22 Examples From Brands (and Marketers) That are Winning at Content Marketing

22 Examples From Brands (and Marketers) That are Winning at Content Marketing

To drive relevant topics for the market, the team leveraged customer interviews, internal subject matter experts, and original industry data from a separate content marketing initiative – the Frontline Research & Learning Institute. Monster’s expanded content program saw a total of 96 million page views last year, up 18% from 2015. HBF’s decision to tilt its content focus to serve this untapped audience turned out to be a key factor in DAD’s success – and a source of inspiration in the lives of the dads who now engage with it regularly. Using a blogging and social media strategy, the brand generated 171,000 unique visitors and 21,000 followers on Facebook in its first five months and continues to grow, gain media attention, and bring new dads into the conversation. Sign up for CMI’s daily or weekly newsletter for advance notice when the call for entries opens early next year.

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At CMI, we’ve always taken our mission of advancing the practice of content marketing seriously. And one of the best methods we know of when it comes to sharpening our skills and expanding our vision of what’s possible is to follow the examples set by some of the industry’s best and brightest practitioners.

I’m sure you follow the advice of many of the well-known industry pros who graciously share their insights in our blog posts, at Content Marketing World sessions, and throughout our social media forums. But today, I am proud to introduce you to a new batch of experts to keep an eye on: the winners and finalists from this year’s Content Marketing Awards.

For the 13th year, the awards program recognizes the remarkable accomplishments of content marketers in categories that span strategy, distribution, design, and editorial. In all, 96 winners were selected this year from a field of over 1,000 submissions.

In addition to the category winners, four Best in Show prizes were awarded during a special ceremony Sept. 6 at Content Marketing World:

  • Project of the Year
  • Agency of the Year (fewer than 100 employees)
  • Agency of the Year (more than 100 employees)
  • Content Marketer of the Year

If you are looking for the inspiration to advance your own content marketing practices, I encourage you to look at some of the remarkable achievements the Project of the Year winner and finalists accomplished:

Frontline Education

(Winner: Content Marketing Project of the Year; Best Content Marketing Program; Finalist: Best Content Marketing Program in Technology; Best Content Strategy)

Frontline Education

“Game-changing” hardly begins to describe 2016 for Frontline Education. It was a year that brought a massive rebrand for the nearly 20-year-old software company, along with multiple new solutions and personas, a shift from direct mail to a robust digital marketing program, and aggressive growth goals.

As Frontline crystallized its focus on the K-12 education market, its marketing department was tasked with generating one-third of the company’s sales pipeline. The team tackled this goal by building and documenting a content marketing strategy – including a mission statement, persona profiles, a topic repository, and an editorial calendar – around informing, educating, and inspiring education leaders. To drive relevant topics for the market, the team leveraged customer interviews, internal subject matter experts, and original industry data from a separate content marketing initiative – the Frontline Research & Learning Institute.

Thanks to a crack design team and industry-leading execution and analytics, the content delivered:

  • Marketing exceeded its goals and generated 32% of the company’s new business.
  • Content saw steady engagement, and increased engagement in new market areas. In one area (professional growth) Frontline saw a 195% increase in click-to-open rates.
  • Despite a high volume of marketing emails, the value of the content led to very low (<0.7%) opt-out rates, speaking to the value of the content.
  • Not only does their content receive frequent accolades from company leadership, but prospective clients have emailed to thank Frontline for its content.

AARP, The Magazine

(Winner: Best Association Publication; Best Digital Publication – Design; Finalist: Project of the Year; Best Use of Photography)

AARP - The Magazine

AARP The Magazine may be targeted to readers over 50, but it certainly hasn’t been relying on your grandmother’s content marketing strategy to achieve the second-highest readership of any print publication or earn it the title of the nation’s largest consumer magazine by base rate (22 million households receive it).

AARP credits its focus on topics that directly affect the lives of its readers as a major element of its growing success. For example, over the past year the organization has expanded its coverage of services available to seniors, including guidance on managing the use of new technology in their lives, and helpful tips for staying healthy, fashion-forward, and financially secure as they reach new and unfamiliar phases of their lives.

With a total readership of over 37 million, and research that shows 54% of its members read three or four of the last four issues, AARP doesn’t have to solely rely on hard data to evaluate its success and determine its editorial direction; it listens to the strong voice of its ever-expanding community of fans and followers who have shared their glowing praise in countless emails, letters, and social posts. And while the boomer generation may no longer be the largest demographic in the United States, the over-50 set still exercises tremendous persuasive power – both…

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