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How the Inc. 500 Fastest-Growing Companies Are Using Content Marketing

In an Inc. article a few months back, the assertion was made that for the Inc. 500 (a listing of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S.), blogging was on the way out. Research from the Center for Marketing Research concluded that just 37 percent of Inc. 500 companies actively use a blog, down from 50 percent the year before. The rationale for this was that these companies are jumping directly to tools like Twitter and Facebook.

There are so many questions I have about this research, such as:

  1. Did they answer the question correctly? Technically, many of the companies have set their entire company websites on blogging platforms like WordPress.
  2. Just because a company isn’t blogging doesn’t mean they just “jump to” Twitter and Facebook because “Blogging… is too time consuming.” Does it?
  3. A blog is a very powerful content marketing tool, but it is just a tool. Isn’t it possible that these fast-growing companies are using other channels as part of their content marketing strategies?
  4. Isn’t the focus on just blogging shortsighted?

Content marketing is alive in the new Inc. 500 list

The Content Marketing Institute (a division of Z Squared Media, LLC) was honored to be among the most recent additions to the Inc. 500 fastest-growing American companies (#365). To make it to this level, we almost exclusively used content marketing strategies and tactics to launch and grow the business, including starting with a blog platform and then expanding the strategy to white papers, print books, eBooks, e-newsletters, social media content, in-person events, and more.

After looking at the most recent list, I started to discover how many of the other companies on the list were employing a heavy amount of content marketing. Yes, content marketing (and blogging) are alive and well with the fastest-growing companies on the planet.

#11 – NastyGal (Los Angeles, Calif.)
NastyGal, a women’s apparel store, drives a visual content marketing strategy perhaps as well as anyone. Its daily (sometimes more) blog shows off trends in the industry through smart text and beautiful imagery. This visual approach has led to their amazing following on Instagram (over 300,000 followers) and nearly 500,000 fans on Facebook.

#20 – BlueGrace Logistics (Riverview, Fla.)
The fastest-growing freight hauler positions itself as one of the clear thought leaders in its space with its weekly blog. BlueGrace pairs its blog content to major events, like the start of the football season and logistics, or how hurricanes can disrupt the supply chain process.

#78 – Marketo (San Francisco, Calif.)
The fastest-growing marketing software company on the planet leverages literally all content marketing channels through all parts of the funnel. Specifically, Marketo’s success kits help turn suspects into prospects, and the company’s blog has a following that most media companies would envy. Oh, and they just launched a print book.

#86 – Bizo (San Francisco, Calif.)
This targeted advertising leader actually drives much of its growth through content marketing. Bizo uses a combination of self-funded research programs, white paper series, blogs, and more to generate an active following. Want proof? Just check out the company’s resources section for some amazing content marketing.

#172 – Pardot (Atlanta, Ga.)
Pardot’s weekly (yes, weekly) webinars set the tone for this marketing automation company. They strive for continuous education to prospects and customers through videos, white papers, and consistent blog posts.

#236 – LeanDog (Cleveland, Ohio)
No, this agile software consulting group doesn’t have a blog, but its event program spreads the word about the growing company like nothing else. LeanDog produces an annual event called GiveCamp, where it leverages its coding expertise to help nonprofits. That venture alone has led to amazing word-of-mouth leads for the company, along with its regular training seminars for newbies.

#314 – HubSpot (Boston, Mass.)
The search-led software company is perhaps the poster child for inbound marketing, where it is given much credit for coining the term and growing the industry. More original content comes out of HubSpot than almost any other company. Its blogs, infographics, research, e-newsletters, and (yes) even a print book have vaulted HubSpot straight to the top.

Or better yet, here are the companies (besides us) that are growing because of the move to content marketing:

#12 – Livestream (New York, N.Y.)
More non-media companies are using Livestream’s broadcasting services to cover their events online.

#146 – Likeable Media (New York, N.Y.)
Manages social media and content creation for some of the 200+ best brands around the world.

#430 – Jess3 (Washington D.C.)
The digital agency, recently featured in CCO Magazine, is taking advantage of the move to content by providing outsourced services.

#474 – The Pedowitz Group (Alpharetta, Ga.)
As more organizations are leveraging content for lead nurturing, more problems arise with integration.  That’s what Pedowitz does.

Get the “how-to” first hand

If you’d like to find out some of the secrets to how fast-growing companies are leveraging content marketing, join Jon Miller, VP of Marketing Content and Strategy for Marketo, and me, as we discuss how both Marketo and CMI have used content strategies to grow at such a fast pace. Join us for the “10 Tips to Get on the Inc. 500: How Two Companies Did It” webinar on September 13, 1 PM EST.