If brands could speak and emote, content marketing would not be around. Think of content marketing as every brand’s personality and character put into words. With traditional forms of marketing becoming less effective, content marketing has taken center stage. By strategically approaching the content creation process, brands can benefit from creating value-driven and meaningful content and connecting with customers deeper and more intimate.
This blog will look at what it takes to build a cohesive marketing strategy and deep dive into five real-life examples that successfully put content marketing at the center of their brand’s initiatives.
What Is Content Marketing and Why Is It Important?
Quite simply, content marketing refers to a type of marketing where brands:
- Create and share reader-friendly and relevant content (read: blogs, social media posts, videos, podcasts, etc.) across channels and platforms.
- Build content to simulate audience interest in the brand instead of aggressively promoting the brand.
- Engage, retain, and attract the right target audience through the power of visuals and storytelling.
The benefits of content marketing can be summarized as follows:
- Widespread adoption: According to HubSpot, a staggering 82% of marketers are actively using content marketing.
- 360-degree advantages: Research by CMI indicates that for 64% of marketers, content marketing generates leads. At the same time, for 57% of marketers, it helps to generate sales and revenues, and for 78%, it helps build loyalty with existing customers.
Additional research by CMI claims here’s how B2B marketers have leveraged content marketing campaigns successfully:
Content marketing done right has multiple benefits for the brand. But what about the end-reader? How can customers gain from a brand’s content marketing efforts?
This blog will dissect five real-life examples of brands crushing their content marketing goals while providing clients with meaningful, customized, and relevant content—a win-win for all. Let’s jump right in.
How One Brand’s Content Marketing is Every Customer’s Gain: Top-5 Formulas
Let’s get started and look at how five well-established brands are leveraging content marketing initiatives to add real value to the end reader’s lives while boosting brand awareness and affinity.
1. Well-Researched Blogs = Domain Knowledge = Business Growth
One brand that has become synonymous with excellent content marketing is HubSpot. The brand offers a ready repository of blogs, eBooks, guides, and so on to encourage customers to keep coming back for more:
The brand’s blog page is neatly categorized into useful categories such as “Most Popular,” “Editor’s Picks,” and so on, enabling readers to navigate to their preferred area of interest:
Readers can also browse through the content in a topic-wise format:
The magic with HubSpot’s content marketing lies in the fact that the brand’s content is user-centric, well-researched, and authoritative in every sense. The brand open-heartedly and routinely publishes reports (such as the one shown below) that business owners can leverage to advance their knowledge on a variety of trending topics, apply the skills/information learned, and boost their bottom line:
The learning: Thoughtfully-curated, authoritative, and well-researched content can help business owners and marketers to grow their businesses. Brands need to focus on creating value-driven content and invest the same time, effort, and energy into building free-content to gain the customer’s attention and, by extension, loyalty. Half the battle is getting customers hooked to your brand’s content.
2. Industry-Specific Data = Intelligent Insights = Informed Customers
Whether your brand wishes to establish authority, gain credibility, drive top-of-the-funnel traffic, or build awareness, creating content that’s unique to your industry will help you to stand out from the pack. Regarding benefits to the customer, let’s look at how Shopify’s eCommerce glossary can build a more knowledgeable and self-empowered user base.
The brand’s dedicated page titled “Shopify’s business encyclopedia” empowers readers to:
- Understand everything they need to know about creating a successful business from the ground up.
- Comb through a vast diversity of topics–from retail and enterprise to branding and entrepreneurship.
eMarketers, in particular, can read about popular topics to understand how the eCommerce space works. From basic information to more advanced topics, this educative page offers invaluable information to the end-reader:
The learning: Industry-specific content, such as an eCommerce glossary, in this case, can empower eMarketers to extract actionable insights into the dynamic world of eCommerce and market their business better to build a solid eCommerce presence. Knowledge is power in this highly-competitive business landscape, and eCommerce brands must pivot their content marketing efforts accordingly.
3. High-Quality Videos = Relatable Content = Engaged Users
Video-driven content marketing is all the rage now. According to research by Google, video viewers claim that relating to their passion is 3X more important than content featuring famous actors and 1.6X more important than simply focusing on video quality.
Blogilates’ founder and fitness guru, Cassey Ho, understands this well as she has an impressive user base of about 6.12 million subscribers.
So why are blogilates videos a force to reckon with? Why do customers navigate this type of video-driven and visual form of content marketing? Here are a few compelling reasons:
She creates an abundance of high-quality and, more importantly, relatable content that readers consume consistently. Here content is known to impact the end customer’s life positively, hence, the high rate of subscription and higher video views (mostly in six figures or more):
Also, her content is free, informational, and genuinely aims at helping the end-reader, making it a big hit:
Her content is largely video-driven, making it more palatable for the audience:
The learning: Creating high-quality and user-centric videos can engage users better, boost brand ROI, and increase your conversion rates. This is why video marketing is on the rise. It has emerged as a strategic imperative since data indicates that 96% of people watch the explainer videos to learn more about a product or service. Video content can range from how-to and explainer-type videos to user-friendly personalized content.
4. Personalized Emails = Self-Understanding = Happier Customers
For brands looking to gain a bigger market share (and the customer’s heart), curating customized content is key. Spotify’s wildly popular email campaign “Wrapped” is an interesting case in point. Every year, the brand sends a customized email to Spotify listeners, which encapsulates what their listening experience has been like throughout the year:
In 2021, the brand elevated its content marketing efforts by providing a rundown of the songs, genres, artists, and podcasts listeners listened to in 2021 via a mobile-only experience:
This type of content marketing is the perfect example of building personalized content centered around the end customer’s interests, likes, motivations, etc. The brand also introduced interesting features such as:
- Audio Auro (based on the listener’s top-two music moods).
- 2021: The Movie (which offers users a personalized movie soundtrack).
- Playing Cards (where listeners need to guess which statements about their listening habits are true (or false).
Darshan Somashekar, who runs gaming company Solitaired, found similar success in hyper personalized emails. “We began sending email updates on user rankings and leaderboard stats, and immediately saw engagement improve in our site as a result of the email’s relevancy.”
Another interesting tactic to get results out of personalized marketing is to have a real human face behind all modes of customer communication. It’s Human-to-Human first, B2B or B2C after. This tactic coupled with relevance and time will propel the content marketing campaign ROI to a whole different level.
By integrating fun and interactive elements into an already hyper-personalized content campaign, customers end up spending more time with the brand and understand their tastes a tad shade better.
The learning: Personalized email marketing–or any other form of communication–can enable the target audience to understand their interests better, buying patterns, behavior, motivations, etc. Brands do not always need to dispense serious, formal knowledge/content. They can go the fun route and help customers better understand their choices and interests.
5. Free, Educative Content = Skills Knowledge = Better Connect
Another brand that excels at creating free, powerful, and user-friendly content is LinkedIn’s repository of free courses pertaining to COVID-19:
The pandemic upended businesses as it transformed the way people lived. The brand created a pandemic resource hub offering free courses to help its target base adjust to the changing personal and professional needs. These courses come power-packed with invaluable content relating to building critical skills such as managing a team remotely, finding a job, and coping with new stressors. Readers can browse through “Learning Paths” to find content that calls out the most to them:
Pro tip: If you struggle with repetitive and routine manual tasks within your content marketing strategy and feel that your productivity is getting hampered, leverage LinkedIn’s automation, which can do much of the heavy lifting.
The learning: In contrast to Spotify’s approach, LinkedIn’s content marketing approach is more empathetic yet educative for the end-reader. By providing free, expert-approved online courses to customers, they can learn new skills and connect with the brand emotionally, not just at a transactional level.
Wrapping Up: Customer-centric Content Marketing is Here to Stay
In essence, when done right, content marketing can help brands pad up their bottom line and build awareness. It can empower customers to get real value through useful and meaningful content that is wired to their interests and pain points. Brands can build a better rapport and deeper connection with customers with the power of words and visuals.
In the end, brands that can leverage content marketing as the primary firepower to light up their customer’s knowledge, interests, and desires will be the ones dominating the marketplace—and the customer’s mindshare as well.
Author Bio: Mehdi Hussen is the Head of Marketing at ZoomShift and a freelance inbound marketing consultant. He is passionate about driving organic growth and customer acquisition for startups through data-driven content marketing. He spends his spare time musing about startup growth strategies, sales productivity, and remote work. Connect with him through Twitter or LinkedIn.