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How to Win at Content Marketing [New Playbook]

To the uninitiated, a content marketing initiative can seem like an old-school Dungeons and Dragons-style quest. You continually roll the dice in hopes of earning enough trust, credibility, and experience to persuade your audience to embark on a journey alongside your brand.

Of course, performance should never be left to chance. Every creative asset you produce needs to be supported by strategic decisions – from crafting ideas into a cohesive message to selecting the content types and distribution formats that let your ideas work their magic. Choose unwisely and even your strongest content assets might fail.

Having the right guide can mean the difference between achieving your goals and floundering blindly in a damp cave, waiting to be conquered by your competitors.

To lead you along the right path, the CMI team created a new e-book: Craft Your Brand Adventure: The 2018 Guide to Essential Content Marketing Tactics.

Like our past playbooks, this guide is loaded with fresh insights, practical tips, and latest findings from our benchmarks, budgets, and trends research. And, since digital media technology is evolving, we added new techniques and best-in-class brand examples to encourage you to explore new creative territory.

Inspiring brand examples of content marketing success

Whether you reached wizard status or are still figuring out what your skills and strengths might be, no content experience your audience desires is beyond your organization’s creative grasp. In fact, with a solid plan and a little ingenuity, brands of all types and sizes can craft epic-level content.

Want proof? Look at how enterprising brands found a smart approach to storytelling – no matter the technique:

Social media posts: The Virginia Aquarium’s #CuteAnimalTweetOff

The #CuteAnimalTweetOff is a fantastic example of how small organizations can compete with the big guys in engaging fans on the social stage. It all started when a fan saw a cute photo in the National Zoo’s Twitter feed and challenged her local aquarium (Virginia Aquarium) to share an even cuter photo. The effort set off a playful back-and-forth, with zoos and aquariums across the country chiming in with adorable photos. The #CuteAnimalTweetOff went viral and several major news outlets picked it up.

Pre-produced video: Don’t Say Velcro, Say VELCRO®

Preserving and protecting your brand’s trademarks is something you should take seriously. But it takes a particularly “sticky” business to find a fun way to do it. Hook-and-loop fastener company VELCRO® set its branding message to music – and hired people to pose as its legal team performing a tongue-in-cheek song-and-dance number. This educational video spot humorously chides the public for its careless use of brand names – a problem that can have serious implications for a company’s trademark rights.

Illustrations/photos: Getty Images’ Amanda Foundation Collection


Pet adoption is a rewarding experience on its own. But the Amanda Foundation (a Los Angeles-area rescue organization) found a great way to make gorgeous pictures of the animals under its care pay off, too. The group partnered with Getty Images to create a stock image collection using the photos the Amanda staff routinely takes in its efforts to help homeless pets find loving homes. For every stock image purchased from the collection, the Amanda Foundation receives a donation.

Content hubs: Capital Ideas


Since financial firm The Capital Group is built on long-term investing, its Capital Ideas branded microsite goes beyond reporting or analyzing the latest financial headlines. Instead, the content focuses on delivering deeper perspectives, insights, and answers that help guide investors toward taking appropriate actions with their finances. Not only has Capital Ideas given the company a thought-leadership platform, it also provides fuel for its other paid, earned, and owned media initiatives.

Online presentations: 24Slides


What’s even more powerful than creating online presentations to promote your brand’s value? Demonstrating that value by helping your audience to craft and enhance its presentations. 24Slides – a team of professional designers – gave away a fully editable, 20-slide corporate PowerPoint template as a way to build its subscriber list. To access the template, consumers simply had to enter their name and email on a home page pop-up, comment “yes,” on a LinkedIn Pulse article that 24Slides posted, or share the Pulse article with other aspiring content creators.

Earn critical experience points

Download the e-book for even more inspiration, as well as: 

  • Full descriptions of 21 popular content types and distribution formats
  • The latest stats on their usage in B2B and B2C organizations
  • Insights to help you decide whether to include a tactic in your strategic lineup
  • Targeted tips to help you optimize your content’s performance

May it serve you well on your content marketing quest.

Bring your team to Content Marketing World this October for inspiration, ideas, and actionable advice on developing and executing a strategy that drives profit for your business. Group rates are available. Register today

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute