Content is what sells products and services — even Benjamin Franklin knew it. In 1732, he began publishing Poor Richard’s Almanac solely to promote his printing business. His content was so successful that he essentially became a publisher, selling as many as 10,000 copies per year (and likely fulfilling a lot of orders at his print shop as a result).
Nearly 300 years later, B2B and B2C companies are fully realizing the benefits of content marketing: creating content not to sell, but to nurture prospects, leads, and even existing customers as they embark on the customer journey.
While the overall goal of content marketing hasn’t changed since Benjamin Franklin launched his renowned almanac, the types of content that brands can create and use to engage with their audiences has increased exponentially from traditional print magazines to blog posts, e-books, interactive content, apps, videos, podcasts, and even in-person events.
According to research from the Content Marketing Institute, three out of four B2C companies characterize their content marketing as successful, with the top three benefits being:
- Brand awareness (84%)
- Audience education (75%)
- Improved credibility and trust (65%)
That’s similar to what B2B marketers had to say about their own content marketing programs, at 86%, 79%, and 75%, respectively.
Aside from these benefits, one of the biggest opportunities that content provides is the ability to drive strong SEO results. Creating content that lives online (such as blog posts on your company website) get indexed by Google and other search engines, and with the right keyword targeting, can drive incremental increases in organic traffic over time.
And, unlike many other marketing tactics like paid ads, content has an incredibly long shelf life. Especially when you focus on creating evergreen content that is purposely designed to stay relevant over time. The content you publish today will still be generating traffic and leads a year from now, helping decrease marketing costs over time.
3 Companies Reaping the Benefits of Content Marketing
There are a lot of ways to approach content marketing, and what you choose depends on your industry and audience. The companies that are the most successful create content that resonates with their intended audience – whether that means engaging content that’s designed to entertain and inspire or content that’s geared towards educating users on more technical subject matter. Here are three examples of companies that have found huge success by leveraging content marketing in a smart way to drive awareness, growth, and customer loyalty.
If your brand is about inviting others to create stunning visual content, it makes sense that you would use a content marketing strategy that does the same to build brand awareness. That’s exactly what B2C camera company GoPro does with its YouTube channel; it’s full of user-generated content as well as tutorials, original travel content, and videos featuring professional athletes and musicians. Their product is geared toward outdoor enthusiasts and amateur athletes, and its content reflects their desire for powerful imagery. The YouTube channel alone has nearly 8.5 million subscribers as a result.
There are a lot of customer relationship management (CRM) platforms that companies can choose from, so why would they go with HubSpot? The company uses content marketing to build trust — and ultimately showcase HubSpot as a viable CRM and marketing automation solution for businesses. They’ve created an enormous archive of blog posts covering every topic under the sun that help customers become better marketers, salespeople, and drive customer success. On top of that, HubSpot has a resource of interactive tools and guides — and even original research — to educate and provide value to their customers. The company has noted that their content marketing strategy has been instrumental in their growth, which reached $513 million in 2018, up 37% over the previous year.
Charmin Sit or Squat App
For gaining brand awareness, paper products company Charmin took a cheeky approach: the Sit or Squat App. This free iOS and Android app helps people find a clean public restroom. It doesn’t sell toilet paper, and you can’t even buy anything from the app. All it does is note that the app was developed by Charmin. But it got people talking; it’s been listed as one of the best bathroom locator apps by the NAFC and garnered mentions in Cool Mom Tech, The Globe and Mail, and Everyday Health. And, of course, the mentions include the Charmin brand name, giving the paper products company some free advertising.
These are just three examples of companies reaping the benefits of content marketing. By creating interesting, educational, and engaging content that delights your audience and gets them talking, you can drive more people to your site and ultimately convert more prospects to customers.