Content Marketing Blog
Best Content Marketing Examples 2019

Best Content Marketing Examples of 2019

It might seem a bit early for a best content marketing examples of 2019. But the truth is we’re almost halfway through another year.

And there have been some really great examples of what content marketing can do over the past five months.

So, we’ve picked our six favourites. In this post, we’ll explain why we chose each one and also highlight what marketers can learn from them.

From Netflix and The Guardian to Seth Godin and Backlinko you don’t need a global profile and massive budget to action our takeaways. Happy reading.

1. Knock Down The House

Best Content Marketing Examples AOC

Who made this awesome content?

Rachel Lears for Netflix.

What is it?

A documentary following first-time candidates through the 2018 US congressional elections. But it’s become a wonderful piece of content marketing for Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.

Why did it make our list of the best content marketing examples of 2019?

Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (AOC) is a political phenomenon. Arguably the biggest positive political news story in the US so far this year.

This is a 29-year-old bartender with no experience of politics. Not only has she been elected to congress, she’s already taken centre stage on hot button issues from the minimum wage to climate change. She is a superstar on social media and is, for many, the face of the resurgent left in American politics.

The Netflix documentary, Knock Down The House, wasn’t originally just about AOC. Naturally, the editing and marketing make it look that way now in a bid to cash in on AOC fever.

If you check out the trailer, you’ll see what we mean:

For us, this is an excellent example of content marketing. It is not a political ad. It’s entertainment. But it gets AOC – and by extension, the Democratic Party – access to a large and potentially useful audience.

Some people who watch Knock Down The House will be AOC fans. Others will be curious about this bright, young, camera-friendly underdog who is shaking up the political establishment.

Party strategists will be hoping she can appeal to some of the working class voters who backed Donald Trump in 2016. Respected tech commentator Kara Swisher wrote in a recent New York Times column that AOC was “the only one who can keep up with [Trump] online”.

Netflix is famously secretive about viewing figures, so we can’t tell you how many people have watched it. But the company has significant reach, with 150 million subscribers worldwide. Just under 2 million of those are in the US.

AOC has a growing influence on social media. And while US elections aren’t yet won or lost on Instagram, there is some evidence of a Netflix bounce for her follower count.

AOC Instagram Followers

AOC has more than 3.5 million Instagram followers. In the days leading up to the release of Knock Down The House she was adding around 3,000 per day. That jumped to more than 12,000 per day between May 2nd and May 4th.

What are our takeaways for content marketers?

Streaming services like Netflix have helped to bring about a renaissance in documentary film-making. Political documentaries, like the excellent Weiner (2016), have found a bigger audience as a result.

What Knock Down The House does for AOC is use great content to capture attention. People who watch it will learn more about what she’s like, what she believes and how she carries herself. If they like what they see they might buy what she’s selling. Or at least notice her when she’s selling it.

But don’t worry. You don’t have to run for public office and star in a Netflix documentary to be an outstanding content marketer.

Content marketing can though work for your brand in the same way as it has worked for AOC. What content will get the attention of your audience? How can you make content like that?

Find your equivalent of a well-made and spookily-timed political documentary. And swap Netflix for the social media site or ad platform that has the best access to your target audience.

2. Premier League Finances

Best Content Marketing Examples Football

Who made this awesome content?

David Conn for The Guardian.

What is it?

A full rundown of the 2018 financial results of the 20 football clubs in the English Premier League.

Why did it make our list of the best content marketing examples of 2019?

Content marketers know that before they create a piece of content they need to ask themselves an important question. That is: how do I make this content better than what’s already out there?

In one of his best known Whiteboard Friday videos, Moz founder, Rand Fishkin challenged content creators to go 10 times better. His 10x content mantra stated that the only content worth creating had to be 10 times more valuable to readers than the current top ranking pages on the same topic.

Now, there are lots of ways you can do that.

One is by working harder than the competition. We believe this David Conn article is an excellent example of how putting in the time to create an original piece of content can cut through the noise in crowded markets.

Whether or not you like football you’ll be aware that few topics generate quite as much fuss. It’s not easy to get your content noticed with so much competition for the attention of the sport’s millions of fans.

Rather than 400 words of unanimously sourced transfer gossip, David Conn has put in the hard yards.

He’s picked his way through the accounts of 20 multi-million dollar businesses.

He’s pulled out salient and easy-to-understand headline numbers.

With the help of one The Guardian’s designers, he’s brought those numbers to life with some simple, but nicely-formatted graphics.

And then he’s provided insightful analysis to put his data in context. Here is an example:

The Guardian Financial Results

You can read the article in full right here.

What are our takeaways for content marketers?

David Conn’s article is a great example of how extra research time can steal a march on the competition.

Whether your content is aimed primarily at Google or your readers, proper research and planning are essential.

Content marketing is about offering value. You create something your audience wants. You give it to them for free. And you get their attention, hopefully their interest and some useful action in return.

To create real value you need to invest time and effort. Putting in the work to do original research will help you find a unique angle on well-covered topics. This makes your content stand out and gives your audience a reason to engage with it and share it.

Original research will also produce content you can reuse and recycle. If we stay with our example from The Guardian it’s easy to think up ideas for infographics, videos and follow-up articles off the back of that work.

So while reading a pile of financial statements might seem unappealing, when it’s done it can drive a whole series of valuable content pieces.

Look for those opportunities in your niche. Do the afternoon’s work your competitor isn’t prepared to do.

3. Catching a Catfish

Best Content Marketing Examples Catfish

Who made this awesome content?

James Oaten for ABC.

What is it?

The exclusive story of how women who thought they were in online relationships with TV actor Lincoln Lewis had in fact become victims of a Catfish-style scam.

Why did it make our list of the best content marketing examples of 2019?

The first thing that caught our attention with this one was the layout and formatting. This isn’t a new story. It’s more like a one-page website.

It leverages the skills not just of writers, researchers and editors, but also graphic designers and web developers. In fact it credits no fewer than 11 contributors at the end of the piece.

The result is a user experience that’s clearly designed specifically for this story.

The photos and video stills – essential elements for building the narrative – appear behind the text using parallax scrolling.

And the texts and tweets that highlight some of the most sinister aspects pop up as you move down the page, as if they’re being sent in real-time.

This, and the style of the writing, are designed to draw the reader in and keep them scrolling down to reveal more of the story.

Lincoln Lewis Catfish

The time and effort that went into this piece of content is quite something.

But it was a big story and one all of ABC’s rivals would have covered in some detail.

The challenge is always to stand out and get noticed. To offer more value than the competition.

ABC has certainly achieved this with an innovative and immersive piece of content. It remains the top result in a Google search for “Lincoln Lewis catfish”.

You can check it out for yourself here. Keep reading until the end.

What are our takeaways for content marketers?

Our takeaway from this example is the power of teamwork.

To do content marketing really well you need to be able to draw on a range of skills. When we build content marketing campaigns for our clients we need account directors, strategists, project managers, writers, editors, designers, animators, social media specialists, paid search experts.

And while you don’t need all of those skillsets for every piece of content, combining some of them allows you to be much more creative. Your ideas can be more ambitious when you have people with different talents and perspectives to help make them a reality.

Remember the goal is to create the best resource for a given topic. That isn’t just about the ability of your writer. Creating best in class content is always a team effort.

4. Chasing Kipchoge

Best Content Marketing Examples Marathon

Who made this awesome content?

BBC Sport for Instagram.

What is it?

Clever animation showing how an Eliud Kipchoge marathon compares to that of Mo Farah or ameteur runners of varying ability.

Why did it make our list of the best content marketing examples of 2019?

How do you know if someone has run a marathon?

Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.

And so they should. It’s 26 miles and 385 yards of pure hell. Months of dieting and training followed by one of the most gruelling physical experiences outside of childbirth.

But Eliud Kipchoge makes the whole thing look easy.

This freakishly talented long-distance runner set a new world record at the London Marathon in April this year. This man can run 13mph for 2 hours straight. He makes Mo Farah look a bit slow.

The challenge for content creators in the wake of Kipchoge’s achievement was to find a more interesting way to say: “this chap is fast”.

We think BBC Sport absolutely nailed that with this piece of content for their Instagram feed:

There are two reasons why this example made our list of the best content marketing of 2019.

First of all, the creativity. Instagram is made for biteable video content like this. And it’s an excellent way to present the source material.

Second is the personalisation. More than 40,000 people took part in this year’s London Marathon. This content was aimed primarily at people who had competed in the race, who knew someone taking part or who had previously run a marathon.

By comparing Kipchoge’s performance to Mo Farah (most famous active British marathon runner), and 3hr, 4hr and 5hr runners, it makes a personal connection with as many of these people as possible.

Making your content marketing personal is not just a good way to get it noticed. It also increases the chances of people engaging with it, remembering it and looking favourably on your brand as a result of it.

What are our takeaways for content marketers?

Find a way to make your content personal for your audience.

User personas are one of the first steps in building a content marketing strategy. They set out who you’re targeting and what actions you want them to take.

User personas should also help you keep your audience at the heart of your content marketing campaigns. Before you write a blog post or create some content for social media you should think about who it’s aimed at.

A common mistake even experienced marketers make is to let their own preferences and bias influence their creative content. Even perfectly good content ideas can be undermined by this problem.

You should ask yourself what are the particular elements of this piece of content that my audience will care about? What spin can I put on this to make it more relevant to the people I want to ultimately sell to?

5. Mini Books

Best Content Marketing Examples Seth Godin

Who made this awesome content?

Seth Godin for Instagram.

What is it?

Bite-sized ebooks designed for Instagram slideshows and stories.

Why did it make our list of the best content marketing examples of 2019?

Like our BBC Sport example, Seth Godin’s Mini Books are designed specifically for his chosen platform.

Godin is a former tech executive and a renowned author. Ultimately he wants people to hear his ideas, read his blog and buy his books.

But his Instagram feed isn’t just a series of promotional posts pushing his followers to a new blog or a special offer on one of his books.

Instead, he creates content that’s purpose-built for Instagram.

His Mini Books pack 150 to 200 words into an Instagram post by using the slideshow format. This allows him to communicate an idea or form an argument in some detail. But in the bit of the post users actually look at.

Godin is a thought leader. Bite-sized content like this is super-easy for Instagram users to consume and engage with. It is the perfect way to hook people in and push them towards longer-form content on the same topic.

This format will be an excellent way to promote his next book.

What are our takeaways for content marketers?

Our takeaway from Seth Godin’s Mini Books is that social media content works best when your chosen platform is part of the creative process.

For brands, social media sites are advertising platforms. But that doesn’t lower the bar for creativity. It raises it.

Yes, you have to pay if you want people to see your content. But your content also needs to be engaging, relevant and high quality. Especially on a platform like Instagram, which has arguably done better than any other social media site in integrating ad content.

So, next time you start scoping out content for social media, think about how the platform you plan to use can influence how your content looks.

Or go right ahead and steal Godin’s Mini Books idea. We’re sure he won’t mind.

6. Backlinko Blog

Best Content Marketing Examples Backlinko

Who made this awesome content?

Brian Dean for Backlinko.

What is it?

Best in class SEO blog that demonstrates how content marketing should be done.

Why did it make our list of the best content marketing examples of 2019?

Backlinko is essential reading for anyone working in or interested in digital marketing.

Brian Dean has a proven track record of success with his own SEO. And he uses Backlinko to share step by step instructions for how he did it.

Along with HubSpot, Moz and Sparktoro, the Backlinko newsletter is well worth a space in every marketer’s inbox.

We decided to single out Backlinko in our list of 2019’s best content marketing examples because of the way it pushes readers towards its conversion goals.

Backlinko wants you to subscribe and the whole site is built around making that happen.

Signing up for emails is the above-the-fold CTA on the homepage. And appears prominently in and around the blog articles.

The blogs themselves offer plenty of evidence of real results (screenshots of SERPs and Google Analytics, for example). And they provide step-by-step instructions on how to emulate those results.

The depth and length of these articles are big reasons why they rank in search for some of the most competitive keywords on the internet. And they easily clear the first hurdle of content marketing, which is to provide value to your audience.

Best Content Marketing Examples 2019 Backlinko

The quality of the content and the prominent newsletter CTAs would be enough to capture a fair number of leads.

But Brian Dean also employs this neat tactic of locking certain posts and restricting them to subscribers only.

He can pull this off because most of his blogs are free to access. And those free-to-access blogs clearly demonstrate his thought leadership, providing strong examples of what’s behind the padlock.

Best Content Marketing Examples 2019

We also really like the branding.

Professional, consistent and creative branding is no substitute for excellent content. But Backlinko has both.

The branding helps convince the user that they’re in safe hands. This is clearly a well-put-together site with a lot of care taken to provide a smooth, enjoyable user experience. Navigating the site, accessing the content and completing the CTAs are all super simple.

And the branding also helps Backlinko content stand out on social media, as Brian Dean demonstrates in this post about boosting YouTube views.

Best Content Marketing Examples 2019 Backlinko YouTube

What are our takeaways for content marketers?

Our number one takeaway from Backlinko is to be generous with what you know.

If you work in a space where your knowledge and expertise are what you sell, don’t be afraid to give it all away.

Sharing in-depth, highly detailed content about what you know can help establish you as a thought leader. It can build trust with the people you want to do business with. And it can create an audience much more likely to buy from you in the future.

Nowadays, your target audience will do their research long before you get to speak to them. They want to see evidence that you know enough to do a good job for them. And they also want to see behind the curtain.

You don’t want your content marketing to be all about you. But telling your brand story and showing your audience how you do what you do is now a big part of convincing them to become customers.

Find your equivalent of McDonald’s giving away the recipe for Big Mac Sauce and jump right in.

Best Content Marketing Examples of 2019: Useful Links

Adam Barber
Adam Barber About the author

Adam is one of Castleford's founders and remains actively involved in the day-to-day running of the business. He started out as a writer and still contributes regularly to our blog, covering SEO, CRO, social media and digital strategy.

Read more of Adam's articles