You can certainly create a killer blog or an amazing podcast as the cornerstone of your content. But it’s more efficient and effective in the long term (and necessary for larger organizations) to take a broader view – to create content that can come to life in various formats, across many different platforms, and that can address multiple audiences.
1. Top Lists
Top Lists work due to the nature of the attention-grabbing power of the headline. Any headline that lists a number of details, secrets, categories, or tips will work because it makes it very clear what the reader can expect when clicking on the article.
For an easy example, consider the article you are reading right now.
These types of posts and articles are perfect for building your authority and demonstrating that you are the expert in the field. Top Lists can be awesome tools for reaching your set content marketing goals for a variety of reasons:
· Lists are skim-able: Readers can easily browse the piece and still obtain the exact information they’re looking for. For all you “skimmers” – Video is #8 in this article - you can scroll down, now.
· Lists are easy to digest: By grouping information for your audience in a list format, you are already doing a good amount of the work for them. People like to organize things to digest information and visualize different concepts.
· Lists can quickly attract attention: One of the goals for your content should be to generate interaction and comments from your readers – and lists are great for that.
Think about when you are on social media, how many times do you see a shared BuzzFeed article on your Facebook or Twitter feed? Popular sites like this have changed the game of Top Lists content.
Curated Posts allow you to take the best and most relevant content in your industry and present it in a crisp, easy to consume format. The value to your customers that comes from curation will be attributed to your brand, lending you an air of authority in your industry. Simply Content Marketing’s “The Friday Fix” is an excellent example of a valuable curation content piece.
In the end, curation on a small scale can actually be a huge time-saver, that is, when you supplement your original content with curated content. As discussed in the previous step, if you’re struggling for ideas for your blog, you can opt to curate content for that post as a way to shake off the writer’s block. By curating content, you’ll keep fresh content on your site while passing along the value of your aggregation and editing efforts to your visitors. That’s an added value that they’ll attribute to your brand.
3. Comparisons & Reviews
With today’s online shopping platforms, people spend a lot of time comparing products. If you are an eCommerce company, it is your job to help visitors become educated on products. By adding a product comparison to your description, your page will become even more useful to visitors than the standard product page. As a result, visitors will not only see your page as a product source but also as a researching tool. For great examples of product comparison features, check out Amazon.com, Nashbar.com, or even Zappos.com
When people search to buy something, they want as much information as they can get, and they want to be able to compare multiple options. The goal of a review is not simply to say whether you liked or didn’t like something, but rather to educate others about the product and whether or not they should buy it.
If you can provide that kind of detailed information for the user, they will be much more likely to do their analysis and make their buying decision via your website. A product comparison or service review can be a priceless bit of content, and as a result, it can quickly convert browsers into buyers. Content marketing is all about helping, before you start selling.
4. Resource Pages
A resource page typically consists of a selection of articles or content that is based around a specific topic. Ideally that topic generates a lot of search activity and answers a common question. Every resource page should have a very select topical focus depending on your industry, and the articles that are included should be the best of what your industry has to offer.
A good resource page will get a lot of attention, readers love to bookmark and share resource pages. This offers you the chance to include call to actions or gated-lead generation forms that can increase your site’s conversion rate. It can also deliver othergreat benefits to bloggers:
· Resource pages can actually increase the time spent for visitors.
· If it delivers quality, useful content, readers will develop a trusting relationship with your brand and return.
· It can establish a company’s expertise on a specific topic, allowing for the opportunity to network with others in your field.
Bottom line – resource lists are capable of getting lots of traffic and generating natural backlinks for your site. If done correctly, resource pages can act as “Evergreen content” – or in other words, content that stays relevant or valuable forever – that means that with a single piece of content, your brand could be seeing the benefits for years to come.
Interviewing industry experts to find out how they tackle specific issues in their industry, and what tools they use to solve their problems is one of the most valuable forms of content you can create. You can ask them their opinion on industry trends, or to give a market outlook. The possibilities are limitless.
You have three different media choices for conducting an interview:
· Text-based: Send a customized email with 10 to 15 questions for the industry expert you would like to interview. Ask the interviewee to answer eight or so. Then, post the text of the interview with a bio and headshot. Boom, you’re done - Email interviews are by far the easiest interview to obtain.
· Audio: Contact your interviewee and ask for a phone interview for audio. Again, the interview should be about eight questions, netting you maybe 10 or more minutes worth of audio.
· Video: For video, you have the option of doing a webcam interview, if the interviewee is up for it, or you can snag them at a conference for an impromptu interview. Video interviews should generally stay short to keep the attention of the viewer.
By having frequent conversations with other experts in your industry, you rank yourself among the top contributors in your field. Interviews demonstrate that you’re hungry to stay on top of the industry. They make fantastic blog posts and can generate traffic to your site, especially when you interview bigger names.
6. Round Ups
Round Ups generally brings several industry experts around a single subject and allows them to give their insight. The topic needs to be enticing enough for featured experts so they can get excited about contributing and be proud to share it with their own audiences. Round Ups should be useful for your readers so they can walk away with good tips from trusted leaders in the field.
The strategy behind this content is very simple – present the knowledge of other industry experts and tap into their audience or network.They are often really useful pieces of content on their own, but by their nature they tend to get shared a lot by the people that were included.
Round Ups allow you to collaborate with other leaders and work to provide the best possible content for users. They establish you as an expert and a curator of awesome content and information. Use this content to introduce your readers to helpful, useful information, no matter what niche your industry is in.
An infographic is a graphic that conveys a visual representation of information using images and words. They are a great way to capture a variety of pieces of information and communicate them in an interesting and condensed format. Infographics often make use of charts and graphs - but given the designer – they can turn into informative works of art, with beautiful design and typography.
The possibilities with infographics are nearly endless. And when it comes to content on the Internet, infographics are hot stuff right now. Everybody seems to love them because they’re easy and fast to read, and are perfect for passing around via social media.
When someone finds an infographic that they think is really cool, they will link to it from their page, embed it on their site, or post it on their blog. When someone grabs the content to post on their website, they credit the page they got it from with a link. Because of their appeal, infographics are a great way to drive traffic and, especially, links to your website, which is one of the biggest benefits they offer.
This might seem obvious, but YouTube has become an enormously helpful marketing tool, and every content marketer needs to start implementing video into their strategy. Because of viewer’s short online attention span, short two-to five-minute videos are best. But within that constraint, video can be used for anything – videos can be educational or entertaining. The only limit is your imagination.
There are many places to post video. Everyone knows YouTube, but there’s also Vimeo, Viddler, and other sites, and this gives you the ability to post your videos on multiple channels. If you optimize your videos and get people to talk about them, they can do well in search, directing traffic to your website as a result. By establishing a standard for the quality of your content and having fun at the same time, you will improve your chances of creating video that will increase your traffic, generate leads, and maybe, just maybe, skyrocket to viral.
In my previous post, “Why does your Business Need Video Marketing?” I mentioned that some of the simplest topics are done best with video. Sometimes, it’s easier to make a video to answer your audience’s questions rather than write about it. Videos can turn a blasé content idea into a winner, drawing traffic to your website. You could produce step-by-step text content with handy illustrations, and it could be great stuff. But by taking that idea to a video, the content can come alive and become dynamic.
In my experience with “not-so-professional” video content, the key to success is to keep loose; have fun and experiment with different ideas. Video really works best when the atmosphere is relaxed and natural. By creating quality content and having fun at the same time, you will improve your chances of creating video that generates a lot of views, increase your traffic, generate leads, and with a little luck - skyrocket to a viral content piece.
Webinars are web-based seminars, live presentations where users remotely engage in the presentation from their desktops. These are fantastic ways to bring together customers from anywhere on the planet. The limitations on participation are only a matter of user access to the Internet at the time your webinar takes place. To manage the connectivity and presentation, you can use a webinar service, such as GoToMeeting.com, On24.com, or Webex.com.
Webinars are another great tool for showing your industry knowledge, and are excellent ways to engage directly with customers. Through a webinar, you have an extended time with your audience, which gives you the ability to show your leadership and depth of knowledge.
Because webinars require registration to participate, you can acquire the name and email of all participants, which you can add to your eNewsletter list, as well as your contact list for leads.
10. Free Guides
A free guide is normally a 10–12 page document that helps someone learn about a product, service, an industry, or a market. Topics can be about anything depending on your industry - it might help you choose your next laptop or maybe even your next career.
There are three distinct reasons why I just love the free guide concept:
1. They generate leads: Include a little lead-capture form in front of your free guides. This way, you’re building your contact list and you’re building your leads.
2. They attract links: A free guide is exactly what a webmaster or a blogger is willing to divert their traffic and their customers to - a fabulous piece of content.
3. They have a long lifespan: Just like a great resource page, depending on topic – free guides can become the perfect evergreen content – benefiting your brand for many years to come.
Free guides offer your target audiences a robust piece of information that will help establish your brand as a trusted authority in the industry. Placing this quality content behind a lead capture will allow you to further engage with potential leads and build a relationship by answering their questions.
Each type of content brings its own benefit and challenge to the table, but a healthy content portfolio that incorporates all over these pieces of content will ensure that you reach your content marketing goals. Remember to have fun, keep an open mind, and enjoy creating some awesome content for your followers.
Brad Kuenn is a Content Writer, Editor and Strategist living in Nashville, Tennessee, and he provides research, content topics, writing, editing, and content development expertise to clients. He has a passion for writing as well as art, which shines through in his work. His creativity and attention to detail makes him a valuable asset for a wide range of clients. During his time off he enjoys spending time with his wife, family, and his two dogs Brutus and Kane.
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