By Neil Patel published July 27, 2015

4 Businesses That Are Doing Content Marketing Like a Boss (and How You Can Do It Too)

content-marketing-like-boss-coverSome businesses are just flat-out good when it comes to content marketing. These are the businesses that basically define what content marketing is, how it looks, and how people respond.

What makes these businesses so awesome?

We need to make sure that we acknowledge a few simple things. Many of the companies that do awesome things with their content marketing also have other things going for them, such as:

  • A trending product or huge consumer interest
  • A cool niche
  • Well-known brand evangelists
  • Experienced thought leaders
  • Professional content marketing leaders
  • A lot of money

You may be in a niche that is tiny, unsexy, and downright boring. You may have zero in-house talent and no budget.

So, the question is, can you still do content marketing like a boss?

The answer is yes. I’m going to give you a takeaway from each of these four organizations. To even the playing field, I’ve selected small, big, B2C, and B2B businesses. You’ll find something that fits your approach and some serious insight that will take your content marketing to the next level.

1. TED

Most of us have watched a TED Talk, probably on YouTube or shared on social media.

TED is a nonprofit organization, and its whole approach is content. According to its website, TED is “devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less).”

TED-example-image 1

TED began in 1984, which predates digital content marketing by a long shot. But today, it is one of the world’s premier sources of authoritative and inspirational content. Here are some things that you need to know about how TED is crushing it in the content marketing arena. Its talks:

  • Have been viewed over 1 billion times
  • Get an average 17 new page views per second
  • Are translated into more than 100 languages

TED has more than 3.5 million subscribers on its general YouTube channel, 2.5 million on TEDx, 1.2 million on TED-Ed, 130,000 on TEDxYouth, and 50,000-plus on TED Fellows talks.

Many of the TED Talks have become viral sensations, racking up millions of page views. The content may not be quite as entertaining as the video for Gangnam Style, but it is far more inspirational and educational.

How did TED become such a powerful source of content marketing, especially when its videos are nothing more than people talking?

Takeaway: Your ideas should be worth spreading.

TED’s mission says it all. It is an organization that is devoted to one thing – ideas. Good ideas. Powerful ideas. World-changing ideas. Forward-thinking ideas.

People are smarter than we think. People want to be inspired, challenged, and changed by good content.

Whatever service or product you’re selling, say something worth saying, and say it well. Your content marketing ideas should be worthwhile.

2. AudienceBloom

audiencebloom-example-image 2

I told you I would bring a small business into the mix, but calling AudienceBloom “small” isn’t all that accurate. Even though the Seattle-based content and social media marketing firm has a small and agile team, it does amazing things. You don’t offer a lame service, and get mentions in Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Yahoo!, Mashable, Wired, Inc., and Fox, like AudienceBloom has. Many of the world’s biggest and most recognized brands are powered by its strategy and consulting work.

AudienceBloom has scored a mark in the SEO and content world because it knows what content marketing is all about. Its blog publishes cutting-edge information in the digital marketing world. It offers a free online marketing resource, and its founder, Jayson DeMers, spreads his ideas far and wide in world-recognized publications.

Takeaway: Know your niche and talk about it.

AudienceBloom is a great example of a company that understands its field, and can talk intelligently about it. DeMers is a marketing whiz, with a knack for putting things into unforgettable words. He talks about the industry, not to promote his brand but to educate people about the niche.

All that “talking” is also known as “content marketing,” and it’s gotten AudienceBloom into a remarkable position.

3. GoPro

GoPro turned digital cameras into hero-making machines.

GOPRO-example-image 3

Just when we thought that digital cameras were ho-hum-yeah-so-what, GoPro unleashed a totally new spin. Here was a camera that you could take with you when you skydive, spelunk, bike, climb, crawl, camp, soar, fly, fish, fall, work, explore, drive, jump, dive, surf, swim, ski, and snowboard. Oh, and you can even put a GoPro on your dog … or a lion.

Right now, GoPro’s content is viral, and most of it is user-generated. GoPro takes its viewers into places that most could never dream of going themselves, providing rare glimpses into activities that they would never dare to do.

Basically, GoPro turns its users into heroes. Its motto is “This is your life. Be a hero.” The camera is called “Hero.” Its users look good doing whatever it is they do. And viewers – they get to sit back and enjoy the content – amazing, head-turning content.

Takeaway: Be visual and be radical.

GoPro is powered by visual content. This goes beyond the “post-more-pictures-on-Twitter” idea. GoPro understands that we are visual creatures who crave visual stimulation. So, it serves it up in radical ways.

You don’t have to be a camera manufacturer to enjoy this kind of benefit. Infographics can accomplish much the same thing.

4. IBM

IBM-example-image 4

IBM’s approach to content marketing is so fragmented that I don’t even know how, where, or why it publishes content everywhere it does.

Still, whenever I see one of its studies, read its research, or hear its news, I pay attention. That’s because IBM knows the topics important to the industries in which it participates.

But IBM goes a step beyond – it creates content hybrids that accomplish the same purpose but do so with more appeal. For example, IBM’s CityOne Game educates users on solving business, environmental, and logistical problems. It’s a game, but it’s highly educational. What’s more, it’s addictively fun.

IBM-CityOne Game-example-image 5

Takeaway: Publish what’s interesting in an interesting way.

IBM’s approach isn’t as streamlined as I would prefer, but it is undeniably powerful. With its mix of educational, informative, and gamified content, it is dominating the content marketing game like few others have been able to do.

Sure, IBM has deep pockets, but that shouldn’t keep you from following its example. Good ideas, interesting ideas, and innovative approaches don’t cost a dime.

Conclusion

You don’t have to be the size of IBM to develop gamified content. And you don’t have to sell cameras to serve visual content. Great content isn’t necessarily tied to your product/service, or budget. It has everything to do with your approach.

In light of these businesses’ successes, where does your content marketing need to change?

Want more examples of stellar content marketing, from brands both large and small? Check out 75 Examples to Spark Your Content Marketing Creativity.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Neil Patel

Neil Patel is the co-founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar, and KISSmetrics. He helps companies like Amazon, NBC, GM, HP and Viacom grow their revenue. The Wall Street Journal calls him a top influencer on the web, and Entrepreneur Magazine says he has created one of the 100 most brilliant companies in the world. You can connect with him on Twitter @neilpatel.

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  • sellotapeseller

    It’d be good to see examples of ‘a niche that is tiny, unsexy, and downright boring’ though – the four examples are none of those things!

    • http://neilpatel.com Neil Patel

      Sellotapeseller, the tips can be used to work with virtually any niche. I just shared some more relatable ones.

  • Ashley Witt

    I would love to see a great example of how a financial institution is doing this!

    • http://www.contentmarketinginstitute.com Lisa Dougherty

      Hi Ashley! Thanks for your comment. You’re in luck! We have a blog post running on Sunday that features a new white paper that examines the finance sector – sharing research about how these marketers use content marketing and highlighting examples, tips, and takeaways from those who are finding success. I hope it helps! Cheers, Lisa

      • Ashley Witt

        Fabulous! I look forward to reading it. Thanks so much Lisa :)

  • Aziz Sadiku

    Been an ardent follower of Neil Patel and other C. M evangelist for a while now.. You guys do top stuffs. Question is, how would you propose I went about it, if i intended carving a niche in the fashion industry? I mean i have a lot of ideas, but i think you’d sure know better.

  • Len Diamoond

    Other than IBM, which was pretty successful before, and excepting the non-profit, are they making any money?

  • Julia McCoy

    Very insightful ‘takeaways’! I enjoyed reading through the very relatable samples, esp. Audience Bloom. Been following along Jayson DeMers’ intelligent content – an amazing marketer! And, I agree, GoPro has also been making a lot of noise in social media these days. Thank you, @disqus_5pPRxXyRW3:disqus !

  • http://www.thatdudeyouknow.com Ryan

    Thanks for the article and for the AudienceBloom tip.

  • http://www.camillacarboni.com Camilla Carboni

    Fantastic and fun article Neil! I’m with Julia – just love all your ‘takeaways’ – and I find it so interesting (and by no coincidence) that all these types of reviews and case studies of amazingly successful companies in our day and age have one thing in common: they share an understanding of the importance of placing the customer at the center of their marketing – creating desire, sharing value and being unique, personable and fun. It’s a great thing to see happening in our digital age!

  • Marina Kirushkina

    Hi, This is awesome! I certainly agree that your approach is the key. Thanks for this post. Great job!

  • Toranaga

    Niel Patel? Is this a joke?