Content marketing comes in all shapes and sizes and unfortunately, the phrase content marketing itself is a combination of the two most ubiquitous words in digital. Content is everywhere, and so is marketing. That being said, content marketing is still three times more cost effective at lead generation than paid search. It’s the natural transition from paying for someone’s attention to pulling in your audience organically.
And no, content marketing isn’t just an SEO strategy. While dominating the search results is undoubtedly a profitable marketing channel, content marketing ranges from magazines to video series and podcasts.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably a marketer looking to be inspired with fresh ideas for 2022. The good news is that all these channels have been explored before. There is no magic medium where you can pour thousands of dollars to generate leads for cheap. If someone has sold you that dream, you’re most likely going to be really disappointed.
What I’d like to highlight here is how to be successful in each individual medium by entertaining, inspiring, educating, connecting, and delighting your audiences. Here are content marketing campaigns that will undoubtedly inspire you this year and beyond.
Let’s get started.
Robinhood Bites: Email Newsletter Done Right
Morning Brew’s $75 million valuation has changed the internet’s view of newsletters forever. In a world where organic traffic on social media platforms is close to zero, email has become the only channel where you can truly own your audience. The Morning Brew’s daily newsletter took the marketing world by storm. Robinhood Bites is a newsletter that resulted in the email renaissance.
Robinhood Bites is a daily newsletter by the stock trading platform that provides quick and digestible financial news, which only takes a few minutes to read. The newsletter is a perfect example of less is more: breaking down complex projects into a digestible way. Not everybody wants to read a 10,000-word blog post, especially everyday investors looking to improve their financial expertise.
Canva’s Design School That Democratizes Education
Canva’s free design school furthers its mission to “empower everyone in the world to design anything and publish anywhere.” Canva’s design tool has turned design on its head, making it easy for anyone to create beautiful designs without complex and expensive software. Canva is democratizing design education, which used to be a walled garden only accessible to a few.
Canva’s design school is a series of free videos that teaches the elements of design for anyone to use. The genius is that Canva is excellently integrated into the design process. While they have product-specific tutorials on how to design on Canva, the design tools are seamlessly featured throughout the course.
DuoLingo’s Unhinged TikTok Account
While Wendy’s uncensored Twitter account still reigns as the queen of social media, DuoLingo’s TikTok account is giving them a run for their money. Every brand wants to be a Wendy’s, and many have resulted in cringe-worthy brand exchanges like this one:
With every new generation, the marketing BS-meter increasingly gets higher and the execution of being a ‘genuine’ brand becomes harder by the day. Everyone can post about their new products, but not many can go viral being so bland.
DuoLingo’s unhinged TikTok account took a massive risk that was accepted by the TikTok community. Their owl mascot is described as a ‘menace,’ and bravely toes the line of being authentically (for the lack of a better word) savage. For the older folks reading this, the Urban Dictionary definition is someone who does not care about the consequences of their actions.
DuoLingo’s Google trends is proof that their content is working
Their TikTok account now only embraces memes but speaks in a way that resonates with the younger TikTok generation. Their video strategy may seem effortless to viewers, but on the backend is a result of excellent social listening, risk-taking, and rigorous A/B testing.
DuoLingo not only produces hilarious videos but comments on viral videos as well. They’re also never afraid to call out other brands running terrible TikTok accounts. With over 1.9 million followers to date, and run by a 23-year old fresh out of college, DuoLingo’s TikTok content is an excellent example of pulling in their audience by providing content that resonates with everybody.
Spotify Wrapped: So Shareable You’ll Get Sick of It
Every December, your social media feeds were most likely flooded with Spotify Wrapped posts. Everybody wanted you to know how unique their music tastes were and how they were a top 3% listener for their favorite artists. If you haven’t seen it before, Spotify takes listeners’ data to create shareable graphs, charts, and infographics about your listening behavior.
The data-driven campaign began in 2017 and has become a tremendous beast of its own. Surprisingly, in today’s day in age where data privacy has become an increasingly important issue to consumers, Spotify wrapped is an excellent example of how brands can leverage data to improve their user experience.
The content is so successful for three key reasons. First, the visuals are stunning. The slideshow is presented brilliantly, with funny prompts leading up to your unique, personalized wrap up.
Second, it provides social value. People want to show how unique they are, or on the flipside look for others with similar music tastes as them.
Lastly, it’s tremendously shareable. Every slide exports seamlessly to every social media platform. It also makes it easy for superfans to tag their favorite artists and engage with them across social media.
Coinbase Earn Positions Them as Leaders of Crypto
Coinbase, the crypto exchange platform valued at $86 billion when they hit the New York Stock Exchange, takes a unique approach to content marketing. Everything about Web3 is confusing — people paying millions of dollars to buy monkey NFTs to seeing 15-year old millionaires who invested in a coin based on a meme.
Coinbase responded to the skepticism around crypto by providing educational resources to teach everybody about Web3. Coinbase Learn provides educational guides, tutorials, and blog posts that position them as market leaders.
However, the Coinbase Earn program is unique. It’s a series of video courses about various coins in the market. The free educational program rewards users every time they complete a video about a specific cryptocurrency upon completing a short quiz. The crypto is rewarded through their app of course.
The obvious benefit is lead generation as it’s an excellent way to increase users at scale. On the other hand, they can work closely with new coins to improve their visibility, and in return, Coinbase can earn a commission for every crypto they feature. In the long run, both Coinbase Earn and Learn position them brilliantly as trusted market leaders in the crypto space.
Patagonia Stories That Inspire All Dedicated to Wildlife
Patagonia’s unique position as an activist company is brought to life in their content campaigns. They feature “stories” on their website, which is an editorial-focused strategy that inspires others to lead a wildlife-conscious lifestyle. They write about everything from their conservation efforts, their Facebook Ad boycott, and compelling stories about people’s exciting encounters with wildlife.
For example, their “Was it Worth It” piece tells a compelling first-hand account about an adventurer’s near-death encounters with grizzly bears and how hot springs saved him from hypothermia. This journalistic approach is uniquely different from a traditional SEO-centric strategy by focusing on building real relationships with their customers by sharing powerful stories that inspire others to live adventurous life.
H&M Magazine: A World of Inspiration
H&M created a lifestyle magazine that covers the three core pillars of their organizational values: fashion, beauty, and culture. Each piece serves its own unique purpose that resonates with fashion-lovers; everything from H&M gift guides, interviews with fashion models, design inspiration, and lookbooks that showcase all their newest styles.
H&M and Patagonia have similar approaches with two different executions tailored to their target audience. H&M’s magazine brand provides thoughtful articles that expand on the ideas, inspiration, and knowledge around their products. It also provides deeper insight into their unique product launches and the concept behind every seasonal campaign. This helps give their products more meaning and builds a deeper connection with their most loyal shoppers.
How Will You Leverage Content in 2022?
In a world full of uncertainty, one thing is for sure: everybody is consuming more content than they have ever had before. So the question is this: how will you create content that stands out in 2022? Will you be the next TikTok star? Will you start a magazine? If you don’t know where to start, read our guide on content marketing strategy to help you build a content marketing program that makes the most sense for you.