Content marketing is almost universally loved by brands.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, 91% of marketers in the B2B space use it as a means of reaching customers, while 86% of B2C marketers describe it as a key strategy.
That’s a pretty ringing endorsement.
No matter what industry you’re in, content marketing can generate you more leads, convert more customers, and drive sales.
So why is content marketing so popular?
There are lots of reasons. It doesn’t necessarily require a huge budget, it can make long-lasting gains, and it can paint your brand as an expert in its niche.
However, there’s one small problem. “Content” is an extremely nebulous term. A HubSpot survey found videos, eBooks, and blogs are the top three most popular types of content – but there are so many others on the list.
So how do you figure out where to start? How can you decide which form of content to use for your next campaign? And once you’ve settled on a format, what should you do with it?
So to help you answer those questions, I’ve rounded up nine killer content marketing examples and taken a look at what makes each one so effective.
Example #1: Twine’s Freelancer Toolkit
Twine matches companies with digital and creative freelancers, allowing brands to post job listings for free, then matching them with talent from its 400,000-strong network.
Clearly, to do that, it needs to be able to draw on a vast and diverse pool of freelance talent. Otherwise it’d be like Uber without drivers, or Instacart without delivery people – a nice-looking platform that doesn’t actually do anything.
So how does Twine attract enough freelancers to fulfil the demands of its clients?
Take a look at its freelancer landing page and you’ll find a bunch of reasons – secure payments, regular work, clear communication. But you’d only know those things if someone told you, or if you found the site yourself and started clicking around.
In other words, Twine needs a way to get its messaging in front of the talented digital marketing and creative freelancers it wants to work with.
Content marketing helps Twine do this effectively. Its freelancer toolkit is a fantastic example:
That toolkit is exactly what it sounds like – a hub packed with all the resources that anyone running a freelance business could need, including things like:
- Banking recommendations
- Productivity and project management tools
- Time-tracking software
- Insurance packages
- And, of course, a way to find jobs
That last point allows Twine to tie its own product into the freelancer toolkit – so it’s not just generating top-of-the-funnel awareness, but also driving freelancers to sign up for the platform.
This makes it a great example of how a single piece of content can play a key role through an entire user journey.
Example #2: uSERP’s State of Backlinks for SEO Report
Link-building is massively important for SEO.
It strengthens your domain, improves your search rankings, and brings you more traffic.
One brand that understands this better than most is uSERP, a digital PR and link-building company. To demonstrate its expertise, it created an in-depth report entitled: “The State of Backlinks for SEO in 2021: What 800+ SEOs Think About Link Building.”
Now, when it comes to creating exceptional content, there are a lot of tactics you can adopt – and uSERP has used several of them in one place.
First off, the report is based on unique research from a survey of more than 800 marketers. I love original research; you know any piece of content backed by a survey is going to add value that you simply won’t find anywhere else.
What’s more, it proves that uSERP has put the time in, and that this is a weighty piece of content. You’re not going to be reading yet another blog post full of all the same advice you’ve already read elsewhere.
But that’s not all.
As well as copy and bespoke graphics, the report incorporates rich media in the form of a video talking through the survey findings.
Plus uSERP has even taken the time to carry out interviews with marketing experts and showcase the results throughout the report.
Actually, that last point might be my favorite thing about this piece of content. Having spoken to all those experts, uSERP can easily get in touch and ask them to share the finished report, giving the brand immediate access to a much wider audience.
What’s more, there’s a good chance some of those experts will link to the content from their own sites, too.
So it’s no surprise to see the report has already picked up 29 backlinks from 13 referring domains, despite only being published in late February:
This practice is referred to as “influencer marketing,” and it’s quickly becoming a widespread practice.
Example #3: Recruitee’s Pain Point-Solving eBooks
Recruitee is a talent acquisition platform with an applicant tracking system used by more than 3,000 companies.
Now, hiring can be a complex process.
Hiring can take a bunch of time. And for the hiring managers who need to find talent while still trying to do their day job, it’s often a distraction they can do without.
Recruitee clearly recognizes this, because it’s built a library of resources geared toward resolving the pain points of its audience. Things like:
- Hiring in a post-pandemic world
- Incorporating diversity and inclusion in hiring strategies
- Getting employer branding right
- Creating a stronger candidate experience
- Asking creative, compelling interview questions
More importantly, this content isn’t just about educating Recruitee’s audience – it’s also helping the company generate leads.
To access each report, you need to hand over your name and email address. That’s a small price to pay for helping hiring managers overcome their recruitment challenges, and it gives Recruitee a stream of prospects to pass on to its sales team.
After generating leads via their form, Recruitee can then use the lead’s contact information for email marketing.
Example #4: Moz’s Topic Clusters
Topic clusters are another of my favorite things in content marketing right now.
What are they?
Well, they’re effectively a way to bring some structure to the organized chaos of the average content hub or blog section.
The problem is, if you’ve been creating content for years, you’ve probably duplicated a bunch of topics along the way (I know I have). You might be inadvertently targeting the same keywords through multiple articles.
As HubSpot helpfully explains, that approach leaves you with a blog structure that looks a little like this:
Lots of content, spread out over a diverse range of subject areas, some of it competing with other blogs you’ve written – it’s super inefficient.
The topic cluster approach offers a solution.
Rather than all those individual articles floating around in a disconnected way, topic clusters center on a single topic. At the heart of each cluster lies a “pillar page”, surrounded by related content that discusses individual elements of that overarching subject in greater depth. It looks like this:
With its Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing, Moz executes the topic cluster strategy perfectly. Over the course of multiple chapters, it covers everything you’d expect to find in a content marketing 101 explainer, such as:
- What is content marketing, and is it right for your business?
- Content strategy
- The marketing funnel
- Content ideation
- Content creation
And much more!
Honestly, it’s hard not to get carried away with just how effective this strategy can be. So rather than reeling off endless superlatives, I’ll let Ahrefs do the talking for me.
As you can see, the URLs within this single topic cluster have more than 2,800 backlinks from almost 1,500 referring domains! What’s more, it ranks for 1,400 organic keywords.
Pretty impressive, right?
Example #5: Blendtec’s “Will It Blend?” Series
Often, the simplest content marketing examples are the best.
That’s 100% the case with Blendtec’s iconic “Will It Blend?” video series. Whether or not you’re familiar with the high-end blender company, there’s a good chance you’ve come across one of those videos in the past.
The premise is pretty basic – putting stuff in a blender and seeing what happens.
But it turns out there are a whole lot of things that people would like to see blended, from an iPhone 12, to a Pokemon, to a Stormtrooper toy:
Blendtec has been doing “Will It Blend?” for 14 years now. That’s a lot of content off the back of such a simple idea.
But has it actually seen some benefit from all those hours invested in video production (not to mention the thousands of dollars of products it’s destroyed along the way)?
Well, the first “Will It Blend?” video dropped way back in October 2006, featuring a handful of marbles (*plot spoiler* they will, indeed, blend).
Thanks to Google Trends, we can actually visualize the impact that single video had on search interest in Blendtec:
Sure, interest has tailed off a little since then. But even today, it’s still five times higher than it was the week before that first video came out all those years ago.
So I’d say it’s definitely been worth it.
Example #6: Zendesk Alternative
This one’s an old example, but it’s so good, I just had to mention it here.
Founded in Denmark in 2007, Zendesk is one of the world’s most popular customer service tools.
No doubt, the brand gets pretty sick of people searching for alternatives that do the same thing as its own product. According to Ahrefs, the term “Zendesk alternative” gets 200 searches a month on average in the US alone.
In 2016, Zendesk snapped and decided to do something about it. But rather than just create a boring comparison landing page like so many other brands, it got a little more inventive, building a whole website dedicated to the (sadly fictional) Seattle alt-rock band Zendesk Alternative:
To be fair, from the banner image, they look pretty legit.
Now, I’m not saying this is the world’s most sophisticated piece of content marketing. Today, the website is pretty much empty, save for a couple of paragraphs of copy on the homepage. Yet despite this, it’s still ranking strongly!
When I searched for “Zendesk alternative” while researching this article, it was still up there at the bottom of the first page of SERPs – although Ahrefs data shows it’s held the number one spot for much of the past four-and-a-bit years:
As with a lot of these content marketing examples, Zendesk Alternative works so well because it’s a little out of the ordinary, which makes people want to share and link to it. Ahrefs shows us it still has 115 referring domains, including the likes of Neil Patel, HubSpot, and even Ahrefs itself:
Example #7: The Transportation Security Administration’s Instagram
I don’t think I’m being unfair when I say: the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) website doesn’t make it look like an organization with a sense of humor.
But first impressions can so often be misleading.
The TSA’s Instagram account is a prime example, having forged a reputation for dad jokes and travel tips. The unlikely combo of “puns” and “federal agency” has been a real hit, with the social media account now racking up close to a million followers.
Many businesses forget the importance of social media marketing, especially in 2021. Besides, social media content is a type of content, too, and can be just as effective (or more) as your other types.
While it might not be immediately obvious, there’s a serious purpose to all the content that the TSA posts.
By sharing eye-catching and outlandish examples of stuff that you absolutely shouldn’t try to bring on an airplane (flick-knife Barbie, anyone?), the TSA is able to educate its followers on slightly less obvious transportation no-nos.
And rather than lecturing an audience that just isn’t listening, the TSA has been able to grow an engaged following full of people who actually want to hear what it has to say.
If only every government agency would take the same approach!
Example #8: Roman & Gaynor
People tend to think that more serious topics like law or medicine can never have a successful content marketing campaign because they are simply too ‘boring’ but if your content is targeting the right audience and has the right information, it can work no matter what industry you are part of.
For example, Roman & Gaynor, a personal injury law firm, runs a successful content marketing campaign that helps them rank on Google for terms that their ideal customers are likely searching for within their industry.
If you take a look at the Ahrefs profile for Roman & Gaynor, you will see that they rank for over a thousand organic keywords even though they only have about 165 backlinks.
Just taking a look at their blog will show you how they are targeting multiple keywords their audience is likely searching for by simply including helpful information around that topic.
This is a great example of how companies and services can benefit from a good content marketing campaign. Content marketing is not limited to businesses that are remote or that make money online. A blog, a YouTube channel, or a podcast can be beneficial to even the most brick and mortar of businesses.
For example, Lavent Law ranks for over four thousand highly competitive terms in the law industry (and according to Ahrefs, they are Roman & Gaynor’s top competitor). The reason for this is because they not only have an active blog but they also frequently post videos to go along with it:
This way they are targeting more keywords and have content for two types of audiences (one that prefers text and one that prefers video).
A successful content campaign is all about giving people the right information at the right time.
Example #9: Newsweek’s Listicles
If you are new to content creation and simply do not know what to start with, you cannot go wrong with a good listicle. No matter what industry you are in- listicles work.
Let us take Newsweek’s listicle for best mattresses as an example.
This simple listicle will help the site rank for multiple keywords all at once:
- Best mattress overall
- Best memory foam mattress
- Best Latex Mattress, etc.
This helpful blog post has helped Newsweek rank for some pretty competitive terms while also fitting in all of the keywords organically.
Wrapping It Up
There’s a lot of content marketing examples here.
Of course, not all of them will be applicable to your brand. And even if they are, you absolutely shouldn’t try to rip them off (at least, not unless you can do it 10 times better than the original).
Instead, next time you’re creating content, take inspiration from what works well here:
- Back it up with expert interviews and unique research
- Maybe turn it into a whole topic cluster
- Ensure it speaks to the pain points of your audience
- Incorporate rich media where relevant
- And, if possible, do it all with a healthy sense of humor!
About the author: Freya is the founder of the personal finance blog CollectingCents that teaches readers how to grow their passive income, save money, improve their credit score, and manage debt. She has been featured in publications like Business Insider, Fox Business, the Huffington Post, and GoBankingRates.