Wait, is that Arya Stark & Jon Snow?
Why, of course, it is!
That was my reaction when I came across that slightly ingenious comment beneath this post that went viral.
Like Dailymail UK asks, is there something you can spot in the picture apart from the beautiful family?
No? How about now?
- If you’ve already seen this, I’m pretty sure you’re smiling.
- If you’ve got it by now, I know right!!
- If you didn’t, no worries. Tracing the whitespace between the couple, you’ll find a dog and cat.
This brilliant campaign is by a pet adoption group called World For All to increase the importance and awareness to adopt & welcoming pets to families. Needless to say, the adoption rates saw a whopping increase of 150%.
There’s good marketing. Then, there’s great marketing.
This one definitely fell in the latter category.
As a marketer, don’t you feel that adrenaline rush when you come across well-thought-out, splendidly executed campaigns that could move mountains? You know, make a bold statement. Or, even better, be one?
Content Marketing isn’t always about the text. It’s the message. The impact.
And, of course, the recall.
Here are some of the best examples of exemplary content marketing.
15 Best Examples of Content Marketing
To further fuel that rushes, here we’ll talk about the best brands that have set exemplary examples of content marketing, winning hearts, turning heads, and stopping traffic.
IKEA wanted customers to pee on their advertisements. Wait, before you get grossed out, hear me.
IKEA rolled out a marketing campaign that asked its women customers to pee on its print ad about baby cribs.
The readers just had to follow the instruction and do the deed in the marked spot. And, just wait.
In case the customer is pregnant, a red-colored text slowly appeared next to the baby’s crib.
The family discount.
The marketing world had polarized after this campaign went live. While the majority admired the sheer ingenuity of IKEA, the remaining felt pretty repulsed.
Not just this, over the years, IKEA has set out some of the best content marketing examples.
Remember having second thoughts before buying a product? Whether the color would suit, if the decor is in order, and such?
IKEA’s Try It Before Buy It campaign used Augmented reality to solve this. Select any product and see if it matches your interiors. If you’re satisfied, go for it! Talk about multifold convenience!
If you are someone who struggles with interior and deco like me, IKEA is there for us. With their inspiration blog, find your way through your own home with their decor ideas and interior tips.
- Value-driven content. Always.
- Adoption of the latest technology to solve real problems faced by customers
- Constant engagement with the audience through different channels such as social media along with highly creative marketing campaigns.
Needs no introduction, is a goldmine of information, and is pretty prestigious to be a part of one.
TED started with just one motto.
To provide thought-provoking ideas that “were worth spreading.” Since its inception in 1948, the American media platform didn’t aspire for SEO & marketing reach. Rather, focused on what matters. Informative, original, and highly motivating thoughts.
Do we need to even talk about how a small idea can make a big difference in our lives? Hasn’t Cobb already said this since its inception? (Pun intended)
TED was invite-only in the beginning. Only select speakers could make it to the platform. This drew quite a bit of attention and saw big names appear such as Elon Musk and Arianna Huffington.
It wouldn’t be even wrong to say TED was one of the top names who adopted the model of bringing in industry-experts & thought-leaders from diverse domains and provide their two cents to the audience.
- TED proved that not all awesome things need to come with a hefty price tag.
- Early adopters of video marketing at a time where blogging ruled marketing.
- Capitalized heavily on the ‘invite-only’ mechanism. Introduced FOMO even before it was a thing.
- Barnacle-ing with Influencer marketing proves to be a quick & smart way to gain some early traction.
Content marketing & HubSpot go hand in hand. Think of it as Wikipedia in the online marketing & sales space.
HubSpot was an early adopter of content marketing and has since stayed ahead of the curve drawing tens of thousands of website visitors monthly.
Do people love free goodies? Duh, turns out they do. HubSpot rolled out free tools, which quite ingeniously, brought them a lot of traction. The free tools offered by this CRM platform are:
- Website Grader
- Make My Persona
- Email Signature Generator
- Blog Ideas Generator
- Invoice Template Generator
- Marketing Plan Generator
- Free Business Templates
- COVID-19 Benchmark Data
In the blog ideas generator, you can add up to 5 nouns to get 5 interesting ideas for your next blog. To unlock more, you’ll need to signup. Psst, explaining Sheldon Cooper in 140 characters? Well, good luck with that!
In addition to free tools, HubSpot also launched Academy, consisting of free certifications & courses. Anything that’s content, HubSpot has it.
- A wider funnel helps to reach an even wider audience. SEO & organic growth was/is at the heart of what they do.
- Solid lead generation mechanism in the form of free tools but one which drive value to users at the same time. Hubspot proved that it’s not always about pricing; good karma goes a long way in winning your customers.
- A myriad of content; e-books, videos, blogs, HubSpot Academy, certifications & courses.
‘To all our customers who use our competitors, Happy Father’s Day.’
Pretty much this one single post covers the A-game of the condom brand Durex.
Inspirational to most marketers, Durex is the finest example of content marketing that’s done delicately, without objectifying any gender.
Durex’s content marketing went beyond #WorldPopulationDay. Don’t believe us? This is what their feed looked like on #WorldNutellaDay.
Imagine the Herculean task of marketing a product that’s entwined with a taboo, something which the majority feel awkward talking about. Makes one wonder, is that simple? Hardly!
Apart from a raving social presence and tastefully conceived ideas (Hey! I was inspired to drop a pun, ha again!), Durex also successfully rode the influencer marketing wave.
Many celebrities came forth to speak about sex as a taboo, population control as a growing concern, and many more hushed topics.
- Powerful social media presence. Durex constantly engages with users using witty posts while spreading awareness at the same time.
- Influencer marketing done right. Not at all an easy task considering their niche.
- Creativity without vulgarity & objectifying.
Fair warning before we plunge into this golden example of content marketing.
Visiting & watching GoPro’s videos would make us detest 2020 even more. Why?
Adorning their channel are stunning adventure videos such as snorkeling, hiking, mountain climbing, skateboarding, kayaking, and so much more.
For the most part, these aren’t done by GoPro themselves. Oh yes, you heard it right.
GoPro thrives on user-generated content that showcases the product’s robustness, dexterity, and quality.
While most competitors focussed on glossy photoshoots of their products and continuously ranting about how they are the best, GoPro simply showed that they are.
Very often, they conduct contests & giveaways along with cash prizes for the best pictures/videos.
GoPro has an annual video challenge for which the cash prizes is a distributed million dollars!! All you need to do is pick up a HERO9 Black, shoot your video, and submit it. If your clip makes the cut, you get a share of the million.
Imagine the outpour that happens. Not to mention these happen in the most scenic places on Earth.
A customer base that advocates for you so strongly? Your marketing budget needn’t even have that many numbers. The growth is organic. Through & through.
And, you wonder why their YouTube channel hit 2 Billion views. Talking about setting the finest example of content marketing.
- Encourage user-generated content
- GoPro made it more about the experience rather than the product. Roughly translated to what you can do with it rather than simply buying it.
- Constant engagement with users across social media, solidifying their presence.
An insanely competitive niche, one blog, and more than 200,00 monthly visitors.
Backlink provides enriching blogs, insightful newsletters, and actionable SEO training to help people understand the Art of SEO’ing.
But. Backlinko didn’t have a tale of overnight success.
The journey of Brian Dean, one of the biggest names in the world of SEO and the founder of Backlinko, hasn’t quite been the romanticized version we see in movies. In fact, Brian was one of the first entrepreneurs to openly share his fair share of struggles & failures with the world, inspiring many to at least try.
Backlinko’s success lies in well-researched articles that are in-depth and cover the A-Z about the topic. And, these blogs aren’t just another iteration of already existing SEO theorems.
According to the founder himself, what you read up there is a result of a series of experiments, permutations, and combinations that helped a blog to be a 7-figure business.
No wonder the Backlinko blogs rank in the top positions for all SEO-centric queries, irrespective of the brutal competition & keyword difficulty.
Disclaimer: I’m a huge fan of his newsletters. One of his emailers about UX signals picked by Google had a dope example (thought-provoking yet humorous), which helped me breeze through an interview and impress the hiring folks.
Go ahead and hit your email IDs up there. Trust us, it’s not just L’oréal’s Crystal Essence Serum that’s worth it.
- Providing practical solutions and proven strategies to users that can actually make a difference.
- Value-driven offerings.
- Use all possible media to share and cross-promote your content. Don’t be shy to even re-share an older post.
- Employ gated content wisely as a lead gen mechanism.
The best examples of content marketing would be pretty incomplete without the red polka-dot dressed little girl, her blue hair tied neatly in a half pony, slurping away the utterly-butterly delicious butter toast.
Even as the decades pass by one after another, Amul still remains a household name, loved by all. And, a pretty fair share of credit goes to its mascot, fondly called the Amul Girl.
The creators had just one condition- the mascot must be easily drawable on walls and billboards. Don’t frown yet, we are talking about the 1960s. Yes, this little girl is not so little; she’s in her late 40s!
Amul’s first-ever billboard ad
Did you know? Amul is all set to enter the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-running marketing campaign in the world. From billboards to Twitter, should we say any more?
Amul is one of the pioneer examples of mascot marketing & strong branding. Their quick & funny, pun-tended, sometimes really bold, take on topical content & moment marketing is what makes them the best in the game, even after 44+ years.
Here’re some of our absolute favorites.
May this diamond Sean brightly & sparkle forever.
Burn them all! More, the Butter.
Oh, that fateful GOT finale.
Or, the most recent one when former President Mr. Barack Obama unveiled his autobiography!
- Brand mascot marketing at its finest. Amul stands as a marketing case study over the years and there are umpteen books tracing its journey of marketing brilliance.
- They adapted to changing times and adopted the latest technology. Amul just didn’t stick to print media and billboards. The company’s official Twitter account has more than 300K followers patiently waiting for their next poster.
- Empathy marketing. They created an emotional bond with the customer and became on among the masses.
- Amul showed us that you don’t have to restrict to within your domain to ace in topical marketing. Always stay in the limelight and have some fun while at it.
A social media management platform that graced our previous blog of the 20 Best Content Marketing Tools of 2020. Needless to say, Buffer makes a fine example of the best content marketing around town.
Buffer lies heavily on content marketing, which they broadly divide into blogs & podcasts.
Open Blog & Flow are their main blogs. While Open Blog tells us the story of the Buffer-life and what they’ve learnt with time, Flow is everything that’s marketing under the sun.
When you head over to the library, reap some of the best advices to scale your social presence, the right way.
On the other hand, their podcast ‘Breaking Brand’ (love the name!) takes a user behind-the-scenes of the founding team of Pattern Brands, and The Science of Social Media deals with the good, the better, and the best of social media marketing.
What is it that Buffer did which set them apart from the rest of the crowd?
Well, they invested heavily in guest blogging. Left, right, straight, center. And, the traction they got from this was ginormous.
Buffer then focussed on their in-house blogs, writing extensively about social media marketing. For the most part, these were targeted at their ideal customer persona or ICP.
With their growth hacking techniques, Buffer was able to create quite a stir on social media, especially Twitter with one million people following their space.
The company showcases excellent culture in terms of Open blog, salary calculator, revenue dashboard, and more. You see the kind of impression they leave on a website visitor?
- Buffer didn’t write just for their ICP; they also thought about the people who could potentially interact with their customers.
- They didn’t try hard to influence people; they simply connected with the people who were already doing it.
As a nail-biting cricket match ensues, a diabetic uncle sneaked a high-calorie dessert to satiate his sweet tooth, without his wife knowing. Guess who his partner in crime (unknowingly) was?
This Indian start-up has entered the unicorn club gracefully. Just like their product, their content marketing game is on point as well.
Swiggy’s tongue-in-cheek campaigns not only bring a smile on faces but also prompts them to think.
Imagine how annoyed you were last time your food order got messed up? Some of us must have even scolded (or, worse, abused) the support team. Swiggy rolled out a brilliant campaign revolving around this.
So in case you ‘beeep’ any of the customer support team, Swiggy thought about something like this.
Damn you, idly!
Well, I mean, Doughnut you, idly!!
Aside from their social presence and marketing campaigns, equally impressive is their email marketing game. Disclaimer, I wait for their emails. This particular one is my all time favorite.
Director of Deliciousness!
Well, I quite love that. I need to head over and collect my business card with the new designation.
Before winding up, how about some of their best Instagram posts?
Love? I’d rather fall in chocolate!
Mayday, Mayday, Mayday!
My pizza is gone.
Last known location: kitchen.
Suspect is 5’3, female, kinda cute, in her late 40s. Oh doughnut, it’s my mom.
- Swiggy’s religious efforts on email marketing. Their individual emails can be collected to form one big marketing campaign.
- Active social presence with moment marketing and topical content.
- Their amazing creativity and attention to detail in coming up with original ideas for marketing campaigns. Not just fun, but thoughtful!
10. Apotek Hjärtat’s Apolosophy
Billboards shone brightly in the subway. The train slowly approached the platform. Before it halted, the magic of Apolosophy’s marketing campaign began.
Ultrasonic sensors picked up the incoming train. 3,2,1… and the ad played.
- This Swedish brand took experiment-al marketing to the next level. Guess the outcome? Virality!
11. Warby Parker
All big brands have a story to tell. What is Warby Parker’s?
Glasses are too expensive. Well, they shouldn’t be.
In the decade since their inception, this spectacled business has evolved into an e-commerce giant spread across US & Canada along with a strong online presence.
In the initial days, Warby Parker received much attention through word-of-mouth and PR. The latter earned them a spot in leading publications such as Vogue.
What’s amazing about their content marketing? A couple of things, we would say.
UGC: User Generated Content.
Warby Parker cracked this very growth hack using their Home Try-On feature. The clever conception of this concept invited customers to share their pictures on their social handles along with the hashtag #warbyhometryon.
According to CBInsights, this hack helped the company to garner more than 56,000 videos from their users, without spending a penny.
Warby Parker rolled out the Wearing Warby Series that turned out to be a game-changer. The series didn’t feature celebrities who flaunted glasses, rather ordinary people who were extraordinary in their own way.
The featured video interviews of customers, also had blog posts narrating each story. Talk about making customers feel unique & special.
Giving back to society is the Buy a Pair, Give a Pair program where the brand joins hands with partners to distribute glasses to those who’re in need, whenever a purchase of Warby Parker glasses is made.
- Growth hacking through User-Generated Content.
- A customer-centric approach, not just for product development & enhancement but in marketing as well.
“We knew early on that social media would be our window to the world.”
When founders have such a clear vision on where to take their company, the outcome is expected- virality and success.
Danielle and Jodie Snyder, sisters & founders of luxury jewelry brand Dannijo struck the right cord with their audience using one of the most powerful tool created by modern man-social media. Needless to say, Dannijo is an undisputed inclusion in the list of the best examples of content marketing by brands.
Their Instagram account isn’t just a gallery of their finest jewelry. It’s rich with stories- travel, cafes, health, fitness, and most importantly philanthropy & sisterhood which are close to the sisters.
Dannijo is loved & supported by the best names in Hollywood such as Beyoncé, Rihanna, and Taylor Swift.
- Infusing their product, jewelry, into daily life and presenting it to the audience. It’s not always exotic and studio-ready.
- Using influencer marketing to reach out to more potential customers. In this case, who wouldn’t want to have something which JLo wore!
Oct 2015: 198
June 2016: 27,369
These numbers are the blog visitors of Drift in just a span of over 8 months. Impressive much?
How cool is it to introduce & coin a whole new marketing term and have it to your credit? That’s exactly what ‘Conversational Marketing’ platform Drift did.
This messaging app for sales & marketing teams have evolved into a content-marketing-driven brand.
In fact, they have dedicated a blog itself telling us the 6 things they learn from content marketing.
- Blogging isn’t an overnight deal.
- New Content? Promote it like crazy! Communities, influencer marketing, email marketing… use all the channels.
- Topics are more important than keywords.
- Use Google Analytics to get the big picture not to make one.
- You don’t need to be a stupendous writer. Or, hire one.
- Their content strategy encompasses a perfect blend of content, keyword research, engagement, SEO, and user-intent. Bam! 76% of their blog traffic comes from just 40 blogs(out of a total 204).
- Equal emphasis for email marketing and other content promotion & distribution
- Made a simple statement that disrupted an entire industry- conversational marketing.
Always known for their classy designs and quirky marketing messages, CRED has stayed in the limelight for wow’ing their audience.
Not to mention their founder Mr. Kunal Shah has a separate fandom of his own.
Recently, CRED rolled out a series of advertising campaigns that got everyone talking much.
It featured yesteryear Bollywood superstars such as Anil Kapoor, Madhuri Dixit, and Bappi Lahiri. They set the CRED audition room on fire (well, the 90’s style seems a little overwhelming in 2020, naturally, still!) with their own signature moves/gigs.
As the stars perform, a seemingly aghast CRED team whispers to each other, “Let’s do a voiceover?”
Source: Beast of Traal
Distraught stars are seen to leave the audition room after they fail to win it. The team completes their marketing campaign with a simple voiceover.
‘Not Everyone Gets It.’
Their statement ‘Not Everyone Gets It.’ seemed to resonate on different levels, altogether.
- CRED is members-only. You can’t simply get in, chap. I mean, even Madhuri Dixit couldn’t.
- When the ad rolled out, while many people gave raving reviews, many others stared perplexed. So literally, there were people who didn’t get the message; and, social media was flooded with ‘autopsy’ reports of the latest CRED ads.
The industry was split. Some applauded the team’s ingenious conceptualization. Others slammed it by saying the stars were merely used as props and it was disrespectful.
In fact, Kunal Shah, who always welcomes feedback, especially negative one, was even seen engaging with the latter.
They even have a repository of all the GIFs here. Sweet!
- Is there any PR such as bad press? If you can get people talking, we’d say that’s clever marketing right there. Remember how Freshworks rose to fame & name after Zendesk took a dig at them as the ‘Indian Cowboys?’
- Never be afraid to try your craziest ideas. You know what works in this world today.
Old McDonald had a farm, ee-yah ee-yah, oh!
And, on that farm, he had some fries, ee-yah ee-yah, oh!
With the sizzling-hiss here and the popping-hiss there, here a fry, there a fry, here’s your large plate of French Fries!
I thought why not save one of the best examples of content marketing for the last?
How old are you? And, how confident about your brand is that you proceed to post blurred images of your product on social media?
And, the best part? They are so iconic people still get it. And, they fall in love with what you do on social media too!
Say no more! It’s a pure classic.
Or, used the product as direction for people to reach the next outlet easily?
But, being iconic is not the hall pass for being lazy. This brand knows that the best. McDonald’s injected creativity into everything they did. Their roaring social presence is the classic example of the same.
Remember the time when they were hiring students, including freshers?
Wait, what? Fries inside McFlurry?
Right… You don’t need to have prior experience!
There wouldn’t have been a single person who didn’t click a picture with the lovely(slightly scary) Ronald McDonald when they visit an McD outlet.
The official brand mascot of McD is omnipresent. But, that’s when Burger King flung this curveball at McD!
Ouch!! That was brutal.
Not so fast, this was the comeback by McD.
Not just some brilliant content marketing, they sure know how to tackle competition.
- An active presence on social media with their clever & funny take on topical content and moment marketing.
- Engaging in funny brand wars with competitors to entertain customers alike, and to show around their strong presence.
- Hitting product marketing 101 by personalizing their website with McD products. I mean the mouse pointer is a tiny McFlurry for heavens!
Phew! That was quite a ride, isn’t it?
Hope these brands with a classy content marketing drive are the pitstop for your next marketing gig!
There’s a lot you can learn from these brands. Absorb, give it your own spin, and relish!
Until we see again.