TED is one of the most famous examples of content marketing. The reason for their popularity is the legitimacy that is given to their content, which is all essentially clickbait. The formulaic approach is adopted for every topic and delivered in an academic package so that the consumer will feel as though they are being educated simply by merit of being in a lecture. However, they don’t have to suffer the mind-numbing boredom of a genuine lecture because the content titled “how I hacked dating apps” is no different in its pulling nature than a YouTuber telling us about their near-death experience. The key is in the delivery and in the interspersing of people you feel guilty for not listening to – such as Greta Thunberg, so you can then let the “playing next” roll on to Monica Lewinski defending a scandal from the 80s.
HubSpot is one of the earliest examples of content marketing. They seem to have developed a strategy of personalising their targeting to the individual. This makes sense, as the point of the business is to help others optimise themselves. However, this feels a little disingenuous, as they themselves work through content marketing, they are only setting up their competitors. In the same way, that diet companies only get business by returning customers (therefore an unsuccessful diet), it seems that their advice is not well received by critics. Many smaller blogposts denounce their strategy of gaining the emails of everyone, even those not paying for their service. However, as they are extremely popular and lucrative, they are certainly setting an example.
Tasty are arguably the most engaging of the content marketers on this list. They work because they recognise that their content can genuinely create fury in those watching, which fuels the impossibility of looking away. Tasty knows that no one is watching their videos for a tutorial on how to cook a chicken in a vat of butter, but, like a horror movie, we cannot look away! This also spurs other creators to engage with them antagonistically by creating a litany of debunking videos, which will obviously direct the viewer back again and again to the original content. Genius.
Superdrug funded the now infamous body diversity post, in which eighteen photoshop artists across the world were contacted to change a woman’s body to what they believed to be the height of beauty in their country. This post gained a lot of traction for obvious reasons. This was excellent marketing as it taps into the outrage of the public surrounding body diversity and standards, garnering outrageous opinions from the angry and uninformed, as well as generating thoughtful discussion. The whole time this inflammatory post was circulating, Superdrug the brand was able to sit in the corner quietly claiming that they were raising awareness in the name of feminism. It could be argued that they were simply redirecting a conversation that everyone was already well aware of towards their brand.
Canva allows users to create their own content by providing them with free access to creating their own pretty blogs and infographics. This has the same business model as Hubspot but provides a more practical service than simple advice. This has led to a lot of interest from the public.
GoPro encourages people to go outside, tapping into the adventurous spirit of the guy scrolling through his Instagram feed, and letting him vicariously experience the salty water of the ocean on his thumbs. Their content is very similar to that of Tasty, where they provide an idealised, unrealistic version of reality to engage with for half an hour while on a lunch break. This glittery reality is something that humans have adored swimming in since the dawn of time and hits the very primal Hero Instinct that lies within everyone. They are aspirational.
This company rarely has to do its own marketing because of their loyal Twitter following and brand advocates. This strategy is genius because it is attainable, everyone with a bank account (or an overdraft) can indulge in something as fun and simple as makeup, and therefore everyone is involved. There is nothing more fun than dressing up or painting your face in pretty colours. It is their Twitter presence that keeps them afloat, and their DIY availability means that their consumers will be creating the content that persuades others to consume – which came first? The chicken or the sponge egg applicator?
They have a “3 pronged” marketing strategy that appeals to their consumers because they make the daunting world of content creation more approachable. Their strategy for pulling consumers seems to be centred around simplifying large difficult tasks through time-saving techniques. This is as simple as the matchstick company saving by putting sandpaper on just one side of the box rather than two. Scheduling blog posts is an idea that is unique because it seems we should have thought of it already.
GE (or general electric) have built their business model content marketing-wise around making something relatively dry or difficult understandable to the public. Essentially, they took the concept of making something boring relatable to the youth demographic. This is a very well documented a publicised strategy, however, they have monetised this by being the centre of this market content creation wise. They are the magnanimous maths teacher of the internet.
Coca Cola’s Share a Coke Campaign revolutionised its content marketing strategy. However wealthy they are (due to the many companies they now own) the brand Coca Cola is undoubtedly old and always needs reinvigorating. Like the magic of star signs, the key to this is personalisation. Make it direct to the individual and always stay relevant, as the individual is always current. All they had to do was put people’s names on the packaging. This pulls together the concept of something new and current with their strongest feature – how old they are. They took advantage of their classic established brand so that we feel as recognised as if our name were on something else that’s almost two hundred years old, and just as iconic.
Further examples of companies who have incredibly clever content marketing strategies are:
- Toyota Europe
- Washington Post
- Grant Thornton
- Simply Business
- Old Spice
- John Deere
- Intrepid Travel
- Jay Shetty
- I Will Teach You To Be Rich
- Content Marketing Institute
- Single Grain
- Switchback Travel’s Image Featured Snippet
- Toyota Europe’s YouTube Featured Snippet
- Washington Post’s List-based Article
- RVing Planet’s Bulleted Featured Snippet
- Content Marketing Institute’s Click to Tweet
- Digital Olympus’s Expert Roundup
- Colgate’s Resource Page
- Moz’s Topic Clusters
- Mailshakes’ Marketing Automation
- Townsend Security’s Content Offer
- Venngage’s Free Product