Finding content marketing examples that match your field can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. When you’ve got a limited budget (finances or time) and a whole lot of potential customers to reach, an innovative content marketing strategy is going to be your best friend.
With that said, it’s always nice to have a bit of inspiration to model your strategy on; why reinvent the wheel if there’s already a successful strategy you can try? As you look into building a robust, data-driven, customer-focused strategy, it’s good to have a look at some creative content marketing examples to give your brain a nudge.
We’ve all heard of giants like Coca-Cola and McDonalds using content marketing to their advantage. But as part of a group of titans willing to spend an average of $1.75 million (and the rest) annually on their strategy, you kind of expect it to be good. The truth is that you may not have that resource just yet. This means that doing what they do might not work for you.
So this list is exclusively highlighting content marketing examples used by small businesses who’ve used the few resources they have for the most significant impact.
Instagram is one of the most widely used visual platforms in the world with a billion users worldwide. Using it creatively is the key to standing out. Let’s look at some small business friendly options you can use right now, even if your budget is minimal.
Cluse – Content Curation
Cluse is a watch brand from the Netherlands with a content strategy that exudes elegance. They started their whirlwind of a journey in 2014 and used social media, mainly Instagram, to promote a simple, beautiful product targeted at a no-fuss, no-frills customer base. Their branding has always been pretty chic but here’s a neat trick you can use.
Instead of creating the content all by yourself, curate the content. Cluse collected over 19,000 images generated by their customers to then use on their social media platforms. Most of these images would have come to them for free. All you then have to do is pick the best ones and display them.
Customers love it when their creativity is rewarded, especially if they are looking to become Instagram influencers. Those that aren’t interested in that get a real confidence boost; it generates an air of appreciation and goodwill. You could even incentivise with prizes or discounts or an affiliate link programme whereby they can pass on discounts to their followers and make a commission. You tag them, they tag you and your sales skyrocket as audiences are brought together over a common interest in your product or service.
Don’t believe me?
Cluse’s sold a million watches in their first couple of years of trade. Now…they’re unstoppable. That’s the power of user-generated content marketing.
Takeaway – Use customer-generated content to promote your fledgeling business and increase sales without having to spend a tonne of money on production costs. Please ensure if you employ this strategy, you do so legally making sure to take an approach were customers OPT-IN to allow you to share the content they produce. If they have to opt-out, it’s easy for the customer to forget in the heat of the moment and regret their choice later.
Be diligent in getting all the correct permissions to use people’s work and don’t illegally poach photos. Stealing images is one of the fastest ways to destroy your reputation and scandals spread across the internet like wildfire. It’s never worth the risk!
Lucy Bee – Stealth Marketing
I had never heard of Lucy Bee products. Coconut oil was just gaining mainstream attention but wasn’t really on the radar. Enter, The Body Coach. Joe Wicks started his Instagram journey sharing recipes to complement his services as a personal trainer. He used lots of different phrases to make short, sharp recipe videos fun and engaging. One was ‘Midget Trees’ (broccoli), and the other was ‘Lucy Bee!”, Meaning coconut oil. Every time Joe Wicks did a video using Lucy Bee coconut oil, he’d tag the company.
In doing that, Joe Wicks, whilst building his own empire and 2.6 million followers, irreversibly fused Lucy Bee with high-quality coconut oil. Every time we think of The Body Coach and his videos, we all now think of ‘Lucy Bee!”; we probably call it that now in secret when cooking, so naturally we’ll want to buy it to ensure an authentic experience…maybe not but you catch my drift.
Another example of this is the word ‘hoover’. Hoover is a company, but we use it as a catchphrase for a vacuum cleaner. Now you can have a Dyson, a Shark, an Electrolux or anything in between…you’ll still call it a Hoover.
Lucy Bee’s Instagram page has just over 167,000 followers. Which shows that sometimes, being the centre of attention isn’t the be all and all. Letting someone else take centre stage certainly has its benefits.
Takeaway – if your product is catchy enough to have its own slogan or buzzphrase and you can combine that with a charismatic, external influencer to make it a new craze, go for it. It’s a cheap way to get the name of your product on everybody’s lips and build rapport all at the same time.
Influencer marketing will continue to grow, but for small businesses, micro influencers can make a macro difference to your business. The intimate culture produced by micro influencers give their reviews an authenticity and a relatability that helps customers take that step and give you their hard-earned cash. So look around and take advantage of this.
Lucy Bee has since diversified into salts, spices and skincare as well as its iconic fair trade coconut oil. And all of us still shout “Lucy Bee!” as we throw a glob of coconut oil into a pan.
Facebook is still a fantastic way to build a community. The latest statistics show that there are 2.38 billion active users on the platform. 1.56 billion of those users, log in on a daily basis. At present, you might find that Facebook ads may be a little too expensive now to use on a regular basis, but there are a couple of methods you can use that keep costs down and engagement high.
Female Entrepreneurs Association – Community based content
The Female Entrepreneurs Association is a Facebook community for female entrepreneurs all over the globe. Content takes the form of posts and videos that help to inspire the community, keep them engaged and point them to committing to a membership on the website. Communities still reign supreme on Facebook; let’s not forget, that its user base dwarfs entire nations. So if you can build a mini-community for your business, you can use it as a way of generating a loyal fanbase.
Takeaway – Facebook still has a considerable part to play in your content marketing strategy. Building a community will continue to be a worthwhile endeavour if it’s a natural part of your business model. Use content to keep an open channel of communication between your business and your fans.
Maxwell’s – Viral Video Content
Potentially this is a bit of a gamble, but if you’ve got the product or service that’s outrageous enough to catch the wandering eyeball, it can work wonders for your business. The jury is out on who invented the first ever Donut burger so I will leave that to you to decide, but Maxwell’s Bar and Grill in London created their own version and showcased its wonder in a video that soon went viral on Facebook. It’s not quite a cheeseburger placed between two Krispy Kreme’s, but it’s visually striking nevertheless. This video went on to generate an estimated £1million in revenue, as fans flocked to the restaurant to try out the burger.
Takeaway – Content comes in many different forms. A viral video can create the kind of ‘overnight’ exposure that can launch your business to stardom if harnessed correctly. The great thing about a viral video is that it can be a beautifully polished production, or it can be a ‘handmade’ video made with minimum resources whilst losing none of its charm. If it applies to your business, small businesses have the most to gain using this content marketing technique.
Blogs have a huge time commitment if you want to do them well, especially at the beginning. Consistent content is important, but the now Google algorithms make it imperative that the content you produce is high quality and able to add value in a saturated space. Let’s look at a couple of the folks doing this really well.
Clifton Chilli Club – Expert Opinions
The Clifton Chilli Club is an internet haven where chilli lovers can indulge themselves in all things to do with everyone’s favourite hot and spicy plant. They review products, they tell us stories of all their food challenges, and they find all the best chilli themed festivals!
The Clifton Chilli Club is an excellent example because it’s important to understand that expertise comes in many different forms. Whatever business you’re running, you’re going to have a wealth of experience stored away in that brain of yours. Repurpose it into a magnet that draws like-minded people to your cause and gets Google on your side.
The internet is bloated enough already with vague information that doesn’t add value. Expertise is now the currency of all good blogs, and its importance cannot be understated. So take the time to pick through your brain and mine all of its accumulated riches. You won’t regret it.
Take away – Google bots have so much content to trawl through, a beautifully done blog that establishes itself as an expert in its field rises through the Google ranks. Be sure that your blog adds plenty of value for readers, is well thought out and well researched. The traffic and customers will come as a result of increased credibility and authenticity.
Pinterest has yet to enter into its full potential. It’s an alternative visual platform to Instagram and has a high capacity to build a community. The strength of Pinterest lies in that fact that it’s the everyday person’s ideation platform – a place where people can plan, visualise and get inspired about their next decision. You can see how a well-placed picture can catapult your business straight into people’s line of sight as they make decisions that could eventually lead to them giving you their custom.
Pie Provisions – Labyrinth Technique
A small but mighty business that supplies pie ingredients to home bakers, US-based, these guys use Pinterest to sell me the pie making dream. If I were there, I’d be buying. They’ve set up a labyrinth of content on Pinterest which draws you in and keeps you looking at the most divine pies. When you can’t take it anymore, and you want that recipe, you’ll click the link and go straight through to that website.
The way to people’s hearts is definitely through their stomachs.
Takeaway – Use Pinterest to beautifully display your products and drive traffic straight to the website. Images need to be high-quality content that people will keep on loving; perfect for building a timeless campaign that will captivate for months and years to come.
We hope these case studies help get you inspired and well on your way to building a high impact content strategy that will take your business to the next level.
If you know of an incredible content marketing example we’ve missed off our list, let us know in a tweet!