Content marketing is one of the most powerful tactics that there is right now to drive growth for your business online. There are plenty of examples of people and companies who have built multi-million dollar brands off the back of a solid content strategy.
But it is easy to get stuck in a rut and feel like your efforts aren't getting you anywhere. For those who put together a solid growth engine that is hinged around content marketing, they become an unstoppable force.
But it takes focus, determination, and continued refinement to get to that stage. Most of the content-powered giants who you see online will have had periods of slow growth, and maybe even felt like giving up in the early days, but their perseverance paid off.
In this guide, we are going to share some of the most inspiring content marketing examples out there to help you to focus your own strategy, see what is working and elevate your brand to the next level.
Specifically, we're going to share:
What is Content Marketing?
But before we take a deep dive into inspirational examples of content marketing success, just what is content marketing?
According to the Content Marketing Institute:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Based on this, it is correct to claim that content marketing means different things to different businesses, and what works for one brand will not necessarily be able to be replicated for another.
The commonality is that great content can produce great results, and understanding what other people are doing is such an important part of producing better campaigns and getting better results. In fact, it is safe to say that every content marketer should set aside time each week to follow what other people are doing. Need help finding content that ranks? The Semrush Content Marketing Platform can help you build a solid content marketing strategy.
The Rise of Content Marketing
The reality is that, as consumers, we are becoming immune to traditional advertising and want more from the brands who we spend our hard-earned money with. We want to be entertained, educated, or informed by a brand's content. Plus, the rise of social media has had its part to play in this continued growth.
Quite simply, content marketing is a bigger deal than it ever has been. As a marketer, you cannot ignore it. Creating and distributing great content can rapidly elevate your business to the next level, and taking the time to learn what has worked for others can help you to drive even greater success from your own.
7 Great Content Marketing Examples That You Need to See
When it comes to finding inspiration for your next content marketing campaign, it is often hard to know where to turn. Since there is so much content that is produced and launched, you need to find the right content marketing examples that match you and your business needs.
Content marketing tactics can cover a whole host of different types of content, with formats intended to:
- Rank on the search engines and increase organic traffic
- Earn links
- Drive social engagement
- Increase brand awareness
- Collect email sign ups
- Help push website visitors through the sales funnel
- Educate an audience
But there are so many brands using content marketing to accelerate their growth and are capitalizing on having a solid strategy. Below, we are sharing 7 examples of brands that are using content marketing to achieve one or more of their business goals, and we will talk through what is so great about these pieces and what makes them stand out from the crowd.
NerdWallet helps you to “Make all the right money moves,” and one thing that is for sure is that they have made the right moves when it comes to content marketing.
This is the perfect example of a business that has almost completely relied upon content to drive phenomenal growth, and we can see that their efforts have paid off. NerdWallet earns 13.6 million organic hits from the U.S. alone every month and has received 5 million backlinks.
But what is so great about NerdWallet's content strategy is how they have managed to layer different formats to dominate the SERPs for money topics.
For starters, these guys produce “best [X]” content that outranks everyone else on the SERPs. For example, NerdWallet takes the top ranking spot for the term 'best travel credit cards' that receives over 90,000 searches every month. NerdWallet's effective and informative reviews offer quick comparisons and a whole load of educational content to answer common questions.
It is easy to see why these pages rank at the top of the SERPs when you look at them.
But NerdWallet's content growth engine doesn't stop there. The search term “retirement calculator” is searched for 201,000 times every month. And guess what? These guys rank no.1 on Google for it.
By combining different content formats (comparisons, reviews, tools, and more), they have been able to earn top rankings for some of the most competitive keywords out there.
But one thing runs through everything that they do: a focus on quality and user experience.
Canva is another outstanding example of content marketing success and a business that has truly managed to use content to dominate the SERPs across the funnel and get in front of their target audience as a trusted and authoritative platform.
They do so by helping out those who are looking for a solution. And it sounds so easy.
Canva's success has come about as a result of placing their customer's problems at their heart of their strategy.
Canva identified what their users were looking for and went ahead and created the best content out there on the web to meet this demand. If you want to drive true success with content, good is no longer enough. Your content has to be great, and that starts by understanding what the benchmark is and figuring out how to go one better.
Much of Canva's success comes off the back of its ability to place itself right in front of those who would find their design tool useful. This approach has helped them to drive over 6.7 million organic hits every month and earn more than 9.2 million backlinks.
For this brand, content marketing means owning the SERPs for templates.
By understanding their audience, Canva has been able to use great content to target their potential customers at a time when they are looking for the exact solution they offer.
If you want to feel inspired by another successful business that truly knows how to create content that helps their audience, take a look at Shopify. Shopify is another example of a marketing team that successfully delivers, as they receive 3.4 million organic hits from the U.S. alone each month.
And the majority of this impressive level of traffic comes from the brand's 'learn' hub:
Shopify's goal is to be so much more than *just* an eCommerce platform to their customers, and that is why they have invested heavily in producing content that helps to educate, inform or make their lives easier.
From guides that cover everything you could want to know about starting a business to free tools, podcasts, and even a business encyclopedia, it is clear that there is a solid strategy in place to leave no stone of the small business market unturned.
Take time to study the different formats that this popular platform is using; we are sure you'll feel inspired to work some of their ideas into your own approach.
But to us, what stands out is the investment that Shopify has made into free tools that are actually useful.
It might sound strange, but so many tools are created solely for the purpose of building links. But when you put the customer and their needs first and design a solution, the rest will follow.
It's no secret in SEO that backlinks are one of the most effective ways to catapult growth. The most valuable links are those that have been earned from the world's top-tier press and niche publications as a result of creating awesome content that journalists actually want to cover and link to.
WalletHub is the perfect example of a business whose marketing team has managed to create a scalable way to use content to earn great links week after week and month after month.
Looking for proof?
Just head to Google News, search for “WalletHub” and filter the results to show the past month:
Literally hundreds of pieces of linked press coverage.
All earned with campaigns like this:
In short, WalletHub has owned the space of creating city and state rankings across the U.S., using data-driven research studies that reveal the best, and worst, cities for various different things.
And this works. The example above, to date, has earned 860 backlinks from 297 domains:
Find a format that works and scale it up; it works.
It is easy to get caught up in an attempt to create fancy content campaigns that stand out, but that is not really what a solid strategy should be about.
Pipedrive is the perfect example of strategically using content to drive growth, with their blog strategy sitting right at the heart of their efforts. Just landing on their blog's front page tells you exactly what their goal is:
Selling is hard. Scaling fast is a monumental challenge. We want to help you with both. Our sales education library is crammed full of how-to articles, step-by-step guides, and expert advice from sales leaders to help you sell and scale fast.
And, as content marketers, we can learn a lot from this. This simple summary creates an overarching strategy that tells us a few things:
- They understand the challenge that their customers face (selling and scaling)
- They want to help their customers to achieve these things and overcome the challenges
- That their focus is on creating helpful content across:
- How-to articles
- Step-by-step guides
- Expert advice
It is their content strategy summed up in a few lines; and it is public-facing.
But there it is one thing to have a strategy and another to execute it in a way that drives success. In order to demonstrate this success, we can look at the organic keywords that their blog ranks for:
But this alone does not shine a light on the outstanding work that the team at Pipedrive is doing. In order to do that, we need to take a look at the quality of the content they are producing. Just take a look at their cold calling scripts guide:
6. Dollar Shave Club
There's not much to say about Dollar Shave Club other than that they're the perfect example of how to use video as part of a content marketing strategy to go viral and disrupt an entire industry.
Just watch the below:
You do not need big budgets to create great content, just a focus on telling a great story and making sure that it is something that your audience can connect with.
7. Gear Hungry
It is easy to get the impression that great content has to focus on being educational, rather than commercial. A lot of marketers use content marketing as a way to drive increased top of the funnel visibility.
However, you can balance educational and commercial content and win big as a result of it.
Gear Hungry's buying guides are some excellent content marketing examples. They are so well executed it is no surprise that they're dominating the SERPs. Let us take look at their 9 Best Basketballs guide...
There are a few clever things going on here.
- We can see that these reviews are current, which is a key requirement for anyone looking for product reviews. They want to know that they are consuming content that truly shows them the best options out there that people are currently using.
- If you do not want to read lengthy content, the top 3 recommendations can be accessed from above the fold. This an awesome attention to detail at the way users engage with the page. That innovation likely came about as a result of monitoring user behavior and identifying that a high percentage of readers are simply looking for a recommendation and place to buy the top product.
- The guide is written by a product expert; something that sets it apart from many other brands.
But then when we move down the page to look at the individual product recommendations themselves, we again see a real focus on adding value.
There is no hiding from the fact that Gear Hungry pushes you to Amazon to get prices. The transparency is great to see as it is something that many other companies try cover up.
What is portrayed here is a true understanding of the specifications and key features that searchers actually want to see, rather than displaying all details without consideration as to how the content will be consumed.
This post drives an estimated 2,000 hits every month from organic search in the U.S. with an estimated traffic cost of $1,900. But what stands out is that this comes from 881 different keywords. This is an example of a powerful page that consistently drives solid traffic numbers.
Granted, 2,000 visits on its own isn't groundbreaking, but this is a single page. Scale this over tens or hundreds of posts and you can quickly see how content marketing is a very valuable traffic driver for many businesses. This is evident when we look at the stats for the whole Gear Hungry domain:
Gear Hungry has grown into a content-led platform that ranks for more than 680,000 keywords and earns 1.2 million organic hits that have a traffic cost of more than $900,000.
If this is not an awesome example of content marketing success, then what is? They are not a corporate giant, just a team of marketers who have understood how to identify opportunities and structure content in a way that sets them up for success.
Recommended Content Marketing Examples
We have looked at some fantastic examples of content marketing success, but new content marketing examples are always emerging. When it comes to keeping in the loop with what other people are doing you need to know where to turn to find inspiration.
We listed a number of recommended sources that we love who each share different types of content on a regular basis. If nothing else, they're great places to kickstart inspiration:
- Digital PR Examples
- The Pudding
- Content Marketing Institute
- Famous Campaigns
- Content Hubble
- Information is Beautiful
- Visual Capitalist
- The Drum Content Awards
- UK Content Awards
- European Content Awards
- Content Marketing Awards
Content marketing is rooted in creativity, and that means finding your own content marketing examples to inspire you to create a successful campaign for your business.
One of the best ways to find inspiration is to take note of successful examples that others have produced and take the time to understand why these have worked and how you can work these approaches into your own strategy. Good luck!