Between TikTok, blog content, AI tools, personalized email campaigns, and the like, it’s the understatement of the year to say that the content marketing space is saturated.
Even so, campaigns that break the mold aren’t few and far between. In fact, these past couple of years have brought about plenty of whip-smart marketing strategies that prove that new ideas are always just around the corner.
Below, we break down 13+ content marketing examples innovating the industry. Let’s dive in.
1. Barbie Selfie Generator
It was the exclamation heard around the world this summer, and for good reason. The Barbie movie was a cultural juggernaut, raking in billions of dollars thanks in part to an astronomical marketing budget and a few very smart campaigns.
One of their biggest campaigns relied heavily on UGC, meaning all the marketers behind the movie had to do was create the AI selfie generator, sit back, and wait to go viral. Applicable to just about everyone, you no doubt saw individuals and brands alike hopping in on the trend this summer. This Barbie is an astronaut! This Barbie is the president! This Barbie is a genius marketer!
2. Daiya Pizza Pyramid Scheme
If you or someone you love has been impacted by the virus known as pyramid schemes, you may be entitled to…free pizza?
Jokes aside, pyramid schemes have a knack for infiltrating social networks, leading to the dreaded out-of-the-blue DM from a girl you haven’t spoken to since high school. Daiya took this trend and capitalized on it to capture emails from new customers (and their friends) and offer coupons for free pizza in return.
In fact, their campaign was so successful that they ran out of free coupons entirely! To keep the hype going, however, they are drawing a few names to receive a “Pizza Pyramid Scheme Starter Kit.” Goes to show that when you mix together something people hate (pyramid schemes) with something people love (free pizza), you just might get a totally viral campaign.
3. Agency vs. In-House Cost Calculator by First Page Strategy
We’d be remiss not to mention one of our own pieces of content marketing when breaking down examples innovating the industry. Our agency calculator is an interactive sales tool that helps potential clients understand how much it truly costs to hire an agency vs. build out an entire in-house marketing team.
One of the biggest hurdles we see when chatting with potential clients is the cost of hiring an external agency. While most don’t have an in-house marketing team already set in place, they tend to assume that would be a lower lift financially than bringing in an outside team. However, they often fail to factor in salaries, bonuses, benefits, and training costs.
This calculator helps solidify the numbers for anyone in the consideration phase of hiring an outside agency — all without having to pick up the phone or set up a meeting. It allows potential clients to see the real cost benefit of working with us and makes that next step of signing the contract that much more natural. Talk about a win-win.
4. The Ecopreneurs
Every marketer knows that consumers will come out in droves to support a company that does good. Salesforce partnered with FORTUNE Brand Studio to do just that, creating an 11-episode documentary series about Ecoprenuers — entrepreneurs who are helping give back to the environment.
This campaign was so successful that it brought in record views for Salesforce, raised money for various organizations highlighted in the documentary, and even won several Content Marketing Awards for the best purpose-led campaign in 2023.
Though the environment and Salesforce might not seem to have much in common, the reality is that everyone needs to do their part to help improve the world around us — individuals and brands alike.
5. Who Gives a Crap Winnie-the-Pooh Book
One way to practically guarantee engagement with your content marketing campaign? Invoke nostalgia — but give it a twist.
Toilet paper brand Who Gives a Crap took advantage of the fact that beloved childhood character Winnie the Pooh became public domain back in 2020. Tying it back to their brand, Who Gives a Crap reimagined what the Hundred Acre Wood would look like if the big toilet paper companies had their way with it. The result was a heartstrings-tugging campaign that pushed people to really consider what they are using to wipe their bottoms every single day.
While unconventional, this hybrid content marketing campaign took the internet by storm (and they just can’t seem to keep the book in stock, either).
6. Moz’s Guides to Learning SEO
Content marketing isn’t all fun and games. Sometimes, the best campaigns are focused on education over entertainment. That’s what Moz has done with their beginner guide to SEO and supplementary content.
Giving away free educational resources to help novice marketers learn the ins and outs of SEO helps Moz accomplish a few things:
- They are cementing themselves as an authority in the SEO field, leading to a higher level of trust with their readers.
- They are proving their value as a company by giving away free resources.
- They are educating potential customers about SEO basics to push them farther down the funnel.
By providing top-funnel education, Moz is capturing customers who may not even know they need Moz’s services yet, all wrapped up in a pretty little free bow.
7. Spotify Wrapped
Chances are you’ve seen this content marketing campaign flood your social media feed at the end of each year for quite some time now. One of the best examples of personalization we’ve seen in recent years, Spotify’s Wrapped campaign takes each user on a journey back in time to look at what they listened to during the past year, any trends or unique habits, and their top artists and shows based on minutes listened.
Infinitely shareable, totally personal, and unique to the platform, Spotify Wrapped is a content marketing example that has solidified itself as a cultural event, and it’s even brought in new users to boot (Spotify saw a 21% increase in app downloads in one week in December, for example). Can Apple Music do that?
8. Marketing Brew’s Email Roundups
Just like your morning cup of joe, Marketing Brew’s email roundups (called Daily Brew) are always there when you need them. Whether you’re trying to stay on top of the latest marketing trends or want to be in the know when it comes to what the biggest brands are doing and why, this email list is for you.
While most brands use newsletters as a form of self-promotion, Marketing Brew decided to do things differently. Following their value prop of “informing marketing pros of the latest on brand strategy, social media, and ad tech,” their newsletters are daily roundups of what everyone else is doing, with a sprinkling of self-promotion in between.
This strategy ensures their emails are valuable to readers, leading to higher open rates and engagement numbers than a traditional newsletter. Now, not only do they have an engaged audience, but they can rest assured knowing that what promotion they decide to add will be seen by their target audience (and they won’t be annoyed by it, either).
9. Yoga With Adriene YouTube Channel
When the pandemic hit in early 2020, it was the first time many had searched for yoga on YouTube and the first time many had heard of a channel called Yoga With Adriene. But YWA’s “overnight” success wasn’t actually “overnight” at all — it was a result of years of hard work, willingness to give away free content, and a dash of SEO expertise.
Adriene and her team had been churning out free content tailored to high-volume search terms for almost a decade by that point, slowly gathering a cult following dedicated to “finding what feels good.” Her content was accessible, fun, and, most importantly, free — so when the world needed something to do in lockdown, she was ready and waiting.
Her YouTube channel went from just shy of a million to over 12.2 million subscribers in three years. YWA’s strategy to give away yoga for free was a long game, sure, but one that ultimately paid off via ad revenue and her exclusive Find What Feels Good membership program.
10. Mejuri’s UGC Instagram Ads
With only eight years under its belt, jewelry brand Mejuri has been able to build a cult following online in a short period of time by leaning heavily into its Instagram strategy, using UGC as its main source of advertising.
From influencers wearing the latest pieces during a night out to customer selfies taken in bathrooms showing off their latest stacks, Mejuri understands that customers want to see what their products look like in the real world — not in some airbrushed photoshoot. And with 1.2 million followers and counting, it’s safe to say that the strategy has been working.
11. Siege Media Case Studies
You don’t always have to come up with a brand-new idea to create a successful content marketing campaign. Sometimes, taking a look back at what you’ve done and highlighting your achievements can be just as impactful.
One great example of this is Siege Media’s case studies. By breaking down their results by industry and including all-important numbers like revenue growth, traffic increases, and links secured, Siege Media is able to prove the value of their work to potential clients before they even hop on an introductory sales call.
First Page knows firsthand how impactful this B2B content marketing strategy can be. Check out our growth marketing case studies page to see how we’ve skyrocketed revenue for our clients.
12. Fruit People by Fruit of the Loom
Reboots are all the rage. Call it nostalgia, call it a society desperate for familiarity…no matter how much flak the incessant roll of reboots has been getting lately, one thing is certain: reboots perform. And they perform well.
No one understands this better than the Fruit of the Loom, one of the biggest brands of the 90s. Their most recent campaign brings back their beloved Fruit Guys but for the 21st century — now known as Fruit People, featuring two women and two men.
Debuting on social media, these new campaigns are catered to the TikTok demographic: short, funny, and dripping in irony. Fruit of the Loom is betting big on Gen Z, and now the question is, will this transfer to sales? Only time will tell (though let's just hope their fruit people don’t go bad before then).
13. Ahrefs Academy
If you had hoped to never step foot in a classroom again post-graduation, then don’t get into marketing. The truth is that an educational guide makes one hell of a marketing campaign, and no one knows that better than Ahrefs. Get ready to go back to school!
Ahrefs Academy is a multi-course program that will teach you everything from how to use Ahrefs and learn SEO to how to build links and start an affiliate marketing program. The wide range of free content ensures Ahrefs is capturing the attention of readers in all markets, leading to a wider pool of potential customers and increased brand loyalty.
14. Color Conditioning Kits by Franzia and oVertone
If you love boxed wine — and I mean really love boxed wine — oVertone has the product for you.
Hair color brand oVertone has teamed up with Franzia for a new take on your next hair color experiment: holding your favorite bag of wine up to your head and being unable to tell the difference between the colors.
Targeted mainly towards the Gen Z and college demographic, oVertone has gone all in on collaborations lately. We can practically see the college wine-and-hair-dye-girls-nights planning themselves, and if you’re the marketing team behind this collab, that’s what you’re hoping for.
What Are the Three E's of Content Marketing?
The three E’s of content marketing are entertaining, educational, and emotional. These are the values all content marketing campaigns should try to target to increase both interaction and interest in their campaign as well as shares online.
By providing value through educational and entertaining content or connecting with audiences through emotional content, following the “three E’s” rule helps ensure your campaign is actually interesting enough to stand out in the saturated market.
Content Marketing Strategies That Grow With You
Whether you’re looking for an interactive calculator that will help push readers down the funnel or you want to go viral on TikTok, create a bespoke campaign for your unique goals.
Check out our content marketing services to learn more about the great work we do for our clients and how you can become one of them.