Looking at these numbers, it's clear that old-school sales tactics need to be updated. Increasingly, sales teams depend on educational content to bring in leads.
Here at IMPACT, we’ve seen the influence that great content can have on our business as well as those of our customers for over a decade. Companies that focus on creating high-quality content marketing materials see an increase in the quality of leads, shortened sales cycles, and increased close rates.
This article is all about how. We'll show you great examples of content marketing that can inspire your next campaign.
Our goal with this article is to:
Share the best, most creative content marketing examples.
Explain why they’re effective.
Give you what you need to improve your content marketing so you can attract the attention of your potential buyers.
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Every piece of content marketing should build trust
Your goal with your content marketing strategy should not be to close sales, but to build trust.
To establish trust, your content should be valuable and useful, whether or not someone decides to buy your specific offering.
One of the biggest benefits of content marketing is that it has the power to turn you into a thought leader — and not just with potential buyers.
Being the most trusted voice in your space means being trusted by your entire audience. A good portion of your site visitors will never be a good fit as a customer for your business, but this doesn’t mean they aren’t valuable.
When you create honest, high-quality educational content, you will build a trusted reputation with potential buyers and existing customers, as well as others in the market who may influence purchases or recommend you.
Among this group, you won’t be seen as someone just trying to sell something. You’ll be seen as actually helpful and concerned with the problems and issues facing people in your community and industry.
When content consumers don’t feel like they’re being sold to, the walls will come down and allow your message to be received.
As our They Ask, You Answer framework explains, people who trust you will want to work with you and will like you even if they don’t buy from you. Sales opportunities are a byproduct of producing helpful and thoughtful content.
Examples of trust-building content marketing
Here are some content marketing examples that build trust.
We’ll highlight content that is beneficial for all readers, puts teaching at the forefront, and opens up the lines for communication.
Consumers are wary (and weary) of brands, salespeople, and advertising that only promotes the attractive elements of their products and services.
One lesson that I teach early with content consulting clients: If you have a potential bias, own it.
Admitting that you may be a biased source early in a blog post disarms the reader. Some companies only talk about themselves and their relation to the subject matter at the end of a piece.
When readers get to the conclusion and it has the first indication the writer might be biased, red flags are raised. They’ll be skeptical about everything said earlier, even if it made perfect sense.
Here at IMPACT, we’re a HubSpot Solutions Partner. But that doesn’t mean that HubSpot or IMPACT is the right fit for every business. The blog article explains the reasons you might or might not want to work with HubSpot.
Note how author Carina Duffy addresses the potential bias of being a HubSpot Partner, but it’s not an inhibitor toward thinking you’ll get an honest evaluation.
Content marketing is more than words
It’s easy to think about content marketing and equate it to writing compelling copy to live on your website. It’s also true that Google prefers long-form content and thorough responses to search queries from users.
However, we all know how busy many of our visitors are. To count on a new user to read 1,500 words, no matter how well written, can be unrealistic. That is unless you give them opportunities to engage along the way.
We will show examples of how you can use video, images, and other visual and interactive components to enhance content marketing efforts.
In this interactive piece, HubSpot helps solve a major pain point of its potential customers and others in the market – documenting their target audience (or more specifically, creating a buyer persona).
With this content marketing tool, HubSpot not only educates you on what a buyer persona is but walks you through seven simple steps to create one for your business.
At the end, you can download the resource for use by entering your contact information.
Here we have another interactive content marketing example that is less technical, but just as valuable.
Sprout Social, as its name suggests, sells social media publishing tools, but that is not the focus of this piece of content. In this example, the company offers a downloadable worksheet to address a common pain point of social media content marketing — creating engaging social media posts.
In it, they walk you through how to evaluate your competitors’ content and draw inspiration from it, how to identify knowledge gaps in your industry, and how to incorporate trends into your strategy.
This is knowledge that can be taken and used in any social media strategy, regardless of whether it's implemented with Sprout Social or not.
Landing pages are essential in generating leads, but all of us have filled out forms online only to be thrown on a spammy mailing list.
Mazella, an IMPACT client and success story, uses video on this landing page to build trust and remove some of the fear that comes with filling out a form.
When we see a form we ask ourselves, “Is it worth it? Do I really want to give them my email address?” How can you create trust in a situation like this where trust has historically been lost?
The video details exactly what you’ll be receiving, how you can use the content, and why it’s beneficial. Putting yourself in front of a camera in this way humanizes your company, which further helps to grow trust.
Note: A landing page video is one of the seven videos we’ve found to most likely lead to sales. We call them The Selling 7.
This blog post is delightfully littered with videos, screenshots, designed content boxes, and visual calls-to-action (CTAs).
There isn’t a time when the reader is expected to buckle in for a copy-heavy slog, which is great.
The variety of visual elements build engagement, holds the reader’s interest, and offers a break between processing the copy.
Something as simple as highlighting a “Hot Tip” in a designed call-out box breaks up the dullness of white space with words.
Understand that your content marketing is only as valuable as its ability to hold the attention of the reader.
By offering many ways to receive your content, as Vidyard did here, you’re giving the reader more flexibility to learn as they do best and remember the content. When prospects see a well-articulated, valuable, and non-promotional piece of content, again, they begin to trust you.
The Big 5: Topics your customers want you to write about
Here at IMPACT, our most successful clients consistently produce content to answer the questions their customers have. The blog topics that generate organic traffic, leads, and sales fall into five categories we call The Big 5:
Cost/Price: “How much does _____ cost?”
Problems: “What are the negative issues or problems with _____?”
Comparisons: “How does it compare to that other _______ that we’re looking at?”
Reviews: “What is everyone saying about ______?”
Best in Class: “What is the best _____?”
I’ll dive into the idea behind each of these topics below and how writing each of these types of articles can influence sales for your organization.
Would you ever commit to buying anything without knowing the price? How do you feel when you go to a website and you can’t find their pricing anywhere? Frustrated, right?
Cost is one of the most commonly asked questions when considering a new product or service.
Even so, many companies and content marketing teams shy away from equipping their site visitors with this information.
You might be worried about competitors knowing your price or turning customers away, but you shouldn’t be.
When potential customers come to your site and want to know about your pricing, it’s a great thing. You’ve garnered their interest in your offering and they want to consider you. When they can’t find your pricing and leave out of frustration, however, it’s a huge missed opportunity.
Writing a cost article might not come naturally, but it’s a vital piece of information that customers need to know before purchasing.
In this example, Cleveroad, a mobile app and website development company, doesn’t need to give you every line of their pricing sheet to help you understand what you might expect to pay.
This article leaves the reader more informed and positions Cleveroad as trusted because they didn’t withhold any information.
When buying a high purchase point item, such as a refrigerator or washer/dryer set, you’re going to look for opinions and reviews.
Most consumers turn to third-party review sites to get this type of information to help make informed decisions.
With this article, Yale Appliance (an IMPACT client) took the initiative to rate competing appliance brands that they sell based on reliability.
Yale Appliance takes it an additional step by gathering information from their service department.
They compared the number of appliances sold versus the number of service calls for those brands to tell their customers exactly which is the most reliable brand. This level of depth to help their customers not have buyer’s remorse creates a deep level of trust.
Another IMPACT client, InTek, lists the top 10 managed transportation companies in 2022, a list in which they do not include themselves.
A small portion of the article lists the best companies you could work with, but it doesn’t promote any of them.
The bulk of the article is about helping shipping companies find the best solution for them.
So although InTek isn’t promoting themselves on the top 10 list, they are:
Getting traffic for shipping companies in need of a solution.
Establishing thought leadership and building trust.
Generating leads that otherwise wouldn’t have found them.
Encouraging their competitors to share the article by including them.
Capture attention with your blog introduction
Your blog introduction is a chance to gain the attention of your reader — or have them click the back button. Writers need to quickly identify who the article is for, the value of the article, and why the reader should listen to you.
One effective technique for grabbing attention with your intro is to paint a relatable picture, specifically your readers’ picture.
As it is, HR leaders who are reading this article by BambooHR will likely feel heard and known on an emotional level.
It speaks to a specific issue that most may not know exists (not always being in a positive mood in a role that demands one) and leaves the reader thinking “you get me.”
When content can relate to the struggles and daily trials of their audience, the result is a user experience that feels better connected to a brand and this level of empathy creates an innate sense of trust.
Painting a picture is one of five blog introduction tactics detailed in Chapter Two of the IMPACT blogging tips. A couple of other great strategies: starting with a question, leading with a statistic, or telling a personal story.
Examples of content marketing that prompts action
We stated earlier that your goal in content creation should not be trying to close sales opportunities.
Although this shouldn’t be your goal, content should prompt the visitor to take action with your company, whether it be to subscribe, visit again, or request a consultation.
For users who are engaged and interested, they should have visible and easy next steps to move forward. You should encourage these prospects to move forward with appropriate calls to action.
Amplitude, a behavioral analytics platform, uses several opportunities throughout their blog to help prospects take the next step.
They highlight related content that offers the reader the chance to dive deeper into certain areas. Then, with the sticky header, the blog reader can input their email to quickly subscribe to the blog at any time.
Additionally, Amplitude has a large, well-designed CTA at the bottom of the article for a related quiz.
If you’ve captured the attention of the reader, you have a business responsibility to capitalize on that initial attention.
Provide multiple opportunities for site visitors to explore other pages, download content, or subscribe. Use all of these as opportunities to increase your marketable database.
Use these examples to inspire your content
Using the examples provided, think about what elements resonate with you and your goals.
Maybe you’ve been struggling to increase your landing page conversion. Taking a page out of Mazella’s book might be something worth trying.
Continuing to see a high bounce rate on your blogs? Try an approach like BambooHR took with its introduction.
Choose a few of the approaches and test them out with your content and measure the performance. Keep in mind that your content, when properly presented, can transform prospects into informed buyers.
Still struggling to grow traffic, generate leads, and help close sales with your content? IMPACT’s content mastery program can coach you to write content that addresses The Big 5 topics your prospects want to read about.
And remember, successful content marketing begins and ends with focusing on being helpful and building trust.