August 8, 2012
Best Content-Marketing Practices to Follow — 7 Top-Notch Examples
By David Woodrow, Senior Vice President of Strategic Services, Skyword
Content marketing is increasingly important — in fact, according to the 2012 Content Marketing Institute Report: B2B Content Marketing, nine in 10 business-to-business marketers report marketing with content, with 60% planning to increase their content budgets in 2012 and beyond. As Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, wisely stated at the Online Marketing Summit 2012, content marketing is not easy. To get the most out of content marketing, marketers must align several disciplines, including customer segmentation, strategy development, writer recruitment, and search engine optimization. Here are a few brands that are leading the charge with content marketing:
HubSpot did not create the term "Inbound marketing" but they may as well have. This provider of all-in-one marketing software could be mistaken for a media publication. With 3-4 blog posts published every day, along with eBooks, webinars, whitepapers and webcasts full of secrets to marketing success, consistent content marketing efforts have positioned HubSpot as the thought leader in the space. Countless marketers—even those who do use their product — turn to HubSpot in times of marketing need.
2. MarketWatch: The Trading Deck
When it comes to crowd-sourcing great content, some companies do it better than others. Enter Marketwatch.com: The Trading Deck, a community that features opinions on trading and investing written by analysts, portfolio managers and financial advisors, not WSJ staff journalists. Guided by strict editorial standards, these market professionals offer news updates, trading advice, and industry commentary regularly to The Trading Deck community. Bound by common interests and passions, The Trading Deck has become the "go-to" online meeting place for professional and amateur traders to contribute, comment and learn from each other.
This leading B2B marketing automation software provider is a frequent contributor to industry discussions on content marketing, lead generation, and analytics. Despite the sheer volume of content they have to offer, locating what you need is never a problem. Marketo bundles blog content by audience category and topic in a frame that is easy to read and navigate.
4. The IBM Midsize Insider
Industries are changing faster than ever. Being at the forefront of industry developments that customers care about and providing informative, timely commentary on these issues puts IBM's Midsize Insider ahead of the pack. The brand is at the forefront of technology, privacy and security, and innovation, and quickly responds to news and developments that affect their target audience of midsize IT and business professionals. With news articles that hit the top of Google News search, it's clear that all marketers have something to learn from IBM's content strategy.
5. American Express Open Forum
Great content needs subject matter experts and professional writers to bring it to life. The American Express Open Forum uses their network of top experts and freelancers to create up-to-date content on news and best practices that affect over 25 million small business owners in the US. By displaying the bios of each contributor on each post, the Open Forum builds trust among their readers and delivers a personalized customer experience.
Content marketing is not new to everyone's favorite gelatin dessert. In 1903, the company published its first free cookbook, which contributed to $1 million in sales by 1906. Fast-forward more than 100 years later and Jell-O is still using these tasty recipes and eye-catching photos to keep customers engaged.
7. Warby Parker
The folks at Warby Parker, an affordable eyewear company, regularly incorporate compelling images into their content marketing mix. They know their audience—people who care about style and want to have a positive impact on the world. They also believe that at the end of day, it's not all about the glasses, but about the people wearing them, and of what they are capable of. Their blog, The Zagg Pepper, highlights events, artists, books and photographs, and gives you the impression that they (like their loyal customer base) care about more than just product sales.
These seven top-notch content marketers are creating content that deeply engages prospects and customers. They use content marketing to support multiple business goals — from brand awareness and customer acquisition, to customer retention and loyalty. Their content approach is inspired by values and causes that are both core to their brand and resonate with their audiences. Do as these content marketing leaders do and you will see a significant uplift in your campaign response and customer engagement rates, SEO rankings, and ultimately, your bottom line.
David Woodrow is the Senior Vice President of Strategic Services for Skyword, responsible for clients' content marketing programs, author of Maximum Sales Velocity: How to Build a World-Class Sales Organization, and an experienced online community manager for Fortune 500 companies. Connect with Dave on Twitter: @davidwoodrow.