Michael Calia - 08/23/2019
One of the first steps of developing a successful content marketing strategy is understanding how, when and why to use certain forms of content. In this blog post, we’ll cover some of the most common types of content your B2B or B2C company can leverage to provide value to your target audiences.
Whether you’re a B2B or B2C organization, a strong content marketing strategy is vital for growing your business today. Creating quality content provides an audience with valuable information about a topic they are interested in or a question they need an answer to, as opposed to other marketing tactics that require them to take an action. Creating benefit at basically every step of the sales funnel, content marketing builds stronger relationships with potential customers to generate success.
With today’s consumer growing more defensive of advertising, conventional marketing methods alone will typically not move the needle. Fortunately, content marketing is 62% less costly for business while generating nearly three times as many leads as traditional marketing. Before developing a content marketing strategy, it’s critical to understand how, when and why to use certain types of content. Let’s take a look at some of the most common pieces of content.
Well-produced web pages can be strong sources of information that help your business appear higher in organic search results. Web pages can take different forms to achieve specific purposes:
- Product Pages – Include concise yet descriptive copy that incorporates commonly used keywords to appeal to organic search. High-resolution pictures should clearly display the products from multiple angles whenever possible. Allowing for customers to upload their own product photos can also help generate images that shoppers really want to see. Ensure that the page loads fast enough, as poor speed can hurt SEO and turn potential customers away.
- Educational Pages –The majority of people today will start their research on a brand or product online – whether it’s for business or personal use. By creating educational content that can supply useful knowledge on a given subject, it increases the likelihood that your business’ web page will appear when potential customers are searching for help or information.
- About Us Page – This should offer all the information that would be on someone’s checklist for choosing a specific business. Ideally, someone should be able to learn all about the people that make up a business, as well as its specialties, history and location.
- Testimonial Page – Sure, you can probably say a lot about your own business. But some consumers are weary to trust companies and seek third-party validation. . Testimonials are a useful way for demonstrating proven success. They add credibility and can boost search engine ranking if the details discussed in them include the right head terms and long-tail keywords. Plus, you can control the testimonials on your website, rather than trying to monitor and moderate reviews on third-party websites such as Yelp or Google.
Press releases are tools public relations professionals use to begin a conversation with targeted media outlets about company news with the goal of generating press coverage. The first step in creating a release involves identifying the most impactful news angle. It’s important to understand that releases are sent to reporters, editors, bloggers, producers, etc. who receive hundreds of pitches per day and need to discern what will be most interesting to their audience. Keep in mind that although a press release is more of a conversation-starter with media, some press might use pieces of the release verbatim, so you want to make sure your company’s most important key messages are communicated effectively when writing a release.
While the key goal of a press release is might be securing as much press coverage as possible, it’s not the only benefit. When press releases include links – as they should – businesses will get the added boon of having your website links appear on third-party pages that have a high domain authority. To learn more about how PR supports and optimizes a brand’s digital presence, download our e-guide.
Fact sheets are used to convey key information about a campaign, product, service or other related topic in a thorough, yet concise format. Ideally, a fact sheet should be no longer than one page and have a clear call to action (CTA). This CTA should not explain to your audience what you’d like them to do, but also provide simple directions for doing so.
When compiling research for fact sheets, it’s important to provide enough information to support a point, but not overload the fact sheet with statistics. The goal is for people to read and act, and seeing something flooded with numbers and percentages can scare someone off. While the stats themselves are important, the way they’re described is equally valuable. For example, saying that “200 million people ate macaroni and cheese last week” isn’t as enticing as saying “Two-thirds of the U.S. Population ate macaroni and cheese at least once last week.” Also, be sure to use timely, relevant information, as few things can ruin supporting details as much as data that is old enough to rent a car.
A landing page is a specific destination that isn’t always directly connected to a business’ main website. Beneficial in any inbound marketing and advertising campaigns, landing pages can be strong lead generation tools. Whether you’re offering a free download of a new e-gook, driving people to sign up for an event, or directing interested customers to enroll in a monthly newsletter, a landing page is the perfect place to house the content.
To access the materials, users should be directed to fill out quick forms with their personal information. People tend to have no problem providing their work email address, company name and other personal details in order to receive invaluable information. While these may be simple pieces of autofill information for the typical consumer, they can be gold for businesses. However, creating the perfect form is an art in itself, as too many required fields can lead to people instantly leaving the page.
When done correctly, blogging is can be one of the most important components in a content marketing
strategy. In fact, 71% of B2B buyers looked at blog content along their purchasing journey, up from 66% the previous year, demonstrating the growing value of blogging in content marketing.
In my previous post, I discussed how optimizing keywords, including internal and external links, and implementing image alt tags can boost posts’ SEO value, yielding a more effective blog content marketing strategy.
It may be useful to think of a White Paper as a longer, more in-depth blog post. If you’re able to fully discuss a given topic in 1,000 or so words, blogging is the way to go. However, if you have pages upon pages of knowledge and data, a white paper would be the best bet. There’s a reason 71% of B2B marketers use white papers in their content marketing strategies, and many claim they are the most effective pieces of content. It should also be noted that white papers will comprise a deep dive into a single specific subject, filled with statistics, charts or other visuals. This type of content is usually geared toward a more technical group of people who are looking for information on how to solve a problem or achieve a specific goal, so the style and language should match this audience.
When housing a white paper on a landing page, be sure to immediately present the benefit of the white paper to would-be readers, as they’ll want to know something is worth giving away their contact information to access it. Additionally, white papers can be used to create effective social media content to further increase reach, so keep social media copy and banner images in mind during the creative process.
Whereas a white paper is a deep, technical dive into a certain subject, an e-guide has a more of an easily digestible “how to” focus. The idea of an e-guide is to present a goal and offer a step-by-step process for achieving it. Rather than just presenting a solution that your business provides, suggest multiple options and weigh pros and cons of each. Doing so enforces the idea that you’re trying to provide support, not just sell your business. This also works to seamlessly present the advantages your business offers. In almost all cases, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to a given problem, so if you can demonstrate an understanding for multiple approaches, it further validates your own.
Along with boosting a brand’s credibility, e-guides can be leveraged as “free gifts” to further incentivize people to join mailing lists, helping generate strong leads. If someone is interested enough in a topic to input their information and download an e-book, they’d likely be interested in more forms of similar content, or even enlisting the support of the trusted business that wrote the e-guide.
Social Media Content
Utilizing social media in a content marketing program involves using Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and any other platform as a strategic medium to reach a larger audience. One of the many benefits of social media is the capability to get content in front of more eyeballs. Using appropriate hashtags and interacting with relevant pages can improve reach among people who are likely to be interested in your content, and ultimately your brand. Implementing a paid social media ad strategy allows you to get content directly to a targeted audience based on interests, job titles, industries, locations, and other demographic traits. When creating social media content, it’s important to keep in mind how each post or visual asset incentivizes users to follow your page and interact or engage with the content. Establishing a page as a reliable source of quality content will yield more follows, further increasing your reach.
Adding FAQ pages to your business’ website is another good strategy for establishing credibility. Providing insight can always help portray your business as a trusted source of valuable information. FAQ pages also provide value in the form of SEO. Because many people type practically full questions into search bars, the content on an FAQ page works to target the long-tail keywords used in searches. In many cases, what someone is looking for may resemble one of the frequently asked questions on a business’ page almost word-for-word, increasing the likelihood that the business appears in the search results. If the page provides enough information, there’s a chance that other people will use it as a resource within their own content, generating inbound links that further boost search ranking. Certain answers may even be repurposed into blogs or social media content. Blogs can also be linked on the FAQ page as a means to direct interested readers to more in-depth answers to questions they’re searching for. If said blogs include links to other pieces of content – and they should – it furthers the chain of attracting customers to your business and helps nurture them through the sales funnel.
When merging email and content marketing, it’s important to keep copy concise, yet descriptive. Typically, the contacts on your list will have opted into receiving emails, but bombarding them with annoying or unclear messages can make them look to the unsubscribe button. Start with a strong subject line that will grab someone’s attention. Be careful to not sound like spam, as 69% of email recipients report spam based on the subject lines. As you use emails more, be sure to analyze which emails remain unopened to determine ineffective language and avoid it. In the body of the email, elaborate on the subject line to keep consistency. Direct readers to a clear CTA while thoroughly explaining what the specific “action” entails. Closing emails with a personal sendoff shows that the email did (technically) come from a human being. This also can create a bridge to real interaction to strengthen the relationship.
Cisco recently predicted 2019 to be a new era for video content, forecasting that over 80% of all Internet traffic in the year will be video. Why? Because smart marketers know how to best reach their audience. In fact, HubSpot found that more than half of consumers prefer to see video over other forms of content from brands they support. So, if video isn’t part of your strategy, you’re failing to reach consumers via an increasingly popular medium.
When writing the scripts for these videos, remember that the information will be digested by hearing it rather than reading it. Keep sentences concise and avoid using too many long, difficult words. Also, keep tone in mind when writing a script. Knowing how you’d want the voice to be perceived will help you construct the script accordingly.
There are many types of content that can be produced as part of a content marketing strategy, each with their own benefits and challenges. Along with properly understanding each type, it’s crucial to understand which pieces of content will help achieve your business’ goals to properly allocate your resources.