When you think about content marketing… what is it that you really think of? What’s the concept of content marketing?
Content marketing, simply put is telling a story, a good story at that capable of attracting readers to your brand.
The reader’s attention is precious. To gain that you need to give something valuable in return.
Here are a few examples of brands that told a great story and many listened to their story.
Zady is an ethical eCommerce company specializing in apparels and accessories. What makes them different from others is the effective use of storytelling in product descriptions. At the bottom of each product you can find detailed illustrations of each step in the manufacturing process.
By explaining what they do to their customers Zady has gained their trust.
Let’s see the example of this grey tshirt.
Cotton for making this tshirt was picked in Texas.Zady goes onto describe how the cotton used in the product is USDA certified meaning that it was organically grown and is free from harmful chemicals.
The cotton is spun in a factory in North Carolina.
While most manufacturers use Chlorine based bleaches which is an abrasive chemical used to bleach garments, Zady employs a Chlorine free bleach to bleach them.
The printing and dyeing is done at Burlington in N. Carolina. By telling their stories and keeping their customers aware of each step in the manufacturing process they are connecting with them at a deeper level.
The story of Harrys begins by identifying and relating to a common problem in the men’s shaving industry— high cost of razors.
They arrived upon a solution by cutting out the middleman and taking their product directly to the people.
It enabled them save costs and provide great razors at the same time.
On Dodocase, a manufacturer for wooden accessories, the visitors are taken through an in-depth overview of the product along with a video that shows how to use the product. This is something that only few manufacturers do.
Bonobos does a great job with storytelling on the landing page.
The story begins with them speaking about a big problem they faced— pants that were either too lose or too tight.
They identified a solution in their signature curved waistlines.
They do a great job at appearing relatable and talking about a problem that almost every individual faces.
Most people may not associate Fiverr with content marketing. But Fiverr has been in the game since a long time.
It not only offers in-depth advice to both buyers and sellers on how to make the most out of the platform but also posts success stories of those who had success with Fiverr almost every week.
These sellers known as Fiverr super-sellers have gone on to make more than a full time living with Fiverr alone.
Adpushup is a DIY A/B testing platform for publishers. Publishers can upload Adpushup’s wordpress plugin on their site and start split-testing different ad variations, namely ad size, ad position etc. to see which combination maximizes their revenue.
While their blog mostly consists of advice on choosing CPM networks, optimizing revenues and the like they also share intensely detailed stories of their struggles associated with a startup.
For example this guest post on YourStory, describes the costs associated with setting a startup in India- rent, office equipment, a mini kitchen and so on.
Also, another post on their own blog, describes how they approached angel investors for funding and raised over $632K.
Most startups don’t share the stories of their struggle and this definitely is something that helps them connect with their readers.
Clarity connects advice seekers with experts. The problem was- People come from many different backgrounds seeking help for their business. It was difficult for a single story to capture the crowd’s attention. Instead of producing whitepapers and case studies on what Clarity does, they put up stories where the customers themselves described how Clarity helped them.
With different success stories ranging from someone who sought advice on an Automation platform, to someone running a Coupons site, visitors can take their pick and understand how Clarity can help them.
The trend has caught on and SalesForce too shares customer success stories but on their Pinterest page.
These aren’t articles but videos.
Foiled Cupcakes builds a brand with Twitter
Content marketing is not solely dependent on having a blog on your company website.
Foiled Cupcakes started its business not with a website, but on Twitter and as all good things go, it was by accident. Their eCommerce was all fit and ready to make sales. But it was then that Mari Luangrath, CEO of Foiled Cupcakes came to know that the website was designed improperly and couldn’t take any orders.
They later came to know that the redesign would take six weeks to complete.
Ms. Luangrath says it was then that, “We followed people in our target demographic and began to converse with them about the things that they were interested in,”.
On launch day they had 2200 dedicated rabid fans who would gobble up Mis Luangrath’s cakes.
Additionally they spread the word about how good the cakes were.
Even today Foiled Cupcakes replies to every single individual who mentions them and follows targeted lists and engages with them on Twitter.
Zagg generates 172% ROI with blogging
Zagg is an online retailer for mobile accessories. It publishes around 25 posts every week on its blog.
The content generated is divided into four types:
News – Most of the posts share the latest happening from the top tech companies around the world. With a watchful eye on tech-news sites the team is sure to cover all the latest stories that are making a big impact. This also helps Zagg gain natural links from authority sites like NBC
How To – These posts go into the how and why of making gadgets work. A simple example would be a tech-related task, such as how to sign a document on a tablet PC.
Entertaining – Before the dawn of sites like ViralNova which generate a floodgate of traffic with each post, Zagg had a section for entertaining posts. One example- “10 hilarious tweets about the demise of Twinkies.”
Promotional – This is where the revenue comes from. The team writes about its products as well. Some examples include the screen protectors used for mobile phones, earbud headphones etc.
Here’s an example.
Internet marketing head at Zagg, Drew Conrad says that, “Unless you are willing to go into it full speed ahead, it’s going to be hard to make a blog worth your time,”.
The blogging strategy accounts for 10% of the site’s entire traffic, 60% of which are new visitors and a 172% increase in ROI.
As of now the blog redirects to Zagg’s homepage the entire content is sent via emails.
Magnolia sells for 87 million dollars
Magnolia began as a store that sold photography equipment. Later they diversified to selling electronics.
With no budget in hand to market themselves, an associate of theirs Roger Parker added a buyer’s guide called, “Buyer’s Guide Place” to educate the customers on various aspects of electronics, how to use the products and product comparisons.
By introducing a buyer’s guide they were able to change the focus of the customers from price of the product to its features.
A price focused advertising enters you into a world of cut-throat competition from which there’s no redemption. The only way to stand out in that world is to advertise more and cut your prices even more.
They focused on system selling, whereby they offered a complete solution to their customers. Instead of selling parts, they sold packages and bundles.
These buyer guides were specifically created to show the customers how to assemble a system. An example would be assembling a quality sound system.
Moreover these guides answered questions that potential buyers may have:
- What should I look for when buying a receiver?
- How to compare speakers?
- Questions on accessories and other parts
The Buyer’s guide resulted in lots of new customers so much so that the erstwhile fledgling store now opened in 3 locations.
Years later, Best Buy bought them off at a cool 87 million dollars.
Growing sales to $50,000/month with blogger outreach
Good Greens Bar is a small food company located in Cleveland, specializing in nutrition bars made of dark chocolate, acai berry, wheat grass juice and green tea extract.
Keith Pally the founder, discovered that most nutrition bars lack in taste and the idea for Good Greens Bar was born.
What he lacked was the marketing budget for his tasty bars. He networked with bloggers and solely relied on outreach to get the word out.
With the increasing numbers of reviews, mentions and positive feedback these bloggers provided the rankings climbed quickly.
In four months sales increased by 50% and now they consistently bring over $50,000 in revenue.
DirkZwager generates law leads from blogging
Around 120 lawyers write an average of 3 articles per month on the DirkZwager lawyer office website.
With over 1000 articles on per month the site attracts huge organic traffic amounting to 1 million pageviews and 50000 unique visitors to their website.
All this effort translates to 10% of client generation from the website itself.
Zillidy achieves growth through content marketing
Zillidy, a Canadian startup, launched itself as an alternative loan provider without background credit checks.
To build awareness of the product, the team started publishing weekly blog content along with contributing to authoritative sites like the Huffington Post and New York Times.
Each press coverage was then heavily promoted by the team on various social media channels to build the initial traction.
As a result of the efforts they were able to grow
- Social media audience from under 100 people to over 1,000
- Search impressions — by up to 1,350% in the first ten months of the engagement.
- And get 2,500 unique social shares for their content.
Content marketing increases qualified leads for a company by 102%
UrbanBound a B2B company found itself in muddy waters. Even though the company engaged in inbound marketing efforts there was no visible traction.
It was difficult to measure the results of the activities they were involved in.
So they devised another strategy- this time to pay attention to individual aspects of the campaign rather than seeing it as a whole.
The first step they took was to create content in the form of multiple blog posts, eBooks, webinars, slideshare presentations, Infographics and messaging for social media.
Being in the B2B industry they focused more on LinkedIn as a social media platform to generate qualified leads.
Even the sales team got involved in the process by asking questions to the customers and identifying principal pain points before crafting the content on the blog and other media.
This new approach to content marketing resulted in
- 37% increase in blog traffic
- 35% increase in leads
- 102% increase in Marketing-qualified leads
- 66% increase in interactions
By tracking everything they made sure that they were putting the right kind of content out there and proactively improve their game.
Erin Wasson, the Vice President of marketing says that, “I’ve been on teams before in the past where they were putting out content, and [they] don’t really know who is clicking it, don’t really know what’s working. You’re just pushing it out in the air and hoping someone grabs on to it”.
Core Power teaches Yoga Online Akin to Foiled Cupcakes, Core power too uses Twitter to engage with its audience. On Twitter they answer the questions their audience has about Yoga.
At a time when Facebook’s organic reach is dying for most brands, Grammarly has been reaping many benefits with witty one-liners, just like this.
They regularly share such quirky stuff and most of them end up receiving thousands of shares.
Facebook isn’t dead for Grammarly.
Target shares fresh and engaging photos on its Pinterest page Party with Pinners.
It has over 800,000 followers with just 275 pins.
While most brands in the auto niche share the latest news regarding new car launches, CarBuzz takes it a notch higher.
Carbuzz mostly posts stuff that’s interesting to read. This post went live just an hour ago and has already garnered over 1000 likes.
And this was posted on 25th July.
Sometimes all you need is a slight change in focus.
Oreo-Dunk in the dark
Oreo’s dunk in the dark tweet, during the Superbowl of 2013’s blackout was so spot on that it went on to generate 15000 retweets within the first few hours of posting it.
ProteinFart is a magazine style blog on nutrition. But the authors have a different angle. It’s an entertainment nutrition blog and covers fiascos in the health and fitness industry or motivational content.
The kind of content marketing has helped them etch a special place within this industry with hundreds of thousands of rabid fans.
GORUCK is a lifestyle brand that builds military tough gear for everyday use. Not only does their blog talk about their products they also shared adventures that their team has been in
Not many brands tend to use Google+ well. Zagat is an exception. They have achieved the right balance of posts that talk about travel and food in an informational way and at the same time also post stuff that’s fun.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams sold ice creams for 9 years. Then she took a path less taken and published her recipe book which hit the New York Times bestseller list. Her brand of ice creams has the fastest growth in US today.
12000 customers in two days with just one video
Dollar Shaving Club launched into an extremely competitive market with literal cutthroat competition.
It sells unbranded razor blades with great packaging. The aforementioned video was produced at the cost of $4500 and resulted in 9.1 million views.
Not to mention that they got mentioned by several media, PR and blogs.
What’s so different about the video?
Don’t be mistaken. Though it’s the video that catapulted these guys into instant fame, they stood out because of their different selling proposition and a message that screams out that they are made of a different blade.
The video opens with the line, “Our blades are f..king great” which immediately captures the viewer’s attention.
The messaging that sets them apart is when they try to break apart the con game going on in with men’s shaving. The companies at the top are adding one blade after the other on their products.
Remember the mach 4 adverts with jet planes. It’s now mach 7 with a lubricating layer.
Dollar Shaving Club tries to cut into this flimsy world by saying out loud, “Your grandfather had one blade”.
Compared to the costs of Gillette’s razors that cost at least $12 and cartridges that cost over $19 it’s no doubt that Dollar Shaving Club stood out with $3 razors. With a subscription model you never to curse yourself for forgetting to buy your razors ever again.
As of today the video stands at 19 million views with Dollar Shaving Club more profitable than ever.
96% increase in revenues with an Infographic
HCC is a medical insurance service. To get more traction towards their website they created an Infographic titled with three sections
- The Anatomy of an Adventure Traveler 2. Adventure Quiz and 3. Bucket List
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With the quiz there was an element of interactivity woven into the Infographic making it much more appealing to share.
When sent to HCC email list the particular infographic caused a 96% lift in revenue and 3.9 million views of which 90% were new visitors.
Consulting firm witnesses 388% increase in leads
InsideOut Development is a training firm that was initially hesitant to broach content marketing. For a training firm which earns its bread and butter with keeping content only for the paying members, giving away free content can be a difficult task.
Here’s how they developed their content strategy.
It began with the realization that in the training industry customers are generally overloaded with information.
They needed to approach content with another angle- a four step process
Produce bite-sized, easy to digest content.
InsideOut readily had a lot of material that was long and boring. The team broke down the material into bite-sized chunks. List posts for example just like this one, “Three Quick Steps to Making Coaching Count” were brought out as whitepapers.
Produce content that’s easy to understand
If people are reading at work then digesting complicated content is not going to be easy for them. What appears like work is often easily forgotten.
The team tried to make the content simpler, removing technical jargon and focusing on one point with a single post.
According to the content team head Franz
“We’re not trying to tell everybody the entire story in one communication. We’re really pulling to the surface the most critical or most important points that we feel are valuable to share.”
Produce visually compelling content
It wasn’t simply enough to produce content that was simple to understand. It had to look good for others to pay attention to it. The team makes sure that each post is filled with visually entertaining imagery.
Moreover, the content wasn’t limited to just text alone; they produced videos, slide decks and other multimedia content.
With their unique approach, content based emails produced
- 20% higher clickthrough rate
- 87% lower opt-out rate
- 388% more leads generated
DocuSign increases revenue with lead nurturing emails
Whenever a visitor enters the website he is greeted with webinars, informational content, whitepapers and videos.
If the visitor decides to sign up DocuSign sends a series of 36 automated emails for lead nurturing.
With this lead nurturing program they shortened their sales cycle and increased revenues by 127%.
Redbull takes content marketing to the extreme
RedBull takes on content marketing with events that approach borderline insanity.
RedBull’s StratosJump for example had Felix Baumgartner break the record for the highest recorded parachute jump, passing the limit of sound.
The ROI for the daredevilry?
Prior to the jump RedBull’s Youtube was growing at 2,142 subscribers per day. On the day of the jump, it grew by 87,801 new subscribers.
Posts published on the jump day received 900,000 interactions and 83,000 shares on Facebook.
In the following six month, sales rose by 7% taking the market valuation to $1.6 billion in the United States.
One of the latest exploits was when Jamie O’ Brien surfing the waves while lit on fire.
And if you look at their website, it’s filled with videos of what they have done and upcoming events.
This is one company that sure knows how to tell a story.
Newscred is a content marketing software technology provider.
To generate leads and revenue they publish 4 blogposts a day, 2 whitepapers, 1 webinar and 1 thought leadership article every month.
The overall effort in the content marketing direction resulted in $5Million in revenue in 2014.
Toshiba’s decided to go the route of content marketing with a series of content assets- infographics, checklist, executive brief and an eBook based on omni-channel retailing which resulted in:
Over 19,000 opens,
1,100+ clicks and
309 leads generated.
American Express’ Open Forum
American Express reaches out to small business with its OPEN Forum. Everything from asking questions to sharing advice is welcomed here, and members are often highlighted on the front page of the forum.
Michelle Phan was just one girl who was crazy about make-up tutorials. She then decided to launch when her first video on how to do makeup. Things snowballed from there and today she is a global enterprise with her own cosmetic line EM Michelle Phan.
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