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20 Content Marketing Examples That Stand Out in 2022

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Do you remember a time where a piece of content made you a longtime fan of a particular brand or company? Maybe it was a funny YouTube video or a super informative blog post — both of which are content marketing examples.

Content marketing examples include media like newsletters, podcasts, social media posts, and videos. All of these forms of content are meant to provide useful and relevant information that delights users and attracts them to your brand.

To help you use content marketing to your company’s advantage, here are some of my favorite content marketing examples of 2022.

 

1. Spotify Wrapped Playlists

Spotify Wrapped is one of the music streaming app’s most successful content marketing campaigns. Near the end of every year, Spotify users get a fun roundup of all the music they’ve listened to that year. The roundup is broken down into genres, years, artists, and more, and is displayed with brightly colored graphics.

It then creates a personalized playlist of the user’s most listened to songs, and users have the option to share their wrapped playlists on social media — a key element that has made the campaign to trend on social media every year since its inception.

 

2. DuoLingo’s TiKTok

You likely know DuoLingo as the website and app that helps users learn a new language, but the company has generated buzz on TikTok for another reason — the company’s self-proclaimed “unhinged” mascot.

DuoLingo has amassed over 4.5 million followers on TikTok thanks to its consistent stream of content featuring the company’s iconic green owl mascot. Though many of the videos do not mention the company’s products and services, the account’s ability to create funny, trendy content has helped raise brand awareness on the app — something many brands struggle to do.

3. Canva’s Design School

Canva’s Design School provides value to its users by teaching them how to create engaging images with minimal design experience and without complicated software. It also does a great job of showing all the design possibilities Canva has to offer.

4. Hairstylist Theresa Van Dam’s TikTok

Theresa Van Dam is a hairstylist and owner of the Fantastic Sams Salon in Lenox, Illinois. Her TikTok account is famous for her skits that show how she deals with rude customers — all of whom she calls “Karen.”

Her content is often praised for being relatable to anyone who has ever had to deal with unruly customers.

This relatable approach to content works because while TikTok users come to the account for laughs, they are also shown videos of her excellent work as a stylist. Her TikTok now has 4.9 million followers, and Theresa has said often in her videos that she now has so many customers she often requires new ones to book her months in advance.

5. Girl With The Dog’s YouTube Channel

Girl With The Dog’s is a YouTube channel run by a professional pet groomer named Vanessa, owner of Perfect Pooches Dog Grooming in Ontario Canada.

The channel features excellent content marketing by providing entertainment for viewers while also showing off her skills as a groomer — I mean, who doesn’t like to see dramatic huskies screaming at a little blow dryer?

As a result of her content marketing efforts, Vanessa’s channel now has 1.5 million followers — and her clientele has grown to include cats and the occasional pig. She was also able to raise enough money to donate to animal sanctuaries.

6. Crunchyroll Collections

Crunchyroll is a U.S.-based company that licenses, distributes, and streams anime around the world. One of the ways Crunchyroll markets itself online is through YouTube via its Crunchyroll Collections channel. Crunchyroll Collections hosts clips and compilation videos of highly searched moments from popular anime.

This type of content marketing engages viewers, keeps the brand at the top of search results for popular anime, and shows how broad the company’s catalog is — encouraging viewers to subscribe to its streaming service. Notice there is even a button in the channel’s banner that viewers can click to start a 14-day free trial if they want more content.

Crunchyroll is a content marketing exampleImage source

7. Chewy’s YouTube Channel

Chewy is an online retailer of pet products that has found a unique way to promote its different products. Chewy’s YouTube channel is full of advice regarding pets, training, and animal health. It also features educational videos, like “A Day in the Life of a Special Needs Cat Rescue and Sanctuary.”

In most videos, Chewy provides valuable information while tying in their products. For example, in the video “How to Introduce a Dog to a Cat,” the company lists the materials needed to introduce the two animals — showing all the different products they sell.

Furthermore, the description of the video includes a link to a post on the company’s blog that gives more information. The blog post also provides links to where pet owners can buy the materials they need off the official Chewy website. This encourages viewers to visit its website and make purchases.

The BeChewy blog is a content marketing exampleImage source

8. Amazon Prime’s The Anime Club

Anime has become more popular over the years, and many streaming services are cashing in on the trend — including Amazon Prime. But how does Amazon stand out among the stiff competition of Crunchyroll, Netflix, and Hulu? It started by partnering with actress and content creator Cheyenne The Geek to create a web series called The Anime Club.

The Anime Club gives anime recommendations based on genre and tackles different topics often referenced in anime. All the anime Cheyenne references are available to watch on Amazon Prime, encouraging viewers to subscribe to the streaming service.

9. UN Refugee Agency’s “Forced to Flee” Podcast

The UN Refugee Agency’s Webby Award-nominated podcast helps raise awareness for refugees by telling their unique and heart wrenching stories. This form of content marketing is compelling, leaves the audience with a better understanding of a refugee crisis, and shows the importance of agency’s work.

The UN Refugee Agency's podcast "Forced to Flee" is a content marketing exampleImage source

 

10. The Washington Post’s TikTok

The Washington Post’s TiKTok takes a comedic approach to history, news, and politics — appealing to its 1.4 million followers. The account also links to the Washington Post’s website.

11. Jackson Galaxy’s YouTube Channel

Jackson Galaxy is the former host of Animal Planet’s “My Cat from Hell,” a show that cat owners get along better with their unruly cats. Now, he has a website where he sells cat products and consultations.

To help promote his work and establish himself as an expert, Jackson runs a YouTube channel where he answers common questions regarding cats and cat ownership. In these videos, he provides advice, promotes his book, and showcases the products he has on his website that can help cat owners.

12. You Suck at Cooking

You Suck at Cooking started off as a funny YouTube channel that showed people help to cook simple meals. Years later, the channel is still hilarious but is also used to promote the host’s cookbook. The channel’s dry humor, random skits, and running gags help it stand out from other online self-help cooking resources.

13. Warby Parker’s Email Marketing

One of the many reason’s Warby Parker stands out from other online glasses retailers is its fun and eye-catching (no pun intended) email marketing campaigns. In the example below, Warby Parker welcomes summer vacation with its bright crystal-themed glasses eyewear. The calls to action in the email are easy to spot, the colors are bright and fun, and the company’s social media accounts are clearly presented.

Warby Parker's email marketing is a content marketing example14. Content Marketing Institute’s Click to Tweet

If you make it easy for people to share something interesting with their network, then they’re much more likely to do so. Embedding a “click to tweet” button that automatically shares quotes or statistics from your article is an effective way to do that.

For example, this blog post that I wrote for Content Marketing Institute is the most widely shared guest blog post I’ve ever written:

Click to Tweet is a content marketing example

Months after publication, I still get daily Twitter notifications from people tweeting about this article. And the majority of the tweets come from the “click to tweet” option that Content Marketing Institute offers throughout the post.

If you want to start adding “click to tweet” options throughout your website content, check out this free tool.

15. Digital Olympus’s Expert Roundup

No matter what industry you’re in, there are influencers to whom people look for advice.

Digital Olympus interviewed over 40 digital marketing experts for one of their blog posts, asking each expert to provide their most effective method for acquiring traffic.

What I most like about this blog post is how Digital Olympus organizes the contributions. At the top of the page, there’s a headshot of each expert next to their name. If you want to read a particular expert’s tip, you simply have to click on their headshot and you’ll jump down to their quote.

There’s also an anchor-linked Table of Contents that allows for topic-based searches. This way, readers can jump to the specific sections that are most applicable to them.

Digital Olympus' expert roundup is a content marketing example

16. Colgate’s Research Page

Creating a resource page made up of helpful links on a given topic is an effective way to create helpful content.

If your business has been producing content for a while, then chances are you have clusters of related content to support the topics around which your business wants to build authority.

For example, oral hygiene company Colgate has over 1,200 pieces of content related to their broad topic “gum disease.”

Colgate's research page is an example of content marketing

That’s a lot of content to sift through, which is why Colgate created a resource page made up of specific sections of gum disease-related content, like “What are the Stages of Gum Disease?” or “How to Cure Gingivitis.”

Each section offers:

  • A paragraph of explainer text
  • A bulleted list of details on the sub-topic
  • Links to relevant content on their site

17. Moz’s Topic Clusters

The topic cluster framewor is a highly effective SEO strategy that demonstrates to Google that the content on your website is organized and relevant to searchers. To learn more about this framework, watch the video below.

Some brands have taken this approach to the next level by creating a multi-page masterclass or guide that links together like-themed pillar pages. A pillar page is a website page that covers a topic in-depth and links to a cluster of related content, also known as a cluster. One of my favorite examples of this is Moz’s Beginner’s Guide to Content Marketing.

Moz creatively puts a chapter list at the start of each page that links out to more specific content marketing-themed pages within the topic cluster.

Additionally, using an anchor-linked chapter list is an effective way to connect the cluster together — it provides value to the reader while passing authority through to each pillar page.

18. Mailshakes’ Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is a combination of software and strategy. With marketing automation, businesses can target prospects and customers with automated messages across multiple online and offline channels including email, text, web, and social media. Each message is sent automatically according to a pre-set list of instructions, called workflows.

Marketing automation can be an effective tool to keep your audience engaged with your brand, but it’s important to make sure you’re sending the right messages to the right people at the right time.

Mailshake, an email outreach tool, implemented marketing automation effectively by creating a Cold Email Masterclass to teach people how to make better connections via email outreach. The masterclass is made up of eight comprehensive lessons (i.e. pillar pages).

Mailshake knows that this is a lot of content for people to consume, and visitors won’t likely read it all in one sitting.

To make it easier for people to learn step-by-step, Mailshake repackaged their masterclass into an eight-part email series. In other words, they automated their education to help their audience.

Mailshake's marketing automation is an example of content marketing

Mailshake acquired 5,321 email opt-ins for their cold email masterclass workflow in under one year — proof that, if done well, this could be an incredibly effective strategy.

19. Townsend Security’s Content Offer

One tried-and-true way to convert visitors into leads is by offering something of value in exchange for their contact information (i.e. email address). This “something” is referred to as a content offer.

Content offers include, but are not limited to:

  • Guides
  • Workbooks
  • Templates
  • Webinars

It can take a lot of time to create a valuable content offer from scratch.

One effective way to create a meaningful content offer is to repurpose and repackage pieces of content found on your website. For example, data security company Townsend Security created a pillar page for one of their topics of expertise — encryption key management.

To help convert visitors into leads, Townsend repurposed and repackaged the content on their page into a guide. This allowed people to take the content with them, as opposed to having to search for the pillar page each time they wanted to read about encryption key management.

Townsend Security's content offer is a content marketing example

In the first year of publishing their encryption key management pillar page, 63% of visitors gave their information in exchange for a packaged PDF of the on-page content.

20. Venngage’s Free Product

Your product should be your best marketing. An effective way to provide real value to your prospects is to create a free tool that aligns with your products and/or services.

If you can get a free user hooked on one of your free tools, then you’re giving yourself (and your sales team) the best chance at demonstrating the value of your paid tools, too.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re a writer who needs help with creating visuals for the web content you create. You might consider using Venngage, a company that helps businesses create compelling visuals. In the free version of their platform, users get access to a wide variety of templates for infographics, presentations, brochures, checklists, and so on.

In the future, when your marketing team is considering paid products for design, you’ll have Venngage top-of-mind.

Venngage's free product is a content marketing example

And there you have it — 20 content marketing examples to help get your creative juices flowing. Consider how you can apply one (or several) of these examples to your business to strengthen your content marketing efforts.

We live in a fast-paced digital world. In the time you read this blog post, a new channel, a new tactic, or a new competitor has emerged. The best chance you have at telling your business’s story and growing a pool of engaged prospects and customers is by learning the art of content marketing — and starting to apply it to your business, today.

Start the free Content Marketing Certification course from HubSpot Academy.

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Top 3 Strategies for Success

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Top 3 Strategies for Success

With the advent of e-commerce, manufacturers have unprecedented opportunities to expand their reach, streamline their operations, and enhance profitability. Amidst this digital revolution, adopting Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) is pivotal in optimizing production processes, quality control, and resource management.

As the lines between traditional brick-and-mortar sales and online commerce continue to blur, manufacturers increasingly realize the need to adapt and thrive in this new digital landscape. This article explores the top 3 strategies manufacturers can employ to succeed in e-commerce.

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES)

MES (Manufacturing Execution System) is specialized application software designed to solve the tasks of synchronization, coordination, analysis, and optimization of production output within any production. MES systems belong to the class of shop floor-level management systems but can also be used for integrated production management at the enterprise as a whole.

MES collects and analyzes production processes, product demand, and inventory data. This allows manufacturers to adapt more quickly to changes in the market, reconfigure production to meet current requirements, and closely monitor trends. As a result, manufacturers can more easily predict and meet customer needs, which helps increase online sales.

MES helps in maintaining accurate inventory records and managing inventory turnover. This avoids overstock or shortages, which can affect a company’s ability to meet online demand and maintain customer service levels.

Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) enhance transparency and automate operations, reducing human errors and operational costs. Integrating Manufacturing CRM streamlines customer data, allowing manufacturers to tailor products, respond to market changes, and offer competitive prices in online stores. The synergy between MES and CRM creates an agile manufacturing environment, optimizing efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Content Marketing

Kapost’s research shows that companies in the B2B segment that blog get 67% more leads on average than companies that don’t. However, it’s worth remembering that content marketing requires a lot of resources to prepare and regularity in publishing it. This content can be, for example, brand identity and E-commerce logo, articles and videos, webinars, research, and interviews.

The content should help solve a specific problem to create the image of an expert and thus influence the decisions of potential customers. The topics discussed should not be chosen randomly. A little research in Google Trends will help select the main topic, discussion areas in the video, phrases, and words that should be included in the article. Publishing content based on such a prepared analysis allows you to achieve high positions in search engines. It provides a good user experience for customers looking for answers to product/service questions, comprehensively covering the subject matter.

The benefits of this e-commerce strategy are free traffic, increased user confidence, and the creation of an expert image.

Content marketing is a form of promotion that requires patience and time. Its effects will also depend on the quality of thecontent itself, its optimization, and promotion methods. No specific terms can be specified here.

YouTube channels as a form of content marketing

You can discuss your production process and show and test products on your YouTube channel. If someone is looking for information about a product and is unsure which brand to choose, they will likely find your video and maybe make a purchase. Remember to choose a title that matches the search query and prepare a video description with product links. You can send out an email to announce when new videos are released. Whenever you have particularly compelling videos, you could also promote them via texting notifications to drive even more traffic.

Utilize user-generated content and social media

Not utilizing the content that your users generate is a huge issue. This is because it’s not easy to refresh an e-commerce website and keep it alive. But photos and videos taken by real customers are great for this purpose.

Adding a “widget” that connects your online store’s website to its official social media accounts brings significant benefits. These include revitalizing your social media accounts, increasing your credibility as a manufacturer, inspiring other customers to buy, and encouraging repeat purchases.

Snapchat Planets

Snapchat’s “Planets” feature provides a unique and interactive way to engage with your e-commerce store’s audience. Here are some creative ideas on how to leverage Snapchat Planets to create engaging content:

  • Virtual Store Tours: Use the AR feature to create a virtual tour of your store. Each planet can represent different sections or categories of your store. For instance, one planet could showcase your latest collection, another could highlight bestsellers, and another could offer exclusive deals.
  • Product Launches: Announce new product launches by creating a cosmic journey. Users can travel from one planet to another, each unveiling a new product with engaging visuals and detailed descriptions. This creates a sense of excitement and discovery around new arrivals.
  • Interactive Shopping Experience: Create interactive shopping experiences where users can explore products in a fun and engaging way. For example, users can navigate through different planets to find hidden discounts or special offers, making shopping more interactive and rewarding.
  • Customer Rewards and Loyalty Programs: Develop a loyalty program where users earn points or rewards by exploring different planets. Each planet can offer unique rewards, such as discounts, free samples, or exclusive access to new collections. This gamifies the shopping experience and encourages repeat visits.
  • Themed Campaigns: Align your marketing campaigns with planetary themes. For instance, during holiday seasons, you can create a holiday-themed planet where users can find special holiday deals, gift ideas, and festive content.

By leveraging Snapchat Planets, you can transform your e-commerce store’s content into a captivating and interactive experience that keeps your audience engaged, entertained, and coming back for more.

Use newsletters to captivate your target audience

Newsletters can strengthen the connection with the consumer and demonstrate that shopping with you is safe and profitable. Remember that the more personalized the message, the more effective it will be. It should contain a call to action (CTA), such as a button that redirects to products.

Don’t forget to put a box to check for consent to process personal data when subscribing to the newsletter. Also, add an option to unsubscribe from the newsletter in each email.

A regular email account is not adapted for the newsletter, so do not use your everyday email address. This way, you risk being blacklisted by spam filters. The benefits of newsletters are optimizing advertising costs, increasing loyal audiences from different channels, and building mutually beneficial relationships with partners.

Print and PDF Channel

1716522964 432 Top 3 Strategies for Success

In the digital landscape, the significance of Print and PDF channels cannot be underestimated for manufacturers engaging in e- commerce. The tactile experience of print offers unique psychological advantages, enhancing comprehension and retention, which are vital for technical manuals and complex product details. PDFs merge this benefit with digital accessibility, ensuring wide reach while maintaining format integrity. This dual-channel approach not only caters to diverse consumer preferences but also bolsters marketing efforts, making technical content more engaging and understandable. Utilizing catalog software further streamlines the integration of Print and PDF channels into e-commerce strategies, enhancing product presentation and distribution efficiency.

Contextual advertising: Google Ads

1716522964 713 Top 3 Strategies for Success

If you want the advertising you invest in to have an immediate effect, it’s worth turning to Google Ads. Google displays paid ads in search results and on Google’s network of partners (on-site ads in the form of banners).

You bid when you search for a keyword for which advertisers have set up a campaign. The search engine determines who will appear in the search results and at what position. When assigning bids, the quality of the landing page, the quality of the ads, and the stated maximum bid per click are all considered.

To start setting up your campaign, simply login to your Google Ads account. Using the service is free, and you’ll find plenty of online tutorials on creating a campaign. However, you may find that it won’t generate valuable traffic if you don’t set it up optimally. Your budget will be wasted on clicks that won’t lead to conversions. This is why most companies resort to the help of agencies, including specialized agencies.

There is probably no industry in which Google Ads campaigns cannot be used. However, advertising can be moderately profitable if there is a lot of competition in the industry and margins are low.

The benefits of this e-commerce strategy are large audience reach, the ability to get the target audience as accurately as possible, and very detailed statistics on results.

The effect of launching a campaign should appear almost immediately. A properly set up campaign will increase traffic to the website. By systematically optimizing the campaign, you can achieve much better results.

You also can use paid Facebook Ads post promotion. It is important to pinpoint your target group, but how do you do it? A popular way is to draw up a customer portrait, that is, to make a collective image of your customer.

This considers age, gender, income level, location, interests and hobbies, and online behavior. Such a person will display a group interested in your services or goods.

Implement personalized product selections

Recommended product block and cross-selling are very powerful internet marketing strategies. In addition to the recommended product block, which shows the analogs of the product being viewed, it is worth paying attention to the website’s functionality.

As a rule, the products in the “You may also like” block are selected based on the pages previously viewed by the customer, his previous purchases on the website, as well as what was purchased by other customers with similar tastes. If this functionality is implemented technically sound, it can lead to additional items added to the shopping cart. “You may also like” block partly acts as an alternative to the advice of a specialist or consultant.

With blocks for cross-selling related products is a similar situation. Usually, in them are placed products from the same product line, collection, or simply those that perfectly match the product being viewed. You can use AI-powered live chats to proactively engage in customer conversations and suggest products based on their behavior.

Conclusion

E-commerce for manufacturers is a vast field, and in this article, we have presented the most popular and most effective forms of selling online. Remember, no effective e-commerce strategy exists. Each industry and business will have specifics. Try combining the above mentioned e-commerce strategies to maximize your chances of success and increase your profits.

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Why Even Crushing Content Failures Aren’t Mistakes

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Why Even Crushing Content Failures Aren’t Mistakes

Did you follow the Apple iPad Pro content debacle?

Here’s a quick recap. A recent online ad for the new iPad Pro showed a large hydraulic press slowly crushing various symbols of creativity. A metronome, a piano, a record player, a video game, paints, books, and other creative tools splinter and smash as the Sonny and Cher song All I Ever Need Is You plays.

The ad’s title? “Crush!”

The point of the commercial — I think — is to show that Apple managed to smush (that’s the technical term) all this heretofore analog creativity into its new, very thin iPad Pro.  

To say the ad received bad reviews is underselling the response. Judgment was swift and unrelenting. The creative world freaked out.

On X, actor Hugh Grant shared Tim Cook’s post featuring the ad and added this comment: “The destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley.”

When fellow actor Justine Bateman shared the Tim Cook post, she simply wrote, “Truly, what is wrong with you?” Other critiques ranged from tone-challenged to wasteful to many worse things.

Actor Justine Bateman shared Tim Cook’s post on X, which featured the ad, and added this comment: "Truly, what is wrong with you?".

A couple of days later, Apple apologized and canceled plans to air the ad on television.

How not-so-great content ideas come to life

The level of anger surprises me. Look, the ad does show the eyeballs on an emoji-faced squishy ball popping under the plates’ pressure, but still. Calling the ad “actually psychotic” might be a skosh over the top.

Yes, the ad missed the mark. And the company’s subsequent decision to apologize makes sense.

But anyone who’s participated in creating a content misfire knows this truth: Mistakes look much more obvious in hindsight.

On paper, I bet this concept sounded great. The brainstorming meeting probably started with something like this: “We want to show how the iPad Pro metaphorically contains this huge mass of creative tools in a thin and cool package.”

Maybe someone suggested representing that exact thing with CGI (maybe a colorful tornado rising from the screen). Then someone else suggested showing the actual physical objects getting condensed would be more powerful.

Here’s my imagined version of the conversation that might have happened after someone pointed out the popular internet meme of things getting crushed in a hydraulic press.

“People love that!”

“If we add buckets of paint, it will be super colorful and cool.”

“It’ll be a cooler version of that LG ad that ran in 2008.”

“Exactly!”

“It’ll be just like that ad where a bus driver kidnaps and subsequently crushes all the cute little Pokémon characters in a bus!” (Believe it or not, that was actually a thing.)

The resulting commercial suffers from the perfect creative storm: A not-great (copycat) idea at the absolutely wrong time.

None of us know what constraints Apple’s creative team worked under. How much time did they have to come up with a concept? Did they have time to test it with audiences? Maybe crushing physical objects fit into the budget better than CGI. All these factors affect the creative process and options (even at a giant company like Apple).

That’s not an excuse — it’s just reality.

Content failure or content mistake?

Many ad campaigns provoke a “What the hell were they thinking?” response (think Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner ad or those cringy brand tributes that follow celebrity deaths).

Does that mean they’re failures? Or are they mistakes? And what’s the difference?

As I wrote after Peloton’s holiday ad debacle (remember that?), people learn to fear mistakes early on. Most of us hear cautionary messages almost from day one.

Some are necessary and helpful (“Don’t stick a knife in a live toaster” or “Look both ways before you cross the street.”) Some aren’t (“Make that essay perfect” or “Don’t miss that goal.”)

As a result, many people grow up afraid to take risks — and that hampers creativity. The problem arises from conflating failure and mistakes. It helps to know the difference.

I moved to Los Angeles in 1987 to become a rock ‘n’ roll musician. I failed. But it wasn’t a mistake. I wasn’t wrong to try. My attempt just didn’t work.

Labeling a failed attempt a “mistake” feeds the fears that keep people from attempting anything creative.

The conflation of failure and mistakes happens all too often in creative marketing. Sure, people create content pieces (and let’s not forget that there are always people behind those ideas) that genuinely count as mistakes.

They also create content that simply fails.

Don’t let extreme reactions make you fear failures

Here’s the thing about failed content. You can do all the work to research your audience and take the time to develop and polish your ideas — and the content still might fail. The story, the platform, or the format might not resonate, or the audience simply might not care for it. That doesn’t mean it’s a mistake.

Was the Apple ad a mistake? Maybe, but I don’t think so.

Was it a failure? The vitriolic response indicates yes.

Still, the commercial generated an impressive amount of awareness (53 million views of the Tim Cook post on X, per Variety.) And, despite the apology, the company hasn’t taken the ad down from its YouTube page where it’s earned more than 1 million views.

The fictional Captain Jean Luc Picard once said, “It is possible to commit no mistakes and still lose. That is not weakness. That is life.” The Apple ad turns that statement on its head — Apple made many mistakes and still won a tremendous amount of attention.

I’m not suggesting that people shouldn’t criticize creative work. Constructive critiques help us learn from our own and others’ failures. You can even have a good laugh about content fails.

Just acknowledge, as the Roman philosopher Cicero once wrote, “Not every mistake is a foolish one.” 

Creative teams take risks. They try things outside their comfort zone. Sometimes they fail (sometimes spectacularly).

But don’t let others’ expressions of anger over failures inhibit your willingness to try creative things.

Wouldn’t you love to get the whole world talking about the content you create? To get there, you have to risk that level of failure.

And taking that risk isn’t a mistake.

It’s your story. Tell it well.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute 



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The Future of Content Success Is Social

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The Future of Content Success Is Social

Here’s a challenge: search “SEO RFP” on Google. Click on the results, and tell me how similar they are.

We did the same thing every other SEO does: We asked, “What words are thematically relevant?” Which themes have my competitors missed?” How can I put them in?” AND “How can I do everything just slightly better than they can?”

Then they do the same, and it becomes a cycle of beating mediocre content with slightly less mediocre content.

When I looked at our high-ranking content, I felt uncomfortable. Yes, it ranked, but it wasn’t overly helpful compared to everything else that ranked.

Ranking isn’t the job to be done; it is just a proxy.

Why would a high-ranking keyword make me feel uncomfortable? Isn’t that the whole freaking job to be done? Not for me. The job to be done is to help educate people, and ranking is a byproduct of doing that well.

I looked at our own content, and I put myself in the seat of a searcher, not an SEO; I looked at the top four rankings and decided that our content felt easy, almost ChatGPT-ish. It was predictable, it was repeatable, and it lacked hot takes and spicy punches.

So, I removed 80% of the content and replaced it with the 38 questions I would ask if I was hiring an SEO. I’m a 25-year SME, and I know what I would be looking for in these turbulent times. I wanted to write the questions that didn’t exist on anything ranking in the top ten. This was a risk, why? Because, semantically, I was going against what Google was likely expecting to see on this topic. This is when Mike King told me about information gain. Google will give you a boost in ranking signals if you bring it new info. Maybe breaking out of the sea of sameness + some social signals could be a key factor in improving rankings on top of doing the traditional SEO work.

What’s worth more?

Ten visits to my SEO RFP post from people to my content via a private procurement WhatsApp group or LinkedIn group?

One hundred people to the same content from search?

I had to make a call, and I was willing to lose rankings (that were getting low traffic but highly valued traffic) to write something that when people read it, they thought enough about it to share it in emails, groups, etc.

SME as the unlock to standout content?

I literally just asked myself, “Wil, what would you ask yourself if you were hiring an SEO company? Then I riffed for 6—8 hours and had tons of chats with ChatGPT. I was asking ChatGPT to get me thinking differently. Things like, “what would create the most value?” I never constrained myself to “what is the search volume,” I started with the riffs.

If I was going to lose my rankings, I had to socially promote it so people knew it existed. That was an unlock, too, if you go this route. It’s work, you are now going to rely on spikes from social, so having a reason to update it and put it back in social is very important.

Most of my “followers” aren’t looking for SEO services as they are digital marketers themselves. So I didn’t expect this post to take off HUGLEY, but given the content, I was shocked at how well it did and how much engagement it got from real actual people.

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