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How to Get Content Marketing to Work for Brands in Boring Spaces

by Today's Eggspert

With 27 million pieces of content being shared every day, people sometimes ignore (not intentionally though) the content you post.

An article published by Hubspot reveals that 54% of B2B marketers and 50% of B2C marketers report that their content doesn’t create opportunity for engagement.

There is no denying the fact that turning your site visitors into customers isn’t a cakewalk and retaining them is even harder. Having compelling and creative content is a must to keep people engaged.

Are you wondering what content marketing strategies will stand out from the crowd? The answer is simple. Do what smart marketers do! Learn lessons from companies that have emerged as shining examples of content marketing genius and put their examples into practice.

To help you, we have put together case studies of 4 brands (in rather boring spaces) that took content marketing to the next level. Moreover, we have pointed out the lessons you can learn from these brands to reinforce your brand’s value in the ever-so-competitive and ever-so-chaotic market.

Check it out!

Case Study #1 – InsideOut

InsideOut, a corporate training company was faced with the challenge of improving its lead generation. The company wanted to boost brand awareness and push sales. This case study reveals how the company was able to improve lead generation by 388%, achieve 20% higher click-through rate and decrease the ‘unsubscribe’ rate by 87% with its thought-leadership strategy within the first six months.

The Challenge

InsideOut heavily relied on sales-oriented, outbound approach and was reluctant to start content marketing efforts. The company wasn’t very open to the idea of sharing its valuable content. But by 2012, the company realized that it needed a chance to interact with its consumers and position itself a thought leader in the industry. They launched a brand storytelling campaign through a range of different thought-provoking and valuable videos, slide decks, and articles.

The Campaign

pivot point

The marketing team at InsideOut created and marketed compelling content to capture more attention and leads. The company’s content marketing campaign involved 4 different steps. Here are the steps:

  1. The company developed a content calendar. This ensured that they created content that was easy to digest, well-written and visually appealing.
  2. InsideOut positioned itself as an educational hub. They started presenting their content in the form of videos, slide decks and articles in order to offer complex content in the form interesting stories.
  3. They kept the content consistent with their brand and published it regularly to position themselves as a thought-leader in the industry. They conducted surveys and published their insights in the form of videos, slide decks and blog posts for their customers.
  4. They extensively promoted their content through several distribution channels such as email, social media networks, and partner sites.

Results:

InsideOut’s content strategy improved results across channels. Comparing results of the company’s sales-based and content-based emails in the first half of 2013, the content-based emails shined brightly:

What Makes This Case Study So Unique?

This case study reveals how visual appealing content can take elements of your brand and showcase them to the world in a way that’s even more awesome. According to Tommy Walker, 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual. Visuals are processed 60,000X faster in the brain than text.

Therefore, make sure that the content you create have some images or are in slides or videos so that people are able to understand it easily and quicker. Also, creating persuasive content is not enough, its distribution on all channels and sites is equally important for generating more leads.

What Should You Do?

Today’s modern-day discerning users prefer visual content over static content. The world seemed to have moved from text-based to image-based communications. With the dramatic shift in consumer taste and preference, conceptualizing entertaining and engaging visual content is more imperative for brands than ever before.

If you too are looking to harness the power of images, videos, and slides to create content that can build, engage, and leverage your audiences, don’t forget to follow these best practices:

  • Don’t just limit yourself to images. Understand that people take in information differently. Consider using photographs, video, podcasts, and presentations.
  • Use images that have a clear connection to your brand. Include images that showcase your services or products as well as those that convey your brand’s personality. And don’t forget to use images that appeal to the emotions of your audience.
  • Ensure that your visual content is actionable. Use consistent branding elements to drive traffic to your site and include relevant links to landing pages, content and offer to keep visitors engaged and entertained.
  • If you’re using videos, keep it short. The ideal length of videos is 3 minutes. Do guide your videos to a comprehensive content on the subject in order to advance the buying process.
  • Use heat maps and micro surveys to find out what your audiences like and what they don’t and create your content accordingly. Don’t forget to create content types that best fit your publishing channel. No matter, what content you create, don’t forget to play by the rules.

Case Study #2 — My Rental History Reports

Rental History Reports is one of the most trusted resources for building owners and landlords looking for professional background checks. When the company decided to start its service direct to consumers, it was challenged to reach out to individual consumers rather than to other businesses.

The Challenge

Apart from increasing their organic traffic, Rental History Reports was also looking to increase its page views and build trust with individual audiences. To promote its new direct to consumer service, the company needed to increase its organic traffic, reduce pay-per-click expenses and build trust with its new online audience.

The Campaign

In order to effectively fulfill its campaign objectives, My Rental History started a regularly updated blog to boost its content marketing efforts. The idea was to provide high-quality, optimized content on a constant basis that would help to improve organic search results. Additionally, they also speak to the concerns of consumers and at the same time establish the company as a leader in the marketplace.

The company started creating content that included targeted keywords and phrases, and, most importantly, acknowledged and addressed the concerns and questions of prospects. The company used powerful content topics, created a dedicated editorial calendar, and produced thought-provoking content three times a week.

Results:

Rental History was able to achieve its objective with its simple and effective content strategy. Here are the results that the company was able to achieve:

What Makes This Case Study So Unique?

This case study clearly reveals the importance of blogging for your business. Blogging allows businesses to share their level of expertise with their prospects and customers. In fact, according to TruConversion.com, businesses that blog receive 67% more leads than those that don’t.

But with so many business blogs out there, it’s not enough to just have an online presence. You’ll need to consistently publish high-quality, optimized content to improve organic search results, and address the concerns of consumers establishing the company as a leader in the marketplace.

What Should You Do?

Regardless of whether you offer physical products, services, and/or media, you must focus on building and publishing blog posts that support your business goals and resonate with your target audiences in the best way possible.

Here’s what you need to do in order to stay ahead in the game:

  1. Remember, you just have 8 seconds to capture the attention of your users. Research your buyer personas and deliver the most appropriate type of content to help your personas at every stage of the buying process.
  2. Don’t assume that your audience will be familiar with all the ins-and-outs of your chosen topic. Create content that delivers the information they need to better understand the issues you discuss in your content offerings — without talking down to them.
  3. Assess the potential to explore additional information on the topics you use for your main content assets. Also, consider talking to key people related to the topic. For many businesses, this means your employees, as well as outside experts.
  4. Find out the time and day when your community is most available on social media and willing to receive and share your content. Try experimenting with different times of day until you get a feel for what that “optimal” time is for you.
  5. You certainly don’t need to blog every day. But it makes sense to be consistent with your blogging in order to meet the expectations of your audience. Remember, when it comes to blogging consistency is the key.

Case Study #3 – ShoreTel Sky

ShoreTel Sky, a phone systems solutions company, started content marketing to spread awareness about the advantages of their products and its expertise in the marketplace. Though they were already publishing blog posts, they were really struggling with conversions. They, then, outsourced their content to increase the amount of content produced and build brand authority.

The Challenge

The company was challenged to build influence and win web leads. It was also looking to establish its brand’s expertise and thought leadership in the ever-so-competitive field, but was lacking the resources to position itself as a reliable resource for business phone system shoppers. The brand needed to publish regular, unique and industry-focused content to educate prospects about trends, tips and tactics around its products and services.

The Campaign

the campaign

The agency hired by ShoreTel Sky ensured using business-specific keywords into news pieces and other popular content categories. By devising a strategic keyword strategy to reflect industry trends, the company was able to ensure that its content stayed focused on queries of its prospects and customers in order to drive traffic and leads.

shoretelsky

In addition to publishing articles, blog posts and news, the company also published loads of industry specific infographics to capture the attention of its visitors’ right from the outset.

unified communication

Image Source: Brafton.com

Results:

The company used Google Analytics to analyze its performance. Within just 6 months of consistently publishing high-quality content, ShoreTel Sky was able to strengthen its SERP ranking with relevant, industry specific keywords driving traffic to the site. Here are the results that the company was able to achieve:

What is So Unique about This Case Study?

Contrary to the popular belief that content marketing should be done in-house, this case study shows that outsourcing content marketing can work well. In a blog post published by Quick Sprout, Neil Patel reveals that one major reason why companies are afraid to outsource content marketing is that they believe it will take away from their existing marketing efforts. However, good agencies can help you deliver high-quality work in a relatively short amount of time, depending on the scope of the project.

Outsourcing your content marketing can help you tap the knowledge and abilities of others that you might be lacking. Clearly revealed by this case study, outsourcing content marketing can help you get more traffic, more engaged readers, and more leads.

What Should You Do?

Lack of time to create engaging content is inarguably one of the biggest challenges that most businesses are faced with. This is where hiring a consultant or an agency could prove to be a good idea. By outsourcing your content marketing, you can save money, save time, tap on a wide range of expertise and get better results for your enthusiasm. In fact, 62% companies outsource their content marketing.

But before you go ahead outsourcing content marketing to an agency, you must keep a certain valuable tips in mind to make the most out of your investment.

  1. Make sure that the content marketing agency understands your business objectives and goals. Decide which types of content they will use to promote different topics, products or services. Let them know about any work you’ve done before. Ensure a proper planning and ironclad strategy.
  2. Only outsource your content marketing to a reputable agency or experts. Research their competence and speak to the clients that they have worked with in the past.
  3. Negotiate the terms and deadlines beforehand. But be realistic about the deadlines. Maintain clear communication at all times. Provide answers to all questions that experts may have in order to have a clear understanding between the parties.

Case Study #4 – Zillidy

Toronto-based personal asset lending startup, Zillidy, was looking to build brand awareness in the established consumer banking industry in Canada. The company wanted to attract media mileage and other forms of social proof to validate its credibility in Canada’s competitive market.

The Challenge

Being a young startup, the company was literally faced with almost all sorts of marketing challenges that one may think of. Building and nurturing a social media audience, encouraging people to recommend the company via social media, drawing targeted traffic and reinvesting ROI back into the channels that were working with – were just some of the most prominent challenges for the company.

The Campaign

zilidy

Zillidy hired an agency to address all its challenges. The agency it worked with helped it make its lead gen form more appealing by adding video, press coverage snippets and customer testimonials. It also made some site architecture changes in order to funnel more people to fill in the online application helping the company improve its conversion rate.

As its content marketing drive, the agency started publishing fresh and high-quality blog posts and articles each week on topics related to Canadian startups and personal finance advice. In addition, they also approached high domain authority sites such as the Huffington Post and New York Times and contributed guest posts.

The team also ensured promoting major press coverage of Zillidy through social media including Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn. The results were fabulous – Zillidy was able to earn nearly 1,600 social shares and 12 high quality links.

Results:

Outsourcing content marketing helped Zillidy deliver a great ROI. Here are the results that the company was able to achieve:

  • Social media audience has grown from under 100 people to over 1,000
  • Search impressions increased by 1,350% in the first ten months of the engagement.
  • Over 2,500 unique social shares were earned to editorial content.

What is So Unique about This Case Study?

This case study shows how videos are becoming an increasingly important in content marketing campaigns. Today, more than ever, companies are realizing that video has a key role to play in the content marketing strategy. It is a tool for capturing the user’s attention and delivering a brand message in a memorable and meaningful way.

Today, one of the up-and-coming marketing tactics is video — both of the pre-recorded and live variety. According to Cisco, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic by 2017. And according to Smart Insights, simply stating that the piece of content is a video appears to increase engagement across all channels.

What Should You Do?

70% marketers believe that videos have better conversion power than any other medium. In fact, an average user writes spends 88% more time on a website with video and 64% buyers are likely to buy the product after watching videos. But it is important to understand that if the video is to drive engagement and action, it needs to be closely aligned with the interests of the audience it’s reaching. Here is what you should do to make the most of your brand’s video marketing efforts.

  1. Analyze your data and create targeted videos to generate high-quality leads and ensure maximum conversions. Make sure you research your audience to create personalized videos.
  2. Create videos around topics that concern your target audiences. Make sure that your actionable and well-targeted videos let your audience know how your business can help them solve their most pressing issues. Break down complex subjects into easy to digest videos in order to describe your products or services.
  3. Aim for creating videos on topics that that are highly relevant in web-based searches. Remember, 93% B2B buyers begin their buying process using Internet search. Optimize your videos in order to make your content rank highly.
  4. Remember, there are 3.65 million unique mobile users globally and 20% of video views happen on mobile devices. Given the mobile usage is on the rise, do well to create mobile friendly videos.

Conclusion:

Since these studies are based on past data, you must be prepared for what the future of content marketing holds. The most obvious issue coming down the road is the fact that too much content is being produced. A lot of SEOs are seeing this as the number one issue with their content marketing efforts. As more and more content is produced, Google is indexing less content and ranking only the best content. Therefore, don’t strategize on being a content mill, rather, focus on only creating excellent content that fills a current gap or need.

About the Author:

Shruti Gupta works as a Sr. Digital Marketing Manager for Designhill.com, the world’s fastest-growing crowd-sourcing platform for custom logo design, website designs, banner, social media designs and a host of other graphic designs. With profound professional, technical and people management skills, she has spent 8 years of extensive experience in SEO, affiliate marketing digital marketing, blogging, and content marketing. Connect with her on twitter : @shruti_gupta01

* Feature image source.

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  1. Corey Zeimen says:
    July 6, 2016 at 11:14 pm

    If your really in business and not just running a blog (which should never be done in that order) then you simply advertise what your doing in your business that not just anyone can get access to, your trials and tribulations you go through, what your learned, what you tried thats new and work or didn’t work, it doesn’t matter who reads it, as long as someone cares as that is what is going to give your site the traffic and authority you need to get that organic traffic machine started.

    • Sean Work says:
      July 8, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      In a few cases, I recommended some startups to just start a blog first. Become the authority in your space and whatever product you’re going to build, the direction will become much clearer. Having the audience first can be extremely helpful. It will allow you to communicate and get feedback before you build anything. Plus, it gives you time to build trust and become a known brand before you even launch.

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