Content marketing at scale can feel like an exhausting, uphill battle that never ends. The pressure to perform coupled with volume expectations quickly saps creative juices. Fortunately, there’s plenty of creative content marketing examples to give you a burst of much-needed inspiration.
Even in boring industries, major brands paved the way with endless types of content marketing that will delight your audience, and more importantly, spark a connection.
So, to better understand what great looks like, feast your eyes upon these 10 compelling examples of content marketing. We’ll also examine how each piece managed to capture the attention of thousands of potential customers.
The Content Marketing Landscape in 2021
It’s a daunting challenge to assess the post-pandemic marketing landscape, even for seasoned CMOs. Many executives still hope customers will return to brick-and-mortar stores. But, others, including Gartner, expect consumers to embrace new digital shopping experiences.
Furthermore, cord cutters are on the rise which reduces broadcast audiences, and paid digital advertising has lost its potency.
So, how do marketers reach their target audiences without more traditional marketing campaigns? Is it even possible to deliver real, lasting brand value in the absence of budget-busting commercials?
While the road forward is still unfolding, the short answer is yes. Crafty marketers have leveraged digital campaigns to generate brand awareness for years. The best content marketing examples do more than entertain; they drive measurable results.
10 Awesome content marketing examples
Even if your content marketing team isn’t in a rut, these brands have truly dominated their respective industries by creating viral content experiences. Not only that, they increased exposure and visibility by aligning their marketing with what customers want. Furthermore, they developed content in direct alignment with Google, so they also dominate the organic search landscape.
Most articles about the best examples of content marketing point to brands like Hubspot, Buffer, Hootsuite, Zendesk, or Content Marketing Institute. So, we decided to look for fresh examples of how large enterprises use similar tactics in their own content strategies to win new business.
Video content marketing examples
An engaging video series is a powerful way to reach a target audience who prefers visual content. Remember, not everyone appreciates blogging, or wants to download in-depth digital marketing materials, or subscribes to email marketing campaigns.
Successful content marketers provide valuable information in formats that resonate with their entire audience.
1. Amazon’s Garage Delivery Service
Amazon, the ever-evolving technology and e-commerce Goliath, recently added an additional service. Now, you can provide your local Amazon driver with a digital key to your garage door so that your packages can be tucked away securely.
This solution is ideal for customers who aren’t home during standard delivery hours and are concerned about potential theft.
Why is this new service provocative? Because there’s a long-standing stigma around granting strangers access to your home. But, Amazon has studied consumer behavior and psychology for decades. As a result, they created a fascinating video marketing campaign with subtle undertones of psychology.
Did you happen to notice that all of the garages are anthropomorphized? They have big eyes, and they talk to each other, just like human neighbors would.
Why did Amazon do this?
Perhaps it’s because human beings find things with big eyes (like babies) cute. It’s also strategically brilliant because it humanizes customers’ homes. The campaign gives the impression that Amazon cares about the safety of your domicile. In other words, it flips the narrative that it’s unsafe to grant delivery drivers access to your home.
This is an excellent example of content marketing because it acknowledges customer pain points and offers an alternative narrative. Amazon is tough to beat in the marketing content department.
2. Jake From State Farm
Jake From State Farm is a State Farm Insurance Company viral video marketing campaign that has been around for years. On youtube, the original commercial has millions of views. If you’ve had cable television in the last ten years, you are more likely familiar with Jake From State Farm.
In 2020, Jake From State Farm went through a change. But, what makes the Jake From State Farm campaign so unique is that it never strays too far from the original iteration. In the video campaign, the new Jake — like the old Jake — is confronted with strangers doing bizarre things to get a good deal on their car or home insurance.
He reassures them that State Farm gives good deals to everyone. The narrative is comforting, and when Jake appears on customers’ TV or computer screens, he can be a welcome, funny, and familiar presence.
People have craved this type of familiarity since the beginning of COVID. In psychology, this concept is known as cognitive fluency/flexibility. In other words, State Farm plays into brain science every time Jake appears on-screen.
Our familiarity with Jake allows us to relax and feel comfortable. We don’t have to make any new assumptions or assessments about Jake — he’s just the friendly guy that sometimes appears in our commercials.
This is a subtle example of content marketing that leverages the latest behavioral science to reach new audiences. It’s also highly effective in these post-pandemic days.
3. The General
Another fantastic video content marketing example comes from The General Insurance Company. This is a perfect example of a company rebranding, then joining consumers in poking fun at their old marketing.
As far back as 2001, The General inundated cable television with commercials featuring a crudely rendered CGI man in a military uniform and an annoying jingle. These commercials often went viral, but not for the right reasons. The brand was seen as hoaky, and it didn’t garnish much trust from prospective customers.
So, in 2020, the insurance company rebranded and replaced the old CGI character with notable celebrities.
In one commercial, a group of hikers led by Craig Robinson stumbles upon Shaquille O’Neal in the middle of the woods. Craig confesses that it was a mistake to banish Shaq to the deep forest for suggesting the group try The General for their auto insurance needs.
Craig admits that they thought Shaq was “Losing it” for suggesting The General. But then they realized it was just the cheesy commercials that made The General seem untrustworthy. Craig admits The General has been a “Quality insurance provider for nearly 60 years.”
This is a brilliant example of content marketing because it’s so relatable. The characters explain how they felt the same way consumers currently do, but they had a change of heart. The ad directly acknowledges consumer sentiment, engenders trust, and asks people to give them a try.
4. Indeed’s “New Beginning” commercial
Sometimes, creative content marketing campaigns can have real heart and tackle serious issues that face consumers and businesses alike. Indeed’s “New Beginning” commercial does all of this. The video is a B2B commercial at its core. But, it also lets customers know that Indeed is a platform they can trust during their own hiring process.
In the commercial, we meet Taylor, a gender non-conforming candidate preparing for a job interview. They try on interview clothes, practice their introduction in the mirror, and then wait anxiously in the lobby of their new prospective employer.
The commercial doesn’t feature much dialogue until the end, when the interviewer provides his pronouns and asks Taylor if they would be comfortable discussing the pronouns they use. Taylor says they use “They/them pronouns” and thanks the interviewer with a big smile.
This is emotional and highly sensitive content, and Indeed approaches the subject matter with sensitivity and forethought. Indeed’s video is an excellent example of content marketing that positions its brand as a thought leader and an inclusive business.
In 2021, these issues are essential to end-users and therefore should be important to the brands that serve them. Indeed does a remarkable job of using a small amount of digital real estate to say a lot.
5. Slack’s Frontiers Conference (including video talks)
Each year Slack hosts an annual conference to meet and educate their 630,000 global customers. Slack experienced considerable business growth when many companies went remote to combat the spread of COVID-19.
The Slack Frontiers conference is an excellent opportunity for businesses to learn more about the brand’s growing service offering.
In addition to the conference, Slack publishes videos on its Youtube channel geared towards decision-makers at brands who need a solution to interoffice, remote communication. The videos are brilliantly targeted and address current concerns that brands and executives have. These demos, tutorials, and other video marketing materials also generate demand for the conference.
Social media content marketing examples
Social media marketing exploded in 2020, with a record 3.96 billion people actively using social platforms. To be competitive, brands must evaluate how their social media content is performing. Below are two prime examples of content marketing in which brands reached the consumer at the right time and with the right message.
6. Spotify’s Wrapped (user data-driven campaign)
In 2017, Spotify launched a data-driven social media campaign called “Wrapped.” The campaign took listeners’ data and produced a series of eye-catching, fun stats on listening behavior. They paid close attention to user experience and made these slides highly shareable and aesthetically pleasing.
(Photo via TechCrunch)
Customers ate these slides up. Sign-ups for the app increased by 21 percent in December 2020 — signaling new users were eager to get in on the fun. Wrapped is an incredible example of influencer-driven social media content marketing. This proves that creating a campaign with user-specific data and visually appealing elements that are highly shareable across social media platforms is a recipe for big success.
7. Apple’s “Shot On an iPhone” campaign
(Photo via TechCrunch)
What’s better than a user-driven campaign? It’s cost-effective, and much of the footwork is done by brand loyalists. Apple is a brand that has a long history of capitalizing on user-generated content marketing. In 2015, they launched a campaign called “Shot on an iPhone” that featured photos users shot on their iPhones.
“Shot on an iPhone” plays into consumers’ interests and talents. It sends the message that they too can make art like the professionals do, using an Apple product.
Not only did the campaign land on billboards across the country, but it was also a hugely popular social media campaign by influencers. The gorgeous photos are more than a testament to Apple’s tech. They’re also an example of enduring content marketing campaigns.
Content marketing doesn’t have to be solely about quick wins. Building lasting campaigns can reduce overhead and generate sustainable revenue and interest in your brand.
Evergreen Content Marketing Examples
Some kinds of content marketing never truly go out of style. Evergreen content marketing doesn’t involve a ton of statistics, news stories, holiday shopping guides, or anything else that could potentially become expired. Evergreen content includes things like:
- Best tips
- Reviews of products and services
- “How to” blog posts
- Video guides
So, for content marketing to truly be evergreen, it can’t include elements that need frequent updating. It should be able to exist on its own, in perpetuity. Here are three examples of everlasting, compelling content marketing:
8. Neutrogena’s Creator Studio
In 2020, Neutrogena (a Johnson & Johnson company) announced that they had created a user-generated video content studio that focuses on skin health. Filmmakers can submit content that is educational, informative and focuses on the health and wellness of skin.
This campaign puts the customer in the driver’s seat. Beyond a board of advisors overseeing that videos get posted to the studio, Neutrogena can sit back and let the brand awareness and content creation come through the customer-creators. This is an excellent piece of beauty content marketing that will live in perpetuity in the studio. This is a fantastic example of utilizing brand loyalists and creatives to spread your message.
9. Byrdie’s educational content
Byrdie is a beauty industry publisher that flexes all kinds of great content marketing. In fact, the brand performs so well in organic search that it edges out major retailers for Google market share.
Byrdie’s secret? Long-form evergreen blog content.
Byrdie offers many “Top X” content that drills down to a niche product or particular audience. These posts don’t have to be updated by an editor because they are designed to be educational and are often brand-agnostic.
It’s an excellent way for customers at the very top of the purchasing funnel to better understand their problem and how to solve it. Byrdie wins out in organic search because their content marketing strategy is highly focused and includes a ton of evergreen, educational content.
10. MindBody’s business content hub
Mindbody is a wildly popular SaaS company that provides business management services to brands of every size. In addition, they created an educational content hub that is full of helpful webinars, blogs, and events that help businesses achieve their retention and revenue goals.
This content is almost guaranteed to live in perpetuity, and putting it all together in one place for brand decision-makers to find is incredibly forward-thinking. It’s even categorized by industry. Proper content marketing doesn’t focus on the brand itself but rather the B2B or B2C user. Brand loyalty is gained by helping customers achieve their own goals.
This is an incredible example of utilizing content marketing to be a real partner to your customer.
Takeaways: the common thread
So, we’ve seen that the types of content marketing available to brands are virtually limitless. The real challenge is picking the right kind of content marketing that will align with your customers’ needs and concerns.
Among all the great content marketing examples we explored, there was a wide variety of themes, brands, and formats. Yet, there was one common thread that made them all noteworthy. Namely, they all connected with the end-user at their level and addressed their needs.
In other words, if you want your content to be successful, you must know your customers better than they know themselves.
Amplify your content marketing through SEO
Let’s assume that you take inspiration from the brilliant content marketing strategy examples above and develop your own content. You get the budget and create your landing pages. Then, you develop multiple targeted pieces of content, including podcasts, infographics, templates, case studies, or white papers. You even brainstormed creative hashtags.
But, how will you promote all this high-quality content you invested in?
Are your current marketing channels the best place to gain visibility for your hard work? Which success metrics will you measure? Impressions, page views, organic traffic, subscribers, or something else? Will you do the work in-house, work with a marketing agency, or outsource SEO?
Many of the online content marketing examples above were successful because they were backed by a powerful SEO strategy in addition to paid advertising. Organic search also allows brands to measure campaign success in terms of actions rather than fuzzy metrics such as impressions.
The more consumers embrace digital experiences, the more they turn to the Google search bar for answers. So, it’s vital to leverage search engine optimization to amplify your content marketing efforts. As a result, you’ll improve qualified traffic, boost conversions, and increase marketing ROI.