Consuming research, guides, blog posts, eBooks, and whitepapers can teach you a heck-of-a-lot about content marketing.
But reading about best practices will only get you so far. The best way to learn how to create stellar content is to see it in action.
That’s why, for the third year, we evaluated content from hundreds of companies (excluding agencies and professional marketing or content consultants) and ranked them based on innovation, engagement, cadence, and design.
Below, we dive into the best content marketing brands of 2014. Check out the full Kapost 50 to see who else made the list.
LinkedIn clinched the #1 spot on the Kapost 50 this year—in part because of the risky and rewarding decision to open it’s publishing platform to all users. This move elevated the company from a networking platform to one of the definitive resources for gathering and sharing information online.
LinkedIn’s more than 330 million users now have the opportunity to show—not just list—their expertise and unique perspectives. And recruiters reap big benefits from this open publishing platform, too. They can gather more relevant and valuable information about potential recruits.
LinkedIn risked overwhelming users with an open publishing option (think Huffington Post). But the content is curated (by Pulse) and personalized (in profile updates), so each post remains relevant.
In addition, LinkedIn has carried its reputation for creating targeted, informative content into a new year. Their impressive library of webcasts, eBooks, and presentations provides invaluable information to users and recruiters looking to leverage the platform. The content is expertly designed and covers best practices from native advertising and content marketing to social media and thought leadership.
#2. Farmers Insurance Group
Insurance isn’t a very sexy topic. But that doesn’t stop Farmers Insurance Group from creating compelling content experiences. The Farmers Inner Circle content library features helpful tips on top customer and prospect concerns: maintenance and repairs, budgeting, auto care, and more. These assets are succinct, well designed, and easy to navigate.
#3. Stanford Graduate School of Business
We’ve been following content by Stanford Graduate School of Business for a while. They’ve always published useful, targeted business content. But this year, they went above and beyond. In October of 2014, they launched Insights, a treasure trove for prospective students and professionals alike.
The site features in-depth articles, stories, and research on a range of topics—including social innovation, finance, corporate governance, and energy—from industry experts. Insights matches the caliber of top business publications like Harvard Business Review, and has a modern look and feel that’s a delight to navigate.
For those hungry for business ideas from the best and brightest, this is a top destination.
HubSpot has set the bar high for content marketing. They understand their readers to the bone, and use data-driven strategies to create and deliver relevant content to their buyers in the most effective formats.
For marketers, discovering HubSpot’s content library for the first time is like hitting the jackpot. Assets include in-depth guides, statistics, and templates on everything you need to know to hit the ground running with your content marketing operation.
HubSpot’s design is fun and engaging. Their website navigation is seamless. And their comprehensive assets are valuable to seasoned and newbie marketers alike.
IBM serves up content for all types of customers and technology professionals.
Their exhaustive library of case studies, technical resources, analyst papers, brochures, executive briefs, and more provides their customers everything they need to master their products.
The less technically inclined can find high-level industry content on IBM’s blog. A Smarter Planet tackles innovative ideas on how the latest advancements in technology are changing our world for the better. Recent topics cover everything from combating deforestation in the Amazon to transforming education to propelling environmental monitoring with big data analytics and sensors.
If you want to learn the best strategies for planning and protecting your financial future, check out content by Allstate.
Resources include articles, videos, and tools that cover all the basics (how to buy auto insurance) as well as the specifics (how hitting a deer affects your coverage).
Allstate makes the overwhelming fun and manageable. Their series of Allstate Financial videos, for example, include topics such as “Foosball Finances” and “The $300,000 Latte” that help viewers feel empowered to confront their financial futures head on.