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by Eric Sharp on November 25, 2013

Topics: Content Marketing


Though I build websites for a living, I’m still very much a consumer. I enjoy the research process, examining my options and choosing the best product/service within my budget.

I may understand the psychology and tactics behind a website’s content marketing more than the average joe, but I still need to be marketed to. Just like all savvy consumers, I need a website to provide valuable information as I travel through that company’s buying cycle (awareness, evaluation, purchase).

There’s a lot of buzz around content marketing, but does it really work? Can it build a person’s trust and confidence in a product/service? Will it inspire action? Is it worth the investment?

Here are 3 content marketing examples and proof that it worked for me.

Proof #1:

I was having difficulty with my swim training as I prepped for a Triathlon

content-marketing-example-1-swimsmooth-logoHOW IT STARTED
I Googled “why do my legs sink when i swim?

MY BUYING CYCLE TIMEFRAME (from awareness to evaluation to purchase)
3 days

PDF Training Guide (sample below)


During the months leading up to my first ever triathlon, I unfortunately discovered that I was a terrible swimmer. Like, really bad. I needed help diagnosing the crux of my lousy form.

Their sample Training Guide that I bought for $20 is loaded with information for all swimmers. They have incredibly valuable content, including underwater videos and easy to understand instructions and graphics. After my specific google search for the exact problem I was experiencing (sinking legs), I found this article that explained my issues were drag and inflexible ankles (for starters).

After providing content that spoke into my problems, it was clear they had established themselves as a swim coach authority. And I wanted more. For $20, I was able to download a PDF guide (designed specifically for my body type) that pinpointed training tips and exercises to help me become a better swimmer.

Proof #2:

I was trying to determine if I needed professional help with re-naming my old company (now ProtoFuse)

content-marketing-example-2-tungsten-logo noborderHOW IT STARTED
I Googled “company naming services

MY BUYING CYCLE TIMEFRAME (from awareness to evaluation to purchase)
2 weeks

Hourly Consulting

$375/hr ($1,000 total)

Making the decision to search for this type of expertise was simply me yielding to the concept that “I don’t know what I don’t know”.

I’ve art directed enough branding projects to know my way around that process, but NAMING a company? Similar to building websites, “there has to be a science and art to this” I thought.

My google search landed me on the homepage of Tungsten’s website and within 5 minutes I congratulated myself. My hunch was correct; I definitely needed an expert! I spent the next week reading through articles such (4 Strategies for Company Naming Success) and (Before Branding Your Company, Determine Your Position) and was amazed at the depth and complexity of this service.

As insightful and educational as their valuable content was, it was clear that I needed professional help applying this newly found knowledge to MY specific problem (the underlying magic of content marketing).

Knowledge isn’t power until it is applied.

Dale Carnegie

Proof #3:

I was cautiously optimistic that whiteboard paint would be easy to install and worth the investment

content-marketing-example-3-ideapaint-ebookHOW IT STARTED
I downloaded their eBook “Ideas to Impact” (sample to right)

MY BUYING CYCLE TIMEFRAME (from evaluation to purchase)
6 weeks (I discovered their product years ago, so I skipped right into ‘evaluation’ stage)

Whiteboard Paint


IdeaPaint knew my backstory (consumer doubt) and crafts content aimed at removing it — evidence of well researched website user personas.

Their website understands the power of storytelling and authentic testimonials. Their Blog teams up with their eBook (which requires an email) to beautifully profile the numerous organizations that have purchased and successfully installed their whiteboard paint.
Social proof? Check.

As optimism grew, and I continued to walk through the ‘evaluation’ stage, their 6 minute “Installation Instructions” video was the clincher. Since IdeaPaint is not your typical interior paint (nor am I the typical handyman), I wanted to ensure my $200 wouldn’t turn into an expensive failed science experiment.

Throughout my evaluation, their valuable content addressed my concerns and inspired me to purchase — hallmarks of smart content marketing.

Author Info

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Hey there, thanks for reading! My name is Eric Sharp and I’m the Founder of ProtoFuse. Learn more about me, follow me on Twitter or find me on Google+. Oh, and I’ll call you family if you’re a Chicago Bears fan. Daaa Bearsss.
  • These are great examples, Eric, and proof that content marketing (with quality content) does work.

  • Thanks Marc for the comment! Content Marketing is all about quality — and when there’s quality there’s effectiveness. It’s most definitely hard work, but certainly worth it.

    Thanks for reading sir.

  • Steve Larrivee

    Well written article and good “real life” examples for thought. Everyone needs help with what they don’t know. It’s important to educate prospects with good content on our websites that hopefully converts to a contact/sale.

  • Thanks @stevelarrivee:disqus for the comments. I think the concept of Content Marketing, at a theoretical level, can be difficult to translate into our normal daily grind.

    However, when it works, it works seamlessly and that theory becomes understood at a practical level.

    Looking forward to seeing Cactus’ content marketing being executed in 2014!