Content marketing trend is going for the new, exciting territory in 2016.
A new survey finds that 64% of PR and marketing pros will increase content marketing efforts in 2016. Content marketing will “grow up” in 2016, as content strategists tell bigger stories with a braver focus and a bolder voice. Content made headlines in 2015 for greater adoption and better results. This year, 70% of B2B marketers created more content than they did a year ago.
With so many ways to publish content as a brand, inspiration always helps. In today’s post, we will share 30 most successful content marketing executions of 2015 to inspire you. Whether it’s an individual campaign, a new podcast, or an overall blog property, these companies demonstrate what it means to be customer-focused in every content creation effort. Take a good look at them!
1. Hipmunk: Traveler’s Guide to Tipping
Travel booking site Hipmunk creates a lot of content to answer common traveler questions and other stuffs. It includes guidelines for restaurants, taxis, and hospitality. The point is simple: know your demographic and answer their questions. None of their posts are interactive or flashy, but they provide important and relevant information.
2. Huffington Post: Easy recipe videos
Videos and cooking are a match made in heaven; that’s why people have the Food Network and Top Chef. Huffington Post shows Facebook fans how to craft delicious dishes via descriptive videos in 60 seconds or less. In 2016, attracting and maintaining customer attention will reach new heights of importance. Follow Huffington Post’s steps and focus on conciseness for your content.
3. Farmers Insurance: Inner Circle
Farmers Insurance features an extensive library of helpful tips around home maintenance and repairs, budgeting, auto care and insurance, and more. The content is easily navigable, succinct, engaging, and well designed. It’s a perfect example of a brand prioritising being helpful to people (anyone — not just Farmers customers) instead of selling to them.
4. Birchbox: Personal grooming videos
Beauty subscription service Birchbox regularly publishes excellent how-to grooming videos for men and women on two different pages. These videos often have a seasonal component (like Valentine’s Day makeup or keeping skin moist during dry winter months), encouraging customers to come back and learn more. The above video is a great example of helpful tips for guys seeking to keep long hair healthy.
5. GE: A leader in B2B content
GE is truly a content-focused company. It publishes content in almost every format imaginable, with a variety of content properties with unique focuses. One great example is GE’s online magazine The Txchnologist. It offers “an optimistic, but not utopian, take on the future and humanity’s ability to tackle the great challenges of our era.
6. Moz: Smart thinking for doing business digitally
The Moz blog is a useful source if you have question about the latest Google search algorithm or mobile search statistics. Moz continues to innovate and use data to provide readers with knowledge, not just conjecture.
7. New York Times: Journalism virtual reality
If you’ve followed journalism at all over the past five or ten years, you know the news industry is constantly looking to revolutionise itself to stay relevant and, of course, profitable. NYT experimented with virtual reality (VR) in 2015, launching an app you can use on Google cardboard or your smartphone. The app fully immerses you in news stories like never before.
8. Lush Cosmetics: Fresh and handmade blog posts
Lush runs a lovely blog with tips for beauty and green living — a perfect match with their eco-conscious and all-natural brand.
9. B2B For Dummies
The For Dummies brand is recognised the world over, so Wiley’s marketers and product team capitalised on that with a new content marketing venture. Dummies’ B2B offering gives companies the chance to craft their own branded Dummies content, and from the looks of the case studies, it seems to be working.
10. Betterment: Finance and investing content goes interactive
Investing service Betterment has a great blog and resource center with useful content for investors. It devises one of the best being quizzes to test one’s knowledge of finance and investing, as in this example. Quizzes are definitely not just for BuzzFeed; even financial services can get in the game.
11. House of Cards: The alternate Frank Underwood reality
Netflix’s political drama House of Cards adopts the marketing mindset that Frank Underwood and HoC characters are totally real. With a full election website and commercial that aired during a presidential debate, you forget that these people are acting — and isn’t that the whole point of TV? House of Cards creates a steady stream of content build-up to generate excitement for the new season. It’s a great example of how a few key content pieces released strategically can drum up anticipation for a big launch.
12. Bon Appetit Magazine: Foodcast
Bon Appetit’s podcast features interviews with chefs, writers, and, well, anyone who has something cool to say about food. Topics include holiday baking, why chefs hate brunch, and FAQs for Thanksgiving dinner. Not every company needs a podcast, to be sure, but if you can schedule great guests and figure out the tech specs, this can be a meaningful channel to engage with storytellers over the long term. Think about it: the average podcast is 35 minutes long, much longer than Bon Appetit’s readers probably engage with a single article on their site. If the content is good, people stick with a podcast much longer than they would linger on a webpage, and they subscribe to receive this content right on their smartphone every week.
13. Jack Daniels: The Single Barrel Standard
Jack Daniels’ blog the Single Barrel Standard shows an innate understanding of its core audience and the content they want to read. Moreover, Jack Daniels is committed to a regular cadence of content, showing customers with every piece that they share the same values and pastimes.
14. Square: A Town Square for small business owners
Credit card reader Square’s “Town Square” is a resource center for growing businesses. Many small business owners rely on Square readers for credit card readers, and now they can also rely on Square for super valuable social media for business-type content, like how to do better social media marketing and whether a company holiday party is tax deductible. Compared to many other companies’ blogs, it’s very frequently updated.
15. Basecamp: Signal v. Noise on Medium
Signal v. Noise is strong opinions and shared thoughts on design, business, and tech. By the makers (and friends) of Basecamp. Why choosing Medium? First of all, the writing and formatting experience on Medium is just excellent. It’s hard to find another web editor that makes it as easy to produce great looking articles. Second, Medium has a wonderful community and readership that reaches far beyond our natural sphere of influence. Great advice if your brand is considering Medium for content creation in 2016.
16. Method cleaning products: The Soap Dish blog
Method’s blog contains tips and tricks for house cleaning, cooking, and eco-friendly living. It all ties in with Method’s mission of natural-minded cleanliness, organisation, and comfort within the home. The topic of cleaning a home is so broad, but Method manages to narrow it all down to a tight content focus.
17. Bumble and Bumble: Video style guides
Regardless of if you use Bumble and Bumble’s hair products, its website answers a multitude of questions about blowdrying, dealing with curls, straightening hair, and much more. The company’s robust library of step-by-step videos show how to create any look with any type of hair imaginable. It’s free content that’s as useful as it is memorable when you want to buy your next styling product.
18. Nasty Gal: Behind the scenes on the Nasty Galaxy blog
Nasty Gal is the glamorous and unreasonably hip fashion brainchild of #GirlBoss Sophia Amoruso. Its blog, Nasty Galaxy, takes fashion fans behind the scenes of company parties and even photo shoots. Guess what lurks behind the scenes of this cool company? Even more enviable coolness, increasing affinity and likelihood to purchase even more.
19. American Express: Departures
Departures is a content brand that encompasses travel, fashion, shopping, arts, and culture advice for American Express cardholders. It’s available in both print and digital formats. Some people are fond of receiving the print version every season; it’s a photogenic taste of what’s of the moment around the world, and it gives me aspirational ideas of where I’d like to visit.
20. Petsmart: Parent resource center
When getting a new pet, the questions can seem never ending: how do I properly train, feed, and otherwise care for this animal? This is the niche that the Petsmart Parent Resource Center fills, which has articles and how-to videos about major pet-parenting topics.
21. Airbnb: The Local List
Airbnb goes a step above just offering great content on top places to eat, hang out, and amuse oneself in faroff destinations. Airbnb offers these lists as PDF downloads — perfect for downloading pre-traveling, as you don’t know what the wifi situation will be. These PDFs are a great reminder to think beyond the blog post or web page.
22. Kayla Itsines: Exercising Instagram and blogging prowess
Kayla Itsines was a personal trainer in Adelaide, Australia with an average number of social media followers just a few short years ago. Now her Instagram boasts more than four million followers and she owns one of the top apps on iTunes. How’d she do it? Amazing content, especially in the form of before and after shots of ladies who purchase her fitness program. She also regularly posts how-to exercise videos on Instagram and healthy recipes on her site.
23. Colgate: Oral Care Center
Colgate’s Oral Care Center presents tons of educational dental information. The effects of alcohol and chlorine on teeth, and the potential causes of toothache, for starters. Anyone interested in oral care is certain to appreciate this blog.
24. Hansens: Surfer’s guides to everything
San Diego surf shop, Hansens seeks to inform surfers of every ability. The company understands that surf gear is a big purchase for the average consumer, so equipping him or her with adequate knowledge is the first step toward conversion.
25. The Honest Company: DIY beauty treatments
The Honest Company is beloved for its honestly natural home and beauty products — and now its content, which includes many DIY and home remedies to help customers help themselves. The Honest Company doesn’t recommend its own products when a homemade version will do. It’s all part of serving customers as a trusted friend instead of a salesperson.
26. Lorna Jane: Move Nourish Believe
Lorna Jane shares more smoothie recipes than your blender can handle, mindfulness articles, and healthy living tips on its blog. Fitness is about more than the workout jackets you choose; it’s an entire lifestyle, and this blog exemplifies that.
27. Vitamix: Be Inspired
Everyone knows a high-speed blender boasts many applications, but Vitamix attempts to explain every use case possible on its Be Inspired site. From champagne cocktails to raw foods, Vitamix’s articles are an incredible resource for creative types with high-speed blenders. Judging from the smashing popularity of Vitamixes, that’s a growing subset of the population.
28. Home Depot: Spreading seasonal knowledge
Home Depot shares excellent content year-round, yet their content is still focused on what’s top-of-mind for customers in the changing seasons. Energy-efficiency during the holidays, selecting a Christmas tree, and how to create a wreath. To ensure timeliness, Home Depot is always thinking ahead to the next few seasons and anticipating customers’ future needs — a great reminder for all brands who create content.
29. Kat Von D Beauty: Fan-curated looks
Curated content is a win for everyone: customers get to be in the spotlight, and brands get a break from creating totally original content. Famed tattoo artist Kat Von D now has her own makeup line, and she’s invited fans to tag their Instagram photos showing Kat’s products on themselves with #kvdlook. Then, the beauty brand uploads them to the website. This tactic shows customers new ways to use products and suggests products they may not yet have, without the headache of photo shoots for every single new item or color.
30. Tortuga Backpacks: Power Trip Travel Podcast
The ad say: “A weekly podcast at the intersection of travel and entrepreneurship. The show is hosted by Fred Perrotta and Jeremy Michael Cohen, the co-founders of Tortuga Backpacks. Join us for the stories behind your favorite travel gear, products, websites, and apps from their creators! Plus, we’ll share the best ways to travel better, cheaper, and with less hassle.”
Travel and entrepreneurship aren’t always mentioned in the same breath, but the maker of these excellent carry-on-sized travel backpacks has made it work. Power Trip is yet another example of how a podcast opens up a new, deeper way to communicate with existing customers and prospects.