Content Marketing is a Hot Topic
Marketers unfamiliar with the virtues of content marketing must be living in a cave. With more marketers jumping on the content marketing bandwagon how does a brand get noticed? In other words, how do you create signal rather than noise with your content? Following are seven (7) content formats that will rock your content marketing strategy.
I believe most companies in any industry can benefit from a well executed blog. The secret to a productive blog is to get subject matter experts to write relevant blog content. The most successful blogs are strong in educational content that span several topics. Know your audience and write for each audience segment focused on the basics of what, where, why and how of your offerings. Create a blog content calendar with assignments to bloggers and stick to it.
White Papers and E Books
Your customers want to be engaged with relevant information that makes their life better somehow. White papers and e-books offer the potential for you to conduct a non-monetary transaction with your audience. You provide an information-rich, high quality piece of content in return for the reader’s name, email address and sometimes more information. If you offer a series of white papers or e-books on a topic, you earn the right to ask the reader for incremental information about the person with each download, building a profile of the reader. In doing so, you create touch-points that can increasingly result in sales ready conversations with the reader or driving the reader to an online store if that’s your goal. If your white paper or e-book content truly delivers value (signal), that sales conversation might be very productive. Best of all, your sales team will only spend their time speaking with people who genuinely want to speak with them.
It’s 2013 and no marketer should exclude video from their content portfolio. When considering the type of content you should commit to video, use the same guidelines as advised for your blog. Once you get comfortable creating information-rich video content, you should also consider creating humorous video content. There are many examples of brands that effectively use humor in video content including HubSpot, Indium and Blendtec to name just a few. HubSpot is an awesome example because they also have their own digital TV show titled Marketing Update. Consider producing your own show as a content format.
A recent research report from Arbitron and Edison Research indicates that 1 in 3 Americans listen to online radio at least once a week. Online radio includes services such as Spotify and Pandora. Online radio also includes podcasts. If you’ve never visited a podcast directory, go to the iTunes podcast directory and download the Podcast app for your iPhone to subscribe to individual podcasts. Android users can likewise access podcasts from one of several Android podcast apps. You may be surprised to learn that there are podcasts already available in your industry. And, if there aren’t many that represents an opportunity for your brand to capture an audience with a podcast. Podcast consumption is very popular among listeners while engaged in a variety of activities including walking the dog, working out at the gym, commuting on a bus or train and even while driving in a car. Consider creating a podcast show featuring one or more personalities who can cover relevant topics using this popular audio format.
We live in a visual world and infographics have become a popular way to tell a compelling story through a visual experience. Examples are all over the map. Just do a keyword search on any topic and add “infographic” in your keyword search. Two of many examples of compelling infographics include the value of likes for retailers and Crimson Hexagon’s memorial to 200 billion social media posts. To create an infographic start with creative thinking about facts your audience cares about. Then, turn your designer loose on your idea until you have an infographic that achieves your vision. Share your info graphic through all your relevant marketing channels.
Slideshare is a content channel and a sleeping giant. Some marketers have discovered the power of Slideshare for content marketing and others don’t even know of its existence. Slideshare is an online channel where you can upload your PowerPoint and PDF files for public sharing in digital format. The key to Slideshare is to create a compelling piece of content with an interesting title slide that is attention grabbing in a thumbnail view. Be sure to include a call to action in your content. Upload your presentations and white papers to Slideshare and share the link through your online marketing channels. Think of Slideshare as the YouTube of non-video presentations and e-books.
In addition to Slideshare, I am compelled to list one other social media channel as a content format. The reason is that LinkedIn is evolving into a content channel. It’s no surprise that LinkedIn acquired Slideshare last year. Each of the content formats listed above can be shared through LinkedIn. In addition to sharing your content on LinkedIn you can share other people’s content too. Shareable LinkedIn content comes from three sources: 1) people in your network, 2) LinkedIn Thought Leaders and 3) LinkedIn Today curated content. All you have to do is visit LinkedIn and find content that is relevant to your audience. Share this content with your network and they will thank you for it.
Of course there are other content formats you should consider including your website and your newsletter. This list of 7 content marketing formats represents a diverse mix that provides opportunity for you to learn which formats are most popular with your audience. A diversified mix of content formats maximize the chance of reaching your target audience across different channels, building a loyal community and producing leads or other desired outcomes.