We’ve all experienced the scenario: After a sip of your morning coffee, you open your email and are greeted by a barrage of information that has no relevance nor offers any value to you. Let’s get this right once and for all, sending content (in any format) that isn’t targeted to an audience and doesn’t help solve a prospect’s issue, provide relevance and value, isn’t content marketing; it’s simply dissemination of information. The Content Marketing Institute states, ‘Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience – and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.’ Does your business have a defined, effective content marketing strategy in place? In this article, we’ll educate you about the most effective types of content marketing so that you can gain insight into the best ways to target your ideal audience and boost sales significantly. The different types of content, and why you should use them Today, the different types of content available aren’t mutually exclusive; they can (and actually, should be) integrated to provide prospects with enticing user experience. Blogs Blogging seems to receive an increasingly lousy rap. Search ‘blogging is dead’, and you’ll find a litany of articles claiming it’s become an archaic marketing method. Too many people focus on the term ‘blog’ without looking at it from a holistic perspective. The truth is that blogging as a concept isn’t dead, but the landscape has changed drastically, and so the ‘adapt or die’ adage is apt in this context. With a few tweaks, you can implement blogging as part of your business growth strategy. Ways to grow your blog Combine other platforms Think about the last article you read. Unless you were looking for that specific article, the chances are that you didn’t go directly to the company’s blog page to read the article. It’s more likely that you saw it on a social media platform such as Facebook or Twitter and clicked through to the relevant page.Social media platforms are content sharing, relationship builing, traffic-driving juggernauts. So, if you haven’t already, set up your own pages on these popular platforms and link to your blog articles. Complement your blog with video content Video has grown exponentially over the last few years. Take a look at some of your competitors’ websites, and you’re almost guaranteed to see video content. This begs the question, ‘why has it become so popular?’Three words: engagement and trust. Video enables you to give users a peek into the inner workings of your brand. It’s also much easier for users to find out more about who you are. By conveying your personality and values, users gain the all-important human element of your business, which will determine whether they can relate to you, and ultimately foster trust.Video blogs (known as vlogs) give your business the ability to deliver tailored, visual content to your audience. It’s a much more productive way for the creator to voice an opinion and/or insights. The primary goal is to communicate on a deeper, more personal level with an audience. Invest in copywriting Copywriters specialise in writing relevant and valuable brand-appropriate content that has a conversation with your target audience and, in turn, assists in converting prospects into customers. There is no doubt that blogging is definitely NOT dead; it’s evolved. Videos As mentioned above, the value of video marketing is growing at an phenomenal rate and is producing revenue growth for many businesses. It could be argued that one of the primary reasons for this growth is because it is easier to produce, cost-effective and can be posted on a plethora of social media platforms. YouTube is the perennial video marketing platform but features on other platforms such as Instagram Stories are gaining traction – some businesses are building their brand solely on this platform. The benefits of video marketing include Users share videos: Users who watch a video with content that they find appealing and valuable can easily share it with followers/fans/friends on various platforms, particularly Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Video ads are ideal for mobile devices: Users are more likely to watch short videos (around 30 seconds) to the end and therefore have context and a good understanding of what you’re advertising. A lot of info in a short time: Video advertising provides you with the opportunity to offer a comprehensive amount of information in a short space of time. Furthermore, through video, all of the services that are being discussed can be marketed effectively. This is a content marketing tool that is going to continually evolve, providing businesses with new, unique ways to engage with their audience. The claim can be substantiated by new research conducted by Wyzowl that strongly suggests that video content for 2020 and beyond. The research found that: Video remains a key priority for marketers. Marketers feel more positive about the return on investment offered by video than ever, as it continues to strongly influence traffic, leads, sales, and audience understanding. Usage and spend on video marketing are likely to increase yet again in 2020. People watch significantly more video than ever before. Consumers continue to use video as an integral part of their journey with brands and are excited to see even more video content in the year ahead. The research also found that ‘88% of video marketers reported that video gives them a positive return on investment (ROI). Do you have a video marketing strategy? Consult a marketing firm that specialises in content creation and marketing. eBooks/How-to-guides We’re not talking about electronic novels here. Instead, from a content marketing perspective, eBooks and/or how-to- guides can be seen as long-form content. They serve as a medium through which prospective and existing customers obtain valuable, relevant information. Long-form articles are suited for businesses that want to offer their audience in-depth insights into a particular topic that REALLY adds significant value to an audience. Neil Patel, one of the top online marketers in the world explains, ‘you should create long-form content because it will get you more of what you want: more online visibility (social shares, links), more proof of your authority and industry expertise, and more material for altruistic community building and engagement.’ We can’t emphasise the value of gaining authority in your industry. If your brand is revered as the go-to resource in highly competitive and saturated markets, you’ll Dominate Google search rankings. Have high visibility across all marketing channels. A massive digital footprint and a loyal customer base. Patel also says that when thinking of a topic, it’s important to think about Keywords and search queries (What are people looking for?) Existing analytics (What content do you already have, maybe on your blog, that’s performing well?) Target audience (Who are you going after? What makes them tick? What do you know about them?) Competition (What else is out there? Can you beat it?) Remember, you may have a stunning piece of content, but if no one can find it, it may as well not exist. So, a sound SEO and content strategy need to be conceptualised before you start writing. Infographics An Infographic is a fun way to blend text and visuals into eye-catching content. Furthermore, they are a quick, cost-effective way to break down a topic into easy to understand chunks. For example, if you want to present data, it will be much easier for consumers to recognise and relate to the content being offered via this medium. A few more reasons why infographics should be part of your content marketing strategy Our brain processes visuals better than text Nemanja Darijevic, Creative and Development Director of Pixel Road Designs, joined the renowned SEJ ThinkTank and provided the following facts. – Our brains process images 60,000x faster than text. – After three days, customers still retain 65% of visual stimuli versus just 10% of auditory stimuli. – Consumers are 80% more willing to engage with content that includes relevant images. – Content with relevant images earns 94% more views than content without images. – Images are the most important deciding factor when making a purchase, according to 93% of consumers. Linkable and shareable Infographics provide a valuable snapshot of the topic that is being discussed. They can also be linked to a more detailed article should the user want to delve further into the topic. In addition, infographics are also easily shareable through social media platforms. Interestingly, approximately 80% of marketers choose to use visual content for social media marketing. Can help increase sales Infographics assist in increasing sales because a business can convey a lot of easily digestible, valuable information to potential buyers quickly. They’ll know within a few seconds whether or not they want to purchase your product. User-generated content User-generated content (UGC) can be considered one of the most powerful marketing tools because it’s essentially an example of trust in your product/service. Crowdriff comments, ‘Boiled down to its essence, user-generated content is a vote of confidence. Your brand’s biggest fans are snapping photos, writing reviews, and publishing blog posts promoting your products or services — often without any prompting.’ The benefits of UGC include Putting your customers in the spotlight When using content that your audience has produced for your brand, you’re letting them tell your brand’s story for you – they’re ambassadors for your business. Furthermore, it gives your customers a sense that they are being noticed and valued; you’ve succeeded in building a relationship with them – that’s marketing gold. The proof is in the eye of the consumer There is no better way to prove that you have a fantastic product and/or service than by the consumer confirming it to the public. It verifies your vision, mission and values your brand represents and in so doing shows that you’ve stuck to your promises to the customers, strengthening credibility and authority. Consumers trust user-generated content People trust UGC because it’s created by people who have actually used the product and/or service and are very happy with the result. The opinions are objective, meaning they are generally unbiased and genuine. Crowdriff explains that ‘People also trust user-generated visuals over any other type of content. The numbers speak for themselves: More than two-thirds (72%) of shoppers are influenced by Instagram photos of a product. User-generated videos on YouTube get 10x more views than branded content.’ Conversion funnels/lead magnets You may have heard of the terms: conversion funnel and lead magnet – what’s the difference? A lead magnet is a dedicated data-capturing marketing tool. Its purpose is to attract prospects by offering something for free such as an e-book, guide or discount on a future purchase. The key is that it has to be valuable enough for them to exchange their contact details for the offer. Once a prospect agrees to the terms and conditions, submits their details, they’re usually added to the respective business’s database. From there, they will often receive content such as newsletters or upcoming sales. A conversion funnel (also known as a sales funnel) represents the route that a user can take on the path to purchase; the trail narrows as the user progresses through various stages. Prospects who have converted from the lead magnet, are now in the database and added to the funnel’s first stage. This is known as top-funnel. Content sent to prospects at this point will be aimed at spreading awareness of the brand and provide more information about their services/products. Should a prospect respond in a manner determined by customised criteria, they’ll move down to the next stage of the funnel and receive relevant content to nudge them to the next stage. The aim is to move them along as smoothly as possible down the path to conversion (purchasing the product/service). Testimonials and Reviews Testimonials and reviews are other types of user-generated content, and they can play a major role in making or breaking your brand. The truth is that people want to know the thoughts of their fellow consumers. For example, you may be browsing for a product on an eCommerce platform, find exactly what you want, at a reasonable price, but if you see a slew of one-star reviews and unfavourable comments, it’s unlikely you’re going to make the purchase. Big brands such as Nike, purposefully use testimonials from top athletes to market their products; it adds that extra oomph of confidence that a prospective consumer may need. The bottom line is that each of these different types of content marketing has specific powers to capture, generate and nurture marketing qualified leads and retain customers. This plays a significant role in helping businesses achieve their desired objectives. Do you want to find out if your content marketing efforts are boosting or hindering your performance? Contact our agency for a stratgey and consultation session.