You don't need to know that almost a third of marketing budgets are now spent on content marketing or that this figure is likely to rise to 50% in the next decade, just to know that content marketing is huge. You probably already know that because you’re almost definitely already doing content marketing, you’ve probably already seen the success of these campaigns and you will probably be spending more on it this year than you did last year.

What you might not know are the secrets to success of some of the big name (and lesser-known) brands – things which make them true content marketing leaders. All is revealed in “Content Marketing Lessons from the Master”, the third chapter of The Ultimate Content Marketing Guide. From this downloadable chapter we share a few of the examples of what the leaders are getting right, and how you can apply them to your own campaigns.

Keep content at the core of everything

Actually creating your own media house just as Red Bull did back in 2007 may be a little out of the reach for some, and by that I mean almost everyone! What this does point to though is the importance Red Bull placed on the development of a cohesive approach to their content and social media profiles; as should you. It is clear that content is at the very core of almost everything Red Bull does and while this should act as inspiration for most marketers, the key lesson is that this content must always support the essence of why your brand exists. Red Bull's is "to give you wings". What's yours?

Find out what "it" is, then own it

You don't have to dig too deep to uncover examples of those who have used content to carve out a niche and become renowned, and often financially well rewarded, for being an expert in that sector. The secret here is a simple one and that is to establish what an audience wants and then own it by making sure that you address that content no matter what channel(s) you use.

The Content Marketing Institute suggest that Andy Schneider, 'The Chicken Whisperer' is the perfect example of this. Having started out as someone who happened to blog about his passion for rearing chickens it was clear he understood what his readers wanted to know. He was so capable of engaging his readers that his blog grew into a magazine, a radio show and a regular podcast with over 30,000 downloads per month. Andy may not have started out with the same objectives as a B2B marketer, but he found a real niche of an "it" and he well and truly owned it.

Remember it’s about the story not the ‘thing’

In previous blog posts we've tried to emphasise that marketing messages should not be about the features of a product or service, but about the benefits of the 'thing' to the user. When it comes to successful marketing there is a further twist, and that is not to simply talk about the benefits, but to present the concept of these benefits in the form of a story.

Returning to one of the big-name global brands, our report highlights Nike as a prime example of getting this right. They may have an astronomical marketing budget, but the most successful content marketing campaigns are those which have the right approach rather than the funds behind them. Where Nike nailed this was with their ‘Find Your Greatness’ campaign, which focused not only on the championship athlete or record breaker, but the everyday athlete who strives to excel on their own terms and achieve their own defining moment of greatness. By doing this they put the customer as the hero and not their products. This resonated brilliantly with customers and drove a huge amount of social sharing around the time of the London 2012 olympics.

Read more about these content marketing masters and others in “Content Marketing Lessons from the Masters”.  If you want to delve deeper, you can also download The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing, which contains this chapter and several others on:

  • The 5 elements of a killer content marketing strategic plan

  • 3 quick wins for improving your content marketing right now

  • How to measure ROI

  • Curated versus original content

  • The growth of video content marketing

  • How to keep blogging relevant, driving both brand awareness and leads