Content marketing is a subject dear to most successful site owner’s hearts.
Done right, there are very few other approaches that have the potential to drive as much high-quality traffic to your site over time.
Time is the key factor here of course. Putting together content marketing campaigns requires considerable preparation and patience so it’s not one for those who are simply looking for quick-fix solutions.
We’ve already covered the subject of mapping out your content strategy in some depth here on the blog. In this piece we’ll concentrate on real-world examples of people who’ve knocked it out of the park to inspire you. Each example is packed full of takeaways you can apply to making your own content shine.
Let’s dive in!
1. Dive Rite
The story of Dive Rite’s conversion to the cause of content marketing is a fascinating one and it’s covered in some detail in a great case study put together by the good folks over at the Content Marketing Institute.
As explained in the piece, Dive Rite found themselves in quite a pickle as they headed into 2007. Having somewhat unwisely plumped for a fancy Flash website back in 2003, the firm found itself floundering in the search rankings and struggling to capture customer mind share.
The solution was a ground-up rewrite of the website that put a fully fleshed-out content strategy at its core. Fusionspark Media was the team in charge of getting the job done and what followed was a textbook example of the benefits a well-structured content campaign can bring to a brand.
Initial website restructuring and a comprehensive content audit led to a series of smart decisions such as hiring topic experts to provide top-notch material, reaching out to dive enthusiasts on the wider web, adding video content and maintaining a regularly updated blog.
Our website’s content marketing strategy allowed us to not only regain market share, entrench our brand in the mindset of our customers and increase sales, but it put us in a leadership position in our industry. – Kathleen Byars, Dive Rite Director of Marketing.
The results soon came rolling in. The case study reports Dive Rite’s traffic quickly surged 60% with no additional marketing spend. Also, after analyzing sales referrals from the revamped site, Dive Rite realized they converted three times better than other channels thus proving once again that high-quality content attracts high-quality visitors.
2. Hand Lettering by Sean Wes
Hand lettering might not be the most obvious topic to build a thriving business around but that’s precisely what Sean McCabe has managed to do via his site seanwes.com. A lifelong entrepreneur, Sean has managed to turn a passion for typography and hand lettering into an increasingly lucrative online presence.
The core of his offering is in the Learn Lettering course which has been purchased by thousands of people to date with a staggering 675,000 people having also read his introductory lettering guide in the last few years.
Sean has recently made his Starter course available for free so if you’ve felt an urge to up your penmanship game recently, now is the time to strike while the iron is hot.
Even the briefest of glances around Sean’s online empire shows that content marketing is at the very heart of his strategy. Admirably willing to put himself front and center in terms of getting the message out, Sean is busy pumping out a truly impressive amount of useful content to support his various products.
That’s before you even get into his online community, wider broadcast network or upcoming book. The results of all this activity have been stellar and Sean hasn’t been shy in pulling back the curtain on some of the numbers.
In a podcast episode from 2014, he provides a detailed case study of how an early launch of the Learn Lettering course pulled in an eye-watering $80,000 in the first 24 hours. His Lambo Goal podcast series is also packed full of insights into the day-to-day functioning of several of his businesses.
Another aspect that makes it worth keeping an eye on Sean is his willingness to explain his process. Follow his blog or Twitter output and you’ll come across regular breakdowns of how to actually go about creating content such as his Watch Me Write a Blog Post video.
3. Intelligentsia Coffee Brewing Guides
We’ve highlighted Intelligentsia Coffee’s series of brewing guides for two primary reasons:
- Who doesn’t thrill to the thought of a perfectly put together cup of Joe?
- It’s part of a wider list of excellent content marketing campaigns collated by the Exact Target team that’s also well worth a look.
This particular campaign is notable for the simplicity of its execution – easily downloadable and stylishly put together PDF guides to common coffee making techniques that are a magnet for social sharing.
They’re also backed up with entertaining video companion pieces that do a great job of spreading coffee knowledge and reinforcing the brand.
There are no firm figures available for what types of results these campaigns have delivered for Intelligentsia Coffee but I’d suspect they’re seeing some pretty impressive numbers.
4. Red Bull
Unless you spent late-2012 living under a rock, it was pretty hard to avoid reports of Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking parachute jump. The stunt dominated social media and news reports for a considerable amount of time.
Not everyone can afford to take on marketing initiatives in the upper reaches of the Earth’s atmosphere. However, the event did have a lot of content marketing implications that can be learned from.
- The event itself was a staggering success. Not only did Herr Baumgartner not come to a high-profile end, an Econsultancy report put the number of Facebook interactions on the day at 900,000 and estimated that it boosted Red Bull sales by 7% over a period of six months.
- Space jumps capture the headlines but ongoing worldwide event sponsorship and other tactics are driving the creation of oceans of audience-pleasing content on the Red Bull YouTube channel.
- Red Bull’s commitment to content marketing is such that at this stage you could argue they’re a media company with a soft drinks division rather than the other way around. A quick rummage around Red Bull Media House shows just how much they’re committed to ongoing content creation across all channels.
5. Blue Bottle Coffee
The very mention of Blue Bottle Coffee is enough to have coffee connoisseurs across America licking their lips but the Oakland-based outfit are no slouches at content marketing either.
As with Intelligentsia Coffee, they’ve produced a series of slickly put together brewing guides to help coffee lovers dial in their particular setup and their blog is a regular source of entertaining and educational content.
The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee Book is an excellent example of leveraging content to build your brand and founder James Freeman’s willingness to go deep on the thinking behind the business is a great example of how taking the initiative in terms of content marketing can come right from the top of an organization.
- You know the stars are aligning when a company called Percolate is working with a leading coffee brand. Percolate’s series of case studies are great examples of content marketing by themselves.
- A killer quote from Byard at the beginning really showcases how central narrative and content are to modern-day marketing: “The biggest challenge for me is storytelling across an expanding geography.”
- It’s an interesting glimpse into how tools like Percolate can be used to structure ongoing content campaigns across many channels.
6. The Book Designer
If you’re looking for an ongoing masterclass in using content marketing to absolutely dominate a particular niche then look no further than Joel Friedlander’s efforts over at The Book Designer.
Granted, having a domain like thebookdesigner.com means you’re off to a great start but self-publishing is a cut-throat business and it’s Joel’s commitment to doubling down on content that has really fueled his rise to the top.
You’ll see this throughout the site, whether in the excellent 10 Things You Need to Know about Self-publishing lead magnet, the superbly researched articles section of the site, or any of Joel’s engaging appearances on webinars and keynotes across the web.
One of these that’s particularly interesting is an interview with Yaro Starak where he outlines the story behind how he launched a book design blog at the age of 62 and swiftly managed to ratchet his way up to $46,000 paydays by following a content-first approach.
7. Health Ambition
Our final entry is online wellness portal Health Ambition. We’re putting this one on the list not simply for the range of highly shareable health tips the site specializes in but also for the people behind it.
Health Ambition is the brainchild of Gael Breton from Authority Hacker and his partner Mark Webster. Through a series of articles, interviews and podcasts, they’ve documented many of their content strategies for the both Health Ambition and Authority Hacker and the results they’ve achieved.
In-depth posts such as Pinterest Marketing Tips and Strategies show the exact techniques Gael has used to extract every last drop of value from content on Health Ambition. Gael’s also gone deep on how he managed to drive 27,627 opt-ins from a single blog post in an interview with Lead Page’s Tim Paige.
If you have any interest in making the most of your content marketing campaigns, the blog and podcast sections of Authority Hacker are well worth an investment of your time. The amount of high-quality tips, tricks and case studies on offer there – many of them centering around Health Ambition – is staggering.
Content marketing is a tactic that requires time and patience but, if you get it right, it could be fueling significant revenue for many years to come. We’re lucky to be living in a time where experts in all fields are happy to share their knowledge online for free and content marketing is no exception in this regard.
From the list of examples we looked at, two in particular stand out in terms of how much they explicitly teach on the subject: Sean Wes and Authority Hacker. Some poking around in the archives of both sites will give you a lot of material to chew on.
We’d love to hear about whether you’ve committed to executing on content marketing in your own business, what results you’re experiencing and if there are any aspects you’d like to see us explore further. Get in touch in the comments and let us know!Liked the article? You should follow me on Twitter