Many brands that are success stories today found the secret to reaching the top using one key element—building a connection with their audience. They realized that making a good product wasn't enough, and took things a step further. By delivering high-quality, informative content they found they could bring true value to their customers.
Today we call this content marketing. From startups to Fortune 500 companies, every brand is using content marketing to tune into the needs of their audience.
Content marketing has the ability to break barriers, instill unity, and foster brand affinity. But if you’re still second-guessing the benefits of content marketing, here are some reasons to invest in this powerful marketing technique:
- Visibility: Sharing meaningful content exponentially increases your brand’s visibility. It helps you expand your pool of consumers by reaching out to audiences who have interests that relate to your product but haven’t discovered it yet.
- Relationship: Content helps cultivate a long-lasting relationship with your users and potential customers—one that can supersede many other marketing tactics.
- Ambassadors: Building a relationship with your customers through content marketing transforms your users into your biggest fans, cheerleaders, and ambassadors. Happy customers will then spread the gospel of your brand through word-of-mouth.
Now that we’ve established the correlation between content marketing and brand success, let’s look at eight brands that have developed loyal followings by creating content that have their customers coming back for more.
Courtney Colwell, Director of Global Content at American Express said in an interview that content marketing enables a brand to “provide value beyond a product or service, making the overall experience richer, more memorable, and long-term.” That’s exactly what American Express aims to do through its online community-cum-blog, OPEN Forum.
Over the years, they’ve listened to their customers and paid close attention to their needs. This approach has helped shape their “responsive content strategy,” which is now recognized as a shining example in the realm of content strategy. The content on their blog is dictated by the needs of their customers as opposed to being product-centric. They have a deliberate process to tap into customer requests, and then use this data to create content that will set their readers up for success.
Consistency and razor-sharp focus on keeping the customer at the center of their content strategy has helped American Express set the gold standard of content marketing.
Whole Foods was quick to realize that competition in the food and grocery sector is fierce. So instead of creating short-term demand using discounts and coupons, they chose long-term gain by investing in content creation. The Whole Story, which was once a separate blog, has become a well-integrated section of the Whole Foods website, and it’s no surprise that this change has led to increased site traffic.
Wondering what makes Whole Foods’ content tick? Visual storytelling. They’ve mastered the art of imagery to share beautiful, engaging stories on their blog. From interesting recipes, to cooking tips, to guides on healthy life choices—they focus on the content that matters to their customers. They also dabble with different content formats, including videos, photos, infographics, and narratives.
However, variety isn’t their end goal. They took it upon themselves to simplify the life of their customers through their content, a strategy that also strengthened their sales pipeline. So while they don’t tell you what items to put in your cart, the recipes and how-to guides on their blog do the job for them. Voila, happy customer and happy company!
Patagonia's seen great success with their content marketing strategy. How do we know? In the words of their Digital Creative Director, Bill Boland: "The challenge for us doesn’t lie in generating ROI but instead in our constant struggle to utilize all the content that we’ve created.” Well if you ask us, that’s a good problem to have. Curious to know how they got here?
Patagonia found the formula to creating highly shareable content. Their content marketing efforts have little to no focus on generating conversions or creating a hard sell. As a chosen alternative, they hold genuine conversations with customers through their content, which lay the foundation for long-lasting relationships.
What are these conversations about? Patagonia successfully decoded one of the prime interests of their audience—environmental consciousness. Having identified this shared interest, they consistently deliver engaging content with an environmentally friendly angle.
The image above bears testimony to how unique and exciting their content is—would you ever have guessed this belongs on the website of a clothing company? Their relatable content is religiously shared by their followers, adding to their ever-expanding pool of loyalists.
The takeaway? Identify your core consumer, build a relationship, and help allow it to flourish by creating an ongoing loop of new, engaging content.
Less is more is LinkedIn’s mantra, and they’ve found immense success with it. This was reiterated by their Content Marketing Manager, Alex Rynne who said, “At LinkedIn, we believe in doing fewer things better, so we really try to zero in on the ideas that are going to make the most impact and move the needle.”
Other than creating high-impact pieces that truly inform and educate their audiences, LinkedIn has aced the skill of repurposing content. From extracting meaty pieces from an e-book to converting whitepapers into blog posts, they excel at cross-promoting their content.
LinkedIn’s approach follows the golden rule of content marketing: Develop content that serves your customers, not your brand.
Unlike many brands, Glossier doesn’t do the talking through their blog. On the contrary, their blog gives a voice to their customers. Since Glossier launched, they’ve been sharing stories of their customers through their content, and have allowed that to become their brand story. Quite the master stroke!
With a refreshing mix of personal tips, Glossier aims to tell real stories that strongly resonate with their customers.
Their content focuses heavily on interviews, product reviews, and testimonials—where the opinions and feedback of their customers get the spotlight. Such content also makes for great social proof, and hence, it’s no surprise that these customer endorsements make their blog and products extremely successful.
Slack understands that it caters to multiple audiences, so they’ve created different blogs for different communities. While they do have engineering and design blogs, Several People Are Typing is where the magic happens.
On this blog, they share company insights, how-to guides, product updates, and more, all of which is designed to help readers get more out of Slack and collaborate efficiently.
Slack’s goal is to educate its audiences about how to achieve organization at work. What better way to get your audiences started on the journey than by creating and sharing free resources? Through this endeavor, they’re able to build trust and dependability.
Taco Bell’s strength lies in recognizing their true identity. They’re perfectly aware that they’re a quick-serve restaurant for those who are looking for delicious Mexican cuisine on a budget. This understanding is their biggest strength from a marketing perspective.
When you know who you are, you also know who your customers will be. They mostly cater to millennials, who aren’t interested in insights or a serious knowledge exchange at the hands of Taco Bell. They’re just looking to be engaged in a fun way. Which is why Taco Bell’s posts aren’t revolutionary, but entertaining and comical. They actually have an ‘Entertainment’ section on their blog.
Taco Bell’s genius lies in speaking the language of their customers, and they do so exceptionally well.
It's no surprise that GoPro hits it out of the park with their videos. Realizing that these adrenaline-inducing videos are really hard to keep away from, they implemented it into their content strategy. They ditched the conventional, long-form format of content marketing and instead focused on utilizing their best-selling asset to popularize their website content: videos.
While they started with self-produced, high-quality videos that made for thumb-stopping content, they were quick to capitalize on User Generated Content (UGC). Today, UGC plays a big part in their marketing strategy. An example of how they seamlessly blend external content into their blog is their latest Creator Series, where several adventure enthusiasts share tips to use GoPro based on their first-hand experiences. What’s their incentive?
GoPro has built a close-knit family of creators that they call ‘team members’, who are bound by a strong sense of belonging and inclusion. This family gets the credit for some of the most amazing videos that you see on GoPro’s channels. It’s a win-win.
Use These Content Marketing Brand Examples to Inspire Your Own Strategy
Content marketing is a long-term strategy that can help you achieve your business goals. We hope these examples have inspired you, and will help better inform your content strategy moving forward.
If you’ve hit a plateau and need a content refresh, Knotch is here to help. Our Content Intelligence Platform can plan, measure, and optimize your content marketing efforts.
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