Ever heard of a makeup brand called ColourPop?

The company was founded only 2 years ago, but they have had a huge impact on the makeup industry. They have broken down a common barrier for makeup consumers. You help you experiment with makeup by pricing their products at a lower price point.

They’re a huge “indie” makeup company with an interesting characteristic. They only exist on the web, and their content exists primarily on social media. Yes, their primary target market is the Millennials.

So how did such a young brand shake up the entire makeup industry?

The punchline is they have around 5 million followers across their social media platforms. The only way you’re going to get that large of a following is by having two things:

1.       Value

2.       Quality content

What can ColourPop teach us about content marketing?

Let’s take a look.

Promote content where your target audience is

Where can ColourPop’s target audience find valuable content?

Not their blog.

They haven’t touched their blog since February 2016.

ColourPop BlogIt’s not because they’re too lazy to write 1,000+ words every other day. It’s because their target audience does not want to read a 1,000-word blog post.

A blog is the staple platform to most content marketers. But ColourPop played it smart. They have blogger after blogger writing product reviews for them. These reviews go from 300 words to 2,000-word mega posts. Providing them with backlink after backlink.

You can argue that your target audience will read anything of value – which is true. Even then, that’s not how their target audience chooses to consume information. Long form blog posts are definitely not how ColourPop converts their visitors either.

Their audience, Millennials and Generation Z, are on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook. Because of that, ColourPop’s content marketing efforts are pretty much focused on social media.

That decision comes with good reason.

When was the last time you heard a teenaged girl say “You have to check out this blog post!”?

Now compare that to the number of times that same teenaged girl shared a post on social media. There’s a strong reason why the brand found success. Take a look at the demographics of each social media platform they use.


53% of online users aged 18 – 29 use Instagram

29% of online females use Instagram


87% of online users aged 18 – 29 use Facebook

77% of online females use Facebook


37% of adults aged 18 – 29 use Twitter

21% of females use Twitter


34% of adults aged 18-29 use Pinterest

42% of females use Pinterest

Makes sense right?

They know their target audience spends a large amount of time on these social media platforms. ColourPop knows that visual content helps tell their story. It’s not a coincidence for them to be making a killing off of Instagram and Facebook.

They also know that they can speak with bloggers and influencers on Twitter. Communicating with this secondary target market has been a foundation for their success.

Take a look at any of their social media profiles and you’ll see comments that have more emojis than words. You’ll also frequently see people saying “I WANT THIS” and tagging their best friend.

ColourPop’s following on social media is what every e-commerce business would pay thousands for. Possible even millions.

They’re not just pumping out blog posts and regurgitating content on Twitter. Their content marketing team is focused on giving value to the audience. The only way they can do that is by putting their content where it matters.

So, do what ColourPop is doing.

Find out where your target audience is, and create a strategy to put your message in front of them.

Follow a visual style guide

There’s a reason why ColourPop has over 3 million followers on Instagram. The young and vibrant personality of ColourPop just oozes out of each piece of content. Instagram’s visual based platform was the perfect place for them to set up shop.

It’s not because of luck either – they know exactly what they’re doing.

They knew that using effective ad copy wasn’t going to cut it. Their target audience wants to know what ColourPop products look like in action. ColourPop knew that the only way to show them was to use actual people.

There are three consistent elements that show up on the company’s Instagram feed:

1.       Product pictures

2.       Pictures of people

3.       Forearm swatches

ColourPop InstagramThat’s pretty much it.

Following this style guide has kept their brand messaging consistent. The recognizable visual style has also kept the attention of their target audience. A Millennial scrolling through their Instagram feed will immediately recognize a ColourPop visual.

ColourPop’s visual style conveys the brand’s unique voice and positioning.

People who are quickly scanning their Instagram feed will have some sort of brand recall. Audience members will stop scrolling and click on a picture they can recognize. It doesn’t matter how short their attention span is.


Almost every post on the company’s Instagram profile is a picture of a colourful swatch of makeup. These swatches are usually drawn across someone’s forearm. Not a lot of makeup brands put their products on forearms.

For comparison, take a look at NARS.

In their audiences’ minds, a picture of a forearm swatch screams one thing: ColourPop.

The visual style doesn’t exist solely on their Instagram feed. Their online store uses this style guide as well.

You can see the eyepopping colours of their products on different skin tones. Don’t you want to buy something from them? It does look good on your skin tone after all.

ColourPop ecommerceUse a visual style guide that your audience can recognize. Following a visual style guide isn’t the only reason why this makeup brand is crushing it at content marketing.

You need to consistently speak through your diaphragm, your own voice.

Use a consistent voice

You need to consistently use your brand’s voice in all pieces of content. That means your blog posts, whitepapers, newsletters, social media, everything. That goes for everything that’s onsite and offsite.

How consistent is ColourPop?

They’ve got their voice everywhere. Right down to their FAQ page.

ColourPop Voice FAQThey’re not using the voice of a 45-year-old dermatologist who decided to start a makeup company.

Just from reading the FAQ page alone, you’d assume the brand is a woman in her early 20s.

ColourPop is fun, lighthearted, and someone you’d invite out for girl’s night.

That’s part of the reason why their audience buys from them. To their audience they’re not just another company – they’re part of a community.

So how do we know that ColourPop’s voice works? Below are the 3 key components of a brand’s voice, as identified by Marketing Land.

1.       Culture: Playful, fun, and colourful

2.       Community: Millennials and Generation Z

3.       Conversation: Gush about fun and playful makeup

You can immediately see the 3 Cs within this Facebook post.

ColourPop Facebook voiceThey used an emoji, which is definitely aligned with their community and culture. This made the call to action extremely natural. Because of the effective use of voice, it sounds like they were giving advice instead of a sales pitch.

This works because they sound like their audience. The amount of trust the right voice can give a brand is just outrageous. The comments under this post show just that – trust and loyalty.


“they look so pretty 😭😭 “

“Awesome colours 😍😍“

“Can’t wait to get mine ❤”

Use the right voice across your brand, and you’ll start seeing more comments like the ones above.

Inspire your audience

ColourPop TwitterThis tweet is a cross post from Instagram, which shows a young woman all decked out in ColourPop makeup.

They recycled their content, which is an important part of content marketing.

What they also did was provide users with a visual that would inspire them. Oh, look it’s on Twitter too! The easiest place for ColourPop to track a conversation about their makeup.

It looks like she’s ready to tackle a day filled with millennial activities. Her outfit and hair look really nice too, and that’s all thanks to ColourPop makeup! So why did ColourPop choose to repost this piece of content?

To give inspiration.

Which is what you need to do to attract and engage your audience. Sharing aspirational content is the most effective way to drive action. This is the exact same reason why Pinterest has 100 million active users. Aspirational content tickles your fancy. Audience members who want to look just like the woman above are going to ask the following questions:

“What colour is her lipstick?”

“Where did she get all her makeup?”

“Where did she get her hair done?”

“Is that a turtleneck sweater?”

Every time they are asking these questions, they look for a source. Aspirational content provides audience members with a solution. ColourPop’s audience wants makeup that’ll look good on them. The best way to show them is through visual content that shows that their desired look is possible.

Possible with the help of ColourPop!

But this post wasn’t meant to drive sales. It was meant to plant a seed. When you’re looking for something to match your new white top – you just might remember how nice it would look with some ColourPop.

Create aspirational content to inspire your audience to take action.

Share user generated content

ColourPop has a vast amount of content across all social media platforms. Scroll through their social media profiles. Some things you’ll see frequently:

  • products
  • forearm swatches
  • Millennial women smiling.

Investigate the description of each post and you’ll notice a consistent theme going on. ColourPop is tagging other users. A majority of these posts were created by audience members – loyal ColourPoppers.

ColourPop user generated content social mediaSo why is ColourPop focusing on user generated content?

Millennials believe User Generated Content (UGC) is 20% more influential than other types of content. It’s not just Millennials either – 92% of consumers around the world trust word-of-mouth more than any other form of advertising.

It’s the same reason why you read reviews before buying. Shoppers want to know what other shoppers think about a product. Loyal ColourPoppers provide other audience members with human thoughts and opinions. Much better than the sales pitches produced by big brands.

The Instagram post above is a visual created by a loyal customer. ColourPop used the power of social media to repost this loyal customer’s content.

This shows that this large brand is part of a community. Validating the thoughts and opinions of their target audience strengthens the ColourPop following. It also encourages others to join the ColourPop tribe.

ColourPoppers who get their content shared won’t stop there. They’ll likely become brand advocates due to the recognition ColourPop gave them. This can lead to more content dedicated to showing off ColourPop’s products.

If social media is a way for audience members to have a conversation, think of each piece of content as a sentence.

Find a way to capitalize on the power of sharing user generated content. Your audience’s words are much more powerful than your own. It’ll likely save you time curating content as well.


Content marketing is a game you’re going to be playing for a long time. As for ColourPop, they have been playing it for only a couple of years. There is definitely a wide range of reasons they’re winning. You can see that a strong content marketing strategy is a significant reason.

They promote content in places where their target audience pretty much lives. Their content follows a visual style guide that’s recognizable. The voice they use to communicate is consistent. They continue to inspire action with aspirational content. They built a loyal tribe by sharing user generated content.

ColourPop hopped right on the content marketing train.

What has ColourPop taught you about your content marketing campaign?