Ever wondered if content Marketing really works? Did you think it’s a back-breaking, nausea-inducing, back-breaking, and thankless endeavor?
Maybe. Maybe not.
If it wasn’t important at all, Michael Brenner of ContentMarektingInstitute would not bother cooking up a formula – and a book titled The Content Formula — for Content Marketing ROI.
Content marketing, if you want to consider that as an industry, is already going to be worth $300 billion by 2019, according to PQMedia’s Global Content Marketing forecast 2015-2019 and with thanks to Marketing Media Mag.
What drove this?
B2B content, software, and consulting.
Who doesn’t know Zapier, Right? Let’s be honest now. There’s really nothing like Zapier out there and hence they have no virtually no competition. So, they could sit on their ass and wait for the word to spread.
No, they don’t.
Their blog is the best thing that happened for anyone like who is a “web tool addict”, a lifetime learner of productivity, and a passionate evangelist for marketing automation (or automation of anykind).
Further, each of their blog posts is also an inspiration that can teach everyone else how to provide value in a single post.
Reading their blog is not even a difficult decision, eh?
Who else – apart from just a few – can beat the sheer power of CopyBlogger.com to influence, teach, educate, and inspire an entire world on writing, blogging, marketing, psychology, and influence?
Copyblogger started as just that – a blog.
Today, it’s worth billions of dollars with products such as Authority (premium membership), StudioPress (The Genesis framework and WordPress themes), Synthesis (WordPress Specific hosting), The Rainmaker Platform (all-in-one marketing suite), and more.
Allow it to teach you to grab a piece of Independence?
You’d never think that a web hosting company could actually set the bar high when it comes to content marketing. The usual rush of shared hosting companies doesn’t even bother with blogging much (they have highly paid affiliates to do all the work for them).
Flywheel publishes a magazine called The Layout and the style, flair, and volume of high-quality content that the folks at Flywheel put out weekly is astonishing (for a web host).
Flywheel hosting is my favorite and we host this site on it.
Learn more about them in my Flywheel Review.
Close on the heels of Flywheel, WPEngine also takes content marketing very seriously.
Blog posts, webinars, infographics – you name it and they’ve done it all. While WPEngine’s growth also comes from its strong army of affiliates, WP engine doesn’t just sit on its ass. It does what it has to and has taken its own branding and presence to a whole new level.
If you are looking for premium WordPress hosting with staging, daily backups, and WordPress configured environment, consider starting now.
The granddaddy of content marketing. The epitome of what content marketing really is and a shining example of what a company can do with the right commitment to quality and consistency of blogging.
But then, although Moz started with blogging, they have all the goodness that comes with an established online brand – a strong user community, a super suite of content marketing tools, and plenty of goodwill.
It’s a multi-million dollar brand that only grew because of its commitment to excellent content literally standing as the best example of the power of content marketing.
While we are at it, Rand’s WhiteBoard Friday’s are super packed with insights.
Hubspot literally wrote the book on Inbound Marketing – they still do everything right, tick off all the right boxes when it comes to content marketing, and they are the pros at drawing millions of visitors and thousands of email subscribers.
Now, whether or not Hubspot’s readers and subscribers choose to buy Hubspot (which is expensive), the content marketing team at Hubspot just never stops putting out brutally good stuff.
It’s one of the few companies that stay out of my reach(in terms of affordability but well within reach when it comes to learning the best of content marketing and inbound marketing.
I absolutely love Shopify for their hard work over the ages to make an average entrepreneur’s dream come true.
Not only do they provide information, tips, insights, and tutorials for e-commerce entrepreneurs but they also have plenty of free online-based tools.
While Unbounce has a great product, you’ll really experience what enlightenment and goodness feels like when you learn from Unbounce blog and a whole lot of goodness you see on their blog along with eBooks, reports, LookBooks, and much else.
As if that wasn’t enough, they give away swag, they are cool on social media, and they also have their popular #CTAconf.
Unbounce also has a passionate community of Unbounce experts, customers, and Unbounce staff as well.
I recently invested in Drip and I can’t stop myself from reading their blog, checking out their tutorials at ConvertedU, and then reading their blog some more. Since I couldn’t get enough of drip, I am also found stalking their Twitter profile. Drip is an advanced email marketing automation tool (and it’s a little more advanced than what you might normally expect, which is a good thing).
When I am not reading their blog posts, I have my head buried deep into their knowledge base.
MailChimp is the king in the universe of email marketing tools (literally, almost with a 54% market share).
Their blog, knowledge base, and an ever-growing collection of eBooks make for a great foundational learning experience for anyone new to the email marketing game.
Further, no one else could still really beat the outrageous “10,000 emails and up 2000 subscribers free. Automation included” offer that Mailchimp still manages to give out.
Update (2021): Convertkit also has a generous free plan to allow you to grow your email list.
Another big name in the world of email marketing, Campaign Monitor is one of those few email marketing tools available that really make it easy for you to do email marketing. Drag, drop and done (much like Mailchimp).
Campaign Monitor has a seriously wonderful blog where it teaches you everything you need to know about — well, you guessed it – email marketing.
Campaign Monitors’ efforts with its blog and social media (along with email marketing) work like powerful crankshafts driving users and customers for itself.
In terms of feature sets, it’s really hard to differentiate between this one and Mailchimp since they both score well with ease of use, templates, drag-and-drop features, automation, and much more.
Moreover, Campaign Monitor also has great features for email marketing agencies that want to provide email marketing services for clients.
While LeadPages did purchase Drip (now, both are separate brands), both of these brands are kept separated and managed that way. Leadpages, for a long time now, has always focused on education, learning, and support when it comes to landing pages.
The LeadPages blog is a goldmine with respect to marketers and businesses using landing pages to drive up profits (case studies), tips, tricks, and more.
Additionally, LeadPages also has a dedicated set of courses, tools, and ongoing webinars to help educate you on the power of landing pages. It’s another thing that they also have courses on Affiliate marketing, Facebook Advertising, and more.
Syed Balkhi is a pro marketer himself and is supported by Thomas Griffin (a genius developer) to help make OptinMonster the power tool it is.
For long now, OptinMonster has been driving the importance of building up an email list of your subscribers, customers, and leads. Well, they are in the business of providing a fantastic tool just for that purpose.
Further, just imagine the power of creating fantastic content that has nothing but value in it for readers or users? All of that driving up users and sales for OptinMonster.
When a SaaS tool helps you managing an editorial calendar with a social media scheduler built-in, you’d better believe that they are pretty good at what they do.
Their blog itself is full of information that has a singular purpose: to make your content marketing process a lot easier than it is.
Moreover, CoSchedule – the tool – sits right into your familiar WordPress while changing how you plan your posts, how you write them, and how you distribute your content (automating some of that drudgery along the way).
Social media is not easy for small business owners to wrap their head around. The new age medium isn’t like newspapers or magazines. It’s interactive. It’s got people all over it. It’s real-time. Also, selling doesn’t happen on social media the way it does in your local marketplace.
Additionally, Buffer tries to make your job of growing a thriving presence on social media a tad easier. But we aren’t here to discuss Buffer’s features; we are here to talk about their amazing blog.
Buffer’s blog is another shining example of powerful, relevant, and yet easy-to-consume content.
They are also extremely approachable on social media. Next time you are wandering on Twitter, try participating in their #bufferchat.
Hootsuite has been around and it’s a company that’s built purely on the power of getting their content strategy and social media prowess right — a popular blog, an Academy, a powerful social media management tool, a strong community, and their recent acquiring of Adespresso just added another planet to their existing population of awesomeness.
Hootsuite also practices what it preaches. Check out their #HootChat and go Tweet-happy.
HelpScout has been very popular not just for the superlative customer service tool that it actually sells but also for its blog. With everything going in there from customer support to startup insights; from marketing to managing virtual teams; from entrepreneurship to even How to Say Sorry To Your Customers
HelpScout isn’t just a tool to help you serve customers better; it’s your business mentor.
For a tool that helps you spy on your competition, dig deep into your SEO keyword research, or keep a look out for your competition’s content marketing or even PPC efforts, SEMRush has a great presence on the web (with an equally impressive tool that’s a goldmine for bloggers, content marketers, companies, and agencies).
Furthermore, you can’t actually stop reading the SEMrush blog while their social media presence leaves no stone unturned.
Their #semrushchat is a vibrant community of like-minded individuals, business owners, agency owners, bloggers, and many other interesting folks.
AdStage has a great product – it allows paid marketers to bring all their otherwise distributed PPC campaign management efforts with various platforms like Google Adwords, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and others to a single dashboard. It also has advanced features such as automatic optimization, one-click campaign management and a lot more.
Additionally, AdStage also has an awesome academy that teaches you in a way that you go from a rookie to a pro by the time you are done with it. Guess what? All of that education is available for free, even if you don’t signup for their tool.
First off, you’d love that GrooveHQ’s blog doesn’t look like other blogs (like this one). A simple, timeline style of presentation differentiates these guys already. But it’s blog posts like this one on what 9 successful entrepreneurs wished they had done differently that are pure gold.
Besides, GrooveHQ gives a business everything it needs to manage customers better – ticket handling system, live chat, knowledge base, and more.
Most WordPress marketplaces don’t get to the level of value Elegant themes churns out on almost a daily basis. Granted that ElegantThemes has its Crown Jewel – The Divi Theme and the Divi Builder Plugin – and other popular themes like Extra.
Yet, it’s their blog that continuously tries to over-deliver on the previous blog published.
I use Divi on my blog here but these guys have a way to bring me back to them every day (long after I purchased a lifetime license).
What’s a native advertising traffic source or platform doing on this list? Because it happens to be the only one I know that has some great content strategy going for it.
For perspective, take its immediate competitors like Taboola which does have a blog (but not on the same level that Outbrain is at). Most other paid marketing platforms – native advertising or not (like PocketMath, Mobicow, and many others) have no content marketing strategy to speak of. If there is any, it’s half-hearted.
In conclusion, which of those swashbuckling SaaS companies and others have I missed out on? Let me know.
Need some more inspiration? Here are 8 more content marketing examples