In October 2012 Econsultancy ran a survey which found that 90% of brands felt that content marketing would become more important over the following 12 months.
One year on it is hard to argue against the fact that content marketing is now among the most important trends in digital.
However when we published the Content Marketing Survey Report with Outbrain, just 38% of respondents had a defined strategy in place.
That is likely to have changed by now, however just to add more weight to the argument in favour of this discipline I have rounded up six case studies from various brands that have seen real results from content marketing.
And for more information on this topic, check out our blog posts on four brands taking content marketing to the next level and how to build your brand with content marketing...
InsideOut improves lead generation by 388%
Corporate training company InsideOut began content marketing in 2012 to try and shake up its marketing strategy, which previously had focused on outbound, sales-based communications, especially in its email program.
It set out to create compelling content to help grab attention and generate leads, with a focus on simple, bite-sized slide decks, articles and videos.
InsideOut also wanted its content to be unique and visually attractive to help it stand out above the competition.
The content was produced in-house as much as possible in order to stay true to the brand values and was primarily promoted via email, social, the website and PR.
InsideOut’s strategy improved results across all channels, with the clearest results coming in email.
Comparing results of the company's sales-based and content-based emails in the first half of 2013, the content-based emails were clearly more successful:
- 20% higher clickthrough rate.
- 87% lower opt-out rate.
- 388% more leads generated.
Rental History Reports increased organic traffic by 400%
Traditionally a B2B company, Rental History Reports implemented a content strategy after launching a new consumer service.
The aim was to increase organic traffic, reduce PPC spend and build trust with a new audience.
To achieve its goals Rental History Reports launched a blog that addressed the concerns of consumers and targeted important keywords and phrases.
After creating a content calendar the company published blog posts at least three times per week, achieving the following results:
- Rental History Reports now shows up on page one in organic Google searches for its targeted key words and phrases.
- Organic traffic to the website increased by more than 400% within six months.
- Page views per visit increased by 260%.
- Pay-per-click spending decreased.
- More than half of the company’s sales are now a result of organic traffic.
Shoretel Sky triples inbound links in six months
Cloud-based phone systems vendor ShoreTel Sky began content marketing in order to promote the benefits of its products and its expertise in the industry.
The team was already producing blog content, but wanted to increase the output so commissioned an agency to produce additional articles.
The specific goals were to:
- Build brand authority.
- Enhance SEO and win more engaged traffic.
- Support on-site conversions.
As well as daily blog content the agency produced regular infographics. As a result of the content marketing strategy:
- In Q3 of 2012, organic traffic was up 50.8% over the same period the previous year.
- Inbound links to the site tripled in six months.
- Website visitors who read news content and blogs had a 42% higher goal conversion rate than other traffic over the course of the first six months of the campaign.
In September 2012 financial services company City Index launched a Trading Academy to give eight wannabe traders the chance to win £100,000.
Each week, one trader was eliminated, eventually leaving two to battle it out in front of a live studio audience at City Hall.
It was part of a content marketing exercise aimed at convincing people who hadn't thought of trading to open a live account, expose the lack of innovation in this competitive space and simplify the concept of trading.
The campaign site involved six YouTube episodes, details of each contestants, real time updates on their trades, mentor videos, and an education section.
Each contestant was set up with their own Twitter profile and blog space on the City Index site.
The competition led to the best ever month for account openings, and a boost in organic search rankings. Here are the results:
- 20m impressions generated by the #TradingAcademy Twitter feed.
- 1m views across all content channels.
- 67,000 clicks generated by the #TradingAcademy Twitter feed.
- A 1443% increase in social referral visits.
- 81% increase in unique site visitors.
- 60% increase in PPC acquisition for brand terms.
Personal lending company Zillidy launched in 2012 with a view to making a name for itself as an alternative to the established consumer banking industry.
It relied on content marketing to build awareness of its brand and concept, attract press coverage, build and nurture active communities in social media, publish authoritative content, draw targeted traffic to the website and convert that traffic to preliminary online loan applications.
To achieve its goals, Zillidy implemented the following course of action:
- The website was made “stickier” by recommending engaging forms of content such as video, press coverage snippets and customer testimonials on the homepage.
- Site architecture was modified to funnel more visitors into the online application, thus improving the conversion rate optimization for the site.
- It published weekly blog content, which typically covered Canadian startups and personal finance advice-driven topics, and also contributed with highly authoritative articles in places like the Huffington Post and New York Times.
As a result of the new strategy:
- Zillidy’s social media audience grew from under 100 people to more than 1,000.
- Search impressions increased 1,350% in the first ten months of the engagement.
- Over 2,500 unique social shares were earned from editorial content from January through October 2013.
- Most importantly, online applications steadily improved each month.
Virgin.com creates content based on big data
Virgin.com revamped its entire content strategy as part of a site redesign several years ago.
The content team worked with data scientists to work out the types of conversations taking place on social media, audience segments and the importance of Richard Branson’s presence.
As a result of complicated sentiment and audience analysis the content team was able to target three different segments:
- The content involves insight and advice from entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, inspired by Richard’s values and Virgin’s purpose.
- The strategy also involved working with influencers in this area, such as @kevinrose, @mikebutcher and @missrogue, and brands including TechHub and Seedcamp.
- Backed by Virgin’s musical heritage, the content is focused on the emerging technologies, trends and artists that are changing the industry for the better.
- Influencers in this area include @soundboy, @sparker and @stevenlevy, and brands such as Spotify and Songkick.
- In the wake of Virgin’s spaceship business, the team aimed to focus on outstanding travel and tourism innovations that will benefit the customer’s experience.
- Influencers in this area include @elonmusk, @peterdiamandis and @Cmdr_Hadfield, and brands such as Tnooz and Virgin Galactic.
The aim is for Virgin’s content to “become the catalyst that spurs people into action- to change the game of music, travel and entrepreneurship for good."