McDonald's Canada has tackled more than 10,000 such questions, Clark says. This is a good example of content marketing because it addresses problems and questions from people McDonald's wants to do business with. It also provides McDonald's with "a huge volume of unique, valuable content on its site," Clark adds, which has proven SEO benefits.
Meanwhile, the Whole Foods blog Four Pillars of Healthy Eating represents good content marketing because it matches the beliefs of the company with the needs and interests of its customers, Clark says. "This is smart content marketing because it gets people to buy into the Whole Foods world view."
Small businesses have shown themselves adept at content marketing as well, says Kuenn, who offers three examples:
The Motor Lodge, a 12-room inn in Prescott, Arizona, uses its Facebook page as its primary content marketing vehicle. "They've done a good job building an audience through content by being clever, humorous and engaging," Kuenn says. As a result, despite its size, the Motor Lodge's Facebook page has nearly 2,000 likes, and many of its updates receive 30 or more comments, he says.
The famous Will It Blend? video series, in which Blendtec founder Tom Dickson throws unusual items such as an iPad into a Blendtec blender to see what happens, is "probably one of the best content marketing programs ever," Kuenn says. The viral videos promote the blender's strength while being engaging and funny.
During its first year of operations about six years ago, FixYourDLP.com -which provides replacement bulbs for DLP televisions-had about $100,000 in revenues, Kuenn says. Last year, the company had some $24 million in revenues.
"They did it all by producing hundreds of how-to videos and PDF manuals that show consumers how to install the bulbs they sell in specific TV sets," he explains. "That was their whole marketing effort, and it worked because they produced helpful content that consumers needed, then sold them the product that would solve their problem."
Experts cite free downloadable guides, white papers and how-to webinars-when done well-as reliably effective content marketing methods.