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7 Actionable Tips Based on Real-world Content Marketing Success Stories

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With the amount of content that floods the Internet, marketers need to constantly find new and innovative ways to reach out to their audience. Here are seven tips based on effective content marketing campaigns.

Tip 1: Reach out to influencers on social media to amplify reach and visibility

In a recent poll conducted by Tomoson, 59% of marketers said they were going to increase their influencer marketing budget over the next year. An increasing number of businesses are adopting influencer marketing since it is an effective technique in reaching out to a larger audience. Influencers typically enjoy a greater level of trust as they seldom have a vested interest in the products or services they recommend. Flyte Fitness tapped into the potential that infulencer marketing holds, and here’s what they achieved.

Success Story:

“A couple years ago, my co-founder and I began the journey of turning a fitness equipment concept into a company, Flyte Fitness. The process of creating a new piece of workout gear is non-trivial and it takes time. We raised money, tested prototypes and had patents approved, all before being able to sell anything because we had no inventory. While waiting (often impatiently) for our first production run to finish I decided to write a weekly blog in the hopes that it would help build a brand and contribute to SEO. It also gave me a reason to learn more about fitness, as my background is in business, banking, and consulting.

Manufacturing took longer than expected (as it tends to), and I ended up writing the Tuesday blog for 40 consecutive weeks before we could sell. It was the week of the Super Bowl, we finally had inventory on the way, and I decided to write an article called 5 Super Bowl Workout Habits of Elite NFL Players. One of the players I profiled was Steve Weatherford. I had seen him in interviews and his reputation for being a workout maniac was well known. Like all blogs before, I shared it on social media: Facebook, Twitter, and even Google+.

Unlike any other blog, I decided to add Weatherford’s Twitter handle to the tweet. He retweeted the article. He expressed interest in our Core Flytes, patented portable stability trainers, and I sent him a complimentary pair. He wrote me back “these are rad!” within days of receiving them. He loved them and was using them daily in his workouts. After speaking with him over the phone, joining him for a workout (including a post-workout cryotherapy session) in his off-season gym near San Diego, and discussing the details with his agent, we inked a long-term partnership agreement. This all happened in less than two months.

After just five months of selling, our Core Flytes have been featured in Greatist, Muscle & Fitness, have garnered many excellent customer reviews on Amazon, and will be in an AskMen.com workout video (starring Weatherford) for NFL season kickoff.”

Jeremy Greenberg,
Co-founder & CEO at Flyte Fitness.

Tip 2: Answer a burning question for your audience to make your content more relevant to them

From a marketer’s point of view, a blog (when done right) is good for SEO. But for a reader, a blog is simply a source of information. Your audience will only revisit your blog if the content you offer fulfills their need for accurate and reliable information. Businesses often focus so much on optimizing their blog for SEO that they sometimes forget to understand what the reader is seeking. The guys at Genesis Net Development realized that working backwards on blog topics to first identify what interests the reader and crafting content on those lines could do wonders for search rankings. Here’s what they did.

Success Story:

“We started blogging for Timber Lake Truss Works back in October and we didn’t make much movement with the first two. However, I restructured our topics and what we blogged about.

I asked the client…”what are your customers’ biggest questions?” And he responded with a large list, but he said the biggest is about price. I said, okay, let’s pursue the topic of price when it comes to trusses (really boring, I know, but wait!).

I told him to dump all of the truss cost and pricing information he had on me and we would make sense of it. So he did and we published the post.

To date, it’s drawn 5,900 pageviews!

Literally, one of the most boring topics has blown up on a blog with little to no authority and with no crazy backlinks. It defies all of the SEO rules.

If you search “how much do trusses cost” or a variation, you will see it lists in the top 5 of SERPs.

The client is also receiving calls from coast-to-coast that he cannot fulfill because he doesn’t ship far enough.”

Trent Erwin,
Co-owner of Genesis Net Development.

Tip 3: Create campaigns around popular holidays to attract the attention of your audience

Popular holidays like Christmas and New Year’s generate thousands, even millions of conversation on social media. In fact, last year, during the holiday season, #Christmas was mentioned 35 million times! Several businesses even create custom hashtags around the holiday season to generate a buzz on social. A well executed season’s special campaign can also attract a lot of media attention. The Search Laboratory team cashed in on all the fun and frenzy around Haloween with an absurdly creative campaign that even won them awards! Here’s their story.

Success Story:

“Our client, Tiger Sheds, has a strong seasonality and limited product offering (sheds and log cabins). The aim of the campaign was to build brand awareness, increase social media coverage and drive traffic during their off-season.

Idea & Strategy: Create a log-cabin (ZFC-1) that is zombie-proof to attract the attention of the media around Halloween. A product page was created to advertise the well-researched zombie-proof cabin, with rendered images, a product description and videos.

The features listed below were part of the product description and made the page believable:

  • A 10-year anti-zombie product guarantee.
  • Spoof reviews published under zombie names.
  • A full 3D CAD version of the ZFC-1, including a video that gives the visitor a tour of the cabin.

Though set up as a content marketing idea, the zombie-proof cabin was made available for purchase at a price of £69,995.50.

We mainly targeted technology news websites at first, owing to their predominantly male readership and their ability to accelerate the rate at which the news would spread, with the mainstream media often picking up stories from these sites.

Campaign coverage: coverage from 500+ online publications internationally, including The Telegraph, The Huffington Post and Daily Mail. The ZFC-1 was also featured on ABC News, Good Morning America, Fox News and WWMT News in the USA, as well as by Sunrise, an Australian TV breakfast show .

Traffic KPIs: website traffic from social up one million percent month-on-month; new users from social were up three million percent. Overall traffic to the site in October 2014 increased by 1,900% year-on-year, with October also seeing 107% more traffic than the rest of 2014 combined.

Social media results: The product page received 9,600 Facebook likes.

Awards: The campaign has been nominated for various awards and won several, including the Drum Search Awards ‘best use of content’.”

Natalie Clince,
Content and Online PR Executive at Search Laboratory.

Tip 4: Craft content with a local context to make it more relatable for your audience.

A study by Google revealed that 4 in 5 search queries carry local intent.  Some other data estimates also indicate that in the US, nearly 50% of search queries across platforms are local  in nature. Given this background, creating content to fit a local context surely appears to be a sound strategy. And that coupled with culture/lifestyle specific topics makes for a powerful combination. Here’s how the local+lifestyle strategy worked wonders for the Great Canadian Van Lines.

Success Story:

“We started working with a company, Great Canadian Van Lines, in early 2013. They’re a moving company, so by nature the subject matter around the business is deemed as boring. This was a challenge. So instead of creating content about moving companies, or how to prepare for moves, we decided to make content solely around the local communities in which the company operated. For Example, “The 9 Food Trucks You Need to Eat at in Vancouver before you Die.” The results have been tremendous, the company has seen an increase in leads by 30% year-over-year and the site traffic has grown over 120% year-over-year.”

Jordan Scheltgen,
Managing Partner at Cave Social.

Tip 5: Get your audience involved in social causes to create awareness.

Social media is a great place to garner support for a cause. The Causes Facebook Page has nearly 9 million likes. According to a report by Waggener Edstrom 55% of the respondents who engaged with a cause via social media said they felt motivated to take further action. 59% of them donated money. Since 2012, non-profits on Twitter have received 264% more followers. For those who think there’s little social good that can come out a Like on Facebook, or a Retweet on Twitter, here’s a compelling case that stands in contradiction.

Success Story:

“My work last August with the United Nations Foundation Shot@Life campaign has been my greatest content marketing success story. The piece, published here helped to deliver 60,000 vaccines to children in need throughout the world.

The campaign was based purely on content creation. The UN Foundation sought out influential bloggers (of which I was one) who could use their platforms to boost content. Our team collectively shared each other’s posts in order to amplify reach, and each blogger encouraged their networks to post a comment on the piece. Each comment equaled a life-saving vaccine from Walgreens, our collaborative partner. We created this video to make it all easy to understand:

The result was that comments turned into conversations and some posts received 100+ comments. Each one of which inched us closer to our goal of 60,000 vaccines. Readers responded beautifully because their role was no longer passive recipient but active participant.

Also, in using #Blogust on all social media platforms helped us gather interest, track and respond to social shares in order to more broadly elevate the conversation about vaccines.

Lastly, we leveraged influencers from the previous year. This created a steamroll effect whereby we were able to double-up on our existing efforts and reach those readers who were involved last but perhaps forgot to follow this year.”

Cameron Conaway,
Content Marketing Manager at Flow.

Tip 6: Use smart inbound marketing strategies to differentiate your brand from competition

More and more businesses are adopting inbound marketing strategies owing to the dwindling reach of traditional, outbound methods. With inbound marketing, your business is in a better position to communicate directly with prospective buyers. And considering that one of the objectives of an inbound marketing strategy is to tailor content to be aligned with the audience’s need, they are more likely to be tuned into the conversation too. Case in point – Inturact, and here’s what they did.

Success Story:

“Silvertrac Software is a security guard management app that struggled to differentiate from the competition and find a solution for their unique marketing needs before hiring Inturact, an inbound marketing agency that focuses on the SaaS industry. “In a market full of headaches and bottom feeders Inturact was a breath of fresh air. We wasted so much time and money on low-cost solutions that caused way more problems than they solved,” says Johnny Page the Customer Success Manager for Silvertrac.

Inturact implemented a complete Inbound marketing plan, streamlined content marketing processes and developed a full redesign of the Silvertrac website onto the Hubspot COS platform. Since execution of the strategy it has led to 483% increase in visitors, 629% increase in leads and a 12% increase in their total customer base.”

‎Trevor Hatfield,
Founder & CEO at Inturact.

Tip 7: Target niche topics that are relevant to your audience

When you’re on a time crunch and you’re putting together a blog post, you’ll often be tempted to re-create content based on all the existing information you can access through the web, and probably just do a little value-add. While that’s a justifiable approach to content creation, sometimes you’ll find that it’s worth the while to actually create something entirely original – probably around niche topics on which there’s little material available. The TalkWalker team ran this as an experiment and it paid off quite well for them. Here’s their story.

Success Story:

“One of our articles on Instagram Analytics tools  was pretty successful. There are several aims we have with this kind of content beyond just having it shared and read as much as possible. One goal is to involve important influencers and contributors. This has the effect of both increasing the likelihood of the article being shared more widely and of starting or developing relationships with key industry figures who we can work with again in the future. Another goal is to choose a topic that is relatively niche but one that is useful for readers and relevant to what we do. This can take some time to find but with this article we seemed to hit the nail on the head. Finally, these articles are also useful for SEO purposes as if we can find an interesting and useful topic they have a good chance of being ranked highly and driving traffic long after the initial promotion period.

To measure success, we generally look at a variety of different metrics including tweet impressions, engagements, Facebook shares, LinkedIn impressions, as well as of course the amount of traffic generated to the site. We also use the Talkwalker platform to see how the article impacted our share of voice and sentiment over the month as these are key indicators of our brand health.

The article was shared widely on a variety of social networks and was also syndicated to websites like Business 2 Community which helped to further expand its reach. The up and coming nature of the topic also led to it being mentioned in other articles like this piece in smallbiztrends.com which was also widely shared. This article was then mentioned in other articles creating a kind of positive, snowball effect. It also helped us to develop relationships with certain influencers who we have called on in subsequent content we have produced. All this helped to make the article well ranked in terms of SEO and we continue to receive traffic from this article even though it was published several months ago.

The article produced over 250 shares on Twitter and the article is now ranked at #7 when searching for Instagram Analytics tools on Google. It also generated 6 backlinks from other sites which has not only helped to make the article higher ranked in Google it also helped to drive over 500 sessions to the blog over the first few days and made us continue writing these articles which are currently are most successful form of driving web traffic to our blog. On the back of this blog’s success we’ve managed to involve over 20 key influencers in our subsequent tools blogs over the last few months and our blog traffic has risen by over 50% in the last 5 months. ”

Richard Sunley,
Blogger at TalkWalker.

What has been your most successful content marketing campaign so far? Share your story with us in the comments below.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on 08 Aug, 2015 and has been updated to add a new tip.

Image Source: Gavin Llewellyn via flickr

  • http://genesisnetdevelopment.com/ Trent Erwin

    Jeremy – your story is rad. So cool how that happened. Just mentioning the right person on social media can make all the difference.

    Jordan – really interested in your approach. I work with several van lines as well and need to ping some ideas off you.