Today, one of the best ways to dominate content marketing is to learn from the brands that are already doing it. While certain pillars of content marketing stay the same from industry to industry, the best brands on the Web all approach it a bit differently. Watching how they structure their content strategies and use digital material to connect with customers is an excellent way to get inspiration for your brand.
Today, I’m looking at nine brands that are dominating content marketing right now, and breaking down how each of them does it.
9 Brands Dominating Content Marketing Today
From General Electric to American Express, these nine brands are at the top of the podium in the modern world of content marketing.
1. Snoop Dogg
Didn’t think Snoop Dogg would stand out as a master of content marketing? Think again. A well-known rapper and actor, Snoop Dogg (real name Calvin Broadus) has used content marketing to grow his brand into the lifestyle and merchandise sectors, to name a few.
One of the most incredible examples of this is his partnership with another major lifestyle brand and personality: Martha Stewart.
To dispel any assumptions you had that a rapper and a homemaker couldn’t come together in perfect harmony, look no further than this adorable video:
While it might seem like a silly spoof, this short video clip is part of a much larger empire: a cooking show on VH1 called Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party. A fantastic example of how a great content partnership can expand two brands at once, Martha and Snoop Dogg have a lot to teach us about content marketing and, presumably, friendship.
Snoop is cool!! And he can cook! Sort of !!! His way , which is unique and interesting , about to be revealed on vh1 pic.twitter.com/P8K6xivaEG
— Martha Stewart (@MarthaStewart) September 10, 2016
2. American Express
Today, good brands know that being successful involves bringing in the voices and opinions of other people, from customers to experts and featuring third-party content is a great way to do this. By encouraging experts to play an active role in content, brands can nurture close relationships with customers, build trust and expand their content footprint. American Express is a brand that’s done this especially well.
In 2007 (way before the importance of expert content was as critical as it is today, by the way), American Express launched its Open Forum platform, which provides experts with a simple place to share their knowledge and experience. Ideal for helping make the company’s content more useful to customers, Open Forum is a way for American Express to sit back and encourage experts share their knowledge and experiences.
A few years ago, outdoor equipment company REI broke the Internet with its #OptOutside campaign. The basis of the campaign was this: on Black Friday of 2015, REI closed the doors of all its stores across the country and paid employees to enjoy outdoor adventures instead of working.
The campaign, which was notable because it was so shocking (Black Friday is one of the biggest shopping days of the years, and few companies in their “right mind” would choose to opt out), proved to be a great move on the part of REI. In fact, AdAge called it “A model for the future of marketing.”
Since then, REI has made its #OptOutside vision a central part of its content marketing. For proof, all you need to do is look at the company’s blog.
By creating content that aligns perfectly with its audiences’ visions, aspirations, and passion for the outdoors, REI continues to use content to inspire and motivate people to lead healthier and more active lives.
4. Farmers Insurance
One thing many brands miss in the world of modern content marketing is a personal voice. Today, customers want to build relationships with the companies they follow, not just hear sales pitches on a consistent basis.
That’s where Farmers Insurance comes in for the win. Visit the company’s website, and you’ll find Farmer’s Inner Circle, which offers practical advice, assistance, and instruction for people wondering about how best to manage their financial and insurance needs.
Perfectly in-line with its mission of helping people find highly personalized insurance solutions, the “inner circle” helps people feel seen, heard and valued by the company.
For more about how Farmers Insurance is dominating the content marketing scene, check out our Cool Brand Content Spotlight.
ThirdLove is a company that makes bras. While you may be thinking “dozens of companies make bras!” this one is different. What sets ThirdLove apart is its intensely individualized approach and its focus on user experience in all its content.
Look no further than the front page of the company’s website for an example:
Promises like “discover the best-fitting bra in less than five minutes” appeal directly to users who dread bra shopping for its difficulty and the promise of a 30-day, money-back guarantee inspire trust. Like Farmers Insurance, ThirdLove takes something that could be profoundly utilitarian, and makes it personalized, unique, and accessible, instead.
6. Dollar Shave Club
Dollar Shave Club broke the content marketing universe when it dropped its launch video, which earned the company 12,000 customers in its first two days of operation and has since raked in more than 24 million views on YouTube. Here it is:
Today, Dollar Shave Club continues to stand out with honest, direct, off-the-cuff content that makes it seem funny and relatable, which is a unique and compelling change in the typically boring razor industry.
7. Simple Bank
Simple Bank is a bank for the modern day. Navigate to its website, and you’ll find a clean, crisp design and plenty of simple content that has the user at its center.
Designed to be easy to use, fee-free and attractive for discerning Millennials, Simple gets content marketing right by inspiring trust and connection at every turn. If you could take one message from their content, it’s that this bank is less of an “institution” and more of a trusted friend giving you common-sense financial advice.
8. Red Bull
Like Dollar Shave Club, Red Bull is a brand that always makes it onto these lists because it is so outstanding at what it does. By taking a commerce company and making it into a lifestyle brand that’s connected with some of the most exciting names in sports, Red Bull has managed to become the thing everyone in the content marketing field wants to be.
The company’s home page is filled with content spanning the worlds of extreme sports and music, and it’s easy to see how the company uses adventure-focused blog posts, interviews with prominent athletes and influencers, and a wide variety of content to inspire and compel people to reach further than they thought they could.
KISSmetrics is notable in the world of content marketing thanks to its high volume of quality content. Known for its consistent, in-depth offerings, KISSmetrics is a study in how more quality content can overhaul a brand and make it more relatable to its customers.
Take a look at the KISSmetrics blog and you’ll see just how useful its content is to customers – most posts they make earn about 60 likes and dozens of comments.
The brand publishes content regularly (a bit battle for most content marketers) and has aced the process of developing a consistent voice and providing material that’s relevant to their audiences.
Want to Get Better at Content Marketing? Learn From the Experts
While the fringes of content marketing are changing all the time, the core principals stay the same: publish fresh content often, speak directly to your customers, be yourself, and build relationships. While each of the nine brands mentioned in this post are different, they all nail those core principals 100 percent. From Red Bull’s edgy, action-dense blog to Dollar Shave Club’s “Our Blades are F**king Great” Video, there are dozens of ways to ace it in the world of modern content marketing, and these brands prove that a little bit of creativity goes a long way.
Julia McCoy is a bestselling author of So You Think You Can Write, podcaster and an expert content marketer. She’s also the founder and CEO of Express Writers, a leading online content creation agency, with more than 60 content writers and strategists. Julia leads her team to serve hundreds of worldwide businesses with the highest-quality content for their online presence. Follow Julia’s blog.