Content Marketing is a minefield! That’s why I wanted to not only talk about how to do it well in 2020 & beyond, but also give you some concrete content marketing examples from all the varying platforms!
I don’t know about you, but when I can get a visual hold on something it tends to make more sense.
But, we don’t want you spending hours scrolling through Insta or Facebook under the guise of ‘research’. I have regularly been down that rabbit hole myself!
I’m hoping there are enough content marketing examples here for you to start to formulate your own content plan for your lifestyle business.
What is Content Marketing Nowadays?
When you hear the phrase “content marketing,” you’d be excused for picturing a bunch of guys in a smoke-filled ad agency somewhere in New York City, hammering out snappy copy for a new advertising campaign.
But welcome to 2020!
Nowadays, marketing your business isn’t all about buying up television ad time, leasing a billboard on the highway, or purchasing a magazine advert. The world of marketing has changed — because the way consumers behave has changed.
The general public is smarter and more engaged than ever. They’ve got the world at their fingertips, and they don’t need companies to tell them what they want or need. Consumers do their own research, and they reward savvy businesses who meet them where they are.
That’s where content marketing comes in. It’s the strategy of using helpful, informational content that builds brand awareness, trust, and (most importantly) an authentic relationship with your audience.
This is great news for the lifestyle entrepreneur: you can now showcase your expertise and build a loyal, engaged audience without having to run expensive ads.
For the first time in history, we are on an equal footing with massive brands who have massive budgets!
If you’re prepared to consistently publish content which is entertaining, educational, valuable and/or useful, there is no reason why you can’t garner an even bigger following than some well-known household brands.
Dove – Worldwide Personal Care Brand – Empowers Women
Jenna Kutcher – Photographer turned Podcaster – Empowers Women
In this post, we’re going to be walking through a practical guide to content marketing, with 40+ content marketing examples you can put to use in your own content campaigns, including:
What Does Content Marketing Look Like Online Today?
When it comes to content types, your only limit is your imagination. The types of content are evolving daily — as quickly as technology changes. Content marketing is done through blogging, video, podcasts, social media, infographics, and paid advertising, just to name a few.
Why Is Content Marketing Important?
I’m sure you already understand the importance of content marketing so I’ll keep this short.
Unlike traditional advertising, the only goal of which is to get you to buy something or take action, content marketing provides something of genuine value to your audience.
Be it general information, entertainment, education, or instructions on how to use your product, content marketing provides a golden opportunity to build strong relationships with your target market and potential customers.
Add to that it’s also FUN! You can get so creative and have so much fun publishing content your audience will love you for.
Because of the relationship-building nature of content marketing, according to SEM Rush you’re 13x more likely to generate a return on investment (ROI) than traditional marketing.
Choosing Your Content Channel
Perhaps the most important thing to remember at first is that you cannot be all things to all people.
You may envision yourself as a media powerhouse, with powerful content across all platforms and a huge following. And that’s an amazing goal — something you can work towards.
But the truth is, you don’t want to try for a strong presence on many content channels all by yourself at the outset.
You need to grow your business strategically. At least at first, pick one channel that you can focus on and manage without burning yourself out. It’s more important to have quality content that builds a strong following than to have weak content diluted across too many channels.
Just Pick One
Some of the most successful small brands started out with one platform and gradually extended into others as they (and their team) grew. Here are some examples:
Jenna Kutcher – Podcasting / Instagram
Peter McKinnon – YouTube Videos / Instagram
Sunny Lenarduzzi – YouTube Videos / Instagram
Mari Smith – Facebook / Webinars / Facebook Lives
Mark Manson – Blogging / Author
Brian Dean – Blogging / YouTube
Pat Flynn – Blogging / Podcasting
Marie Forleo – Videos / Blogging / YouTube
John Lee Dumas – Podcasting
James Altucher – Podcasting
Tim Ferris – Author / Podcasting
Think about some of your favorite brands. Do you see daily unique posts from them all over Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and YouTube?
Probably not! (There’s always the odd outlier)
More likely, they’ve chosen one or two content channels to really dig into and create a deep well of quality content. They understand that you have to go deep and narrow at first to build a strong audience and start making sales.
Once that happens and you have a bit more income coming in, you can afford to expand your team (or at least hire a virtual assistant or social media manager) to help you break your content into smaller pieces and redistribute it strategically across a few new media channels.
Then, it starts to look like you really are everywhere online — without driving yourself crazy trying to do that for real.
We’ll dig into repurposing your content a bit further down the post, but for now…
What’s Your Content Type?
When it comes to choosing your content channel, you’ve got seemingly endless options. Just a quick Google search brings up a wide carousel of ideas and content marketing examples:
While it sounds like a great idea to choose as many of these mediums as possible (especially to appeal to various audience preferences like visual, auditory, interactive, etc.), don’t forget that it’s impossible for you to be all things to all people — especially when you’re just starting out and have limited resources and time!
So when you’re starting your content marketing journey, the best thing you can do is ask yourself these questions to figure out what content type is right for your business:
- Who is your audience? Your content strategy will look completely different depending on if you cater primarily to baby boomer grandparents who hang out on Facebook vs. young millennial professionals who binge podcasts on their commute vs. Gen-Z college students who love TikTok.
- What are your goals? Do you want to sell products? Build a personal brand? What kind of customer base and business reputation are you looking to build?
- What kind of personality do you have? If you’re an introvert and get stage fright easily, for instance, you may not want to go for podcasts or video content right away. If you love teaching and working with people, you may lean towards courses and webinars.
After you’ve thought through your target audience, goals, and personal preferences, narrow down to one content medium to focus on at first. Will you record videos, podcasts, write blog posts, social media posts, focus on daily stories, memes, or tweet all day long with tidbits of info? The possibilities are endless — but just pick one primary medium to start.
To help you make your choice, let’s take a closer look at six of the most popular and lucrative content channels for lifestyle businesses and look at some fab content marketing examples on each of those platforms.
Content Marketing with a Blog
A great place to start your content marketing journey is to have a blog. If you’ve already launched your lifestyle business, odds are good that you already have your own website, so it should be simple to start adding blog posts.
Before you start your blog, make sure you have a good idea of your target audience. You don’t want to treat your blog like a diary where you spill your random thoughts; each piece of content needs to have a purpose and speak to your audience’s needs.
You’re there to answer their questions and solve their problems — even the questions and problems they didn’t know they had.
When you start a blog, make sure you pick a niche and stick to it. There are many profitable niches out there; you just have to choose the one that excites you the most. You might have a blog for new moms, or a recipe blog, or a travel blog. Pick one you feel like you can write about and research for hours at a time. See my post – How to Make Money Blogging (from anywhere in the world) for a more in-depth guide to blogging as a whole.
When writing your blog posts, don’t forget to use SEO best practices, including:
- Use headings to separate sections. Use H1 for your title, H2 for main sections, and H3 for subsections.
- Use plenty of white space in your blog. Paragraphs shouldn’t be more than four lines, and feel free to use single-line paragraphs.
- Make your content easy to read. A general rule of thumb is to write at a middle-school reading level.
- Include plenty of hyperlinks in your blog. Link to other reputable sources. Once you have a few posts under your belt, start linking to your own posts as well (these are called internal links).
- Don’t be afraid to write long blog posts. Thorough, long-form blog posts tend to rank well in Google. Just make sure to break them up with images and visual content so your readers stay engaged!
Content Marketing Examples of Great Blogs from Small Businesses
1. The Squeeze Magazine by Press – this ecommerce brand offers cold-pressed juices and juice cleanses, but their blog is an excellent example of a healthy-living blog. They do a great job of curating lifestyle content (like healthy eating tips, workout clothes, and suggestions of places to eat while traveling) that generates an authentic audience and community around their brand.
2. BioLite – the outdoor energy gear store runs a blog specializing in how-to content that offers extremely useful content for its readers. This company is a great content marketing example of in-depth, helpful content for its audience.
3. VineBox – this subscription service allows members to try new wines each month, and their blog helps educate its audience all about wines. VineBox is able to create new customers this way, by helping their audience get excited to become a wine connoisseur and therefore sign up for the service.
Promoting Your Blog Across Other Channels
The beautiful thing about starting with a blog is that it’s easy to promote it across other content channels, including social media.
We’ll get into using your pillar content to repurpose across the web later in the post, but for now, let’s just say it’s easy to start getting the word out about your blog content by posting on Instagram, sharing on Facebook, and pinning on Pinterest.
Here are some great content marketing examples of repurposed blog content;
Tim Ferriss promoting a blog post on Facebook
This is actually a short video from Digital Marketer promoting a blog post and a giveaway.
Here SEMrush are promoting a blog post with a very informative stand-alone image.
Seth reposts his short daily blog posts on Instagram.
Steve Chou promotes all his blog posts on Pinterest.
Content Marketing with Podcasts
If you’re a talker, producing a great podcast might be right up your alley. Podcasts have become insanely popular in recent years, and you can reach a potentially huge audience with relatively low overhead of basic recording equipment and audio editing skills.
What makes a really successful podcast, you ask? Let’s look at two great examples:
- Stuff You Should Know has been around since 2008 and has consistently ranked in the top ten most popular podcasts on many charts. They do deep dives into a different topic twice a week, and they’re famous for being well-researched and relatable.
- The Joe Rogan Experience has been so successful that its host, Joe Rogan, recently signed a $100-million-plus deal with Spotify. His episodes are long-form discussions with interesting guest interviews that provide tons of great content for his listeners.
To stand out from the crowd, your podcast should be entertaining, interesting, and well-researched. You also need to promote it really well.
Make sure you pick a clear name that tells your audience what you’ll be talking about. Write a good description for your podcast so that people searching for new podcasts — and there are SO many to choose from nowadays — can easily find you.
Think about the format of your podcasts as well. Many people conduct interviews with guests, and others format their podcast as a monologue or discussion between hosts.
Finally, you’ll need to decide how often to publish an episode. The standard frequency is weekly, though some come out twice a week, and some ambitious podcasts drop daily. If you’re going to do a daily podcast, it should probably be short (15-20 minutes max).
Promoting Your Podcast Across Other Content Channels
Sharing your podcast on Instagram is always a solid choice, since most users of both Instagram and podcasts are on their mobile devices.
And Pinterest can be a great source of traffic if you create Pinterest-optimized images to match each episode.
Finally, many podcasters create a marketing funnel with YouTube using short video clips of their podcast recording sessions, or they upload the audio from entire episodes to YouTube.
Content Marketing for Instagram
A great way to build a brand with awesome content is to start an Instagram marketing strategy. There are lots of great Instagram influencers out there who create engaging and beautiful content that draws thousands of visitors to connect with their brand.
Instagram content is split into four categories:
- Main feed — the main place to post pictures and videos
- Instagram Stories — temporary and more Interactive posts
- IGTV — long-form videos that show up in your followers’ feeds. Your followers can click through to watch the entire video if they’re interested.
- Instagram Live — video in real-time that runs up to one hour and allows followers to watch and interact with you in the comments.
If you choose to become a content marketer on Instagram, keep in mind that in an ideal world your visual content style should reflect your brand. However, people love to peek behind the curtains and from what I can see almost anything goes on the gram. So don’t be afraid to experiment, get creative and see what resonates!
Every post should however be intentional and have a goal of increasing engagement with your audience and potential customers. But don’t spend hours worrying about your aesthetics, or colour schemes or styles, just get posting. The most engaged IG accounts post consistently and fill their feeds and stories with useful, entertaining and valuable content!
Instagram Caption Best Practices
Keep in mind that Instagram shortens your caption after a few lines, so always start with the most important details in the first sentence. If you have a call to action, put it at the beginning, and frontload your caption with a hook so that people will click the “more” button to read more.
Treat your captions like a microblog; offer value to your audience. Give tips and tricks, ask engaging questions, use storytelling and make sure to write with authenticity.
You can write short and snappy captions, longer captions up to 2200 characters, or you can use a mix. The only way you’ll know what’s best for your brand is to test and measure!
One of the best ways to increase your following on Instagram is to use the right hashtags (including branded hashtags) and to be extremely active. Don’t forget to respond to your followers’ comments on your posts both to engage with your audience and to boost your ranking in Instagram’s algorithm.
Best Tools for Instagram
There are tons of great tools out there to make your Instagram content creation a little more manageable, including:
- Free photos from Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay
- Paid photos and video clips from Shutterstock and Getty Images
- Canva is a free and intuitive app that lets you design posts and turn anything into visual content.
- Scheduling tools like Later, Sprout Social, and Buffer
- Photo editing tools like BeFunky, PicMonkey, and Framatic
- Get creative with collages from Instagram Layout and video loops from Boomerang, and time-lapse videos with Hyperlapse
Instagram Marketers Who Are Crushing It
- Seth Godin uses a clear aesthetic to promote his brand with personality.
- The Sill, a plant delivery service, has a defined color scheme and whimsical style to promote their products.
- Author and artist Adam J. Kurtz uses his wacky sense of humor and personalized fonts to promote his personal brand with consistency.
Content Marketing with YouTube
If you want to create video content, you should be on YouTube — it’s at the top of the video content game, and has been for years now.
To start content marketing on YouTube, set up your own channel with a welcoming and complete channel page and make sure your videos are engaging and match your desired brand voice and tone.
Possibly the easiest way to create authentic and consistent videos is to be true to your personality. Let your personality shine, add a bit of extra pep in your voice, and you’re on your way to a loyal following!
The ideal length for a YouTube video has changed in recent years. While it used to be the goal to make it short enough not to lose the audience’s attention, the trend has been to increase the goal length. Now, ten minutes or longer is the goal for most videos on YouTube — though it still depends on the video category and target audience.
There is a plethora of YouTube content out there, and it’s safe to say that most of it is extremely low quality. If you’re building your brand, you need to focus on creating truly high-quality content that delivers value to your audience.
Also, keep in mind that your YouTube videos should be search-engine optimized, but that’s different from creating videos for your blog posts’ SEO. As a YouTuber, your main channel is your YouTube channel. You’re creating video content as your main source of content for your followers, not as an additional medium to increase your blog’s readership and followership.
There are millions of fantastic content marketing examples on YouTube split into categories, including:
- How-to guides and tutorials
- Product reviews
- Gaming videos (video game walkthroughs)
- Comedy/sketch videos
- Unboxing videos
- Haul/shopping spree videos
- Funny animals
- Celebrity gossip
- Parodies and pranks
Small Online Brands Killing It on YouTube
You don’t have to have millions of customers to be successful with a YouTube channel. Many small online brands are utilizing their YouTube platform to create noteworthy, inspiring content every day, including:
- Skyler Burt, a photographer who specializes in food photography
- Gillian Perkins, a marketing strategist for entrepreneurs
- Kristen & Siya, a couple who run a YouTube channel devoted to their travel experiences
Content Marketing with Facebook
Facebook is the most popular social media platform for adults, with 2.4 billion users. Facebook makes it possible to create whatever style of content appeals the most to you. Let’s take a look at a few online brands who are crushing it at their content type of choice.
Solopreneur Melyssa Griffin has mastered using Facebook posts to draw in and engage her audience with long-form text content. She keeps her text relatable, conversational, and she makes strategic (and sparing) use of eye-catching emojis.
She also understands that even with text-based content, you should still incorporate a visual component. Your social media followers are much more likely to engage with a post if it includes a picture or video.
You can also share articles and web content from your own blog or from other sources that would resonate with your audience. Anything that gives value to your followers will help boost your credibility and engagement with your readers.
Images and Videos
Professional photographer Trey Ratcliff took a unique approach to Facebook Live: he used a Facebook Live session to encourage fans to submit their own photos, then critiqued them in an engaging and entertaining event for his followers.
Another way to build a massive following is to nurture a community feeling around your brand. A great way to do this is through engaging with your followers (and allowing them to engage with each other) through a group page.
Dana Malstaff from Boss Mom has built a huge group for Mothers across the globe who want to start a business from home while raising children.
Content Marketing with Pinterest
While some still think of Pinterest as a place for recipes and home decor idea boards, Pinterest is much more than that. It’s essentially a social media platform mixed with a search engine in its own right.
And it’s popular; there are 335 million people using Pinterest every month. In the U.S., it’s the third-largest social network, after Facebook and Instagram.
So Pinterest can be a powerful marketing platform, if you do it right: it’s all about the visuals.
To be successful at marketing on Pinterest, make sure you sign up for a business account to gain access to Pinterest’s marketing metrics. Then, build boards that match the various interests of your target audience.
For example, if you’re in the travel niche, you might have a board for packing tips, one for destinations in Europe, and one for inspirational adventure quotes. Curate interesting content within each board.
Fantastic Content Marketing Examples on Pinterest
Neil Patel uses Pinterest primarily to showcase his blog content. He organises his boards into all the primary categories he covers on his blog.
Then for each category, he has a specific pin for each blog post.
Nomadic Matt does similar with the bulk of his content pointing back to his blog posts;
He’s also able to split his boards by all the different countries in the world he’s travelled! (I think I may follow suit!)
Jenna Kutcher uses Pinterest to send people back to her site, her free offers, her sales pages, her shop and her podcast.
Sunny Lenarduzzi links back to all of her YouTube videos;
And the lovely Marie Forleo links to her Marie TV interviews. I love how she uses quotes from her guests to catch attention and then links back to the relevant episode on her website.
The size of your pin matters. (oi oi!) Pinterest pins have a fixed width and unlimited length, so your pin can be either square or a vertical rectangle.
According to Pinterest itself, the best size for a Pinterest graphic has a 2:3 width-to-height ratio. However, infographics can be very long and still successful; some of the highest-performing infographics are 5-9 times longer than their width.
Use minimalist, high-quality images in your pins, and make sure to put your logo somewhere in the image.
And don’t be afraid to experiment with video on Pinterest — video views have increased threefold in the past year on Pinterest! Users love video, so it’s a great way to stand out from the competition.
How to Repurpose Your Content Across the Web
Once you’re clear on your primary content platform and are regularly churning out awesome and valuable content pieces you can start to branch out and repurpose your content across several mediums.
Do you have a long-form blog post? Try extracting nuggets and turning them into tweets, infographics, or Instagram captions.
What about a YouTube video? Extract the audio and turn it into a podcast, or share clips to your Facebook feed.
Here’s a fab slideshow by the King of Content himself Gary Vee showing how he turns one piece of pillar content into hundreds of smaller content bites across the web.
How Do I Create a Content Plan for My Business?
It may seem overwhelming to consider coming up with a content marketing plan from scratch for your lifestyle business. But the trick is to keep it simple! Start with one channel and master that, at least at first.
Then, it’s simply a matter of deciding what to talk about that your audience will benefit from, and creating and sticking to a schedule.
- First, come up with some broad categories that are core to your niche. Make a list of all the topics or keyphrases that your target audience might be searching for.
- Then, branch out into specific questions you can answer or problems you can solve for your audience within each category. Use research tools like Answer the Public, Buzzsumo, and Google Trends to find the common questions your audience is asking.
- Next, decide how often you can reasonably be expected to post. Think about how many hours per week you can devote to content creation, and commit to staying consistent. A common goal for bloggers, for instance, is to post once per week.
- Finally, create yourself a detailed editorial calendar based on how often you can realistically create new content — and remember, creating great content is all about quality over quantity.
If you need more help coming up with a content planning system, check out this post for more details.
Mistakes to Avoid with Content Marketing
While content marketing is one of the most valuable endeavours you can embark upon in your business-building journey, it can still crash and burn if you aren’t careful.
Try to avoid making these fatal errors as you get started with your content marketing strategy:
- Being too salesy. Your goal with content is NOT simply to make a sale; it’s to develop a presence in your audience’s mind, a relationship that gives them fond feelings for your brand. Sales will (eventually) be a by-product of that authentic relationship. Your content needs to provide genuine value to your customers, but once it starts to feel like a sales pitch, they’ll be turned off.
- Building your content strategy without data. Define your audience. Know who you’re marketing to, what their interests are, and what problems you can help them solve. Do your research first, and use that to help shape what topics you cover and how you build your brand.
- Not setting goals. Identify how you’ll measure success (follower count? Engagement rate? Downloads?) and regularly check in on how your progress measures up. This helps you stay on track, identify what you need to tweak, and stay motivated for the long haul.
- Going for quantity over quality. You won’t get far if you just throw everything at the wall to see what sticks. Your audience is smart, and they have plenty of other places to turn if your content isn’t giving them what they want in an engaging package. Take your time to create unique, high-quality content, and your audience will reward you.
- Ignoring SEO. Search engine optimization (and its cousin, social media optimization) is key to your content’s success. Make sure you’re following SEO best practices to see maximum results. After all, the best content in the world won’t matter if it’s not getting seen, right?
- Not promoting your content — or promoting it only once. Publishing content isn’t enough. You need to get it in front of your audience’s eyes, and to do that, you need to promote it by sharing it across social media and on the forums where your target audience hangs out. And don’t be afraid to promote your content multiple times!
- What’s the difference between traffic and audience? Simply put, your traffic is the visitors you receive to your site or your content channel of choice. Your audience is your group of loyal followers, the people you’re speaking to. Audience is what’s important in the content marketing game.
- What is inbound marketing? It’s a business method for attracting customers through offering valuable content that engages and delights them, creating an authentic and trust-based relationship between the business and its audience (instead of traditional advertising, which gets in your audience’s face to ask them to buy your product).
- How is voice search changing the content marketing game? Experts predict that 55% of adults will have a smart speaker by 2022. This means that the majority of Google searches will be spoken. When creating your content strategy, you’ll need to think about how people speak (rather than type) their questions, and you may need to have shorter-form content for those answers.
- What is interactive content, and do I need it? Interactive content is what it sounds like: the audience participates in some way. Think of the comments section in an Instagram Live session, or an audience poll on your Facebook page. Whether you “need” interactive content is up to your strategy, but if your goal is to engage with your audience as much as possible, it’s a good bet it’ll be worthwhile to try.
- How do I make something go viral? While there’s no magic formula, try these steps suggested by Forbes contributor Steve Olenski:
- Make sure your content is the highest quality possible.
- Get to know your audience well.
- Partner with influencers.
- Get your content reposted on popular accounts.
- Tell a relatable story with your content.
- Keep your content short and sweet.
- Use interactive content (see above).
What Are You Waiting For?
If you made it to the end of this post, congrats! You’re that much closer to embarking on your own content marketing journey for your online business.
Building a content marketing strategy means choosing your primary channel and diving deep into creating high-quality content. Then, once you’ve got a solid foundation, you can repurpose your pillar content for your secondary content channels. Before you know it, you’ve got a sophisticated brand presence across the web.
While content marketing isn’t an easy process, it can launch your business into the stratosphere by boosting your visibility, engagement, and following. I hope the content marketing examples included in this post have given you some inspiration to start your own content marketing journey today!
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In the meantime, happy content creating!