and the fun element made it very innovative and personalized.
In this case as well, the brand was not directly trying to sell its products. Instead, it focused on giving a unique experience to the users. Brand recall value and the connection between the users of the application and the brand strengthens when such content marketing strategies are put in place.
As compared to any other marketing method, user-generated content creates huge credibility. When potential users see existing users being part of the company’s marketing strategy and campaign, they feel that they can trust a brand in a better way.
In another one of the popular content marketing examples, Muji created a contest for all the art lovers, challenging them to draw using the Muji drawing pens and share it on Instagram ads copies with the hashtag #MujiPenArt.
The challenge went viral and with the participation of so many young artists, Muji was able to reach a very specific target audience.
One of the tools that helped them do this was Instagram and its popularity. As a brand, you have to focus on what tools your customers use the most and then channelize the audience on that particular platform in the best way possible.
There are Indian brands like Mango stationery that are also making an effort in a similar direction, as can be seen in the image below by creating online workshops where everyone draws a similar picture and then sharing it on their own Instagram page.
Content marketing with podcasts is the newest trend in the content marketing industry. Millions of people are listening to podcasts because they create content that is easily consumable on the go and is also very informative at the same time.
Blue Apron is a meal delivery service based in America that delivers meal kits based on ingredients. It also suggests various recipes for dishes that can be created using those ingredients.
Through its podcast, it shifts focus from its regular recipe based blogs to ‘Why we eat what we eat’ which is also the name of their blog. As the name suggests, the podcast takes them away from their usual commercial service towards educating and creating awareness among listeners about their diet choices.
The content that they create generates genuine curiosity among listeners instead of directly talking about their own meal boxes and ingredients. The future of podcasts as an ideal element of content marketing is promising, and so is the future of this podcast by the Blue Apron.
Another one of the great content marketing examples of podcast marketing is HBR Ideacast. With some of the most useful business-related content, this podcast has interviews with many great business leaders. Most of us are already familiar with Harvard Business Review (HBR) blogs but this is an interesting change of marketing tool to create relevant content.
One may not expect great content marketing from a company like General Electric (GE) because it is already a popular name. Without spending a single dollar on paid advertising, this company managed to create an engaging content marketing campaign for its Instagram audience.
The company invited a few fans and Instagram influencers for a tour of the company facilities for its B2B products like wind turbines and jet engines.
And while the influencers candidly captured the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of the company, this proved to be a very successful content marketing example of user-generated content.
Each such tour resulted in high-visibility for the company. This is also among the many specialized content marketing examples of influencer marketing. Generally, many companies prefer sending products to influencers but in this case, a tour of the company provided a unique and innovative engagement platform for the audience.
Another useful element of this example is the Hashtag marketing. It is a very clever example of optimizing social media trends for the benefit of the brand.
Similar to the MUJI Pen Art, Hershey’s, a popular chocolate brand created a microsite called ‘Celebrate With Hershey’s’ where the brand shares fun activities and delightful recipes that can be baked using their products.
In this case, the engagement is in the opposite direction. This means that instead of asking users to share what they use Hershey’s products for, Hershey’s is offering them recipes and even though they are not directly asking people to share, whenever someone bakes something or uses their product while being stuck at home, Hershey’s product name will be used.
A DIY content marketing example like this creates a highly positive brand engagement by offering support material to people of all ages. Users can search recipes by occasion and can also create DIY craft products using simple techniques available on the website.
Digital content like newsletters, magazines, monthly updates, e-books, journals, etc. are creating a very effective engagement with email marketing for brands.
Four Seasons is a popular luxury hotel brand. They don’t need content that helps them brand themselves or re-brand them as a luxury hotel chain. The quality of their services and their goodwill has already been a good engagement option for them.
Despite that, the brand has been focusing on creating a digital magazine called the ‘Four Seasons Magazine’, that focuses on content pieces that inspire people to travel. It is like a high-end blog for people that plays with their psychology and inspires them to opt for luxury stays when they travel.
Creating a digital magazine with such blogs targets the aspirational mindset of the people. It creates visuals for them about what their next travel with Four Seasons could look like. The blog also provides ideas to people about the limitless possibilities of customization of their upcoming itineraries.
Content Marketing Lessons
Content is not just about words. It is the medium through which you engage with your customers. Here are some of the most valuable lessons these examples have taught us.
1. A person who is educated enough about your product is not your only prospective customer and all your prospective customers may not be educated about your products. The good thing is that as a brand, you always have the capacity to teach them and educate them about your products. This may not lead to direct sales but helps in building indirect relationships with the customers.
2. Be the embodiment of your product. Especially if you are in a marketing business, how you market your own brand is the testament of the services you can offer to your clients or customers.
3. Personalization in content marketing goes a long way. Whether you have the budget of a Coca Cola or not, any form of personalization can help you build a relationship with the customer at a different level.
4. Customer engagement does not always have to be linear. Out of the box, silly thinking sometimes works wonderfully. Think about what matters to your customer the most or what bothers them the most.
5. Even if your product is not a viral product or has mass awareness, you can opt to create content based on existing viral marketing trends that will gain you exponential popularity in the social media space especially.
6. Thinking about the applications of your product is one way to find unique content marketing ideas. It helps you understand the emotions attached to your product from the perspective of the customer.
7. Money is not a pre-requisite for an effective content marketing strategy. Most of these content marketing examples can be recreated with unique implementations by small businesses even on lesser budgets.
8. Engage with your audience through the channel that they are the most comfortable using. It may be a challenge to ask them to shift channels, especially social media channels. So make the best of what you have.
9. The idea of content marketing examples is not to replicate the successful ones but rather experiment with what works for which brand.
10. Aspirational marketing is an interesting part of content marketing, especially if you are a luxury brand.
11. Getting the users involved and asking them to do something for their own benefit and relevance is a great way to engage with them. It generates their interest to the peak and then promotes the product at a time when they are the most interested in it.
It can be a challenge for brands to consistently produce content that is also engaging and interesting for the customers. This has given birth to the career of professional content marketers who specialize in the field and have spent years engaging with customers from different domains and spheres of life. Many companies hire these professionals to regularly come up with ideas to engage with the audiences through content, thus giving birth to some of the best content marketing examples to learn from.
We hope that these content marketing examples were inspiring enough to ignite the spark of an innovative content marketer within you! The idea is to keep experimenting with new ideas to engage your audience effectively.