Consider that content marketing “leaders” experience year-over-year growth of their unique site traffic at a rate 7.8 times greater than “followers.” For reference, these rates are 19.7% and 2.5%. But learning how to create content marketing that attracts your target audience and converts them into customers can be incredibly challenging. Many companies simply aren’t sure which strategies will work the best. And you don’t want to waste time and resources on ones that don’t work well.
Studying award-winning content marketing examples offers a solution to this in several ways. To start, these examples show you the types of strategies that tend to be successful. This can significantly reduce wasted efforts and resources. Good examples can also serve as inspiration when creating content for your company.
To that end, we’ve compiled eleven effective content marketing examples—and the tools and information to help you get started.
What is content marketing, and how does it work?
Content marketing is an approach to advertising where you focus on creating relevant, consistent, and valuable content and spreading it to potential consumers. A content marketing strategy allows you to use social media, infographics, blog posts, or videos to reach your audience effectively through multiple platforms. The idea is that if you provide the right people with enough value, they will eventually turn to you for help—even if you don’t directly pitch your services or products. What is content marketing, and how does it work?
The benefits of good content marketing go beyond educating your leads about the products and services you offer and boosting conversion rates. The right content marketing strategies allow you to showcase your brand, improve your SEO, and generate more traffic to your landing page.
You’re also able to build more authentic relationships with your customers base, increase sales and customer loyalty, and build credibility surrounding your brand. This in turn gives potential customers a better impression of your business and offerings.
So, how do you create great content? According to Forbes, content nowadays only succeeds if it can deliver what consumers want. This starts with learning everything you can about who you’re catering to, putting your marketing into context with larger movements and events, and finding key points of interest and pull.
11 content marketing examples that win
Creating effective content is rarely easy, but you can learn quickly by following the best content marketers and analyzing their moves. With that in mind, let’s take a look at eleven content marketing examples that win.
Building on its Real Beauty content marketing campaign, Dove released an ad called Real Courage in 2020. This ad features healthcare workers’ names and images, complete with bruises and marks from wearing protective gear for hours on end while treating COVID patients.
This video shows some of the often-overlooked ways that those in healthcare give back and much of its effectiveness is due to its sincerity and authenticity. It demonstrates high awareness of context, current concerns, and the rise of real-life heroes. It‘s also a seamless addition to the brand’s Real Beauty campaign, which features real people instead of models.
Cisco took a different approach to content marketing, using Snapchat to give viewers a glimpse into what it was like to work for the company. This campaign involved a group of “super ambassadors” from various locations. After carefully evaluating their target audience and brainstorming how to connect with generation Z, their decision to share their stories on Snapchat was a success.
The campaign demonstrates a thorough understanding of Cisco’s target audience by featuring the younger employees at Cisco creating Snapchat Stories every day. This strategy boosts engagement with younger consumers and helps newer generations connect with the company.
3. “Beyond Silence” and Be Vocal
Beyond Silence is a great example of content marketing that aims to promote meaningful discussions and shed light on worthy causes. The idea behind this type of content marketing is to create a place for open discussions or to actively advocate for important social issues. This type of marketing works really well to highlight a company’s values and brand while focusing on increasing good in the world.
Beyond Silence is a 29-minute video documentary that looks at mental illness and how it affects the lives of three people. While there is no paid promotion from Be Vocal in the documentary, it increased Be Vocal’s engagement. With over 242 articles, it brought 416 million impressions.
It shouldn’t be too surprising that a company focused on delivering online marketing, like SEMrush, has useful content marketing strategies. A great example is its virtual hunt for Easter eggs; a unique take on content marketing as the content itself was an interactive activity for users to complete.
The hunt was a way for SEMrush to introduce new and standout features on its platform without using a boring press release or blog post. Instead, the website challenged people to complete actions, each of which would result in finding an “Easter egg.” This example is a great demonstration of showing instead of telling.
5. Buffer’s Marketing Library
Buffer’s Marketing Library is an excellent example of a company that created a robust library of valuable content that consistently brings in traffic. Experts say that the library has 203,000 backlinks from 13,000 domains and more than 193,000 social shares. This is in addition to organic monthly traffic of more than 580,000.
A key portion of this content marketing strategy’s success is due to the library’s superb organization, including streamlining URLs. The most significant factor is that the company took the time to create such a comprehensive collection of materials. This shows great care for customers and increases credibility significantly.
NerdWallet is another example of content marketing success via building a vast store of valuable information. Experts say that NerdWallet has 5 million backlinks and 13.6 million organic monthly hits just from the United States.
Developing and organizing all that content took time, but it has paid off as NerdWallet ranks highly for a long list of search terms. The content is informative and answers the questions that people are most likely to have. The website also stands out thanks to a variety of content types, including reviews, tools, and comparisons. Having a variety of content is critical in catering to different learning styles, preferences, and searches.
Another of the best content marketing examples for video marketing is Tasty’s YouTube channel. Tasty’s channel acquires thousands of subscribers each day, along with millions of views per day. It’s had more than 2.8 billion views since its launch. It also has more than 29,000 backlinks from more than 1,500 domains.
Tasty’s campaign demonstrates a few keys to content marketing success. One of these is consistency, as the channel is incredibly consistent with its postings. Viewers know exactly when to expect new content. The eye-catching thumbnails also make a big difference, as they attract attention to the videos. Experts also point to Tasty’s use of a unique video format for its success. When it launched, Tasty was the first to keep cooking videos concise and easily digestible.
8. Rip Curl
The Search from Rip Curl is another amazing content marketing example. You can tell The Search is successful thanks to its over 2 million followers on Facebook and 100,000 subscribers on YouTube.
This online publication from the “ultimate surfing company” supplies a variety of content types to appeal to a range of visitors. It has a mass amount of stories written by and for surfers. You’ll find detailed stories of trips to find the perfect wave, most of which are accompanied by gorgeous photos as well. Photos are critical in creating captivating content. In fact, 32% of marketers say visual images are the most important form of content for their business.
If you take a look at Glossier’s Instagram page, you’ll find many images you’d expect from a beauty brand. But you’ll also find plenty of fan-created content. Glossier takes the unique approach of screenshotting tweets from fans and sharing them on Instagram, strengthening customer relationships and increasing their reliability.
This type of content marketing works well for all groups and benefits everyone involved. Glossier doesn’t have to work as hard to determine the types of content to create and their customers feel great when they’re featured and are more likely to share content organically. This strategy also helps present “social proof” for Glossier and makes followers feel truly part of a community.
BlendTec shows how creating viral videos can work as an effective content marketing strategy. While there is never any guarantee that a video will go viral, BlendTec’s team has found a recipe for success in the “Will It Blend” series.
This video series is exactly what it sounds like, with someone seeing what items can blend in a BlendTec blender. And the videos don’t just stick to foods; people try blending iPhones, glowsticks, and more. The creativity and imagination of this series have led to the company’s YouTube channel earning a subscriber count of more than 885,000. It has also led BlendTec to experience a 700% increase in sales in three years.
11. John Deere
No conversation about award-winning content marketing examples is complete without mentioning The Furrow from John Deere. This began as a printed magazine and is now available online, as well. The Furrow was an innovative idea, and many consider it to be one of the first content marketing examples.
The goal right from the start was to help customers and show off the company’s knowledge, expertise, and usefulness in a straightforward and simple manner. Considering those are still the main goals of content marketing today, this is a great place to look for inspiration.