11 Content Marketing Examples That Actually Worked
Content marketing is geared toward exposing your brand to potential customers so they will become active customers. But good content marketing is about more than just creating videos, social media, and blogs—it’s about connecting with people.
Best practices for content marketing include creating written and visual content that is authentic, relevant, consistent, and valuable, but it’s not as easy as it sounds. You have to know your audience to connect meaningfully with them, and you have to truly listen to them to understand who they are and what they need.
Some companies do an amazing job of content marketing and you can learn from their examples. Let’s look at 11 companies that create compelling content marketing campaigns.
The granddaddy marketer of them all, Coke knows how to tell a good story and create a buzz with its fans. They also show that a simple idea can have an outsized impact. When Coke started putting names on the side of their cans and bottles, it generated a huge reaction. People loved seeing their names, feeling like they were included in the company’s story, and many would stand in lines outside kiosks at events to get personalized cans. The advertising that went with the campaign encouraged people to connect with each other by sharing the personalized cans, creating an even stronger connection with the company itself.
A subscription to Birchbox gets you a customized box of makeup and hair and skincare samples. It’s cute, it’s fun, and it’s easy to get. Birchbox could stop there, but the company goes the next step for its customers and creates informative content through its online magazine. The content online connects to what customers receive in their box and focuses on useful how-tos, guides, and reviews for products and trends. It offers added value, making customers happy, active, and engaged.
Lush beauty products are natural and handmade. The company prides itself on letting customers know exactly what ingredients are in each and every one of Lush’s products. Lush started a “How It’s Made” series on YouTube, highlighting the company’s transparency by taking customers behind the scenes and showing them how each product is created. But even more importantly, Lush builds a real connection with customers. On the company’s Instagram account, which has four million followers, employees respond to customers’ questions and concerns with detailed, specific information and answers.
“We know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing or two.” Farmers Insurance ads are funny, quirky, and definitely memorable as they detail weird insurance claims that people have made. And even better, they’re all real. That’s right—the dog jumping on the stove to get a slice of pizza that causes a house fire really happened. Farmers Insurance gets potential customers hooked with an engaging story, but the ads also get people thinking about what their current insurance actually covers. However, the company isn’t relying on commercials alone. Around Halloween, Farmers Insurance created and launched a series of videos called “Stranger Claims” that highlights the creepiest claims its agents have received.
MoonPie’s Twitter feed is a peculiar thing of beauty. It’s funny and engages with followers; but most importantly, it’s authentic and doesn’t take itself too seriously. MoonPie also engages with some other fun brands on Twitter like Wendy’s, and the company threw some epic shade at another snack company during the total solar eclipse in August 2017. It worked, because in September, moon pie sales were the highest in the company’s 100-year history. By creating a voice that is consistent with the brand (wholesome and a little old-fashioned), yet modern (ironic and politely snarky) as well as engaging with their followers, MoonPie shows how to be fun and still increase your sales.
Patagonia’s online content clearly supports the environment its products are used in by showcasing stunning images of outdoor beauty. But the company puts its money where its mouth is, too, creating long-form content that commits to the environment and gives customers ways to get involved, going so far as to encourage political action. For brands, getting political can be risky, but the authenticity of Patagonia’s mission and the willingness to back it up builds a connection with its audience that is unquestionably steadfast.
Creating video content is becoming more and more important for brands, and Marriott is showing that it’s possible to create content that is interesting, unique, and brand-appropriate without being “marketing.” The company has released several short films that highlight Marriott’s connection to the NFL, its hotels in Asia, and its wedding services, all of which were entertaining first and marketing second. The content tells a story in the same way a movie does, but the story is built around Marriott, which creates a sense of trust with the brand because viewers feel like they see themselves in the story.
As a home improvement store, you expect to be able to find everything you need for DIY projects around the house. But Lowe’s has also created an excellent series of how-to videos that explain everything from installing a garbage disposal to removing a popcorn ceiling. The videos aren’t flashy, but they are concise, clear, and helpful—exactly the kind of information their target audience needs for their ambitious undertakings.
This financial services giant focuses on the social media platforms where it can engage a core audience of executives and high level industry officials, avoiding Facebook and Instagram since those platforms are geared more to personal and lifestyle content. Morgan Stanley posts primarily on LinkedIn—where the company has over 700,000 followers—and Twitter, publishing feature stories a few times a week and continuing a podcast originally launched in 2016. Instead of convincing people to buy its services, Morgan Stanley starts by offering them valuable content. In fact, that’s the first thing you see on the company’s website: Useful information that helps potential customers, instead of a hard sell.
In this case, the marketing is the product, or rather the thing the product creates. GoPro lets anyone film high-quality video easily and inexpensively. When GoPro shares video with their 5.6 million YouTube followers, the video itself is the advertisement for the product. When the company uses videos of diving with tiger sharks or kayaking through glaciers, there’s no hard sell, only content that proves the camera is worth it.
Taco Bell’s content is laser-focused on its target audience, Generation Z and Millennials. The thing that Taco Bell does well is tailor content for each platform it’s on. The company creates video series that, for instance, showcase menu hacks on YouTube and uses Twitter to respond directly to customers. It also gives its fans unique experiences through things like Taco Bell Weddings (you can actually get married at the Las Vegas flagship restaurant), and gives back to the community through offering scholarships. More importantly, Taco Bell promotes both of those things in authentic and fun ways on its website and social media feeds.
Good Content Marketing Will Grow Your Business
If you create good, authentic content that engages your customers, your business will grow. It doesn’t take a hard sell or an elaborate set-up, just a consistent voice and a willingness to open yourself up to your customers.
These 11 companies provide strong examples of what you should be doing in your own company. If you follow their lead, your content marketing strategy will be successful.
Remember to listen to your customers and get to know them so you can offer real value, stories they can see themselves in, and a strong connection to your product. Show them what you’re all about instead of telling them, and give them a way to get in on the experience. With a thoughtful content marketing strategy, you can build an audience and grow your business.
Photo Credit: GeorgeRudy