5 Examples of Brands That Are Winning at Content Marketing in 2016

September 1, 2016

There’s a huge amount of information online about content marketing ideas on a range of platforms. It can be difficult to consolidate this advice into a working, easy to start strategy. Observing and analyzing the practical ways that successful brands use content marketing can make it easier to get inspired and even apply some of the same strategies for your own business.

Stitch Fix, GoPro, Whole Foods, Farrow & Ball and Denny's are just a few examples of brands that are effectively using content to inform and influence their target audiences right now.

Stitch Fix

Stitch Fix is an online clothing retailer with an unique approach to fashion and a core marketing strategy based on personalization. The Stitch Fix process begins with a detailed style profile, which asks questions about the customer’s body type, individual style and budget to help a stylist put together a “fix” of five clothing items. The personalized approach to content marketing continues on the Stitch Fix blog, with content that focuses on style options for specific needs, as well as for specific body types.

It also extends to the brand’s social media accounts, such as Instagram, where the Stitch Fix team shares their favorite fashion items with over 412k followers, and Pinterest, where customers pin their favorite Stitch Fix fashions for their personal stylist. The personalized style of Stitch Fix’s content marketing is a great example of how brands can draw in customers by providing information completely relevant to their individual needs. By first segmenting customers into groups based on their needs and preferences, brands can use this information to provide incredibly relevant content. It takes a strong understanding of the target audience to make this strategy work, but as Stitch Fix proves, personalization is a powerful marketing device.

GoPro

Another brand using content marketing to set itself apart, GoPro has become famous for being the first to produce a mounted video camera designed to capture action from the perspective of the performer. The brand continues to maintain its prominence by using video content captured by GoPro cameras as its main source of marketing — but the vast majority of the brand’s material doesn’t come from its staff; it comes from GoPro customers. This crowdsourced approach to marketing gives the company a more authentic feel and inspires potential customers who see people just like them performing clever stunts and having great adventures — and as a result, want to be part of the GoPro experience.

The user generated content marketing that GoPro employs can be used effectively by other brands. Seeing the creations of others can inspire potential customers to be part of the same community of adventurers, artists and creators — and as a result, they will want to purchase the same products. The potential for a brand to use their creations in a marketing campaign is even more incentive for users — everyone wants recognition for their work!

Whole Foods

Who would think a grocery store could do content marketing so well? Whole Foods is a grocery brand that differentiates itself with a focus on healthy and sustainable food choices. When it comes to content marketing, the company’s success is largely due to its inclusive, lifestyle-based approach. Whole Foods’ website content is quite clear in its purpose of showing that healthy living is possible for everyone; articles educate customers on not only eating well, but doing so on a budget.

This inclusive, informative approach has made Whole Foods extremely successful in content marketing. This same tactic can be effective for other brands as well — a business can use extensive, helpful content to establish itself as a reliable source on a topic of interest for its target audience. As a result, these brands can build a following that is loyal both to their content and to their products.

Farrow & Ball

A paint-and-wallpaper brand from the U.K., Farrow & Ball’s content approach is broad and narrow at the same time. Its Chromologist blog only posts articles on items related to color — which turns out to be a surprising amount of content. The Chromologist covers everything from obvious brand choices, like home decor tips, to the discovery of new colors and books about color, as well as the use of color in pop culture.

By broadening the content of their blog, Farrow & Ball gives visitors a reason to visit the site even when a painting project isn’t on the horizon and can help them stay on the top of the mind for potential customers when they are ready to do some decorating. Other businesses can adopt a similar marketing method by focusing their efforts on a single theme and providing content on an array of content within that theme — making them a destination all the time.

Denny’s

Diner franchise Denny’s focuses its marketing strategy on knowing its customers and their sense of humor. From the unlikely content platform of a Tumblr blog to the irreverently funny images and texts the company posts, the brand clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously. The strategy is one that works, as their food-related posts are entertaining and regularly shared across social media. This strategy can be useful for other brands, as long as they have a strong understanding of your audience.

Humor can be a great way to engage and entertain an audience, but only as long as the humor fits with the tone of the company. Misplaced jokes and silly memes used by the wrong brand, like a bank or law firm, will likely not have the desired effect and could even become PR drama.

The important takeaway from these 5 brands is to identify the kind of content that will resonate with your audience. Don't be afraid to be authentic and to express your brand in a unique way. When you know your audience, it works.