It’s a new decade and content still reigns supreme. We know, we know. Every marketer has heard this probably definitely more times than they’d like. But with certain forms of content taking off, it’s important you stay up-to-date with how to make them work for your business.
So, why is that after all these years, marketers are still reciting “content is king” in their sleep?
Well, a few reasons:
1. Increased engagement - Imagine reading the same message presented in the same manner. It probably wouldn’t resonate with you much. (See: banner blindness.) Give the people what they want! When you consistently deliver authentic, personable and high quality content, you’re more likely to have an engaged audience.
2. Offers value to audience - What do people search for when they have a problem? Solutions. This is your chance to enlighten them with valuable knowledge.
3. Great for SEO - Help your target audience discover your expert knowledge online. The combination of keyword research and riveting content will surely boost your search engine visibility.
4. Increases brand recognition - The more people see your name, the better the chances of them recognizing and, eventually, trusting your brand.
5. Generates leads - This is the goal, right? A DemandMetric survey found that “content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing and generates 3 times more leads on every dollar spent.”
But before you see these kinds of results, you’ll need to 1) know your audience and 2) come up with a content strategy. (Otherwise, you’ll just be creating content for the fun of it.)
Once you’ve got that figured out, the leads will come pouring in.
So, without further ado, here are the different forms of content you should consider using.
Written content gives you the chance to highlight your expert knowledge. It can be short-form or long-form. But regardless of length, it should provide an answer to users’ questions.
There’s a variety of written content you can implement into your content strategy, such as blogs, case studies and white papers.
Blogs are the most common form of written content. You can write to your audience directly, respond to their comments and provide more value.
I know what you’re thinking: ‘How long should my posts be? 500 words? 1,000 words? 2,000 words?’
And you might hate this answer, but…
However long it takes to thoroughly answer a question someone has.
The goal of each blog post should be to answer questions and present them in an easy-to-read fashion. So, make sure your posts are fluff-free by writing concisely. Google isn’t concerned with how many words you’ve written; they, like those who are in need of answers, just want what they’re looking for.
‘But I heard 2,000 words is best for SEO!’
A Portent article debunked the SEO word count myth. First page results can range from a few hundred words to a few thousand words. It, truly, all just depends.
If you want to boost your SEO, focus on:
Another word of advice: Write like how you talk. Obviously, you might want to hold back a tad if you drop a lot of f-bombs, but you get the picture.
Save what you learned in your 10th grade English class for another time, and just type conversationally. Because that’s what will help you come off as approachable and relatable to readers.
You’ve probably heard about internal and external linking too. Internal and external linking can do wonders for your blog posts.
When you add an internal link, you make it easier for visitors to browse and spend time on your site. (This also helps with SEO!)
If you use a reference, you can either list that reference below your post or add an external link within the text. This shows readers that you can do your research and show proper attribution to the valuable information you found.
Always add a call-to-action so your blog post is wrapped up in a neat little bow. Think of it this way: If there’s not one there, what is your audience supposed to do? Prompting readers to take action increases engagements, leads, conversions - all that good stuff.
Case studies are perfect for showing exactly how your product/service provided a solution to a client’s pain point(s). This helps build credibility and trustworthiness. Not only that, but it’ll also help you stand out among your competitors.
Think of all the reviews you read before making a decision on whether you want to use a service, buy a product or eat somewhere. Make it a no-brainer for prospects by showcasing your accomplishments.
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Simply gather your facts, testimonials and background info. Voila - you’ve got just about everything you need to write a compelling case study. This can all be done within one page. But as we previously mentioned, just write however many words it takes to tell your story.
Here’s what your case study should include:
Take prospects from Point A to Point B with how your product/service saved the day. This shows them how they can depend on you if they decide to work with you.
White papers are documents or guides made to inform readers, first and foremost. This is so readers can either: gain a better understanding of a complex issue, solve a pain point, or make an informed decision.
White papers are great because they position you as an expert. Focus on one topic you feel readers should know more about and dive in. Intertwining research and statistics gives you more authority as a business.
Since these documents are so data and fact based, they require a much more formal tone.
Once you’ve got all the need-to-know details, grab yourself a cup of coffee and get ready to write. These are longer pieces!
To write a killer white paper, you should:
Nearly 80% of buyers reported relying on white papers in order to make a purchasing decision within the past year. These will surely help generate leads. You can take our word for it.
With all that time you spend writing, how much thought do you put into the imagery that accompanies your posts?
Visual content may not seem important because you’ve just written thousands of words. But as a reader, it can be intimidating reading a block of text with zero photos.
We’re suckers for visual content. Why? Well, our brain naturally prefers images.
According to a study, images take only 13 milliseconds for our brains to process and are processed 60,000 times faster than text.
Visual content helps break up seemingly never ending text, is undoubtedly easier for readers to process and takes far less time to digest. Integrating it with your written content makes your post well-rounded overall. Say hello to more traffic!
As we stated earlier, images are a great way to accompany written content. This could be a stock image, infographic, chart, gif, even a meme; whatever complements your words best.
Of those options, Venngage reported marketers used stock photography (40%) and infographics (37%) the most.
Our word of advice: Avoid too stock-y of photos. (You know the ones people use as memes? Those.) We recommend using Unsplash or Pexels.
If you can take your own photos or make your own graphics, even better!
Who doesn’t love a good infographic?
If you’re looking for your content to get shared, infographics are the way to go. They’re the most popular on social media and are shared three times more than other content.
When it comes to optimizing infographics for SEO, you’ll want to:
The way infographics simply present “info” and “graphics” is undeniably what makes them a fan favorite. They’re straightforward, fun and can stand alone. Unbounce claimed they’re the most powerful tool in your content marketing arsenal. Enough said.
With access to videos everywhere - YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, etc. it comes as no surprise that they’re taking off in the marketing world. Lyfe Marketing reported that 87% of marketers use video for content marketing.
Incorporating it into your content strategy could be a real game changer.
These are just a few types of videos you can create for your business:
Video works because it’s more personal, more engaging and more accessible.
Regardless of whichever kind of video you make, the same applies here as writing: Talk like you typically would. This makes you more approachable to visitors.
Similar to any other form of content, you want to make sure your videos:
Considering social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and image content combined, it might be a good idea to start planning some video content.
Users love interactive content because it’s designed to be more fun. (AKA less taxing to focus on.) The more engaging and personalized you make it, the easier it is to capture data to generate leads.
According to Content Marketing Institute and Ion Interactive, 81% of marketers agree that interactive content is more effective when it comes to grabbing people’s attention more compared to static content.
With more attention comes more engagement.
In the same study, nearly 70% of marketers reported an increase in audience engagement since using interactive content.
These kind of numbers should be your green light to start crafting interactive content.
Quizzes are one of the most popular forms of interactive content. As you scroll through the dozens of Buzzfeed quizzes on your Facebook feed, you might wonder, ‘What makes these so irresistible?’
The answer is simple...
People want to see what results they get!
While these can carry a more casual or professional tone depending on your brand, they should provide users more insight while being fun to interact with.
To make an engaging and educational quiz, you should:
CMI reported in 2016 that quizzes had a 69% effectiveness rate when it came to targeting visitors in the awareness/discovery stage. With a stat like that, there’s no arguing these will get your business more leads.
Calculators were reported to be the best form of interactive content for those in the consideration stage at a whopping 51% effectiveness rate. They’re a simple but extremely powerful tool that increase engagement.
Little effort; great value
- Simply data
Post your works of art onto your selected platforms. Notice that this is technically the last step when it comes to your content strategy, but you should already know how you want to go about distributing your content. (See: step #2 in the introduction.)
You get the idea.
Tracking your KPIs can help you figure out whether you need to restrategize.
If you notice that you’re not getting as many visitors, leads, or conversions, it wouldn’t hurt to see which areas of your content strategy need improvement.
Once you’ve got that figured out, you’ll join the other 74% of companies that attributed their increased leads, both in quality and quantity, to content marketing.
And remember: Content is king!