Content Marketing Examples for Inspiration and Insight
Content marketing is one of those industries where there’s a lot of talk about abstract ideas, but content marketing examples can be few and far between. This is challenging, since content creation and marketing are industries where we learn by doing. Just like you can’t learn to drive a car from reading the driver’s manual, you can’t learn to do marketing just by reading about marketing. Only by trying out strategies, seeing how content is received, and pivoting strategies for the future can each brand really learn what works for them.
At the same time, content marketing examples can go a long way toward giving us inspiration for our next campaign, and insight about why some ideas might or might not work. To that end, we’ve collected a list of content marketing examples, from strategy down to social media, that might just be the spark you need.
Content Marketing Strategy Examples
A content marketing strategy is the plan to create, publish, and promote content that aligns with a company’s larger marketing initiatives. This is smaller than your overall marketing strategy, but it does include considerations like your audiences, content topics, the rate content will be created, and where it will be shared. Here are some of the best content marketing strategy examples that have been executed to date, to help you see how different strategic choices and decisions about content can affect the success of your overall marketing strategy.
- Tourism Queensland: The tourism and events bureau of the Australian state of Queensland used a job opening as the opportunity to create buzz. Rather than posting a job and marketing the position to others, the team made others market to them by asking for video applications for “the best job in the world.” Over 35,000 people submitted videos, with an additional 8.4 million unique website visits, 55 million page views, and over $360M worth of media coverage for the campaign. Talk about superpowered brand awareness!
- Gillette: After 119 years, The Gillette Company is still keeping it fresh in marketing. Its “Welcome” campaign targeted returning customers who left the brand for lower-cost options, part of the effort that gained them back 200,000 customers from 2013 to 2014. Videos on the brands’ YouTube channel teach men how to shave. And to keep up with the times, they pivoted their historic “The Best a Man Can Get” to challenge questions of gender roles and domestic violence.
- IKEA: IKEA’s content marketing strategy is part of the brand’s larger mission to provide an experience beyond retail. They don’t just promote a product, but help you visualize how that product fits into life. From the setup of their stores to the energy and presentation of their video content, IKEA puts the customer experience first. On social they share promotions, discounts, and news, but also respond to customers. Their message of easy value that maximizes life for their customers is loud and clear.
- Airbnb: Airbnb’s content marketing strategy leveraged collaboration and user-generated content, along with social media, to help the company rise to success. The company initially planned to advertise short-term rentals in newspaper classifieds but turned to Craigslist and Google Ads instead to achieve global reach. Through influencers on YouTube and Instagram, they showcased the kind of travel experience an Airbnb could provide as an alternative to a hotel. Even in the COVID-19 pandemic, a pivot to focus on short-term rentals that could be enjoyed in isolation helped the company recover and return to profitability.
These are just some of the content marketing strategies that drive growth at some of today’s market leaders. From marketing a place to a product, these companies all go beyond to market the experience. Their user-focused strategies drive messaging that speaks to audiences, and in turn, audiences become engaged with the content and subsequently, the brand.
What are Examples of Content Marketing?
Sometimes content marketing succeeds as part of the overall audience-focused marketing strategy, but in other cases, content exceeds the expectations of the team and redefines the marketing strategy. These examples of content marketing represent campaigns that went viral—and we also explore a little of why this content marketing went from “good idea” to “great idea” once audiences got a chance to react.
- Share-a-Coke: Coca-Cola has always been known for its marketing, especially its emotional appeals. Its “Share a Coke” campaign was a global initiative where the iconic logo on its labels and cans was replaced with 250 of the most-common names in each country. This move toward customer focus meant that suddenly, consumers were mildly obsessed with seeing if their name was featured and buying the product for others. The result was over 500,000 social media posts with the hashtag, and many more people following the call to action that is the name of the campaign.
- Dove: Dove has been delivering beauty products since 1957, but starting in 2013, they decided to get real with their customers of all genders. The “Real Beauty” campaign featured the compelling stories of women feeling insecure in their own bodies, speaking directly to the deepest pain points of their audience and spurring many shared stories on social media. For men, the “Men Care” campaign shared stories of sensitivity and commitment to family that admit room for men to be human, too. Through empathy, the brand has secured a market position and expanded its appeal.
- McDonald’s Question Time: McDonald’s also took a step toward more customer engagement and transparency with its “Question Time” campaign. Knowing that audiences had questions about the quality and sustainability of its food, the company launched a cross-channel campaign to address those concerns. Videos and infographics illustrated the production of processed products like the McRib and Chicken Nuggets. A real-time Q&A with people in the company’s supply chain, sourcing, and manufacturing departments was also positioned to provide more transparency. While critics questioned the capability of full transparency and the long-term sustainability commitments that followed, the campaign still helped the company do some work to restore a sagging public image.
- Lunchables New School Rules: With children no longer attending school during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lunchables faced the necessity of a pivot. Its “New School Rules” campaign provided a phone-based choose your own adventure story of 2 characters navigating the complicated new world of social distancing and personal safety. This experience helped kids and family learn the basics about hand washing, mask wearing, and distancing. Three accompanying 15-second videos helped reinforce these lessons across channels. Not only did this campaign share valuable information, it helped the brand stay relevant at a time when school lunch also looks different.
These examples of content marketing campaigns represent initiatives that are based on the trends and news of the moments where they exist. Whether it’s a desire for more representation, more information, or more empathy, brands that tap into these passions of their customers forge more lasting relationships, even when the content doesn’t generate a lead or sale.
Small Business Content Marketing Examples
Small businesses taking on content marketing can feel especially challenged to stand out against larger brands with bigger budgets. But with creative strategies and quality content, these organizations have just as equal a chance to succeed in content as any other. Here are examples of small business content marketing that succeeded at driving growth:
- MoveHub: MoveHub is a company that makes international moving easier. With only 10 employees, the company deployed a simple-but-mighty interactive infographic that got them major media recognition. Color-coded maps of the world help those in transition understand the cost of living around the globe, with a subsequent focus on each continent. This content took a stressful consideration like cost of living and made it easy to understand, visualize, and make decisions from. That’s successful, empowering content at its best.
- Forks Over Knives: This meal delivery service and mobile app provider developed a feature-length documentary in 2011 that caught the attention of audiences around the world. But there’s also a lot to be learned from their other content. The app provides plant-based recipes and motivation that align with the company’s healthful mission. Long-form articles about food science, health, and nutrition perform extremely well in search rankings and on social media because the pieces are well-researched and well-written. By outsourcing content creation to subject matter experts that aren’t on their payroll, the business builds its authority and trust among customers.
- Good Greens: Health bar company Good Greens built relationships with influencers in their geographic region to make the most of a small content marketing budget. By getting bloggers to review their products, the company was able to increase reviews, organic mentions, and social posts about the health bars. This strategy grew sales 50% in 4 months and made them one of Cleveland’s best-selling products in health food. The brand has now grown beyond the Forest City to be featured in over 1200 stores.
Small businesses can make the most of their content marketing by focusing on interaction. Whether it’s content users can interact with, or the process of interacting with customers, a smaller size means more flexibility and power to take on outreach without the bureaucracy of a larger business.
Examples of Content Marketing on Social Media
One thing that unites all the examples we’ve discussed thus far is the effective use of social media. However, there are even more examples of content marketing unique to social media that demonstrate the deep potential of these channels.
- Pic’s Peanut Butter: New Zealand’s Pic’s Peanut Butter started in Pic’s garage when he began making peanut butter with an old concrete mixer. From there, the brand showed its personality on social media to leverage a growing community of enthusiasts for the product across the globe. Using Hootsuite, the company had an easy way to identify positive posts and comments they could amplify by re-sharing and responding. In the course of a year they grew from 3,000 followers to over 10,000—especially after a hilarious April Fool’s Day image of a double-sided peanut butter jar went viral.
- Saving Lincoln: The 2013 historic drama Saving Lincoln told the story of President Lincoln’s relationship with his self-appointed bodyguard and onetime fellow attorney, US Marshall Ward Hill Lemon. As an independent film, the movie had a small marketing budget that they maximized through social media storytelling. With a $1,000 monthly marketing budget, the team turned to Twitter, writing stories that were shared in bite-sized pieces at specific intervals. This strategy built buzz for over a year and helped focus the appeals on the appropriate audience for the film.
- Casper: Mattress company Casper takes their social channels beyond sales appeals to become a valued source of information for new and existing customers alike. Sharing curated articles about sleep science helps audiences understand the importance of their products. The company has also tailored its strategy directly to customers through referral marketing and frequent promotions and contests. This doesn’t just extend to their products—they even gave away champagne and a beer helmet for Valentine's Day. The company also takes advantage of the power social media gives them to respond to customers in real-time, a move that is widely recognized as building them a loyal customer base.
- Moon Pie: As a company that makes only one product, Moon Pie has found power and appeal in getting creative with social media. An ironic-yet-wholesome voice has amplified their account to one of the most followed brands on Twitter, mainly because they aren’t posting about their product in any way, shape, or form. Instead, they take advantage of the opportunity to entertain and empathize with their audiences in both their brightest and darkest moments.
Each of these examples stands out on social media because of their voice and storytelling. Whether it’s a long story that audiences can’t wait for the next installment of, or short comments that help people laugh, cry, or feel human, the “marketing” in these examples is actually almost nonexistent—and that’s part of the reason for their success.
Tips and Takeaways from Content Marketing Examples
With all these examples in mind, what can content marketers learn? We recognize three major tips that any company can benefit from.
- Think About the Audience: Audiences consume content to be educated, entertained, or both. While you might want your marketing to be all about your products, features, or sales appeals, that isn’t what your audience is online to experience. It’s essential to think of creative ways to share information, laughs, and empathy with your audiences far before you start in with the buying appeals.
- Post Content Regularly: Whether it’s updating your blog or posting to your Twitter and Facebook, regularity is essential. Think of this as the same thing as calling your parents and loved ones—the more often they hear from you, the more they know about you, and trust your reliability. Communicating with your audiences through content shows them you care and creates more and more opportunities to make the appeals you need to provide marketing ROI.
- Don’t Ignore Your Fans (or Critics): Many of the examples on our list would not have been so successful without the support and interaction of satisfied customers and influencers. If you get a good comment or review, respond and show gratitude. If you get a bad comment or review respond and speak to the criticism in a respectful and meaningful way. These are the conversations and interactions that will build momentum over time.
Overall, implementing content marketing requires attention as well as strategy. These examples hopefully help you see why the effort is worth it!
Create a Data-Driven Content Strategy with DemandJump
All these brands and companies didn’t necessarily settle on a winning content strategy after the first try. Marketing analytics and customer insights are an essential part of the feedback loop to teach brands where content is hitting the right notes with consumers, and where things are out of tune. DemandJump provides all these real-time insights and more. With search insights and competitor analytics integrated as well, marketers can make strategic decisions about both their existing library of content, and the pieces that are coming next in the pipeline. From content format to content topics and channels of media promotion, what works for every company will be different. Sign up for a free trial of DemandJump today and learn the unique way your content marketing can lead by example and do more for your customers.