17 content marketing examples to inspire you [2023]

17 content marketing examples to inspire you [2023]

6 minute read

17 content marketing examples to inspire you [2023]

6 minute read

17 content marketing examples to inspire you [2023]

Nia Gyant

GatherContent Contributor, Writer
Looking to spice up your content marketing strategy with some new content ideas? We’ve got 17 of the best content marketing examples (across 14 types of content) in this post. Use these ideas as inspiration to better engage your audience and improve your rankings.

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Before we proceed, though, keep in mind that not all examples of content marketing that we share today would be suitable for your audience or brand.

The best way to tell if an idea will work for you? With each piece of content you create, ask yourself: Does it align with our brand principles and goals? Is this something our target audience will love?

That said, let’s walk you through some next-level content marketing examples to inspire you.

1. Ebooks

We’ve got two examples here:

The first ebook is an example of personality-rich content that Handley released to celebrate the 100th edition of her newsletter, Total Anarchy.

Ann Handley Ebook Example]
The introductory page of Ann Handley’s How to Newsletter ebook

The PDF not only dives into what helped her grow her newsletter by 2000% in three years but also highlights what didn’t work.

On the other hand, the Creative Thieves ebook is created as a workbook complete with activities readers need to do to get creative ideas flowing. This makes it an excellent example of actionable content.

Mac + Moore Ebook Example
Mac + Moore's Creative Thieves ebooks is a great example of content marketing done right

Top Takeaway: You can share lessons from personal experience, make direct recommendations to readers, or both. But, in any case, ebook content must be practical.

2. Case studies

The growth.design website creates educational case study content. It breaks down how brands execute effective user experiences, as well as strategic improvements they could make.

The best part? These case studies are available for watching for only a month before they’re locked behind a paid wall. This helps trigger FOMO (the 'fear of missing out'), which is an effective way to get more people to consume your content.

Growth.Design Case Study Content Example
growth.design’s case studies analyze the user experiences of various brand

Top Takeaway: Case studies can be more than just the details of a project or reflections on an experience. They should provide immediate value to readers too, teaching lessons they can apply in their cases (hopefully, with your help).

💡 See Also: 12 inspiring content marketing case study examples [2022]

3. Memes and viral content

Memes are great fodder for social media content. For example, IKEA leveraged the viral Bernie Sanders meme to market their mittens and chair in a funny, light-hearted manner.

How? By using the “Get the Look” campaign:

IKEA Meme-Based Content Marketing Example
IKEA leveraged a trending meme to market their chair and mittens

Note that the meme aligned with what IKEA stands for – simplicity and practicality. Follow the same approach for newsjacking trends.

Top Takeaway: Note that the meme aligned with what IKEA stands for – simplicity and practicality. Follow the same approach for newsjacking trends.

💡 Learn more: Using social listening to uncover audience insights for effective content marketing.

4. User-generated content marketing

User-generated content (UGC) is a staple social media content type.

The brand, Cat Person, uses it particularly well on their Instagram.

The company encourages its audience to share pictures of their cats or to tag the brand in photos as their pets enjoy Cat Person’s products.

Then, they share the content on their Instagram account. This helps them demonstrate social proof while growing brand awareness and engagement. They do this consistently, which helps deliver active social updates.

Top Takeaway: To get the maximum benefit from UGC, encourage your audience to create it and incorporate it into your marketing.

5. Podcasts

Podcasts are among the successful content formats to try – if you already haven’t. But why did we add Buffer’s podcast, Small Business Big Lessons, to this list of content marketing examples?

Because it’s exceptional in a few ways:

Firstly, it’s a series-based podcast. Such a podcast lets entrepreneurs and content teams test how well the episodes are received before creating more.

Buffer Podcast Content Marketing Example
Buffer's Small Business Big Lessons podcast is a great podcast example

Secondly, episodes are short, which makes it easy to listen (or binge-listen) to them.

Finally, the podcast features a unique small business from a diverse background in each episode. This way, the focus is less on Buffer as a social media marketing tool and more on helping its audience win by tuning into others’ success stories.

Top Takeaway: Content that leverages storytelling is the hallmark of high-quality content that you should be creating.

6. Checklists

Templates and checklists are common content marketing campaign material but this one’s a great content marketing example: the SEO content checklist.

It’s a brainchild of Aaron Orendorff, the VP of Marketing at Common Thread Collective. The checklist leverages video content (there’s a Loom video included to walk readers through using the checklist) and a readable format.

What’s interesting here, however, is the backstory and how Orendorff leveraged the reach.

Essentially, Orendorff created Twitter threads – a content format that’s gained a lot of popularity in 2021. And, his thread got immense reach:

Making the most of such an amazing response, Orendorff encouraged more reach before creating the checklist:

With their SEO content checklist, the team solves their potential customer's pain points. Most of all, it’s not content that was planned but something Orendorff created on demand.

Top Takeaway: Unexpected opportunities will come your way. So your editorial calendar must be flexible enough to allow for quick delivery of valuable content to your audience.

💡 Learn more: How an editorial calendar can help you be more user-focused.

7. Lead magnet content

Wistia’s Show Business Series is an exceptional example of using a video series for capturing links.

The lead magnet works because, firstly, it leverages the video format – suitable to the brand and its audience. Secondly, it features experts for solving their target audience’s pain points.

Wistia Lead Magnet Content Example
Wistia's Show Business Series is a good example of using video as a lead magnet.

What stands out, however, is that they’ve created a trailer (showcasing human faces) to capture their viewers’ interest – something worth copying. Plus, it only asks for their lead’s email, which removes friction from signing up.

Top Takeaway: Be specific about what people can expect from your lead magnet and what they’ll get out of it. Even better, don’t just explain. Give them a glimpse via a trailer, lead magnet images, or other visuals.

💡 Pro tip: Use GatherContent to create a central library of all the different types of content such as infographics, landing page copy, and whitepapers you create. This way, everyone on your team can access and collaborate on all the content in one place.

GatherContent Content Hub
Manage all your content production in one place using GatherContent

8. Swipe files

A swipe file is a collection of proven examples that work in a particular category.

These could be anything from a swipe file of high-converting sales letters to social media posts or transactional emails such as one that Wonderment created.

Within 24 hours, the swipe file attracted 200 subscribers, according to Deb Mukherjee.

The reason it worked so well? It provides what the e-commerce industry doesn’t have. This means the team found a content gap and filled it up with their swipe file.

Top Takeaway: Go niche with your swipe file, preferably choosing a focus that no one else has. (Even if a brand were to copy you down the road, you’ll be miles ahead if you create your own lane now.)

9. Video content

A great example of video content marketing is Dave Gerhardt’s When the CEO doesn't get marketing.

It takes a humorous approach – making fun of a common situation that the video’s audience often faces. And it ties that familiar frustration to a real solution — DGMG Jobs, which helps viewers find jobs where CEOs do get marketing.

Top Takeaway: Whether you use humor or not, make sure viewers can see how your topic relates to them. This will keep them engaged. And it’ll make them more likely to follow through on your call-to-action, increasing your conversion rate.

10. Blog posts

Any list of content marketing examples is incomplete without sharing blog content examples. And Backlinko provides some great ones, including How I Built 5,660 Backlinks in 30 days.

Backlinko Blog Post Example
A snippet of Backlinko’s in-depth backlink-building post

This post and others on the blog dive deep into how to do search engine optimization (SEO). Yet, the language is simple, fluff-free, and easy to digest. And there are tons of images to help readers make sense of the explanations and prove that the recommended strategies work.

Top Takeaway: Make sure your content is readable, valuable, and thoroughly answers questions your readers have.

11. Webinars

Clearscope has done a wonderful job leveraging webinars for its content marketing efforts.

They tackle topics that make content creation easier for their audience (providing value) and also naturally introduce their content optimization tool. One example of this is the How to Create SEO Content Briefs & Outlines webinar.

Other than the useful topics, two things help them win.

First is the consistency with which they host their webinars. And secondly, they invite micro-influencers in their space as their expert guests. This helps them tap into the influencers’ audience while giving the influencers a platform to share their insights.

Top Takeaway: Don’t only give your take on relevant industry topics. Make a habit of inviting expert guests to participate in your webinars. This will not only make them more valuable to your audience, but it’ll build your credibility and increase the reach of your content.

12. Emails

As they should, some of the best examples of marketing emails come from email marketing software companies. For example, Mailerlite uses emails to drive traffic to its website by teasing new content and redistributing old pieces. It keeps these emails short, giving just enough info to entice subscribers to click through to the website for more info.

Mailerlite Marketing Email Example
A snippet of a marketing email from Mailerlite that promotes old and new content

Another excellent role model is Harry Dry’s Marketing Examples Newsletter. Unlike Mailerlite’s newsletter, this one is not as focused on driving clicks and generating site traffic. Harry teaches short but powerful lessons (mostly using visuals).

Harry Dry Marketing Examples Email Newsletter Example
A bite-sized copywriting lesson from the Marketing Examples Newsletter

Top Takeaway: Whether your goal is to drive traffic to your site or to educate within your emails, it’s generally best to keep the content brief. Either get to the point or quickly set the stage for any longer content you’ll be directing subscribers to.

13. White papers and research reports

White papers and research reports are popular tools for positioning an organization or company as an authority within its industry.

Health Action Council and UnitedHealth Group’s white paper on disparities in care is a masterclass in using this format. It sets the stage for the valuable information to be discussed and, in the end, offers actionable insights. Plus, it uses visual content to clarify data and highlight key points.

UnitedHealth Group White Paper Example
Data from UnitedHealth Group’s white paper

Parse.ly’s Content Matters Report for 2022 is another good example. It puts important stats front and center, surrounding and supporting them with other relevant statistics.

Parse.ly Research Report Example
Data from Parse.ly’s 2022 Content Matters research report

Unlike Health Action Council’s white paper, this research report doesn’t give readers recommendations for how to apply the insights in the report. But it does helpful context on why the data is what it is. This can helps marketers evaluate how their content marketing strategies stack up to others and what they might need to change.

Top Takeaway: Since these content types tend to be data-heavy, don’t leave it up to readers to make sense of the information. Draw attention to the most important points, illustrate data visually, and summarize your conclusions.

14. News content

One company that does news content well is Search Engine Journal.

The SEJ blog is often among the first to report new developments in the industry. But, in contrast to some publications that aim for speed over quality, Search Engine Journal creates content that’s both timely and thoughtful. Google Says AI Generated Content Is Against Guidelines is an example of this.

Search Engine Journal News Content Example
One of Search Engine Journal’s most shared pieces of news content

Five days after John Mueller’s comments on this topic, this post was published complete with an expert analysis of the impact of Google’s stance. The result? This post has been read more than 95,000 times and shared more than 3,700 times according to SEJ’s stats.

Top Takeaway: It’s not about being among the first to break the big news. Aim to be among the first to have a well-rounded take on the news. Balance speed with quality.

With this, our list of content marketing examples comes to an end.

Spice up your content marketing strategy

Whether you’re a thought leader, a startup, or an industry giant, use these examples as inspiration for building a successful content marketing strategy for 2022, 2023, and beyond.

Good to Know: if you're looking for a new tool to manage your content marketing efforts in the new year, don’t forget to try GatherContent for free.

Before we proceed, though, keep in mind that not all examples of content marketing that we share today would be suitable for your audience or brand.

The best way to tell if an idea will work for you? With each piece of content you create, ask yourself: Does it align with our brand principles and goals? Is this something our target audience will love?

That said, let’s walk you through some next-level content marketing examples to inspire you.

1. Ebooks

We’ve got two examples here:

The first ebook is an example of personality-rich content that Handley released to celebrate the 100th edition of her newsletter, Total Anarchy.

Ann Handley Ebook Example]
The introductory page of Ann Handley’s How to Newsletter ebook

The PDF not only dives into what helped her grow her newsletter by 2000% in three years but also highlights what didn’t work.

On the other hand, the Creative Thieves ebook is created as a workbook complete with activities readers need to do to get creative ideas flowing. This makes it an excellent example of actionable content.

Mac + Moore Ebook Example
Mac + Moore's Creative Thieves ebooks is a great example of content marketing done right

Top Takeaway: You can share lessons from personal experience, make direct recommendations to readers, or both. But, in any case, ebook content must be practical.

2. Case studies

The growth.design website creates educational case study content. It breaks down how brands execute effective user experiences, as well as strategic improvements they could make.

The best part? These case studies are available for watching for only a month before they’re locked behind a paid wall. This helps trigger FOMO (the 'fear of missing out'), which is an effective way to get more people to consume your content.

Growth.Design Case Study Content Example
growth.design’s case studies analyze the user experiences of various brand

Top Takeaway: Case studies can be more than just the details of a project or reflections on an experience. They should provide immediate value to readers too, teaching lessons they can apply in their cases (hopefully, with your help).

💡 See Also: 12 inspiring content marketing case study examples [2022]

3. Memes and viral content

Memes are great fodder for social media content. For example, IKEA leveraged the viral Bernie Sanders meme to market their mittens and chair in a funny, light-hearted manner.

How? By using the “Get the Look” campaign:

IKEA Meme-Based Content Marketing Example
IKEA leveraged a trending meme to market their chair and mittens

Note that the meme aligned with what IKEA stands for – simplicity and practicality. Follow the same approach for newsjacking trends.

Top Takeaway: Note that the meme aligned with what IKEA stands for – simplicity and practicality. Follow the same approach for newsjacking trends.

💡 Learn more: Using social listening to uncover audience insights for effective content marketing.

4. User-generated content marketing

User-generated content (UGC) is a staple social media content type.

The brand, Cat Person, uses it particularly well on their Instagram.

The company encourages its audience to share pictures of their cats or to tag the brand in photos as their pets enjoy Cat Person’s products.

Then, they share the content on their Instagram account. This helps them demonstrate social proof while growing brand awareness and engagement. They do this consistently, which helps deliver active social updates.

Top Takeaway: To get the maximum benefit from UGC, encourage your audience to create it and incorporate it into your marketing.

5. Podcasts

Podcasts are among the successful content formats to try – if you already haven’t. But why did we add Buffer’s podcast, Small Business Big Lessons, to this list of content marketing examples?

Because it’s exceptional in a few ways:

Firstly, it’s a series-based podcast. Such a podcast lets entrepreneurs and content teams test how well the episodes are received before creating more.

Buffer Podcast Content Marketing Example
Buffer's Small Business Big Lessons podcast is a great podcast example

Secondly, episodes are short, which makes it easy to listen (or binge-listen) to them.

Finally, the podcast features a unique small business from a diverse background in each episode. This way, the focus is less on Buffer as a social media marketing tool and more on helping its audience win by tuning into others’ success stories.

Top Takeaway: Content that leverages storytelling is the hallmark of high-quality content that you should be creating.

6. Checklists

Templates and checklists are common content marketing campaign material but this one’s a great content marketing example: the SEO content checklist.

It’s a brainchild of Aaron Orendorff, the VP of Marketing at Common Thread Collective. The checklist leverages video content (there’s a Loom video included to walk readers through using the checklist) and a readable format.

What’s interesting here, however, is the backstory and how Orendorff leveraged the reach.

Essentially, Orendorff created Twitter threads – a content format that’s gained a lot of popularity in 2021. And, his thread got immense reach:

Making the most of such an amazing response, Orendorff encouraged more reach before creating the checklist:

With their SEO content checklist, the team solves their potential customer's pain points. Most of all, it’s not content that was planned but something Orendorff created on demand.

Top Takeaway: Unexpected opportunities will come your way. So your editorial calendar must be flexible enough to allow for quick delivery of valuable content to your audience.

💡 Learn more: How an editorial calendar can help you be more user-focused.

7. Lead magnet content

Wistia’s Show Business Series is an exceptional example of using a video series for capturing links.

The lead magnet works because, firstly, it leverages the video format – suitable to the brand and its audience. Secondly, it features experts for solving their target audience’s pain points.

Wistia Lead Magnet Content Example
Wistia's Show Business Series is a good example of using video as a lead magnet.

What stands out, however, is that they’ve created a trailer (showcasing human faces) to capture their viewers’ interest – something worth copying. Plus, it only asks for their lead’s email, which removes friction from signing up.

Top Takeaway: Be specific about what people can expect from your lead magnet and what they’ll get out of it. Even better, don’t just explain. Give them a glimpse via a trailer, lead magnet images, or other visuals.

💡 Pro tip: Use GatherContent to create a central library of all the different types of content such as infographics, landing page copy, and whitepapers you create. This way, everyone on your team can access and collaborate on all the content in one place.

GatherContent Content Hub
Manage all your content production in one place using GatherContent

8. Swipe files

A swipe file is a collection of proven examples that work in a particular category.

These could be anything from a swipe file of high-converting sales letters to social media posts or transactional emails such as one that Wonderment created.

Within 24 hours, the swipe file attracted 200 subscribers, according to Deb Mukherjee.

The reason it worked so well? It provides what the e-commerce industry doesn’t have. This means the team found a content gap and filled it up with their swipe file.

Top Takeaway: Go niche with your swipe file, preferably choosing a focus that no one else has. (Even if a brand were to copy you down the road, you’ll be miles ahead if you create your own lane now.)

9. Video content

A great example of video content marketing is Dave Gerhardt’s When the CEO doesn't get marketing.

It takes a humorous approach – making fun of a common situation that the video’s audience often faces. And it ties that familiar frustration to a real solution — DGMG Jobs, which helps viewers find jobs where CEOs do get marketing.

Top Takeaway: Whether you use humor or not, make sure viewers can see how your topic relates to them. This will keep them engaged. And it’ll make them more likely to follow through on your call-to-action, increasing your conversion rate.

10. Blog posts

Any list of content marketing examples is incomplete without sharing blog content examples. And Backlinko provides some great ones, including How I Built 5,660 Backlinks in 30 days.

Backlinko Blog Post Example
A snippet of Backlinko’s in-depth backlink-building post

This post and others on the blog dive deep into how to do search engine optimization (SEO). Yet, the language is simple, fluff-free, and easy to digest. And there are tons of images to help readers make sense of the explanations and prove that the recommended strategies work.

Top Takeaway: Make sure your content is readable, valuable, and thoroughly answers questions your readers have.

11. Webinars

Clearscope has done a wonderful job leveraging webinars for its content marketing efforts.

They tackle topics that make content creation easier for their audience (providing value) and also naturally introduce their content optimization tool. One example of this is the How to Create SEO Content Briefs & Outlines webinar.

Other than the useful topics, two things help them win.

First is the consistency with which they host their webinars. And secondly, they invite micro-influencers in their space as their expert guests. This helps them tap into the influencers’ audience while giving the influencers a platform to share their insights.

Top Takeaway: Don’t only give your take on relevant industry topics. Make a habit of inviting expert guests to participate in your webinars. This will not only make them more valuable to your audience, but it’ll build your credibility and increase the reach of your content.

12. Emails

As they should, some of the best examples of marketing emails come from email marketing software companies. For example, Mailerlite uses emails to drive traffic to its website by teasing new content and redistributing old pieces. It keeps these emails short, giving just enough info to entice subscribers to click through to the website for more info.

Mailerlite Marketing Email Example
A snippet of a marketing email from Mailerlite that promotes old and new content

Another excellent role model is Harry Dry’s Marketing Examples Newsletter. Unlike Mailerlite’s newsletter, this one is not as focused on driving clicks and generating site traffic. Harry teaches short but powerful lessons (mostly using visuals).

Harry Dry Marketing Examples Email Newsletter Example
A bite-sized copywriting lesson from the Marketing Examples Newsletter

Top Takeaway: Whether your goal is to drive traffic to your site or to educate within your emails, it’s generally best to keep the content brief. Either get to the point or quickly set the stage for any longer content you’ll be directing subscribers to.

13. White papers and research reports

White papers and research reports are popular tools for positioning an organization or company as an authority within its industry.

Health Action Council and UnitedHealth Group’s white paper on disparities in care is a masterclass in using this format. It sets the stage for the valuable information to be discussed and, in the end, offers actionable insights. Plus, it uses visual content to clarify data and highlight key points.

UnitedHealth Group White Paper Example
Data from UnitedHealth Group’s white paper

Parse.ly’s Content Matters Report for 2022 is another good example. It puts important stats front and center, surrounding and supporting them with other relevant statistics.

Parse.ly Research Report Example
Data from Parse.ly’s 2022 Content Matters research report

Unlike Health Action Council’s white paper, this research report doesn’t give readers recommendations for how to apply the insights in the report. But it does helpful context on why the data is what it is. This can helps marketers evaluate how their content marketing strategies stack up to others and what they might need to change.

Top Takeaway: Since these content types tend to be data-heavy, don’t leave it up to readers to make sense of the information. Draw attention to the most important points, illustrate data visually, and summarize your conclusions.

14. News content

One company that does news content well is Search Engine Journal.

The SEJ blog is often among the first to report new developments in the industry. But, in contrast to some publications that aim for speed over quality, Search Engine Journal creates content that’s both timely and thoughtful. Google Says AI Generated Content Is Against Guidelines is an example of this.

Search Engine Journal News Content Example
One of Search Engine Journal’s most shared pieces of news content

Five days after John Mueller’s comments on this topic, this post was published complete with an expert analysis of the impact of Google’s stance. The result? This post has been read more than 95,000 times and shared more than 3,700 times according to SEJ’s stats.

Top Takeaway: It’s not about being among the first to break the big news. Aim to be among the first to have a well-rounded take on the news. Balance speed with quality.

With this, our list of content marketing examples comes to an end.

Spice up your content marketing strategy

Whether you’re a thought leader, a startup, or an industry giant, use these examples as inspiration for building a successful content marketing strategy for 2022, 2023, and beyond.

Good to Know: if you're looking for a new tool to manage your content marketing efforts in the new year, don’t forget to try GatherContent for free.

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