Content marketing is far from easy. It's hard to create innovative content that attracts an audience. It's hard to create content that effectively tells the story of your brand. It's hard to create content that helps an audience connect with your products or services.

But clearly not for Ryan Reynolds

Ryan spent years trying to pull together financing and studio support for Deadpool, the 2016 movie that was eventually produced for $58 million -- basically bootstrapped, at least relative to the typical superhero movie production budget. (For example, Avengers: Infinity War cost over $300 million to produce.)

The marketing budget for Deadpool was also relatively bare bones, so Reynolds focused on creating content that audiences would not only consume, but would also be eager to share. Inside jokes, off-beat humor, clever trailers--the marketing for Deadpool substituted creativity for heavy spending.

It worked: Deadpool went on to gross over $750 million worldwide, making it the most profitable R-rated film in history. (Proving that while talent matters, persistence is often the real key to success.)

Add in revenue from Deadpool 2 and the franchise has pulled in over $1.5 billion worldwide.

Now he's applying his humor and storytelling skills to promote Aviation Gin, a company he purchased a major stake in last year:

\n

\n

Note there are no calls to action. No promotional offers. No opt-ins, no direct response. It's \"just\" a cute story, well told.

\n

And yet it still made me want to try the gin. (Which, it turns out, is really good.)

\n

Advertising means creating content you want people to see; it's push. Content marketing is pull: Creating content the audience wants to see -- and will actively seek out on their own. 

\n

Which is how I found this: 

\n

\n

Yep. I wanted to see if Reynolds had created any other videos. So I went looking for it. And liked it.

\n

And shared it with you.

\n

Which is the essence of great content marketing.

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style="font-family:roboto,sans-serif; font-size:16px; letter-spacing:0px"><a href="https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/the-1-thing-about-content-marketing-only-best-brands-get-right-prime-example-slash.html">Content marketing</a> is far from easy. It's hard to create innovative&nbsp;content&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family:roboto,sans-serif; font-size:16px; letter-spacing:0px">that</span><span style="font-family:roboto,sans-serif; font-size:16px; letter-spacing:0px">&nbsp;attracts an audience. It's hard to create content that effectively&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family:roboto,sans-serif; font-size:16px; letter-spacing:0px">tells the story of your brand. It's hard</span><span style="font-family:roboto,sans-serif; font-size:16px; letter-spacing:0px">&nbsp;to create content that helps&nbsp;</span><span style="font-family:roboto,sans-serif; font-size:16px; letter-spacing:0px">an audience connect with your</span><span style="font-family:roboto,sans-serif; font-size:16px; letter-spacing:0px">&nbsp;products or services</span><span style="font-family:roboto,sans-serif; font-size:16px; letter-spacing:0px">.</span></p>\n<p>But clearly not for&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="https://twitter.com/VancityReynolds">Ryan Reynolds</a>.&nbsp;</p>\n<p>Ryan spent years trying to pull together&nbsp;financing&nbsp;and studio support for&nbsp;<em><a target="_blank" href="https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1431045/">Deadpool</a></em>, the 2016 movie that was eventually produced for $58 million -- basically bootstrapped, at least relative to the typical&nbsp;superhero movie&nbsp;production&nbsp;budget. (For example,&nbsp;<em>Avengers: Infinity War</em>&nbsp;cost over $300 million to produce.)</p>\n<p>The marketing budget for&nbsp;<em>Deadpool</em>&nbsp;was also relatively bare bones, so Reynolds focused on creating content that audiences would not only consume,&nbsp;but would also be eager to share. Inside jokes, off-beat humor,&nbsp;clever trailers--the marketing for&nbsp;<em>Deadpool</em>&nbsp;substituted creativity for heavy spending.</p>\n<p>It worked:&nbsp;<em>Deadpool</em>&nbsp;went on to gross over $750 million worldwide, making it the most profitable R-rated film in history. (Proving that while talent matters,&nbsp;<a href="https://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/tenacious-persistent-and-successful-9-things-mentally-tough-people-always-do.html">persistence&nbsp;is often the real&nbsp;key to success</a>.)</p>\n<p>Add in revenue from <em>Deadpool 2</em> and the franchise has pulled in over $1.5 billion worldwide.</p>\n<p><iframe frameborder="0" height="1" id="google_ads_iframe_/4160/mv.inc/grow/mktg/mktg/oop_0" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" name="google_ads_iframe_/4160/mv.inc/grow/mktg/mktg/oop_0" scrolling="no" title="3rd party ad content" width="1"></iframe>Now he's applying his humor and storytelling skills to promote Aviation Gin, a company&nbsp;he purchased a major stake in last&nbsp;year:</p>\n<p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/YioAD0gQQSM" width="560"></iframe></p>\n<p>Note there are no&nbsp;calls&nbsp;to action. No promotional offers. No opt-ins, no direct response. It's "just" a cute story, well told.</p>\n<p>And yet it still made&nbsp;me want to try the gin. (Which, it turns out, is really good.)</p>\n<p>Advertising&nbsp;means creating content <em>you </em>want&nbsp;people&nbsp;to see; it's push. Content marketing is pull: Creating&nbsp;content the <em>audience</em>&nbsp;wants to see -- and will actively seek out on their own.&nbsp;</p>\n<p>Which is how I found this:&nbsp;</p>\n<p><iframe allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/dKXHlMK6bH4" width="560"></iframe></p>\n<p>Yep. I wanted to see if Reynolds had created any other videos. So&nbsp;I&nbsp;went looking for it. And liked it.</p>\n<p>And&nbsp;shared it with you.</p>\n<p>Which is the essence of great content marketing.</p>","adinfo":{"c_type":"article","showlogo":true,"cms":"inc225926","video":"yes","aut":["jeff-haden"],"channelArray":{"topid":"25","topfilelocation":"marketing","primary":["grow"],"primaryFilelocation":["grow"],"primaryname":["Grow"],"sub":["mktg"],"subFilelocation":["marketing"],"subname":["Marketing"]},"adzone":"/4160/mv.inc/grow/mktg/mktg"},"seriesname":null,"editorname":null,"commentcount":null,"inc5000companies":[],"inc5000list":{"id":null,"ifl_list":null,"ifl_year":null,"ifl_custom_data_description":null,"ifl_filelocation":null,"ifl_sharetext":null,"ifl_data_endpoint":null,"ifl_columns":null,"ifl_rows_per_page":null,"ifl_filter_columns":null,"ifl_permanently_hidden_columns":null,"ifl_extra_large_hidden_columns":null,"ifl_large_hidden_columns":null,"ifl_medium_hidden_columns":null,"ifl_small_hidden_columns":null,"ifl_extra_small_hidden_columns":null,"ifl_currency":null,"ifl_enable_accent_rule_topflag":false,"ifl_enable_accent_rule_bottomflag":false,"ifl_table_accent_rule_color":null,"ifl_table_header_background_color":null,"ifl_table_header_text_color":null,"ifl_table_row_stripe_color":null,"ifl_enable_filterflag":false,"ifl_filter_background_color":null,"ifl_filter_dropdown_border_color":null,"ifl_filter_dropdown_text_color":null,"ifl_enable_pagination_topflag":false,"ifl_enable_pagination_bottomflag":false,"ifl_pagination_bar_color":null,"ifl_filter_reset_button_color":null,"ifl_methodology":null,"ifl_pubdate":null,"ifl_default_sort":null,"companylist":null},"companies":[],"buyerzonewidgets":[],"photoEssaySlideModels":null,"custom_article_footer":null,"ser_footer_blurb":null,"dayssincepubdate":250,"trackingpixel":"","promotions":null,"inline_script_tags":[],"loadedFully":true,"promoimage":"https://www.incimages.com/uploaded_files/image/970x450/getty_673029054_200013331837852135294_383673.jpg","largepromoimage":"https://www.incimages.com/uploaded_files/image/1940x900/getty_673029054_200013331837852135294_383673.jpg","pubdate":"2019-02-14T09:15:00.000Z","author":"Jeff Haden","authortwitter":"@jeff_haden","articlesection":"Grow"},"server944975":{"id":237357,"inc_homepage_headline":"The Myth of the First Mover Advantag","inc_homepage_headline_ab_test":"First Mover Disadvantage?","inc_headline":"The Myth of the First Mover Advantage","inc_filelocation":"https://www.inc.com/howard-tulllman/the-myth-of-the-first-mover-advantage.html?icid=readmoretext_ab_pretest","tilefeatureimage":"https://www.incimages.com/uploaded_files/image/300x200/getty_477554544_2000184820009280919_404959.jpg","tilefeatureimageX2":"https://www.incimages.com/uploaded_files/image/600x400/getty_477554544_2000184820009280919_404959.jpg","brandview":null,"loadedFully":false},"server944976":{"id":237281,"inc_homepage_headline":"Working From Home? 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