A brand’s ability to evolve and adapt its content strategy is a powerful skill—one that can mean the difference between success and failure.
Consider The New York Times.
The Times was first published in 1851, and more than a century later, nytimes.com was launched. The publishers recognized that media consumption was expanding to the internet, and if they didn’t adapt by offering their articles online, their business would fold (no pun intended).
At the same time, the newspaper understood providing content only on the website would mean neglecting readers who preferred print over digital. By using both mediums in tandem, the publishers kept their existing customer base and expanded their audience.
This is how to approach content marketing.
Brands already using content marketing for demand gen or lead gen are likely familiar with the most common types of marketing content—eBooks, infographics, blogs, videos, etc. But there is a slew of other content just as effective as those tried-and-true resources many businesses aren’t taking advantage of.
The brands that do leverage this other marketing content are able to boost their strategy (and increase their reach) without sacrificing the techniques they know are successful. Here are seven types of content you probably aren’t using in your marketing but should be.
Triggered emails are automated messages generated after a user completes a specific action or combination of actions—for example, downloading an eBook, signing up for blog updates, viewing the brand’s social media accounts or visiting specific pages within a site.
Triggered emails help you continue the conversation with a prospect and strengthen the customer relationship. Similar to Amazon’s “Featured Recommendations” (which are based on the shopper’s history), triggered emails allow brands to offer prospects additional content they may also like. This approach demonstrates to the buyer that your company is interested in how he or she is interacting with your brand and encourages further engagement.
Smart content is online content that dynamically updates based on the visitor observing it. It takes into account user data and the visitor’s previous interactions with your brand and then offers personalized content related to his or her interests.
You can set up triggers on your website to display specific text, images or calls-to-action (CTAs) each time a prospect visits, helping to give a more customized user experience. Smart content tends to have higher engagement than static content since it’s more personalized and has higher relevance to the viewer.
How compelling buyers find your content is just as important as its relevance to them. Marketing content with an element of storytelling usually has a higher appeal since it has a more authentic and less salesy feel to it.
A good example of storytelling content is a case study. Reach out to your current clients and learn the story of how they came to be satisfied customers. Your client’s path to purchase probably will touch on a lot of the same issues your prospective buyers are facing, and when buyers read it, they’ll feel more confident your product or service can meet their needs.
Hand in hand with storytelling is episodic content—content that has been divided into a series of multiple parts.
The goal of episodic content is to encourage repeat engagement with your business and keep your audience invested. The content is presented as more of a narrative with each “chapter” building on the next, urging readers to continue their engagement. It also allows you to dive deeper into a topic (or topics) than you could with a stand-alone piece (like a single blog post or video).
Newsletters allow your brand to kill two birds with one stone. Sending out company news helps showcase your employer brand and company culture. And distributing industry news establishes your organization as a helpful source of information and also proves that you stay on top of the latest updates and trends.
Opt for either monthly or quarterly newsletters; you want to keep subscribers interested without overwhelming them. Remember that your prospects and customers receive dozens if not hundreds of emails per day. Don’t be more clutter in their inbox—send them email they actually enjoy reading.
Podcasts are probably the least utilized type of marketing content in this list. This is understandable, though, since the concept of using podcasts in content marketing is a relatively new one. But podcasts are a remarkably effective marketing tool.
Podcasts give your brand personality and a voice (literally). Sometimes using a casual tone in written content can come across as glib and, depending on the audience, hurt your credibility. Podcasts, on the other hand, are generally more informal, which means brands can take a more relaxed approach while still demonstrating their expertise. As an added bonus, you can repurpose podcast transcriptions for blog posts.
Podcasts won’t work for every business. As with every other aspect of content marketing, you must always consider your audience. There’s no sense in investing time in a podcast if no one is going to listen to it. But if it does make sense for your organization, you’ll be able to offer prospects content via a medium that many of your competitors likely aren’t using.
Obviously, content marketing can’t exist without content. But rather than capitalizing only on content you’ve created, take advantage of content your users have created.
The core concept is to benefit from the work you’ve already put into building an established customer base. Your existing customers can be the best marketers for your brand; give them a place where they can interact with both you and your prospects.
In the end, there’s a reason standard blogs, eBooks and infographics are staples of content marketing. They work, and you should certainly continue using them in your demand gen and lead gen strategies. But consider expanding your efforts to include one or more of the types of content above, as well. You may be pleasantly surprised by the results.